Who Is Chris Stapleton?
Born and raised in Kentucky, Chris Stapleton is an American musician who spent years in Nashville as a sought-after songwriter, furnishing songs for numerous artists. Easy to spot due to his signature long hair and prodigious beard, he became a major star in the autumn of 2015 when his debut solo album, Traveller, practically swept the CMAs. Traveller subsequently went platinum and Stapleton followed it up by drawing on his own vast repertoire of songs. In May 2017, he released From a Room: Volume 1, which won the CMA award for Album of the Year. In November 2017, he released From a Room: Volume 2.
Songwriter for Other Artists
After meeting some local songwriters in his hometown, Stapleton discovered that songwriting was a viable profession. In a 2016 interview with CBS News, he said: "I always thought that George Strait was singing a song, he made it up, and that was the end of it. But the instant I found out that that could be a job, I thought, 'That's the job for me.'"
In 2001 Stapleton landed a publishing deal just four days after moving to Nashville. "That is not anybody's story,’ he acknowledges, “But that's mine." For the next decade or so, he scored an impressive number of hits with well-known musicians, including George Strait ("Love's Gonna Make It Alright"), Kenny Chesney ("Never Wanted Nothing More"), Luke Bryan ("Drink a Beer”), Thomas Rhett (“Crash and Burn”), Darius Rucker ("Come Back Song"), and Josh Turner ("Your Man”). Lee Ann Womack, Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley and Tim McGraw have also all recorded his songs.
What Song Did Adele Record That Was Written by Stapleton?
In 2011 Adele recorded "If It Hadn't Been for Love" as a bonus track for her smash album, 21.
Awards and Accolades
In the fall of 2015, Stapleton became the first artist to ever to win Album of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year and New Artist of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards, where he and Justin Timberlake performed a show-stealing duet of the George Jones classic, "Tennessee Whiskey" and Timberlake's "Drink You Away.” In 2016, the Grammy committee took notice, granting him four nominations and then two awards: Best Country Solo Performance and Traveller won Best Country Album.
In 2018 he won three more Grammys for From a Room, Volume 1: Best Country Album, Best Country Song for “Broken Halos,” and Best Country Solo Performance for “Either Way.” He also performed “Wildflowers” with Emmylou Harris to honor the late Tom Petty during the awards show broadcast.
Wife and Family
Stapleton met Morgane Hayes in 2003 when they were both working as songwriters in adjacent buildings. Morgane would visit her friend at Sea Gayle Music, hoping to catch him in passing. After a few months, he asked if she’d like to write a song together. “That ended up being our first date,” she said in a 2015 interview with the Washington Post. “We didn’t get much writing done that night.”
The couple got married in 2007 and have been just about inseparable ever since. They have a four children, including a set of twin boys born in April 2018. The whole family tours together. A talented singer-songwriter in her own right, Morgane collaborates with Stapleton in all aspects of his creative process.
Stapleton has “you are my sunshine” etched into his wedding band, and he and Morgane often perform the song together on stage.
Bands and Albums
While consistently working as a songwriter from 2001-2015, Stapleton also led the progressive bluegrass group the SteelDrivers for two years, starting in 2008. The band released two albums (a self-titled debut and Reckless) and earned three Grammy nominations. He then formed the Jompson Brothers rock group in 2010 — the group released one album and toured briefly as an opening act for Zac Brown Band.
In 2013 Stapleton signed with Mercury Nashville, but his single, "What Are You Listening To?" released in October of that year didn't go anywhere, so its accompanying album was scrapped. He then hooked up with co-producer Dave Cobb to record Traveller, his solo debut. The record appeared in May 2015 to strong reviews but it did not receive wide airplay until after the CMAs. "Nobody to Blame" became his first country radio hit and "Parachute" charted even higher later in 2016.
Stapleton spent the rest of that year working on his second album with Cobb and his wife, Morgane, who handpicked the majority of the album's songs from Stapleton’s library of more than a 1,000 published tunes. He wrote one of her favorite songs, "Daddy Doesn't Pray Anymore." From a Room: Volume 1 won the CMA award for Album of the Year. In November 2017, he released From a Room: Volume 2.
Christopher Alvin Stapleton was born on April 15, 1978, in Lexington, Kentucky to Carol J. (Mace) Stapleton, a local health department worker, and Herbert Joseph Stapleton, Jr., a coal miner. Along with his older brother and younger sister, he grew up outside of Lexington where his parents were active listeners of the country artists from the region around them.
“It's just part of the fabric of being from Kentucky," Stapleton said in a 2015 with the Lexington Herald Leader (kentucky.com). "Ricky Skaggs and Keith Whitley, Dwight Yoakam and Patty Loveless, the list goes on and on. Those names are just part of life in Kentucky. You can't help but be aware of them and be influenced by them. It's almost genetic in the sense that you don't have an existence that doesn't involve their music."
Popular and clean-cut in his teenage years, Stapleton played several team sports at Johnson Central High School and graduated as class valedictorian in 1996. He went on to study engineering at Vanderbilt University in Nashville but soon immersed himself in the local music scene, and dropped out after one year.
In 2016 he returned to his high school to play a free concert and dedicate a new space where students could perform on school grounds. The space was constructed by student carpenters.
Elton John Tribute
Last year, Sir Elton John personally called Stapleton and asked him to record “I Want Love” for a recently released record, Restoration: Reimagining the Songs of Elton John and Bernie Taupin. The 13-song collection also features Little Big Town, Miranda Lambert, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Dierks Bentley, Vince Gill and Don Henley.
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