Saturday, March 30, 2013

"Luke Bryan Is Country’s Next Poster Boy"

“It’s all a dream. All I ever wanted to be is a big ol’ country star and I cannot believe it’s happened,” Bryan says in his Southern drawl. “It’s the time of my life and I’m loving every day.”

“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.”

A native of Leesburg, Ga., Bryan 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. Since then, he’s placed 18 titles on Hot Country Songs, among them the No. 1s “Rain Is a Good Thing,” “Someone Else Calling You Baby,” “I Don’t Want This Night to End” and “Drunk on You.” The latter two are from Bryan’s third studio album, “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.

This is an excerpt. For the complete story, buy this week's issue of Billboard.

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