Luke Bryan’s got that “it” factor – whatever “it” is – at least that’s what all his friends say. And it seems both the fans and the industry agree. Luke has made one helluva splash on the country music scene, his career has shot into the stratosphere in 2012 and Luke Bryan is now splashed across the cover of Billboard Magazine.
“Luke simply has that elusive ‘it’ factor,” says Mike Dungan, chairman/CEO of Universal Music Group Nashville (UMGN). “He is a ramped-up Elvis. His stage performance and persona are ex-traordinary. His genuineness and sincerity are evident in everything he does. And most important, his songs are right in the pocket. This one is going to be a force for a long time.”
The Leesburg, Ga. native honed his skills in local clubs before moving to Nashville in 2001. His first success came as a songwriter, penning songs for Travis Tritt and Billy Currington, who took Bryan’s “Good Directions” to No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. Bryan landed a deal with Capitol Records and his 2007 debut single, “All My Friends Say,” peaked at No. 5 on Hot Country Songs and his first album, “I’ll Stay Me,” hit No. 2 on Top Country Albums. And since then . . .
Luke’s become an unstoppable force in country music where in 2012:
- Luke’s Tailgates & Tanlines,” which arrived in August 2011 and spent four weeks at No. 1 on Top Country Albums. It has sold 1.9 million copies, debuted and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and was the eighth-biggest-selling album of 2012 overall. It moved 1.1 million copies last year, finishing at No. 2 on Billboard’s year-end country tally. Bryan came in at No. 3 on the country artist list.
- His March 5 release, “Spring Break . . . Here to Party,” the first full-length physical album from his five-year “Spring Break” series, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking his first time atop the all-genre chart.
- Every date on the 21-city first leg of Bryan’s Dirt Road Diaries tour sold out.
- His recent headline appearance at the famed Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo attracted 75,242 fans, the second-largest crowd in the event’s history,
- Luke’s prepping to co-host the 48th annual Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards with Blake Shelton on April 7 in Las Vegas where Bryan is nominated for four ACM awards—vocal event, male vocalist, entertainer of the year – where you can cast your VOTE for Luke – and album for “Tailgates & Tanlines.”
“It’s all a dream. All I ever wanted to be is a big ol’ country star and I cannot believe it’s happened,” he says in his Southern drawl. “It’s the time of my life and I’m loving every day.”
Bryan’s frat boy/farm boy persona is key to his appeal and the label has been smart to use that to cultivate a young, active fan base.
“When we first signed Luke, he was playing packed college clubs around Georgia and the fans knew the words to every song,” UMGN senior VP of marketing Cindy Mabe says. “None of these songs were on the radio. They were just songs he had written, and those fans were always important to the vision we had for Luke. The young college kids taught us that if we wanted to keep them, we’d have to figure a way to keep them engaged, and that was by releasing music targeted toward them faster and more deliberate. That was the birth of the “Spring Break” tour and EP.”
Be sure to grab your copy of Billboard Magazine featuring Luke Bryan to get the full spread of fun, facts and phenomena.
And before you go, be sure to share your spring break story with us here at Country Music Pride because one winner of the spring break story contest will WIN an Autographed copy of Luke Bryan’s “Spring Break – Here to Party” CD.
And let’s keep this Luke party going . . . share in comments below what your favorite Luke song, video or concert memory is.
We’ll leave you to get a little drunk on Luke !
Luke Bryan – Drunk On You