50 facts about country singer Sam Hunt

Hunt was a former college football player. Learn 50 interesting facts about Hunt.

1. His full name is Sam Lowry Hunt.

2. He is a country music singer, songwriter and former college football player.

3. Was born in Cedartown, Georgia.

4. Hunt played football in his high school and college years.

5. Once attempted to pursue a professional sports career before signing with MCA Nashville in 2014.

6. Prior to his successful solo career, Hunt was credited for writing singles for Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Billy Currington and Reba McEntire.

7. His debut album is titled Montevallo.

8. His debut album is RIAA gold-certified.

9. His debut album includes three plantium US Hot Country Songs chart-toppers - "Leave the Night On", "Take Your Time" and "House Party".

10. Hunt is the first country artist to have all of the singles from his debut album to peak within the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

11. He is the second solo male in the SoundScan era to lead Top Country Albums and Hot Country Songs being a new artist with his first album.

12. The lead single from the album, "Leave the Night On", peaked atop concurrently on the Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts, bringing Hunt to be the first artist in 22 years to reach the top of three country charts simultaneously since Billy Ray Cyrus.

13. He is also the first rookie male artist in the past two years to be a No. 1 on Top Country Albums, and the first country act as a main artist since Clint Black to occupy both year-end number one country album and single with Montevallo and "Take Your Time".

14. Upon the launch of his career, Hunt has quickly assumed recognition from both inside and outside the country music community for his boundary-breaking artistry, incorporating use of R&B and pop into the production and songwriting of his songs.

15. He has been honored with numerous awards, including one American Music Award, one Academy of Country Music Award, and one CMT Music Award, as well as nominations for Billboard Music Awards and Grammy Awards.

16. Hunt is the eldest of three children.

17. His parents are Allen and Joan Hunt, an insurance agent and a teacher respectively.

18. He was named 2002 Co-Offensive Player of the Year, was selected for the Georgia Sportswriters Association All-State Class AAA first-team as an all-purpose player, and was a Wendy's High School Heisman nominee.

19. He was a quarterback for two years at Middle Tennessee State University and two years at UAB where he majored in philosophy before graduating with a business degree in economics.

20. He had limited action in six games with Middle Tennessee; at UAB, he started only seven games during the 2006 season due to injuries.

21. After practice every day, he would teach himself how to play acoustic guitar.

22. With respect to the root of his interest in music, Hunt recalled between stops in tour, "I never saw myself as a musician or having any musical talent... I was just killing time that summer, and a buddy had recently bought a guitar. I picked it up one day and on a whim thought, 'You know, I think I want to buy a guitar.'"

23. Hunt's college roommates, having listened to a few songs he wrote, encouraged him to book shows at bars, marking the start of his pursuit of a career in music.

24. After graduating from UAB in 2007, his football talents were noticed by the NFL and he was invited to training camp with the Kansas City Chiefs. "I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I needed to find out if I could take it all the way," Hunt said.

25. In 2008, two months after the unsuccessful attempt to impress the football team, to the surprise of his family and friends, with the former not having noticed his songwriting at that time, he moved to Nashville along with a friend with only "some food and two mattresses and [...] his mom's minivan".

26. Hunt co-wrote Kenny Chesney's 2012 hit "Come Over", for which he received an ASCAP award.

27. He also wrote two singles released in 2014: Keith Urban's "Cop Car" and Billy Currington's "We Are Tonight".

28. Hunt independently released the single "Raised on It" in September 2013 and in October 2013 he released via his website a free 12-song mixtape titled Between the Pines.

29. Hunt also co-wrote "Love Somebody", the title track from Reba McEntire's 2015 studio album.

30. The music video for the song "Leave the Night On" earned Hunt two CMT Music Awards nominations, winning him Breakthrough Video of the Year, as well as one Billboard Music Award nomination.

31. Five days after the release of Montevallo, Hunt announced his first tour, Lipstick Graffiti.

32. In 2015, he served as an opening act (alongside Hunter Hayes) for Lady Antebellum's Wheels Up tour.

33. Hunt was featured on Billboard for the issue August 29, 2015, where he opened about breaking down country music stereotypes.

34. He served as a background vocalist on Carrie Underwood's song "Heartbeat", which was released in October 2015.

35. To commemorate the 1-year anniversary of Hunt's debut album Montevallo, Between the Pines was re-released in October 27, 2015, peaking at number 31 on the Billboard 200 chart.

36. Hunt won his first American Music Award for New Artist of the Year on November 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.

37. Hunt told Taste of Country that he does not write his songs with a specific genre in mind, but rather follows his instinct. "I want to sound different than everybody else," said Hunt talking about his musical style. "To use a football phrase, I try to zig when other people zag."

38. Commenting on his interpretation of country music, he told Rolling Stone Country, "I think country songs are truthful songs about life written by country people, but the beats and sounds will continue to evolve."

39. Hunt's music contains elements of country, R&B and pop.

40. His songwriting was heavily influenced by Brad Paisley, whose early hit "He Didn't Have to Be" had a big impact on him as a kid growing up in Georgia: "I remember being at church on Wednesday night at Wednesday night supper, and getting the keys from my mom well before it was over to just go sit in the car and to turn the radio on and hopefully wait and catch that song."

41. He also cites Billy Currington, Usher, K-Ci & JoJo, R. Kelly, Ginuwine and Alice Cooper as musical influences.

42. In a 2015 interview with Billboard, Hunt remarked on the position of women in his music, "Respect for women was a very important part of my upbringing," and added, "The women in my life demanded that from me."

43. Hunt named his album, Montevallo, after the hometown of a former girlfriend and consulted her in the lyrical production: "I spent a lot of time talking to her about the songs and asking, 'What do you think about this?' Her perspective was a powerful part of me being able to connect with a female audience, not just a male audience."

44. He has a cat named Dandelion.

45. His grandma told him he needed to listen to Conway Twitty.

46. Hunt grew up in rural Cedartown, Georgia.

47. Arriving in Music City, USA without a real understanding of the different paths an aspiring musician might pursue, Hunt was able to play a few of his original songs around town and was soon offered a publishing deal, enabling him to write full-time.

48. He always liked country music and used to take the car keys from his mom and sit in their driveway listening to the car radio.

49. He likes also other genres and says "But I was also hearing a lot of other music - hip-hop and R&B. In some ways, that really gospel-based Southern R&B might be my favorite of all."

50. On how he writes his songs he says, "I learned so many of the rules and the structures that make great songs. But I also knew that there was a way to go beyond those rules and make something that would really be unique and honest to who I am."

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