Hunt performing at Rockin' River Music Festival, July 2016
|Birth name||Sam Lowry Hunt|
December 8, 1984 |
Cedartown, Georgia, United States
|Origin||Nashville, Tennessee, United States|
Sam Lowry Hunt (born December 8, 1984) is an American country music singer and songwriter. Born in Cedartown, Georgia, Hunt played football in his high school and college years and once attempted to pursue a professional sports career before signing with MCA Nashville in 2014.
Prior to his successful solo career, Hunt was credited for writing singles for Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Billy Currington, and Reba McEntire. His debut studio album Montevallo, broke several chart records with five singles spawned from the record, including three consecutive Hot Country Songs chart and four Country Airplay chart number ones. The lead single from the album "Leave the Night On", peaked atop concurrently on the Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts, bringing Hunt to be the first country music artist in 22 years, after Billy Ray Cyrus, to reach the top of three country music charts simultaneously since the Nielsen SoundScan-era began. He is also the first country music artist since Clint Black to occupy both year-end number one album and single with Montevallo and "Take Your Time". The fifth single "Make You Miss Me" from Montevallo, hit number one on the Country Airplay chart, thus making Hunt the first solo male artist to land four number ones on the Country Airplay chart from a debut studio album.
Upon the launch of his career, Hunt has quickly assumed recognition from both inside and outside the country music community for his boundary-breaking artistry, incorporating use of R&B and pop into the production and songwriting of his songs. He has been honored with numerous awards, including one American Music Award, and one CMT Music Award, as well as nominations for Billboard Music Awards and Grammy Awards.
- 1 Life and career
- 2 Artistry
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Tours
- 5 Awards
- 5.1 Academy of Country Music Awards
- 5.2 American Country Countdown Awards
- 5.3 American Music Awards
- 5.4 ASCAP Country Music Awards
- 5.5 Billboard Music Awards
- 5.6 Country Music Association Awards
- 5.7 CMT Music Awards
- 5.8 Grammy Awards
- 5.9 Music Biz Awards
- 5.10 People's Choice Awards
- 5.11 Taste of Country Music Awards
- 5.12 Teen Choice Awards
- 6 Discography
- 7 References
Life and career
Early life and football career
|Date of birth:||December 8, 1984|
|Place of birth:||Cedartown, Georgia|
|Height:||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Weight:||215 lb (98 kg)|
|High school:||Cedartown (GA)|
|* Offseason and/or practice squad member only|
Hunt was born on December 8, 1984 in Cedartown, Georgia, United States, the eldest of three children born to Allen and Joan Hunt, an insurance agent and a teacher respectively. He studied at Cedartown High School where he played football. He was named 2002 Co-Offensive Player of the Year, was selected for the Georgia Sportswriters Association All-State Class AAA first-team as an all-purpose player, and was a Wendy's High School Heisman nominee.
He was a quarterback for two years at Middle Tennessee State University and two years at UAB where he majored in philosophy before graduating with a business degree in economics. He had limited action in six games with Middle Tennessee; at UAB, he started only seven games during the 2006 season due to injuries. After practice every day, he would teach himself how to play acoustic guitar. With respect to the root of his interest in music, Hunt recalled between stops in tour, "I never saw myself as a musician or having any musical talent... I was just killing time that summer, and a buddy had recently bought a guitar. I picked it up one day and on a whim thought, 'You know, I think I want to buy a guitar.'" Hunt's college roommates, having listened to a few songs he wrote, encouraged him to book shows at bars, marking the start of his pursuit of a career in music.
After graduating from UAB in 2007, his football talents were noticed by the NFL and he was invited to training camp with the Kansas City Chiefs. "I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I needed to find out if I could take it all the way," Hunt said. In 2008, two months after the unsuccessful attempt to impress the football team, to the surprise of his family and friends, he left to pursue a music career, and moved to Nashville along with a friend with only "some food and two mattresses and [...] his mom's minivan".
Hunt co-wrote Kenny Chesney's 2012 hit "Come Over", for which he received an ASCAP award. He also wrote two singles released in 2014: Keith Urban's "Cop Car" and Billy Currington's "We Are Tonight". Hunt independently released the single "Raised on It" in September 2013 and in October 2013, he released via his website a free 12-song mixtape titled Between the Pines. Hunt also co-wrote "Love Somebody", the title track from Reba McEntire's twenty-seventh studio album of the same name.
2014–2016: X2C and Montevallo 
In January 2014, it was confirmed that he had signed a recording contract with MCA Nashville. On August 12, 2014, he released X2C, a four-song EP, intended as a preview of his debut studio album. The EP debuted at number 36 on the US Billboard 200 and number five on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, selling 8,000 copies in its first week.
Hunt's first single for MCA Nashville was "Leave the Night On", which went to number one on the Country Airplay chart in October 2014 and has since been certified Plantium by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The music video for the song earned Hunt two CMT Music Awards nominations, winning him Breakthrough Video of the Year, as well as one Billboard Music Award nomination. His debut studio album Montevallo, was released on October 27, 2014. On the same day, Sam Hunt released Between the Pines: Acoustic Mixtape. The album is made up of acoustic versions of his hit songs, including his versions of ones that he wrote for other artists. Universal Music Group Nashville president Cindy Mabe explained the date of the release: "The idea was to release it on the same date that Montevallo was released [in 2014] as a one-year anniversary gift to fans and Sam's way to offer more music and a thanks for the support." On November 5, 2014, Montevallo debuted at number one on the Top Country Albums chart and number three on the US Billboard 200. It opened with 70,000 units sold. The album included his own version of "Cop Car". The second single from the album "Take Your Time", peaked at number 20 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The track spent 11 weeks at number one of Hunt's 17 weeks in 2015 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, making him the sixteenth artist in the chart's 57-year history – and the fifth in the past 50 years – to rule for 10 weeks or more. With Montevallo and "Take Your Time", Hunt became the first country music artist since Clint Black to have his debut studio album and single to peak atop the year-end charts in the same year. Five days after the release of Montevallo, Hunt announced his first tour Lipstick Graffiti. Tickets went on sale on November 14, 2014. Within a short time of going on sale, the tour sold out at 15 of the venues. In 2015, he served as an opening act (alongside Hunter Hayes) for Lady Antebellum's Wheels Up Tour.
Hunt was featured on Billboard for the issue of August 29, 2015, where he opened about breaking down country music stereotypes. He served as a background vocalist on Carrie Underwood's song "Heartbeat", which was released in October 2015. To commemorate the one-year anniversary of Hunt's debut studio album Montevallo, Between the Pines was re-released on October 27, 2015, peaking at number 31 on the US Billboard 200. Hunt won his first American Music Award for New Artist of the Year on November 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.
For the week of September 10, 2016, Hunt's fifth single "Make You Miss Me" from Montevallo, hit number one on the Country Airplay chart, thus making him the first solo male artist to land four number ones on the Country Airplay chart from a debut studio album.
2017–present: Upcoming second studio album
Writing for Billboard, Elias Leight observed on Hunt's vocal performance, describing his vocal performance in studio sessions as a "rough, heartthrob voice [that] shines clearly", but noted that his live vocals "[weren't] always easy to hear." Leight furthered by praising Hunt's delivery to be "a mix of speaking and rapid-fire singing that sets him apart from other country singers," but commented its impact was diminished because of his live singing. Finally, Hunt's live performance of "Make You Miss Me" rendered the music writer "the clearest glimpse of his husky mid-range, smooth but rugged voice" in a setting where "there were no beats crowding him or guitars to compete with."
Hunt's music contains elements of country, R&B and pop. Dwight Yoakam, while speaking to Entertainment Tonight, commented on Hunt's music, saying "It reminds me a little bit of, with the infusion of soul and southern R&B, with the things that happened surrounding the album that Ray Charles put out – the very historic album The Modern Sounds of Country Music back in the early '60s[...] It was a reinterpretation that not only intrigued country audiences at the time, but it brought a brand new audience to the country music world." His songwriting was heavily influenced by Brad Paisley, whose early hit "He Didn't Have to Be" had a big impact on him as a kid growing up in Georgia: "I remember being at church on Wednesday night at Wednesday night supper, and getting the keys from my mom well before it was over to just go sit in the car and to turn the radio on and hopefully wait and catch that song." He also cites Billy Currington, Usher, K-Ci & JoJo, R. Kelly, Ginuwine and Alice Cooper as musical influences.
Lyrical and musical style
Hunt told Taste of Country that he does not write his songs with a specific genre in mind, but rather follows his instinct. “I want to sound different than everybody else," said Hunt talking about his musical style. "To use a football phrase, I try to zig when other people zag.” Commenting on his interpretation of country music, he told Rolling Stone Country, "I think country songs are truthful songs about life written by country people, but the beats and sounds will continue to evolve." Billy Dukes of Taste of Country, on observing "Break Up in a Small Town", referred the song as "likely the wordiest song of 2015" and Hunt's "most genre-bending release to country radio", adding "Any talk of which genre Hunt belongs in misses the point. His story hits hard. It’s deep and emotional and sincere and all the things we expect from a great country song."
In a 2015 interview with Billboard, Hunt remarked on the position of women in his music, "Respect for women was a very important part of my upbringing," and added, "The women in my life demanded that from me." Hunt even named his album Montevallo, after the hometown of a former girlfriend and consulted her in the lyrical production: "I spent a lot of time talking to her about the songs and asking, 'What do you think about this?' Her perspective was a powerful part of me being able to connect with a female audience, not just a male audience."
In January 2017, it was announced that Hunt became engaged to Hannah Lee Fowler. Fowler, whom Hunt had been dating on-and-off since 2008, was the main inspiration behind his album Montevallo. Her name and their story are also referenced in his song "Drinkin' Too Much." They were married on April 15, 2017 in Hunt's hometown of Cedartown, Georgia.
- Lipstick Graffiti Tour (2015) with Michael Ray
- 15 in a 30 Tour (2017) with Maren Morris, Chris Janson, and Ryan Follesé
- Wheels Up Tour (2015) with Lady Antebellum, Hunter Hayes, and Kelsea Ballerini
- Farm Tour (2015) with Luke Bryan
- C2C: Country to Country (2015–16) with Carrie Underwood, Little Big Town, and Maddie & Tae
- Spread the Love Tour (2016) with Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, and Old Dominion
|2015||Himself||New Artist of the Year||Nominated|
|2016||Montevallo||Album of the Year||Nominated|
|"Take Your Time"||Single Record of the Year||Nominated|
|2016||Himself||Artist of the Year||Nominated|
|Himself||Male Vocalist of the Year||Nominated|
|Himself||Breakthrough Male of the Year||Won|
|Montevallo||Album of the Year||Nominated|
|Montevallo||Digital Album of the Year||Won|
|2015||Himself||New Artist of The Year||Won|
|Favorite Male Artist – Country||Nominated|
|Montevallo||Favorite Album – Country||Nominated|
|2015||Himself||Songwriter-artist of the Year||Won|
|2015||"Leave the Night On"||Top Country Song||Nominated|
|2016||Himself||Top Country Artist||Nominated|
|Montevallo||Top Country Album||Nominated|
|"Break Up in a Small Town"||Top Country Song||Nominated|
|"Take Your Time"||Nominated|
|2015||"Take Your Time"||Single of the Year||Nominated|
|Song of the Year||Nominated|
|Himself||New Artist of the Year||Nominated|
|2015||"Leave the Night On"||Breakthrough Video of the Year||Won|
|Video of the Year||Nominated|
|2016||Himself||Best New Artist||Nominated|
|Montevallo||Best Country Album||Nominated|
|2017||Himself||Favorite Male Country Artist||Nominated|
Taste of Country Music Awards
|2015||Himself||New Artist of the Year||Won|
|2015||"Take Your Time"||Choice Country Song||Nominated|
|2016||Himself||Choice Country Artist||Nominated|
|"Make You Miss Me"||Choice Country Song||Nominated|
|2017||Himself||Choice Country Artist||Pending|
|"Body Like a Back Road"||Choice Song: Male Artist||Pending|
- Montevallo (2014)
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- "Sam Hunt". Allmusic. Retrieved September 15, 2015.
- Easton, Anthony (19 November 2014). "Sam Hunt: Montevallo". Popmatters. Retrieved December 31, 2014.
- Wade Jessen (November 7, 2014). "Sam Hunt Scores Country Charts Feat Last Achieved 22 Years Ago". Billboard.
- [dead link]
- "Year End Charts - Year-end Singles - Hot Country Songs". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2015-12-10.
- "Year End Charts - Year-end Albums - Top Country Albums". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2015-12-10.
- Keith Caulfield (2016-08-26). "200 Chart Moves: ‘Stranger Things’ Soundtrack Makes Strong Debut". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-01-26.
- Marissa R Moss (October 28, 2014). "Sam Hunt Defends His Country Cred on New Album 'Montevallo'". Rolling Stone.
- "Sam Hunt: Debut Spotlight". CMA Close Up Magazine. October 28, 2014.
- Scott T. Sterling (November 14, 2014). "Musicians + Sports: Sam Hunt On His College Quarterback Years". CBS New York.
- Wendy Geller (August 13, 2014). "Sam Hunt Scores a Touchdown as Nashville's Newest Hot Singer-Songwriter". Rolling Stone.
- "Where are they Now? Former Blazer Sam Hunt from QB to song writer". University of Alabama, Birmingham. September 7, 2012. Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
- Murray, Nick. "Sam Hunt: How a Former College Football Star Is Making Over Country Music". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
- "Bio: Sam Hunt". Retrieved January 30, 2015.
- Naomi Zeichner (September 9, 2014). "Sam Hunt Is A Country Star for the Instagram Age". BuzzFeed.
- Payne, Chris. "Billboard Cover Sneak Peek: 5 Ways Sam Hunt Is Breaking Down Country Stereotypes". Billboard. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
- Morris, Edward (August 22, 2012). "ASCAP Honors Writers of Kenny Chesney's "Come Over" Hit". Country Music Television. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
- Chris Richards (November 4, 2014). "Another country: Sam Hunt maps out Nashville’s bold new future". Washington Post.
- Love Somebody (CD booklet and backing card). Reba McEntire. Nash Icon. 2015. NICR0300A.
- Sarah Wyland (August 17, 2014). "Sam Hunt Releases X2C Album Preview". Great American Country.
- Wade Jessen (August 21, 2014). "Sam Hunt Scores Highest Debut on Top Country Albums With 'X2C'". Billboard.
- "Sam Hunt Is #1 With 'Leave The Night On'". AllAccess.com. 2014-11-03. Retrieved 2015-07-01.
- "Industry Ink: Sam Hunt Goes Gold, Jason Isbell, SAE Nashville, Taryn Pray". Music Row. September 18, 2014. Archived from the original on October 28, 2014. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
- "Sam Hunt Reveals 'Montevallo' Album Details". Taste of Country. September 16, 2014. Archived from the original on October 28, 2014. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
- Asker, Jim. "Rhett, Old Dominion Dominate." Billboard - The International Newsweekly of Music, Video and Home Entertainment Nov 14 2015: 65.ProQuest. 14 Feb. 2016.
- "MONTEVALLO is Country Music's Best-Selling Debut Album Since 2011". Archived from the original on December 14, 2014. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
- Hodak, Brittany. "How Sam Hunt Won Country Music In 2015". Forbes. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- "LIPSTICK GRAFFITI Tour Sells Out 15 Shows Within Minutes of Going On Sale". Archived from the original on November 23, 2014. Retrieved November 17, 2014.
- Tannanbaum, Rob. "Billboard Cover: Sam Hunt on Breaking Down Stereotypes, Teaming With Taylor Swift and Recruiting a 'Team of Misfits' on His Rise to Country Fame". Retrieved 2 December 2015.
- "Sam Hunt confirmed as background vocalist on Carrie Underwood's 'Heartbeat'". Therowdy.com. 2015-10-13. Retrieved 2016-03-05.
- Laura McClellan (October 28, 2015). "Sam Hunt Reissues Acoustic Record Montevallo's Birthday". Taste of Country.
- References confirming release of "Body Like a Back Road":
- Dukes, Billy (January 25, 2017). "Sam Hunt's New Song 'Body Like a Back Road' Written After Engagement [Listen]". Taste of Country. Townsquare Media. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
- Casey, Jim (January 25, 2017). "Sam Hunt Announces New "Body Like a Back Road" Single [Listen], New "15 in a 30 Tour" & Talks "Spiritual" Engagement Details". Nash Country Weekly. American Media, Inc. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
- Leight, Elias. "Sam Hunt Erases Boundaries Between Country & Other Genres at NYC Show". Billboard. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
- Schillaci, Sophie. "Dwight Yoakam Compares Sam Hunt to Ray Charles: He's Bringing 'A Brand New Audience' to Country". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
- "Sam Hunt Opens Up About His Unlikely Classic Country Influences". Nash FM 101.1. October 28, 2014.
- Billy Dukes (August 14, 2014). "Sam Hunt Interview: ‘Leave the Night On’ Singer Shares His R&B Influences". Taste of Country.
- Moss, Marissa R. "Watch Sam Hunt Throw a 'House Party' on 'Fallon'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
- Dukes, Billy. "Sam Hunt, ‘Break Up in a Small Town’ [Listen]". Retrieved 23 September 2015.
- Chiu, Melody. "Sam Hunt Is Engaged to Hannah Lee Fowler". People. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
- Caldwell, Lindsey. "Meet Sam Hunt—Country Music's Hottest New Star Dishes on Montevallo". E! Online. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
- Hudak, Joseph. "Hear Sam Hunt's Repentant New Song 'Drinkin' Too Much'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
- Mizoguchi, Karen. "Sam Hunt Marries Hannah Lee Fowler in Intimate Georgia Wedding". People. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
- "Sam Hunt Shares Plans for 2017 15 in a 30 Tour". The Boot. Retrieved 2017-02-04.
- "Enlists Chris Janson, Sam Hunt for Farm Tour". Retrieved 27 August 2015.
- "Sam Hunt's ACM Awards Photo Gallery". Retrieved August 16, 2015.
- Angela Stefano (May 1, 2016). "2016 American Country Countdown Awards Winners List". The Boot.
- "American Music Awards Nominations 2015: The Complete List". Retrieved October 16, 2015.
- Roland, Tom. "Sam Hunt Wins Top Songwriter Honors at ASCAP Country Music Awards". Billboard. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
- "2015 CMA Awards nominations". E! Online. NBC Universal. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
- "Sam Hunt Wins Big at the 2015 CMT Music Awards". Taste of Country. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
- "Final Nomination List : 58th Grammy Awards" (PDF). Grammy Award. Retrieved December 7, 2015.
- "COUNTRY STAR SAM HUNT TO RECEIVE BREAKTHROUGH ARTIST AWARD AT MUSIC BIZ 2016". Music Business Association. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
- "People’s Choice Awards 2017: Full List Of Winners". People's Choice. 19 January 2017. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
- "Sam Hunt Earns New Artist of the Year at 2015 ToC Awards Read More: Sam Hunt Earns New Artist of the Year at 2015 ToC Awards".
- "2015 Teen Choice Award Winners – Full List". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. August 16, 2015. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
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- Ceron, Ella. "The Pretty Little Liars Were ALL Nominated for the Same EXACT Award". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 20 June 2017.