The country music newbie hit his stride after the success of his first album, producing 13 No. 1 country hits in the next 20 years. Now it’s the music world that waits for what Shelton will do next, but it wasn’t always that way. EARLY YEARS Blake Shelton was born on June 18, 1976, in Ada, Oklahoma, a small town with a population of around 15,000. From an early age, Shelton was drawn to the musical side of his life. When he was eight years old, his mother, having heard him constantly singing in his bedroom, entered him into a local pageant, which was his first performance in front of a live audience—“a good way to not start off,” he recalls. “Look, in Ada, Oklahoma, if you want to be a singer in 1984, there’s not a lot of options, and so I was in my bedroom singing every night and my mom thought it was cute, and she asked me, you know, ‘Do you want to sing on stage? Do you want to be a singer?’ ‘Yeah!’ So really the only option was whatever pageants for kids was going on, there was a talent portion, you got to perform, so I had to do these pageants in order to be able to get up and sing my Bob Seger.” Shelton did a few more local pageants afterward until he couldn’t stand it anymore. “I hated it so much that I almost, like, didn’t want to be a singer anymore,” he laughed. Shelton’s history with pageant life is a common topic of interview conversation even today. Every time he is asked, Shelton complains that the subject is even brought up. “It’s embarrassing!You get beat up! When you go to school, they go, ‘You were in a pageant? Haha!’ And then I would hit them and then I’d get beat up.”


Blake Shelton

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