(Read about Luke Bryan after the video)
Thomas Luther "Luke" Bryan (born July 17, 1976) is an American country music singer and songwriter. He began his musical career in the mid-2000s, writing songs for his longtime friends from high school, performers Travis Tritt and Billy Currington, and releasing his first Spring Break album. After signing with Capitol Nashville in Nashville, Tennessee in 2007 with his cousin, Chad Christopher Boyd, he released the album I'll Stay Me, which included the singles "All My Friends Say," "We Rode in Trucks," and "Country Man." The follow-up album Doin' My Thing included "Do I," which Bryan co-wrote with Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood of Lady Antebellum, and the number one singles "Rain Is a Good Thing" and "Someone Else Calling You Baby."
Tailgates & Tanlines, released in 2011, includes "Country Girl (Shake It for Me)," and the number one singles "I Don't Want This Night to End," "Drunk on You," and "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye." Bryan's fourth album, Crash My Party, was released in August 2013 and includes the number one singles "Crash My Party," "That's My Kind of Night," "Drink a Beer," "Play It Again," "Roller Coaster" and "I See You." His fifth album, Kill the Lights, was released in August 2015 and its lead single, "Kick the Dust Up," became his thirteenth number one hit, followed by his fourteenth number one "Strip It Down." Bryan co-wrote all of his singles with the exception of "Drunk on You," "Crash My Party," "That's My Kind of Night," "Drink a Beer," "Play It Again," "Roller Coaster," and "Kick the Dust Up" and co-produced all four albums and one compilation album with Jeff Stevens. Bryan was the recipient of the Academy of Country Music Awards and Country Music Association Awards "Entertainer of the Year" award. To date, Bryan has sold over 7 million albums and 27 million singles worldwide.
Life and career
Bryan was born in rural Leesburg, Georgia to LeClaire (née Watkins) and Tommy Bryan, a peanut farmer. Shortly before Luke was going to move to Nashville at age 19, tragedy struck his family. "My older brother, Chris, was unexpectedly killed in a ... car accident ... I'm kind of hyperventilating talking about it. ... You never truly ... move beyond it." His mother, LeClaire, had made a statement: "We knew Luke at some point would come to Nashville," his mother said. "But ... you can't leave your family, and ... I couldn't bear the thought of him being away."
Instead, Luke went to college at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia, where he joined the Sigma Chi fraternity and graduated in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in business administration. One of Bryan's Chapter Brothers is Cole Swindell, Georgia Southern 2005, who won the Academy of Country Music's New Artist of the Year Award in 2015.
Bryan made it to Nashville years later in 2007,[when?] after his father told him to pack his truck to pursue a career in music. He finally gained success as a songwriter, but soon after he signed as a performer; his first big hit was "All My Friends Say".
When Luke was invited to perform at the famous Grand Ole Opry, his older sister, Kelly, organized 129 people to attend his Opry debut. A few days after his performance, his sister unexpectedly died at home for unknown reasons. Bryan said the cause remains undetermined. "My only older siblings ... gone from the world, in a flash in two, two different, crazy, tragic manners, that ... we'll never know, and never understand."
2006–09: I'll Stay Me
Soon after his arrival in Nashville, Bryan joined a publishing house in the city. Among his first cuts was the title track of Travis Tritt's 2004 album My Honky Tonk History.
He was later signed by Capitol Nashville to a recording contract. In the meantime, Bryan co-wrote Billy Currington's single "Good Directions", which went to number one on the Hot Country Songs chart in mid-2007. Bryan co-wrote his debut single, "All My Friends Say", with producer Jeff Stevens. This song reached a peak of number 5 on the Hot Country Songs chart. In August 2007, Capitol Nashville released Bryan's debut album, I'll Stay Me. Bryan wrote or co-wrote all but one of its 11 songs. The album's second single, "We Rode in Trucks", peaked at number 33 while "Country Man" reached number 10.
2009–11: Doin' My Thing
On March 10, 2009, he released an EP titled Spring Break with All My Friends that featured two new songs, "Sorority Girls" and "Take My Drunk Ass Home," plus an acoustic version of "All My Friends Say." After this EP, he released his fourth single, "Do I" in May 2009. Bryan wrote the song with Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood of Lady Antebellum, whose lead singer Hillary Scott also sings backing vocals on it. The song reached number 2 on the Hot Country Songs chart.
"Do I" was included on Bryan's second album, Doin' My Thing, which was released in October 2009. Also included on the album was a cover of OneRepublic's "Apologize". Bryan wrote the album's next two singles, "Rain Is a Good Thing" and "Someone Else Calling You Baby", with Dallas Davidson and Jeff Stevens, respectively. Both of these songs went to number one on the country music charts. AllMusic gave this album a positive review as well, with Stephen Thomas Erlewine considering Bryan more "relaxed" in comparison to his debut. On February 26, 2010, Bryan released a second EP, titled Spring Break 2...Hangover Edition, which featured three new songs: "Wild Weekend", "Cold Beer Drinker", and "I'm Hungover". While Bryan is mainly known as a country music singer, he has explored other genres like alternative rock with his cover of "Apologize".
Bryan appeared on the April 18, 2010 episode of Celebrity Apprentice alongside fellow country star Emily West. The task for each team was to make over an up-and-coming country star, with Bryan being selected by team Rocksolid, led by Bill Goldberg, and West being selected by team Tenacity, led by Cyndi Lauper. Bryan's makeover failed to impress the judges, leading to Rocksolid losing the task. Bryan's single "Rain Is a Good Thing" and West's single "Blue Sky" were both sold on iTunes, with a month's worth of sales being donated to Lauper's charity, the Stonewall Community Foundation, resulting in $25,000 being raised.
2011–13: Tailgates & Tanlines
Bryan released his third EP, Spring Break 3...It's a Shore Thing, on February 25, 2011, featuring four new songs - "In Love With the Girl," "If You Ain't Here to Party," "Shore Thing," and "Love In a College Town." This release was followed by Bryan's seventh single, "Country Girl (Shake It for Me)", which was released on March 14, 2011. Also co-written by Bryan and Davidson, it served as the lead-off single to his third studio album, Tailgates & Tanlines, which was released August 9, 2011. The album peaked at number one on the Top Country Albums chart and number two on the Billboard 200 chart. "Country Girl" peaked at number 4 on the country music charts and number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The album's next three singles - "I Don't Want This Night to End", "Drunk on You", and "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye" - all reached number one on the country music charts. Bryan, along with Eric Church, sang guest vocals on Jason Aldean's "The Only Way I Know," the second single from his 2012 album, Night Train.
On March 6, 2012, Bryan released his fourth Spring Break EP entitled Spring Break 4...Suntan City. Along with the title track, which Bryan co-wrote with Dallas Davidson, Rhett Akins and Ben Hayslip, the EP includes "Spring Break-Up", "Little Bit Later On", and "Shake the Sand". On January 30, 2013, Bryan announced his first compilation album, Spring Break...Here to Party, which includes fourteen songs - twelve from his previous Spring Break EPs and two new tracks. It was released on March 5. The album debuted at number one on both the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and the Billboard 200 chart, becoming the first album of his career to top the all-genre album chart. One of the new Spring Break songs, "Buzzkill", reached the top 20 on the Hot Country Songs chart.
2013–15: Crash My Party
Bryan's fourth studio album, Crash My Party, was released on August 12, 2013. The album's first single, "Crash My Party", was premiered in a performance at the 2013 ACM Awards and released on April 7, 2013. It reached number one on the Country Airplay chart in July 2013. The album's second single, "That's My Kind of Night", was released to country radio on August 5, 2013. It reached number one on the Hot Country Songs chart in August 2013 and peaked at number 2 on the Country Airplay chart in October 2013. The album's third single, "Drink a Beer", was released to country radio on October 24, 2013. It reached number one on the Hot Country Songs chart in January 2014 and number one on the Country Airplay chart in February 2014. During the kickoff show for his 2014 That's My Kind of Night Tour in Columbus, Ohio, Bryan announced to the crowd that "Play It Again" would become the album's fourth single. This song reached number one on both the Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts in May 2014. At the same time, Bryan sang guest vocals on Florida Georgia Line's 2014 single "This Is How We Roll". On July 14, 2014, the song "Roller Coaster" was released as the album's fifth single. It reached number one on the Country Airplay chart in October 2014. The album's sixth single, "I See You", was released to country radio on November 3, 2014. It reached number one on the Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts in February 2015.
On March 11, 2014, Bryan began his sixth year of spring performances at Spinnaker Beach Club in Panama City Beach, Florida. On the same day, he also released his sixth Spring Break EP, Spring Break 6...Like We Ain't Ever.
Bryan is the only country music artist to release an album of six number one singles on both the Billboard's Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts.
2015–present: Kill the Lights
On November 11, 2014, it was confirmed that Bryan had begun writing and recording songs for his upcoming fifth studio album. His last Spring Break album, Spring Break...Checkin' Out, was released on March 10, 2015. It includes the six songs from the previous year's EP and five original new songs.
On May 19, 2015, Bryan released his first single from his fifth studio album, Kill the Lights, "Kick the Dust Up", which peaked at number one on the Country Airplay chart. He co-wrote over half of the songs on this album. This album provides not only his country flare, but also has tracks that include a disco type beat along with the songs of romance. The album's second single, "Strip It Down", was released to country radio on August 4, 2015. The album was released on August 7. Kill the Lights sold 345,000 total copies its first week and beat out Dr. Dre's Compton to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 chart. "Strip It Down" went number one in October 2015, making fourteen cumulative number ones. The album's third single, "Home Alone Tonight", released to country radio on November 23, 2015. The song also became his fifteenth number one hit. The album's fourth single, "Huntin', Fishin' and Lovin' Every Day", released to country radio on March 14, 2016.
It was announced that Bryan would perform at halftime of the 2015 Thanksgiving match-up between the Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers.
In 2016, Bryan was selected as one of 30 artists to perform on "Forever Country", a mash-up track of "Take Me Home, Country Roads", "On the Road Again" and "I Will Always Love You" which celebrates 50 years of the CMA Awards.
On February 5, 2017, Bryan performed the National Anthem at Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX.
Luke Bryan is married to his college sweetheart, Caroline Boyer, whom he met at Georgia Southern University. Bryan and Boyer married on December 8, 2006. They met at a local bar called Dingus Magees when Bryan was a senior and Boyer was a freshman. The couple have two sons, Thomas "Bo" Boyer Bryan, born March 18, 2008 and Tatum "Tate" Christopher Bryan, born August 11, 2010.
After Bryan's sister Kelly died in 2007, followed by her husband Ben Lee Cheshire in 2014, Bryan and his wife began raising their nephew Tilden (Til).
Luke Bryan also exhibits great enthusiasm for hunting and the outdoors. He is a co-owner of Buck Commander, the sister company of Duck Commander. Buck Commander teamed up with the Outdoor channel and created a TV show for the avid hunter and enthusiast. Starring in the show are Luke Bryan; Grant Taylor; Jordan Summit; Mike Miller; Willie Robertson, co-owner of Duck Commander; Ryan Langerhans, former MLB player; Adam LaRoche, former MLB first baseman; Tombo Martin, former MLB player of seven different teams; and Jason Aldean, a country singer and songwriter.
Bryan has supported numerous charities and causes, including the City of Hope and Red Cross. The causes Bryan supports are AIDS and HIV, cancer, children's disaster relief, health, and human rights.
Bryan possesses a high baritone vocal range of two octaves from A2 to A4. Commenting on his vocal performance in "Tailgates and Tanlines", Slant magazine's Jonathan Kefee described Bryan's voice as "a pleasant, if slightly nasal, baritone.
Bryan has cited influences in his career as country artists George Strait, Alan Jackson, Alabama and Merle Haggard. As regards the incorporation of elements of other music genres into his music, he named hip hop bands Beastie Boys and Run-D.M.C. as the source of inspiration in an interview with The Huffington Post, noting, "I think there's been somewhat of a change with our generation. You know, nobody grew up more countrier than me, but I mean, I had Beastie Boys playing on little boom boxes and Run D.M.C. and all forms of music, so through the years, I just think it's all constantly blending together."