Who Is Chris Stapleton: 5 Things You Need to Know About the CMA King
Chris Stapleton swept the CMA Awards last night, winning more trophies than any other act while stealing the show with a pair of country-soul duets alongside Justin Timberlake. Already a household name in Nashville’s songwriting community, where he’s been penning tunes for A-listers like George Strait, Luke Bryan and Adele since 2001, the newly-turned solo artist is still something of a mystery to the general public, leading to plenty of “Who is Chris Stapleton?” queries on social media today. The answer is long, but goes something like this: Stapleton is a 37-year-old Kentucky native who’s written a string of Number One hits for other artists, was once in the popular bluegrass group the SteelDrivers, is married to fellow country singer (and chart-topping songwriter) Morgane Hayes, briefly toured the Bible Belt as frontman of southern cock-rock group the Jompson Brothers, landed a well-deserved record contract as a solo artist, recorded Traveller with producer Dave Cobb and, in the half-year since the album’s release, has been making a rapid (and well-deserved) transition from under-the-radar musician to CMA-winning headliner. Below, we break down Chris Stapleton’s history in more detail.
1. He’s been to band camp. From 2008 to 2010, Stapleton was the lead singer of the SteelDrivers, a blistering gut-bucket-bluegrass quintet founded by some of Nashville’s most gifted behind-the-scenes players. Stapleton’s supernova voice and timeless lyrics helped make the band a favorite of traditionalists and critics alike, not to mention any fan who stumbled across them. Two albums were released (a self-titled debut and its follow-up, Reckless) and the band earned three Grammy nominations. Stapleton left the band in 2010 to focus on family and songwriting, and was replaced by another outstanding singer, Gary Nichols, but was soon coaxed back into the spotlight. In 2010 he founded the Jompson Brothers, a Southern-rock outfit built on barely-veiled sex and drugs references like “Ride My Rocket” and “Secret Weapon.” The group released one album and toured briefly as an opening act for Zac Brown Band.
2. He should’ve been nominated for CMA Duo of the Year, too. During his first week as a Nashville resident, Stapleton signed a publishing deal with Sea Gayle Music. It was in the Sea Gayle office that he first bumped into Morgane Hayes, a fellow singer and top-shelf songwriter who scored a big hit with Carrie Underwood’s “Don’t Forget to Remember Me.” Married since 2007, the two have become perhaps the greatest unsung duo in modern country, with Morgane serving as Stapleton’s harmony partner, onstage foil, touring mate and all-around muse. He’s a humble guy during his live performances, rarely making a big show of his own ability to skyrocket a melody into the stratosphere. It’s Morgane’s physical reactions — her poise during the ballads and wide-eyed, full-bodied applause whenever her husband hits a high note — that remind you just how amazing Stapleton really is. And he’s better with her.
Chris Stapleton Cancels Outdoor New York Concert Due to Wildfire Smoke
- Concert Cancelled