At the 2015 Country Music Awards, a little known name suddenly burst into the mainstream scene following a performance with pop R&B sensation Justin Timberlake. Timberlake shared the stage with Chris Stapleton to perform Stapleton's "Tennessee Whiskey" and Timberlake's "Drink You Away." The performance shot Stapleton's album Traveller straight to the top of the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart after only selling 6,000 copies the week before. Stapleton had been around in the country music scene for more than a decade but was not widespread known until that point and the rest is history. Here are 5 things you didn't know about Chris Stapleton.
1. He signed a publishing deal just days after moving to Nashville
Chris Stapleton lived the starving artist life before he moved to the writer's town of Nashville. Just four days after moving, he scored a publishing deal that would see him write hits for many artists. It's not something that's common in the music world and is his story to tell. The work was consistent for him until he finally hit the big time. It was also at his publisher's office that he met his now wife Morgane Stapleton.
2. Stapleton has written songs for top country artists
Before Chris Stapleton became a sought after sold-out artist, he was writing hits for some of country's biggest names. Songs include Kenny Chesney's "Never Wanted Nothing More," Luke Bryan's "Drink a Beer," Thomas Rhett's "Crash and Burn," George Strait's "Love's Gonna Make It Alright" and Sheryl Crow's "Homesick" featuring Zac Brown. Other country acts include Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean and Brooks & Dunn. He's also written songs others have recorded including Joss Stone's "Don't Start Lying to Me Now."
3. Adele was a fan of Stapleton long before his rise to the top
In 2008, Chris Stapleton was the frontman for the SteelDrivers and the band released their debut effort. It included a song by the name of "If It Hadn't Been for Love" and came out at the same time that Adele was releasing her first record 19. In 2011, Adele dropped her extraordinarily successful 21 which included a cover version of the song as a bonus track. Her gravely voice suited the bluesy folk tune and she also included a performance on the "Live at Royal Albert Hall" DVD.
4. He loves to write about whiskey
Superfans of Chris Stapleton would know all of the titles throughout his catalog, but one of his favorite subjects to touch on, as many other country artists, is whiskey. "Good Corn Liquor," "Tennessee Whiskey," "Whiskey and You" and "Drinkin' Dark Whiskey" are just a few songs that have Stapleton's name on them. As noted above, he moved on from whiskey for one song to write Luke Bryan's "Drink a Beer" which went on to reach No. 1 on both the Hot Country Songs chart and Country Airplay.
Stapleton lost his father in October 2013 and that kicked off his inspiration for writing his debut solo album Traveller. Following the loss, his wife bought him an old jeep and they flew out to Arizona to pick it up. The two drove it back to Nashville and during the trip, he became pensive, thinking about what his father would have wanted of him. He wrote the song "Traveller" through New Mexico and the track became the muse for the record. His wife Morgane helped him narrow down the songs that would go on the final project.