Thirteen years after the release of his first single “Austin,” Blake Shelton has made history as the first country music artist to reach Number One on the Billboard Artist 100. The chart, which includes artists of every genre, is measured by album and song sales, radio airplay, online song streaming and fan interaction on social media.
Previously ranked Number 19, Shelton secured the top spot on last week’s chart with some pretty staggering numbers: In a little over a decade, the Oklahoma native’s albums have grossed $7.6 million, while his singles have generated $22.8 million.
Last week, Shelton found himself atop another multi-genre chart — the Billboard 200 — with his latest album, Bringing Back the Sunshine. The project, which revisits grittier topics like hard-drinking and harder breakups, is a throwback to his earliest catalog of music and to his musical heroes.
“My last couple of albums have been so positive, because when I made them I was just getting married. It’s been in this awesome place,” he tells Rolling Stone Country, “But after a while, as a country singer, I gotta get back to singing about getting drunk…. I’m bringing back some country into this thing.”
The four-time reigning CMA Male Vocalist of the Year has produced 17 Number One country singles and recently broke his own record for most consecutive chart-toppers on country radio (12). For next month’s CMA Awards, the country star has been nominated for Entertainer of the Year, which he won in 2012, Single of the Year for “Mine Would Be You” and, once again, Male Vocalist of the Year.
On this week’s Artist 100 chart, another country act follows Shelton’s lead: Florida Georgia Line has landed in the top spot. Bolstered by the release of their second album Anything Goes, which debuted at Number One on both the country albums chart and the all-genre Billboard 200, the duo swaggered into Number One on the Artist 100. Taylor Swift, who releases her pop album 1989 next week, is in the Number Two slot — but likely not for long.