Before he was chart-topping Blake Shelton or Platinum-selling Blake Shelton or award-winning Blake Shelton, he was just… Blake Shelton. And after graduating high school, Blake Shelton’s dreams of being a country music singer pushed him to Nashville. He painted houses and roofed buildings as he took steps toward his goal: making songwriting connections, playing gigs, singing demos and even working at a publishing company. Finally, in 2001, he landed a record deal that culminated in the release of his first single, “Austin.”
The chart-topping, Platinum-selling, award-winning superstar is the same hard-working, country-loving Blake Shelton he’s always been, but now he’s celebrating the 20th anniversary of the song that first took him to No. 1. To commemorate the occasion, he will launch the pre-order for a special, limited edition “Austin” vinyl on April 16 – the exact date of the single’s release twenty years ago. As Billboard has declared, “the song that brought him to the winners’ circle for the first time remains a classic.” True to the original single, the vinyl will also feature B-side track “Problems At Home.”
“I remember the first time I heard ‘Austin’ on the radio,” Shelton said. “I was driving on 440, and I kept looking to both sides trying to see if other drivers were singing along! At that time, the station had a slogan about how they played new artists and legends, and the DJ said something like, ‘Who knows… maybe this artist will become one of the legends.’ This song started it all for me. I couldn’t be prouder to celebrate its 20th anniversary.”
The DJ called it – the past 20 years have been legend-making for Shelton. With more than five billion on-demand streams, 28 chart-topping singles and award wins nearing the hundreds, he has cemented his place in country music history. Shelton continues to thrive, with his new single “Minimum Wage” approaching the Top 20 in just eight weeks. Check out the official music video (WATCH HERE) and a live performance on Late Night with Stephen Colbert (WATCH HERE). “Minimum Wage” follows back-to-back No. 1 hits “Happy Anywhere” and current ACM Music Event of the Year nominee “Nobody But You” (both with Gwen Stefani).
Beyond his country music career, the multi-media entertainer has earned widespread recognition as a seven-time champion coach for the Emmy Award-winning television show The Voice. The NBC singing competition is serendipitously in its 20th season. Shelton, a long-time Grand Ole Opry member, has also found success in his Ole Red partnership with Ryman Hospitality, with restaurant and venue locations currently in Tishomingo, Nashville, Gatlinburg and Orlando.