Happy 46th birthday to Blake Shelton! The singer was born on this date, June 18, in 1976.
Shelton was born to Richard and Dorothy Shelton, in the small town of Ada, Okla. As a young child, Shelton showed a proficiency for singing, and his mom entered him in several pageants to show off his talent.
“I still don’t know why, and it’s still the worst experience of my life, being in a pageant,” Shelton recalls. “… And I remember singing “Cat Scratch Fever” by Ted Nugent, and “Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Bob Seger — [they] were probably my two signature songs.”
Shelton’s uncle taught him to play guitar, and he quickly extended his talents into songwriting as well. Buoyed by his aspirations, Shelton left Oklahoma for Nashville immediately after graduating from high school, when he was only 17 years old. He got a job at a music publishing company and, aided by Bobby Braddock, secured a recording contract with Giant Records. Shelton’s debut single, “Austin,” from his eponymous freshman album, soared to the top of the charts when it was released in 2001.
“I’ve had girlfriends I’ve gotten back together with after we’d broken up, and it never worked out,” Shelton says of the hit tune. “But “Austin” relates to all of those situations, whether it works out or not. It’s really about second chances.”
Shelton’s sophomore album, The Dreamer, was released in 2003. The project, which was released on Warner Bros. Records, after Giant closed its doors, includes the No. 1 single “The Baby.” Between 2009 and 2016, the tunesmith earned a record-breaking 17 consecutive No. 1 hits; he’s notched 26 No. 1s overall.
LOOK: Blake Shelton Through the Years
Shelton has also found success on the small screen, serving as a coach on the hit NBC singing competition show The Voice. It’s a role he’s now held for 18 seasons.
“It wasn’t planned out,” Shelton says of his success as a TV star. “Ironically enough, over the years of being a Nashville country artist, I always had people tell me, ‘Hey, you should be on TV. You need to be a comedian or something like that.’ But it was never something I pursued or talked about. When The Voice just kind of fell into my lap, I don’t know if I’m one of those people who believes in meant-to-be or not, but it sure seemed like that’s what it was, because it does feel natural for me to do this.”
While Shelton’s professional life has remained consistent, he has weathered some highs and lows in his personal life. He divorced his first wife, Kaynette, in 2006, after three years of marriage, and wed Miranda Lambert in 2011, after five years of dating; then, in 2015, he and Lambert divorced, after four years of marriage. Additionally, Shelton’s brother Richie died in 1990 in a car accident; the loss inspired the tune “Over You,” which became a No. 1 hit for Lambert in 2012.
“Blake’s brother was killed instantly in a car accident at 24, when Blake was 14,” Lambert recalls. “One day, he just opened up and was talking to me about it. And then he was playing this pretty little melody, and we started adding words … Later he said, ‘I think it’s better if you record it. Honestly, I don’t think I can get through singing it every night on stage, so what’s the point?’”
Shelton’s father also passed away in 2012, after a lengthy illness.
On July 3, 2021, Shelton married The Voice co-star and pop hitmaker Gwen Stefani in an intimate ceremony held in a chapel on Shelton’s Oklahoma ranch.
“That’s my job, to be the best singer I can be when I get in the studio,” he says. “I don’t ever want someone to hear me on the radio and say ‘yeah, he’s singing okay, but where’s the heart?’ I want it all to be in there.”
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