Also Credited As:Tracey D Adkins
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Tracy Darrell Adkins was born on Jan. 13, 1962 in Springhill, LA. Under his father's tutelage, he took up playing the guitar at a young age. He went on to study music at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, where he also played football. After graduating, Adkins worked at an offshore oil rig, where he ended up accidentally severing his pinkie finger on his left hand while on the job. Fortunately, his doctors were able to reattach it and even accommodated Adkins' request to reattach his finger at an angle where he could still play guitar. He spent the next couple of years performing with a gospel quartet called the New Commitments before trying his hand in Nashville, TN in pursuit of a solo career. After making his rounds at the many local honky-tonk bars and polishing his naturally powerful baritone voice, a Capitol Records executive spotted him during one of his shows and signed him to a contract, launching his music career.
Adkins' debut album Dreamin' Out Loud (1996) made him one of his genre's most promising stars, thanks to the chart-toppers "Every Light in the House," "I Left Something Turned On at Home," and the No. 1 single "(This Ain't) No Thinkin' Thing." His commanding voice hit all the right notes as well as served as the perfect vehicle to deliver his unique take on traditional country songs about cheating spouses, falling in and out of love, and love for Texas. Six months after its release, Dreamin' Out Loud was certified platinum. His follow-up albums Big Time (1997) and More (1999) did not achieve the commercial success of his first release, but both albums still cracked the country music Top 10. While his career took center stage, Adkins also suffered personal setbacks that were played out in the media. In 1994, his second wife, Julie Curtis, reportedly shot him during a domestic dispute. The singer miraculously survived in spite of the bullet penetrating both lungs and lower chambers of his heart. He never pressed charges against her for her actions. In mid-2001, Adkins pled guilty and was arrested for driving under the influence in Nolensville, TN. Shortly after his arrest, he suffered another setback when he was injured in a tractor accident that forced him to temporarily cancel touring. Following both incidents, Adkins entered a rehabilitation program in Nashville.
After his stint in rehab, the singer picked up where he left off and came back strong with the 2001 album Chrome, featuring the inspirational song "I'm Tryin'" and the remarkable "I'm Goin' Back," Adkins' take on the classic country boy takes on the big city theme. The year 2003 was a banner one for Adkins, as he was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry and released the Greatest Hits collection Comin' On Strong. He scored another big hit with the hilarious single "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" from the album Songs About Me (2005), which also featured the well-written yet controversial war song "Arlington," a first-person account of a fictional soldier who was about to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. While Adkins' focus was always his music career, he also dipped his toe into the acting pool with a regular voiceover guest stints on the Fox animated comedy "King of the Hill" (1997-2010), playing a leader of a redneck gang.
In the mid-2000s, Adkins continued to dominate the charts with songs like the rowdy sing-along anthem "Ladies Love Country Boys" (2006) and the thoughtful small-town ballad "I Came Here to Live" (2006). In 2008, Adkins returned to television - this time as himself - and surprisingly to some, ended up one of the top two finalists - competing against British TV personality Piers Morgan - on the NBC reality series "The Celebrity Apprentice," where contestants competed for donations to their selected charity while trying to avoid being fired by Donald Trump. On the program, Adkins played for the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, a charity close to his heart due to his daughter, Brianna, suffering from life-threatening allergies to peanuts, milk and eggs. That same year, he also made his feature-film acting debut in the fantasy-comedy "An American Carol," where he played the Angel of Death.
Coming off a wave of mainstream notoriety after excelling on "The Apprentice," he released the critically acclaimed album Cowboy's Back in Town (2010), featuring songs laced with his classic humor and word plays. In 2011, he appeared in the crime thriller "The Lincoln Lawyer," opposite Matthew McConaughey and Marisa Tomei, in which he played a tough biker gang leader who manages to avoid jail despite his many illegal activities. That same year, as he was finishing up his next album, fire destroyed his Nashville-area home. The singer and his family were unharmed, and he redirected offers of support from his fans to the American Red Cross. Shortly after the incident, he released his 10th studio album Proud to be Here, featuring an amazing array of songs such as "Million Dollar View," "Days Like This" and "Love Buzz" that once again displayed Adkins' passion for heartfelt music, clever lyrics, and memorable life stories shared with his fans.
By Candy Cuenco