Sam Hunt‘s rise to stardom is among country music’s most unusual — and unforgettable — careers. He began with a handful of high-profile cuts by stars including Keith Urban, Reba McEntire and Billy Currington, but Hunt came into his own as a performer in 2014, when he launched what would become a record-breaking string of No. 1 hits for a male vocalist on the country charts with his first chart-topper, “Leave the Night On.”
Hunt released his debut album, Montevallo, in October of 2014, embarking on A-list tours with artists such as Luke Bryan and Lady Antebellum. He quickly generated buzz for his outsider status and pop appeal, delivering live covers of rapper megastar Drake (and being labeled the rapper’s country equivalent, too).
All of that would pale in comparison, however, to the February 2017 release of “Body Like a Back Road,” a record-breaking smash hit with undeniable stamina at country radio and in live performances. Throughout that year, Hunt kept up an intense touring schedule of gigs and festival dates despite releasing no other new music.
Hunt is undeniably an enigma, and has become known for the gaps in his output. After his hectic 2017, the singer took a break from music, explaining that writing on the road is difficult for him and that he wanted to focus on his relationship with his wife, Hannah Lee Fowler (formerly an on-again, off-again girlfriend, and the subject of much of Montevallo). He released one new track, “Downtown’s Dead,” in 2018, followed by “Kinfolks” in 2019; his sophomore album, Southside, arrived in 2020.
Hunt’s career, songs and love story are ubiquitous on country radio and on high-profile tours, but what don’t you know about the country superstar? Read on to find out: