Little-known facts about Blake Shelton’s country star life

Little-known facts about Blake Shelton’s country star life
Little-known facts about Blake Shelton’s country star life

Country music star Blake Shelton has been in the spotlight for about 20 years. But even if you like his music, there’s likely a lot you don’t know about his life. If you’re interested in learning how Blake got to where he is today, check out 42 facts about him.


Early life


Blake Tollison Shelton was born on June 18, 1976 to Richard and Dorothy Shelton. His mother owned a beauty salon and his father was a used car salesman.


Early life

Together, they raised Blake in his birthplace of Ada, Oklahoma, which is a small town about 90 miles away from Oklahoma City. He has an older sister, Endy. He also had an older brother, Richie, but he passed away after a car crash at the young age of 24.



Falling in love with music


Blake stayed in Ada until his teens, learning to play beautiful music along the way. He began singing as a child, and when he was 12, his uncle taught him how to play the guitar.


Falling in love with music

At age 15, Blake wrote his first song, and quickly started getting noticed after that, even getting gigs in local bars. At age 16, he received a Denbo Diamond Award. Encouraged by this, he moved to Nashville, TN at age 17 to begin his career as a musician.



A move to Nashville


Blake arrived in Nashville in 1994, just two weeks after he graduated from high school. He soon got a job at a Nashville music publishing company, but he eventually lost it because he was spending his time there talking to songwriters when he was supposed to be working.


A move to Nashville

While this was his first music-related job, his first job overall was roofing houses in Ada for two summers during high school – under the supervision of his stepfather, who was his boss!



His first record deal


Shortly after he lost his job at the Nashville publishing company, Blake got the attention of famed country music songwriter and producer, Bobby Braddock.


His first record deal

They had met through Blake’s songwriting partner, who frequently called Bobby so he could listen to and critique their music over the phone. In 1997, Bobby got Blake a contract with Sony Music. However, it would be a few more years until he would release his first single in Nashville.



First single


In 2001, Blake released “Austin,” his first single, and it was a hit! In fact, it stayed number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for five weeks.


First single

Its success wasn’t limited to the country music genre, as it reached number 18 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The song is about a woman who breaks up with her boyfriend and moves to Austin. When she calls him a year later, his answering machine greeting ends with: “And P.S. If this is Austin, I still love you.”



Blake’s first album


In July 2001, after the success of his single, Blake released his first album through Warner Records. It was titled “Blake Shelton” and was produced by Bobby Braddock.


Blake’s first album

Aside from “Austin,” the other popular singles on this album were “All Over Me” and “Ol’ Red.” Thanks to the positive reception to these three singles, his album became certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which means it sold more than 1 million copies.



Fun facts about his first singles


Though it was well received by audiences, “Ol’ Red” wasn’t quite as popular on the radio as Blake’s other singles, especially “Austin.” Nonetheless, Blake has called “Ol’ Red” his signature song and often includes it in his concerts, as it seems to be a fan favorite there.


Fun facts about his first singles

Additionally, Blake was supposed to release a song called “I Wanna Talk About Me” in 2001, but the record label decided it wasn’t right for his first single, and Toby Keith went on to record it instead.



Support in the early years


Blake has mentioned one of his main sources of support early on was Mae Boren Axton, a famous songwriter who co-wrote “Heartbreak Hotel” for Elvis Presley.


Support in the early years

She was known as the Queen Mother of Nashville, but she was technically a fellow Oklahoman who first heard of Blake when he performed a concert in Ada to pay tribute to her. She gave him advice, introduced him to influential people in Nashville, and always let him know she believed in him.



A successful second album


On the heels of his first album’s success, Blake released his second album in 2003. It was called “The Dreamer” and its main single was “The Baby.” This song stayed at number one on the country music charts for three weeks, propelling the album to gold certification as it sold over 500,000 copies.


A successful second album

The album’s other two singles – called “Heavy Liftin’” and “Playboys of the Southwestern World” didn’t do as well as “The Dreamer,” but still reached No. 32 and No. 24 on the charts, respectively.



Blake’s first marriage


Around the time he released his second album, Blake married Kaynette Williams. They were both from Ada, Oklahoma, and had started dating during high school. She eventually became his road manager at the beginning of his career, and they got married in Gatlinburg, Tennessee in 2003.


Blake’s first marriage

During their small wedding ceremony, Blake sang Conway Twitty’s “Julia” to Kaynette. But the marriage didn’t last long, as they were divorced in 2006 – and Blake began dating singer Miranda Lambert the same year.



The third album: Blake Shelton’s Barn & Grill


The next year, Blake released his third album, called “Blake Shelton’s Barn & Grill.” The most popular singles on it included “When Somebody Knows You That Well,” “Nobody but Me,” and “Goodbye Time.”


The third album: Blake Shelton’s Barn & Grill

These were all well received, but the top hit on the album was “Some Beach,” which stayed at No. 1 on the charts for a whopping four weeks! The huge success of these singles helped this album go platinum, much like his first album had.



Blake continues successful streak with fourth album


Blake dropped album number four, “Pure BS,” in 2007. Not surprisingly, the two first singles from it, called “The More I Drink” and “Don’t Make Me” were huge hits, as they held top 20 spots on the country music charts.


Blake continues successful streak with fourth album

Blake opted to re-release this album in 2008 so he could include his cover of “Home” by Michael Bublé as a bonus track. This cover eventually became his fourth No. 1 hit, taking the top spot that July.



Getting his start as a competition judge on TV


As Blake gained notoriety as a country music singer, he started making appearances on TV that didn’t require him to sing. In 2007, he appeared on Nashville Star as a judge.


Getting his start as a competition judge on TV

Soon afterward, he was also a judge on Clash of the Choirs. This was just the beginning of Blake showing his stuff as a TV judge, as a few years later, he went on to be a judge on The Voice in 2011. He’s remained in that role ever since.



Releasing his fifth album


Blake managed to juggle his TV judging talents with his singing career just fine, as he released his fifth album in 2008. Called “Startin’ Fires,” this album features the singles “I’ll Just Hold On” and “She Wouldn’t Be Gone.”


Releasing his fifth album

The latter of those was his fifth song ever to hit No. 1 on the charts. This album also features a duet with Miranda Lambert, called “Bare Skin Rug.” At the time, Blake and Miranda had been dating for about two years.



After his fifth album, Blake released an extended play record – or EP – called “Hillbilly Bone.” It featured a song of the same name, which was a duet with Trace Adkins. The song reached No. 1 in early 2010.


EPs

A few months later, Blake released an EP called “All About Tonight,” which featured a song with the same name as the album, as well as “Who Are You When I’m Not Looking.” He followed that up with a greatest hits album called “Loaded: The Best of Blake Shelton.”



The year of awards


2010 was a big year for Blake Shelton. Not only did he release a few EPs and a greatest hits album, but he also won big at award shows for country music.


The year of awards

In particular, in 2010 he won awards for “Hillbilly Bone” at the Academy of Country Music Awards, the American Country Awards, the ASCAP Country Music Awards, CMT Music Awards, and more. He was also inducted into the Grand Ole Opry that same year.



Marriage to Miranda Lambert


2010 was also a big year for love for Blake, as he proposed to his girlfriend, fellow country singer Miranda Lambert. They had been dating for four years at that point. They got married in 2011 in Boerne, Texas.


Marriage to Miranda Lambert

The following year, they sang “America the Beautiful” together on stage during Super Bowl XLVI. This was their first time performing on TV together since they got married. However, they ended up getting divorced in 2015, after four years of marriage.



A new album for 2011


The same year he got married, Blake released a new album, called “Red River Blue.” It featured three No. 1 singles, including “God Gave Me You,” “Drink on It,” and “Honey Bee.”


A new album for 2011

Because of the success of these songs, his album nabbed the top spot on the Billboard 200 chart – becoming his first No. 1 album! Plus, footage of Miranda Lambert before their wedding appeared in the music video for the romantic ballad “God Gave Me You.”



Finding success on “The Voice”


When Blake joined as a judge on “The Voice,” he discovered his hidden talent of coaching singers. He has coached 6 of the winning contestants across 16 seasons, putting him in the lead among all the judges.


Finding success on “The Voice”

He’s also performed and recorded with several of his contestants, starting with Dia Frampton, who recorded “I Will” with Blake and added it to her album “Red” in 2011. She even opened for Blake on tour, as did Sundance Head, another winning contestant on Blake’s team.



First Christmas album


In the fall of 2012, Blake released his first Christmas album, called “Cheers, It’s Christmas.” It reached the No. 1 spot on the Top Holiday Albums chart, and the No. 2 spot on the Top Country Albums chart.


First Christmas album

The album included Michael Bublé’s “Home,” with Blake and Michael singing together on this track as a duet! The Christmas album also featured the voices of Blake’s wife at the time, Miranda Lambert, and his mother Dorothy – in addition to other famous singers.



An emotional collaboration


Blake and Miranda collaborated together a few times, but the most emotional project they worked on as a pair was when they cowrote the song “Over You” for Miranda to record.


An emotional collaboration

It was about how Blake felt about his brother Richie’s passing after a car accident years before. The song was awarded CMA Song of the Year in 2012. It also got the title of Single Record and Song of the Year when the 2013 Academy of Country Music Awards took place.



Starting 2013 off right


Just as 2013 began, Blake released a new single: “Sure Be Cool If You Did.” Like so many of his other singles, it was very popular, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs.


Starting 2013 off right

Shortly after that, he released his eighth studio album, called “Based on a True Story.” The album was No. 1 on the country music charts, with its singles – “Boys ‘Round Here,” “Mine Would Be You,” and “Doin’ What She Likes” – all reaching No. 1 on the charts, too.



Touring and winning awards


The year 2013 continued to be fruitful for Blake, as he began promoting his album “Based on a True Story,” embarking on his “Ten Times Crazier Tour.” That tour was so popular that he extended it throughout 2014 and then eventually 2015.


Touring and winning awards

Additionally, in 2013, he won two big honors at the CMA Awards. The Country Music Association presented him with Album of the Year for “Based on a True Story,” and also named him Male Vocalist of the Year.



Charity work through 2013


Blake wanted to help people after tornadoes had left destruction in their path in 2013, so he and NBC worked together to put forth a telethon, called “Healing in the Heartland: Relief Benefit Concert.”


Charity work through 2013

Several other musicians joined in with him, from Reba McEntire and Usher to Rascal Flatts and OneRepublic. The event raised over $6 million to support the United Way of Oklahoma. This is just one example of his charitable actions over the years.



Another album and more awards


Despite still touring for his eighth album that year, Blake released his ninth studio album in 2014. It’s called “Bringing Back the Sunshine,” and the four singles on it are “Neon Light,” “Lonely Tonight,” “Gonna,” and “Sangria.”


Another album and more awards

All four songs achieved No. 1 on the Country Airplay chart. “Neon Light” even did well on pop charts. Also in 2014, Blake won the CMA Award for Male Vocalist of the Year and was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame for both music and charity work.



Tractor rescue


In 2015, Blake made the news when he rescued a group of teen boys who were stuck in mud. As they were checking out a river, some of the boys slid into a mud hole, so their friends went to the road for help.


Tractor rescue

Blake stopped by with his truck and tried to pull them out, but it didn’t work, so he had to use his tractor to do the job. Earlier that year, Blake gave a man a ride home when his truck stalled out in water.



Divorce and a new relationship


2015 marked the end of Blake’s marriage with Miranda Lambert. But he wasn’t lonely for too long, as he started dating singer Gwen Stefani later that year. He had met her on The Voice, as she replaced Christina Aguilera as a fellow judge in 2014.


Divorce and a new relationship

Fans of the show had noticed the chemistry between Blake and Gwen on TV, but it was a few months before they officially went public with their new relationship, as they confirmed it in November.



Tenth studio album release


In 2016, Blake released “If I’m Honest,” an album that featured “Came Here to Forget,” which was said to be about how he met Gwen Stefani. Another single, “She’s Got a Way with Words,” seems to have been about his ex, Miranda.


Tenth studio album release

Yet another single on the album was “A Guy with a Girl,” which topped music charts. One of the songs from the album, “Friends,” was the theme song for The Angry Birds Movie, which Blake also voiced a character for.



Blake’s own museum exhibit


In summer of 2016, Blake got his own exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. It was called “Blake Shelton: Based on a True Story,” and it took a close look at how he began his career in Oklahoma and achieved so much along the way after his move to Nashville.


Blake’s own museum exhibit

This museum exhibit included everything from clothing and pictures to song manuscripts and instruments. Blake said it was a dream come true to be featured in this museum.



Lots of honors in 2017


As Blake continued making great country music, he kept accruing some much-deserved awards and honors. In the spring of 2017, the Oklahoma Creativity Ambassadors Gala paid tribute to him, and around the same time, he got his own wax figure at Madame Tussauds Nashville.


Lots of honors in 2017

In addition, People magazine named him “Sexiest Man Alive” that year, an honor that he couldn’t wait to playfully rub in the face of his fellow Voice judge, Adam Levine – as they have a rivalry that viewers love.



Blake’s favorites


Blake has claimed that his favorite football team is the Arizona Cardinals, and there has been plenty of evidence of this in the form of pictures of him in clothing sporting this team’s name and mascot.


Blake’s favorites

His favorite show is Golden Girls, with his favorite golden girl being Dorothy. His favorite food to make is nachos, and his favorite hobby is deer hunting. He even has a tattoo of deer tracks that he designed himself – which he’s complained people frequently mistake for a trail of ladybugs!



Blake’s firsts


Blake’s first car was a GMC pickup truck, which was just one of many trucks he’d buy, as he currently has a Nissan Titan.


Blake’s firsts

The first concert he went to was a performance by Sawyer Brown, a country band that happened to be performing in his hometown of Ada, Oklahoma when he was younger. But the first album Blake bought was less country, more rock, as it was Ted Nugent’s 1977 album, “Cat Scratch Fever.”



Secrets his fans will want to know


Blake has some little-known facts about his life that might surprise people. He was in beauty pageants as a child, and has joked that his mother was definitely a stage mom.


Secrets his fans will want to know

He only wanted to sing in the pageants, but he had to take part in all the other pageant activities, like modeling evening wear. As he got older, he might not have been in pageants anymore, but he still did embarrassing things, like growing a mullet right as he began his career!



A new album for 2017


He released his 11th studio album in 2017, called “Texoma Shore.” The lead single was “I’ll Name the Dogs,” which reached No. 10 on Hot Country Songs.


A new album for 2017

The other singles on the album included “I Lived It,” “Money,” “Turnin’ Me On,” “At the House,” and “Why Me.” All five singles charted on Country Airplay, and as a result, Blake had six songs in the top 60 of the charts at once, which is a rare achievement!



Also in 2017, Blake opened a restaurant and live music venue called Ole Red, which got its name from “Ol’ Red,” his cover of a George Jones song that had become popular early in his career.


Ole Red

The first location of Ole Red opened in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, where Blake lives now. A Nashville location opened soon after that. There are also locations in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and Orlando, Florida. Ole Red is known for having good southern food, a laid-back atmosphere, and plenty of live music.



Dozens of awards over the years


Blake has earned numerous awards for his music, and there’s no sign of this trend stopping. So far, he’s won ten Country Music Association Awards, nine CMT Music Awards, eight American Country Awards, five Academy of Country Music Awards, five People’s Choice Awards, two American Music Awards, one CMT Artist of the Year Award, one iHeartRadio Music Award, and one Billboard Music Award.


Dozens of awards over the years

He’s also gotten eight Grammy nominations, plus the Gene Weed Special Achievement Award for his work in country music and TV.



Generous donations to the medical community


Blake has shown his generosity consistently over the years. In 2016, he donated $600,000 to the Jimmy Everest Center, which is an Oklahoma University Hospital for children who have blood disorders or cancer.


Generous donations to the medical community

And in 2018, he established the Blake Shelton Cancer Research Program at Oklahoma University’s Children’s Hospital. He did this in honor of his cousin, Aspen, who underwent treatment for cancer as an infant. After surgery, blood transfusions, and chemotherapy, she’s doing much better.



More music for 2019


In the middle of 2019, Blake released a single called “God’s Country,” which reached No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart. Later in the year, he released a compilation album called “Fully Loaded: God’s Country.”


More music for 2019

The album has a few hit singles from prior albums, as well as some new songs, such as “God’s Country” and a duet with Trace Adkins. The compilation album achieved the top spot on the Billboard Top Country albums chart!



Praise from several sources


Over the years, Blake has been commended by a lot of influential people and publications. Not only has singer Sheryl Crow said he inspired her musically, but also Brenda Lee of the Country Music Hall of Fame has praised his songwriting and singing skills.


Praise from several sources

In addition, Rolling Stone has called him one of the country music genre’s biggest stars in the last ten years, and the New York Times said he’s the most important ambassador between Nashville and mainstream music.



As of 2019, Blake is worth about $60 million. Though he certainly earned much of that as a country music star, he’s also earned a lot of it through his work on The Voice.


Net worth

In fact, he allegedly gets $13 million per season for the show, making him one of the highest paid coaches there. It’s no wonder he owns multiple properties in different states, with his main home being a 1,200-acre ranch on a lake in Oklahoma!



Duets with Gwen


Blake and Gwen have started to make a habit of singing together, much to the delight of fans of both! In 2016, Blake released “Go Ahead and Break My Heart” as a duet on his album “If I’m Honest.”


Duets with Gwen

In 2017, the two sang “You Make It Feel Like Christmas” together on Gwen’s album, and in 2019, they released “Nobody But You” on Blake’s “Fully Loaded: God’s Country” album. In 2020, the two released a music video for the song.



Continued success


Blake is known as one of the most successful country musicians today. He has sold more than 10 million records and over 30 million singles. In 2014 alone, he set a record for most consecutive No. 1 songs on the country music charts.


Continued success

Then, in 2017, he was one of just five country musicians to have reached No. 1 on the Billboard Artist 100 chart. The same year, he became the first country musician to win the all-genre award for Favorite Album at the People’s Choice Awards.