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Darius Rucker is a singer/songwriter known as the frontman of the musical group Hootie & the Blowfish and as a solo country artist.
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In 1994, Darius Rucker’s band Hootie & The Blowfish broke into the mainstream with Cracked Rear View. The record skyrocketed to No.1 and featured smash hits such as, "Hold My Hand," "Time," "Let Her Cry," and "I Only Want to Be With You," sold more than 16 million units, and earned the group two Grammy awards. Rucker went on to a successful solo career focused on country music.
Singer-songwriter Darius Rucker was born on May 13, 1966, in Charleston, South Carolina. Rucker later described his childhood as a "typical Southern African-American upbringing," involving long hours at church on Sundays and enduring various financial struggles. At many points in his life, his mother, two aunts, maternal grandmother and 14 children lived together in a three-bedroom apartment.
The Rucker family was very musical, and Darius frequently sang around the house to his mother's Al Green and Betty Wright albums. As Rucker grew older, he became more involved with his church and high school choirs. But it wasn't until he graduated from Middleton High School and entered the University of South Carolina that Rucker approached music with a career-driven eye.
In 1986, after meeting fellow musicians Mark Bryan, Jim Sonefeld, and Dean Felber, Rucker began forming musical ambitions. He formed the musical duo Wolf Brothers with friend Brian, and eventually convinced Felber to also join them. In 1986, the trio founded the band Hootie & The Blowfish, named after two USC classmates—one had owl-like glasses, the other had a rotund face—with Rucker as the frontman. The group played the college circuit for several years before convincing friend and drummer Sonefeld to join the fold. His songwriting skills made a strong impact on the rest of the band members, who also began stepping up their songwriting attempts.
After college, the quartet embarked on a full-time touring schedule, often performing in exchange for free beer or very little money. In 1991, the group released their debut album, the self-financed Kootchypop, which they began selling on the road. The EP, only available at their shows, sold more than 50,000 copies—a big success for a self-promoted band. Their success gained the interest of an Atlantic Records talent scout, who signed the group.
In 1994, Hootie & The Blowfish broke into the mainstream on the Atlantic label with their album Cracked Rear View. The record skyrocketed to No.1, and featured smash hits such as, "Hold My Hand," "Time," "Let Her Cry," and "I Only Want to Be With You." The group's blusey harmonica solos—working in tandem with Rucker's deep, baritone voice—gave the band a unique sound that caught the attention of listeners. The album sold more than 16 million units, and went Diamond in both the U.S. and the U.K. It also impressed musical critics, earning the group two Grammy awards.
In 1996, on the heels of their success from Cracked Rear View, Rucker and the group released their highly anticipated follow-up, Fairweather Johnson.
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