Luke Bryan is a country music singer-songwriter known for such hits as "Drink a Beer" and "That's My Kind of Night."
Luke Bryan was born in July 1976 in Leesburg, Georgia. He moved to Nashville after high school to pursue his dream of a country music career, and a few years later his first album with Capitol Records, I'll Stay Me, was released. The album earned Bryan a nomination for Top New Male Vocalist from the Academy of Country Music and led to a slew of other hit albums and songs. Albums such as Tailgates & Tanlines and Spring Break...Here to Party subsequently made Bryan a bona fide crossover star.
Born Thomas Luther Bryan in Leesburg, Georgia, on July 17, 1976, Luke Bryan grew up the youngest son of a farmer. Always interested in music, Bryan was raised on his parents’ record collection, which included such country artists as George Strait, Conway Twitty and Merle Haggard.
When he was 14, Bryan’s parents bought him a guitar, and it wasn’t long before he was good enough on the instrument, and with his voice, to begin sitting in with local musicians. In high school, Bryan performed in musicals and wrote his own songs, which he sang with a band he started.
As high school came to an end, Bryan was already eyeing a move to Nashville to pursue his musical dreams. But with plans made, tragedy struck: His older brother, Chris, was killed in a car accident. Devastated, Bryan put Nashville on hold and enrolled at Georgia Southern University, so he could be close to his family. He also kept busy by working on his father’s peanut farm and playing with a new band at night on campus and in local bars.
Bryan burned to pursue a musical career, and he wrote songs continually, releasing a self-produced album during this period. His father saw Bryan’s dream slipping away, and he knew there was only one way to get Bryan back on track: He told his son to pack up his truck and hit the road to Tennessee or he was fired.
On to Nashville and No. 1 Hits
Bryan moved to Nashville in 2001, quickly landing a songwriting contract with a local publishing house. At night, he performed his own music at local clubs, and when an A&R rep from Capitol Records saw him perform one night, Bryan was signed to the label. In the summer of 2007, Capitol released Bryan's first major record, I'll Stay Me, and two years later Doin' My Thing came out. Both albums peaked at No. 2 on the country charts. The latter release also produced two No. 1 country singles: "Rain Is a Good Thing" and "Someone Else Calling You Baby."
His early success led to an Academy of Country Music nomination for Top New Male Vocalist, and both Billboard and Country Weekly called Bryan an “artist to watch.” Unfortunately, tragedy struck again, when Bryan’s sister Kelly died suddenly at home in 2007, with medical officials unable to determine the cause of her death.
Bryan made his fans wait another two years for Tailgates & Tanlines, an album that saw four singles land in the Top 5 of the country charts—with "I Don't Want This Night to End" and "Drunk on You" both hitting No. 1. It wouldn’t be long before Bryan found true crossover success, as his 2013 album Spring Break...Here to Party hit No. 1 on the pop charts.
Later that year, Bryan won the Academy of Country Music’s Entertainer of the Year Award and released his fourth studio album, Crash My Party, which hit No. 1 on both the country and pop charts. With the bulk of songs from the album landing on the country charts, three singles found their way to No. 1. Continuing to thrive, Bryan picked up his first Country Music Association Award win in 2014 as Entertainer of the Year.
Bryan released his fifth studio album, Kill the Lights, in August 2015. Although its first single, "Kick the Dust Up," became a chart-topping party anthem, much of the album showcased the artist in a quieter, more contemplative light.
Charities and Personal Life
When he’s not touring or recording new music, Bryan works with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He has also raised funds for his hometown YMCA in honor of his brother and sister.
Bryan married Caroline Boyer in 2006 and they have two sons, Thomas "Bo" and Tatum "Tate" Bryan. After the death of Luke's sister, Bryan and his wife stepped in to care for his nephew Tilden.
Luke Bryan at the 2012 CMT Music Awards Image: s_bukley / Shutterstock.com