(Read all about Chris Stapleton after the video)
Christopher Alvin "Chris" Stapleton (born April 15, 1978) is an American musician and songwriter. He is an established songwriter with six number-one songs including the five-week number-one "Never Wanted Nothing More" recorded by Kenny Chesney, "Love's Gonna Make It Alright" recorded by George Strait, and "Come Back Song" recorded by Darius Rucker. As a songwriter, over 150 of Stapleton's songs have appeared on albums by such artists as Adele, Luke Bryan, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley and Dierks Bentley. He has co-written with notable artists like Vince Gill, Peter Frampton and Sheryl Crow.
After serving as the frontman of The SteelDrivers from 2008 to 2010, Stapleton released his debut studio album Traveller in 2015, which earned him several awards, reached number one on the US Billboard 200 and went on to sell over 1.6 million copies domestically. Stapleton won the 2015 Country Music Association Award for Best Male Vocalist, New Artist of the Year, and Album of the Year. He received four Grammy Award nominations for the 2016 ceremony, including Album of the Year, winning two: Best Country Album and Best Country Solo Performance.
Stapleton was born in Lexington, Kentucky. His mother worked at the local health department and his father was a coal miner. He comes from a family of coal miners. He has an older brother and younger sister.
Stapleton grew up in the small town of Staffordsville, Kentucky, which is located just outside of Paintsville, located between the city and the Paintsville lake. He graduated from Johnson Central High School where he was his class valedictorian and attended Vanderbilt University where he studied engineering, but dropped out after a year.
In 2001, Stapleton moved to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue a music career. As a songwriter, he signed with the publishing house Sea Gayle Music, a deal he got shortly after moving to Nashville.
In 2007, he became the frontman for the bluegrass group The Steeldrivers. They had two hit records; each peaked at number 2 on the bluegrass chart before Stapleton left in 2010.
In 2010, Stapleton founded a Southern rock band called The Jompson Brothers. The band was made up of Stapleton on vocals, Greg McKee on guitar, J.T. Cure on bass, Bard McNamee on drums. They toured regionally until 2013 and at one point, opened for the Zac Brown Band. The band independently released a self-titled album in November 2010.
In 2013, Stapleton signed to Mercury Nashville, a division of Universal Music Group Nashville, as a solo artist. His first single, "What Are You Listening To?", was released in October 2013, but did not perform as expected. The single was part of a record that was recorded but never released.
His debut solo album, Traveller, was released on May 5, 2015 to positive reviews. Stapleton co-produced the album with producer Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson), and it was recorded in Nashville's famous RCA Studio A. On the album he plays guitar and sings with a live band that is made up of bass player J.T. Cure (from The Jompson Brothers), pedal steel player Robby Turner, drummer Derek Mixon, Mickey Raphael on harmonica, and wife Morgane Stapleton singing harmonies. Stapleton emphasized the importance and magic of the band lineup that came together during the making and promotion of the record, saying the familiarity he had with Cure and Mixon (he has known and played with Cure for over 20 years), plus Cobb's producing which included contributing acoustic guitar in the recording process, added to the richness of making the record.
Stapleton said that the album was inspired by a road trip he took after his father died in 2013. He said he wrote the title track "Traveller" while on a road trip with his wife, driving down Interstate 40 from Phoenix, Arizona, to Nashville via New Mexico. His wife helped to sift through 15 years of songs to pick 9 songs to start recording with.
In 2015, Stapleton won three awards at the 2015 CMA Awards: Album of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, and New Artist of the Year. In December 2015, Stapleton received the 2015 CMT Artists of the Year Breakout award during a live performance at the annual CMT Artists of the Year show.
In January 2016, Stapleton performed "Either Way", a song he wrote with Kendall Marvel and Tim James, at the Country Radio Hall of Fame's Country Radio Seminar in Nashville. It was previously recorded by Lee Ann Womack for her 2008 album, Call Me Crazy. Stapleton said he is working on new material for his next record.
In 2016, Stapleton – along with his wife Morgane – contributed the track, "You Are My Sunshine", to producer Dave Cobb's compilation record project, Southern Family. Stapleton performed on the main stage at the 2016 Country to Country festival in Europe along with Andrew Combs, Kacey Musgraves and headliner Eric Church.
Stapleton has contributed to the soundtracks of several feature films, including Cars 2 and Valentine's Day.
Stapleton also cowrote the theme—"All-Nighter Comin'"—to the WSM-AM show, The WSM All Nighter with Marcia Campbell, an American radio show with a large trucker following. He cowrote the song with Vince Gill and Al Anderson, with Gill featured on vocals on the track. He collaborated with Jake Owen on the song "If He Ain't Gonna Love You" on Owen's album American Love.
In 2013, Stapleton and his wife sang the Don Williams song, "Amanda", live at the Grand Ole Opry. They also did an NPR Tiny Desk Concert in November 2015.
At the 2014 CMT Artist of the Year event, Stapleton performed with Lady Antebellum, who played Stapleton's song, "Drink a Beer", which Luke Bryan had recorded, in honor of Bryan, who was unable to attend the ceremony due to a death in his family. Stapleton had sung on the song during Bryan's 2013 CMA Awards performance of the song.
At the 2015 CMA Awards, Justin Timberlake joined him on stage for the show to sing his version of the song popularized as a George Jones live-show staple, "Tennessee Whiskey" and Timberlake's "Drink You Away". Acclaimed by music publications, his performance with Timberlake lifted him to national prominence.
Stapleton was the musical guest on the Saturday Night Live episode which aired January 16, 2016, alongside host Adam Driver. He performed "Parachute" and "Nobody to Blame" from Traveller.
Stapleton is married to singer-songwriter Morgane Hayes, who co-wrote Carrie Underwood's 2006 single "Don't Forget to Remember Me". She had a recording deal with Arista Nashville. The couple met when they were working at adjacent publishing houses. They have two children and live in Nashville.