Also Credited As:Blake Tollison Shelton
|Blake Tollison Shelton on June 18, 1976 in Ada, Oklahoma, USA|
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Blake Shelton was born on June 19, 1976 in Ada, OK to Dick Shelton, a used car dealer, and Dorothy Shelton-Shackleford, who owned a beauty salon. The future star began singing as a child and learned to play guitar by the time he was 12. After performing at local honky-tonk bars and country music shows, Shelton moved to Nashville, TN at 17 upon the advice of songwriter and friend, Mae Boren Axton. He signed with Giant Records in 1998 and released his debut single "Austin" three years later. "Austin" reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart, which paved the way for his self-titled debut album to peak at No. 3 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. The album also reached No. 45 on the mainstream Billboard 200 list and included a cover version of the 1990 George Jones classic, "Ol' Red," that Shelton and his fans considered his signature song. He topped the country charts once again with the lead single "The Baby" off Shelton's sophomore effort, The Dreamer (2003). Shelton married his longtime girlfriend Kaynette Williams in 2003, but their union only lasted three years. In 2006, Shelton began dating fellow country superstar Miranda Lambert, whom he met at the taping of "CMT: 100 Greatest Duets Concert" (CMT, 2005).
Shelton's recording career, which several critics compared to the singer's inspiration Garth Brooks, soared with subsequent album releases. He released two consecutive No. 1 hits in 2008 with "Home" (originally recorded by Michael Buble in 2005) and "She Wouldn't Be Gone," from his fifth album, Startin' Fires. That album included a duet with Lambert titled "Bare Skin Rug" and reached No. 34 on the Billboard Hot 200. In 2010, Shelton enjoyed a landmark year. He won top honors at several of country music's biggest award shows, including Male Vocalist of the Year and Vocal Event of the Year from the Country Music Association. That same year, Shelton was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, a longstanding and well-respected membership extended only to the genre's biggest stars. Shelton released his first greatest hits compilation titled Loaded: The Best of Blake Shelton, which peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Country Albums chart. His personal life also reached a milestone that year when Shelton announced his engagement to Lambert at the CMT Video Awards. Possessing natural born talent and a charismatic personality made Shelton a perfect choice to mentor aspiring singers on the reality competition series, "The Voice," along with fellow celebrity judges Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green and Adam Levine. The show premiered in April 2011 based on the premise that already established artists would discover the next great music star.