Thursday, December 17, 2015

Luke Bryan: Kicking Up

By Sarah O’Malley  

If one has not seen country music phenomenon Luke Bryan perform live, it’s something to look into, especially if you’re a teenage girl who enjoys a country boy who knows how to dance! But there is a lot more to the life of this country star who is known for shaking his hips on stage in front of millions of fans.

Bryan’s current fame comes from his album that he dropped in the last year called Kill The Lights. Luke Bryan has been a country favorite since the second he signed with Capitol Records in Nashville and they released his first widely distributed album, I’ll Stay Me, in 2007. But with all of the success that he has had over the last several years, fame has not gone to his head. Bryan is known to be one of the most down to earth people that has crossed the media in a long time.
Luke Bryan, whose real name is Thomas Luther Bryan, grew up in the small town of Leesburg, Georgia on his family's farm, where at the age of 14 he received his first guitar and country music became an instant obsession. Artists like George Strait, Conway Twitty and Merle Haggard caught his ear and become some of the people he looked up to in terms of his musical career. Alongside being in his high school musicals, Bryan began writing his own songs at a young age.

Early Set-Back

He planned on going to school for music in Nashville but, unfortunately, the night before he planned on leaving for school, his brother died in a tragic car accident. Instead of going to Nashville, he attended the local college of Georgia Southern University so he could remain close to his family. But just because Bryan did not go away to school did not stop him from pursuing his music, he resorted to just playing in small, local venues with his band. Five years later his father told him that if he didn't get his act together for Nashville to start his career, he was going to be fired from working on his family’s farm.
In 2001, Bryan finally moved to Nashville and kicked off his successful career by writing "My Honky Tonk Career" for Travis Tritt, and before he knew it, in 2004 he was offered a solo record deal with Capitol Records Nashville. Capitol released Bryan's album I'll Stay Me in the summer of 2007, followed by Doin' My Thing in 2009. The album peaked at number two on the country charts and at number six on the Top 200. It also generated two number one singles, "Rain Is a Good Thing" and "Someone Else Calling You Baby.”

His success at such an early age led to an Academy of Country Music nomination for Top New Male Vocalist. It was known that Bryan’s career was going to be successful when Billboard and Country Weekly called Bryan an “artist to watch” so early in his career. Unfortunately, Bryan was struck with more family related tragic news when he found out his sister Kelly died suddenly in 2007. Medical officials were unable to determine what exactly caused her death.

Despite this tragic news, Bryan returned with his third album, Tailgates & Tanlines, in the summer of 2011. Before the release of the album, he gave fans and country music listeners a preview of this album with the song "Country Girl (Shake It for Me)," which still plays on the radio today. This song was the first of four Top 5 singles on the country chart. His hits "I Don’t Want This Night to End" and "Drunk on You" both went to number one, while "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye" remained at number three. Well into 2012, Tailgates and Tanlines remained on the top of charts.

Bryan kept his successful standing in country music by winning ACM's Entertainer of the Year award in June. That August, he released his fourth studio album, Crash My Party, which hit number one on the country charts and the pop charts. Each of the first four singles from the album, the title track, "That's My Kind of Night," "Drink a Beer," "Play It Again," steadily climbed to number one on the country charts during 2013 and 2014.
Enduring Another Tragedy

About a year ago, Luke Bryan was faced with yet another family tragedy. Bryan’s brother­-in-­law died unexpectedly and he and his wife Caroline topped headlines when they took in their three nieces and nephews to live with them alongside their two children, Bo and Tate. While having to deal with these tragedies and taking on an even bigger family than he already had, Luke Bryan did not fail to keep his career path moving. He released his fifth studio album, Kill the Lights, in August 2015.
Although its first single, "Kick the Dust Up," became a chart­-topping anthem, the rest of the album mostly showed the quieter, genuine side to Bryan. Kill the Lights sold 345,000 copies its first week and beat out Dr. Dre’s Compton to debut at number 1 on the Billboard 200. “Strip It Down” went number one in October 2015, making this Luke Bryan’s fourteen cumulative chart topper. The album’s third single, “Home Alone Tonight” was released on country radio stations on November 23, 2015. This song became an instant hit after Luke made an awesome performance with Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild at the American Music Awards on November 22 of this year.
Luke Bryan is definitely one of those artists where people are constantly looking forward to seeing what he has in store for us next. His increase in popularity over the years is proven by him never failing to keep his fans and others on their toes because each and every album is different and seems to get better and better over the years. Bryan kicks off his “Kill the Lights” tour on February 18, 2016 and everyone should be on the lookout for hits from his latest album hitting country radio stations nationwide.

Sarah O'Malley is a Communications major and senior at Saint Thomas Aquinas College. "I will be graduating in May and am still not 100% sure which direction I want to go with my major. I am a huge country music fan and for the Spring semester I will be interning at Cumulus Radio, which is affiliated with NASH FM, New York's most popular country station!" 

Works Cited:­bryan


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