Who Is Jason Aldean?
Born in Georgia in 1977, Jason Aldean spent his first years in the country music business toiling in obscurity. He broke out with a self-titled album in 2005, and over the following years he became one of country's top acts on the strength of acclaimed albums like Wide Open and My Kinda Party. Following a decade of hits, he garnered his first Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year Award in 2016.
Country music superstar Jason Aldean was born Jason Aldine Williams on February 28, 1977, in Macon, Georgia. He continued to live with his mom, Debbie, after his parents split when he was 3, and spent summers with his dad, Barry, in Florida.
Aldean honed his musical talents at an early age, and made his first public appearance as a singer at age 14. He also was a star baseball player at Windsor Academy, drawing the interest of college teams. However, rather than accept an athletic scholarship, he elected to pursue music after high school.
'My Kinda Party,' 'Night Train,' 'Old Boots, New Dirt'
With his father working as his booking agent, Aldean began landing gigs in bars and other small venues throughout the Southeast. He seemingly hit the big time by signing with Warner-Chapell Publishing, prompting a move to Nashville in 1998, but instead found his career stalling. Another contract, with Capitol Records Nashville, also failed to produce an album.
Close to abandoning his dream, Aldean in 2003 caught the attention of talent scout Lawrence Mathis, who brought the independent label Broken Bow into the mix. Aldean put together a self-titled debut album for the label, with his first single, "Hicktown," cracking the Billboard country Top 10 in 2005. His follow-up single, "Why," shot all the way to No. 1, paving the path to stardom for the former struggling artist.
Aldean's sophomore album, Relentless (2007), didn't quite fulfill some of the high expectations, despite the success of its lead single, "Johnny Cash." However, the country boy blew away fans and critics alike with his third album, Wide Open (2009), with the tracks "She's Country," "Big Green Tractor" and "The Truth" all rocketing to No. 1.
Amazingly, Aldean fared even better with his fourth studio effort, My Kinda Party (2010). "Don't You Wanna Stay," "Fly Over States" and "Dirt Road Anthem" — an unusual country-rap song — all hit No. 1, propelling the album to multi-platinum status.
Upon its 2012 release, Aldean's Night Train became his third album to reach No. 1. He followed with yet another impressive effort, 2014's Old Boots, New Dirt, which remained on the charts well into 2015 on the strength of the hit singles "Burnin' It Down," "Just Gettin' Started," "Tonight Looks Good on You" and "Gonna Know We Were Here."
After a decade as one of country's top acts, Aldean earned recognition as the Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year in 2016. After releasing the album They Don't Know later that year, he followed with his second consecutive ACM Entertainer of the Year award in April 2017.
'Route 91 Harvest' Shooting
Aldean endured a horrifying moment as a featured act of the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, on October 1, 2017. While in the midst of performing, his pregnant wife behind the stage, a gunman began firing into the crowd from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. Aldean and his wife escaped unscathed, but the rampage left nearly 60 people dead, and wounded another 500-plus victims.
Shortly afterward, the singer released a statement in which he announced he was temporarily postponing his tour. "I feel like out of respect for the victims, their families and our fans, it is the right thing to do," the statement read.
Additionally, he delivered an emotional post on Twitter. “Something has changed in this country and in this world lately that is scary to see," he wrote. "This world is becoming the kind of place that I am scared to raise my children in . . .We are all humans and we are all Americans and its time to start acting like it and stand together as ONE!”
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