by Alison Bonaguro
A lot of people may look at Blake Shelton and think of The Voice. Or of Gwen Stefani. Or of his sense of humor. Or of any of the other ways he’s made himself a household name.
But all Shelton ever really wanted was to hear himself on country radio. He told Billboard Country Update that when he moved to Nashville in the early 1990s, that was the only goal on his mind.
“I moved to Nashville after I graduated high school hoping to hear just one of my songs on country radio,” Shelton told Billboard. “I don’t think there’s a word to describe how blessed or fortunate I’ve been over these years.”
The first of Shelton’s songs to be considered a bona fide hit was nearly two decades ago. His debut single “Austin” was released in early 2001 and was his first No. 1.
After that, Shelton put out song after song and album after album. Some were massive hits, some were not. But some kind of switched was flipped in 2009, when he released “Hillbilly Bone” and it went straight to the top of the charts. As did his next 16 singles. And now, he’s back on top again and again with duets with his fiancée Stefani.
“Now to have 28 No. 1 singles — not to mention two consecutive ones with the fantastically talented and life-saving Gwen Stefani — my lucky streak continues,” he added. Their follow-up collaboration to “Nobody but You” is “Happy Anywhere,” and it just reached the top of the charts. Both duets were penned in part by Ross Copperman and Josh Osborne.
“In the middle of a pandemic, what better message could there be than to be ‘Happy Anywhere’ when isolating with family and the ones you love? None of this success happens without the songwriters, the music makers and the fans that continue to listen. Thank you for letting us be part of your lockdown,” he said. “I love you, I thank you, and I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season.
“And please, for crying out loud, can we kick COVID’s ass and celebrate a new year?!”
And in that same holiday spirit, Shelton is sharing some of his favorite Christmas classics on his YouTube page.
Alison makes her living loving country music. She’s based in Chicago, but she’s always leaving her heart in Nashville.