[BRIGHTCOVE “20964686” “” “peoplenow” “auto” ]Chris Stapleton won all three awards he was nominated for at Wednesday night’s CMA Awards – that’s more than Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood put together – but before the show aired, you probably didn’t even know who he was.
The critically adored Kentucky native, 37, isn’t someone you’ve heard on the radio before. Well, correction: His voice isn’t one you’ve heard on the radio before since his two singles as an artist have not gotten much airplay. But you’ve definitely heard this songwriter’s work.
Here are five things you need to know about him:
He’s a hitmaker.
A hugely successful songwriter, Stapleton has had over 150 songs cut by other artists, including “Drink a Beer,” recorded by Luke Bryan, “Never Wanted Nothing More” recorded by Kenny Chesney, “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright” recorded by George Strait, “Come Back Song” recorded by Darius Rucker, and “Crash and Burn” recorded by Thomas Rhett.
Fellow country artists think he’s the real deal.
Stapleton has been referred to as “one of the best singers in the entire universe” by Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley and as “a miraculous singer” by Luke Bryan. Country fans who didn’t already know Stapleton got to see his talents for themselves when he performed in Bryan’s absence at the CMT Artists of the Year event in Nashville.
It’s not just country artists that love him.
Earlier this year Justin Timberlake took it upon himself to introduce Stapleton to the masses, Tweeting, “REAL music fans already know. So, mainstream: @ChrisStapleton Remember that name…,” Adele is also a fan; On the deluxe edition of her album, she included a cover of "If It Hadn’t Been Love," a song Stapleton put out with his old band, The SteelDrivers, in 2008.
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The loss of his father served as the inspiration for Traveller, his album of the year-nominated debut.
“I lost my dad in October 2013 and did a little bit of soul-searching,” Stapleton told Billboard. “My wife was kind enough to buy me an old Jeep. We flew out to Phoenix and drove it all the way back to Nashville through the desert. I thought a lot about music and my dad, and the things that he would have liked that I should be doing. Out of that, I actually wrote the song ‘Traveller’ driving down Interstate 40 through New Mexico. That became the cornerstone for the record and wound up being the title track.”
He’ll be the first to admit that behind every great man there is a great woman – in his case, it’s wife Morgane.
“This record probably wouldn’t exist without her,” Stapleton told Paste. “A lot of the songs came off of a list she helped me compile and put in front of me. [She] has always been a good compass for [what] to do and what not to do. She always has [had] great musical taste. Poor taste in men, but excellent musical taste.”