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It’s only been the last couple of years that the rest of the world has finally found out what country music fans have known for a much longer time, and that’s the fact that country superstar Blake Shelton is the real deal.
What truly introduced Shelton to the world is The Voice, the singing show on television station NBC that gave him not only a spotlight to show off his great looks and good nature, but also the God-given talent and charisma that country fans have known about for quite a few years.
During the first season of The Voice the editor of Entertainment Weekly magazine summed things up quite nicely when he wrote about Shelton’s “steady transformation into a real TV star, a country sage whose charm is squarely in the great TV traditions of Roger Miller, Jimmy Dean and Tennessee Ernie Ford.” That’s high praise for a man who, only a few years ago, was a relative unknown outside of country music circles.
In fact, since 2001 and his debut single, Austin, Shelton has not only proven to be an extremely versatile country singer but also an accomplished vocalist and a true entertainer as well. All a person needs to listen to is the stark of drama that he brings to the songs The Baby and Home, the warmth that his song Who Are You When I’m Not Looking shows in full, and his rollicking, happy-go-lucky Hillbilly Bone, to know that the man can hold his own against anyone in country music, or any other genre of music for that matter.
In fact, six of the last seven singles that Shelton has released hit the #1 spot on the country singles charts, including one of his latest, Honey Bee, off of his Red River Blue album.
While his music, obvious talent and success on The Voice have catapulted Shelton to superstardom, he remains as down-to-earth and approachable as ever and is still surprised by how successful he’s become. "If you'd have told me a few years back that my life would be this good," he said recently, "I'd have told you that you were crazy. But I'll damn sure take it."
His success is just another testament to his talent as well as his persistence. Blake was only 17 and two weeks out of high school when he left his hometown of Ada, Oklahoma and headed for Nashville. It was soon after arriving there that he met and started working with another country legend, Bobby Braddock, and soon had a deal with Giant Records.
Several years later his hard work and determination led to a contract with Warner Brothers and his first album, Austin, which launched his country music career. In an interview last year Shelton said that "I'm still learning, still reaching and growing," he says, "and it's great to have more and more people along for the ride."
The way things are going, a lot more people will be going along for the ride with Blake Shelton in the near future.