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Tania is currently the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Hudsucker, and Senior Editor at the Nashville, Tennessee based PopCulture.com. With past writing and editing credits with Womanista, Quietly, the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) and NBC Newsvine, she is currently a member of Indianapolis based, Society of Professional Journalists — one of the oldest organizations in the U.S. that promotes and represents journalists. She is an avid Indianapolis Colts, Elvis Presley and baseball fan as well as a lover of pancakes and fine cheeses, film, and music. Tania is a Hoosier at heart with a passionate wanderlust for always traveling and giving back to those in her community. She is currently studying at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Follow Tania on Twitter: @westlifebunny.

The Best Buzz You’re Ever Gonna Find: Heating Up Summer with Luke Bryan

{Image Credit: Capitol Nashville}

To most of the country, summer means that school’s finally out, the grill is being fired up, beach goers are taking full advantage of the warm and sunny days by tanning and listening to waves hitting the coast; and endless fishing opportunities are abound for those outdoor enthusiasts! And more to the point—summer means relaxing at the lake house and cooling off with an ice cold beer.

With weather forecasters predicting a scorcher this season, there’s no one better to join in on the much welcomed summer fun than country music sensation Luke Bryan, who is fast becoming one of the biggest country stars of our time.

Bryan has been heating up the country music charts for months now. Not only has he been the first artist ever to monopolize on the Billboard Hot 100‘s top two spots with his ninth No. 1 “Play It Again”, as well as being featured on Florida Georgia Line’s “This Is How We Roll”, but the hip-shaking entertainer set an all-time record for ticket sales sold at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field earlier this month (June 21). The multiplatinum award winner welcomed more than 50,000 excited fans who came out in support of  his “That’s My Kind of Night Tour”—beating out both country stars, Kenny Chesney and Taylor Swift in the number of tickets sold at the popular football stadium.

{Photo Credit: Scott Legato/Getty Images Entertainment}

Moments after the historic show (which featured appearances by country crooners, Dierks Bentley and tour-mates Cole Swindell and Lee Brice), Bryan released a statement to the press saying he “had the most unbelievable night of [his] life”; and later tweeted from his official Twitter account that he was amazed by the outpouring of love and support from his fans.

The country music hit-maker is off to a phenomenal summer so far with a lot going on for the 37 year-old Georgia native. It was announced earlier this month by the Recording Industry Association of America that Bryan’s fourth studio album, Crash My Party had been declared double platinum for shipments of 2 million copies, with four songs from the album achieving platinum plateaus with double-platinum certifications for his singles, “That’s My Kind of Night” and “Crash My Party”; and platinum awards for the singles, “Play It Again” and “Drink A Beer”. Last week Bryan’s fifth single “Roller Coaster” off the 2013 album released and is said to be another chart topper for this summer.

Bryan isn’t some flash-in-the-pan, overnight success story. As the proud, youngest son of a peanut farmer from Leesburg, Georgia, he is a pure model of patience, fortitude, and a steadfast nature. Growing up, he was obsessed with country music and looked up to greats like George Strait—someone who Bryan credits the legendary country singer as the “big reason” why kids like himself put on starched shirts and played ‘honky-tonks’ back in the day. Upon receiving his first guitar at the age of 14, Bryan would excitedly write his own songs and take part in school musicals.

After high school, Bryan had originally planned on moving to Nashville to forge his music career, but on the eve of moving day, he learned his older brother Chris had died in a car accident. With his family in mind, Bryan re-prioritized plans and attended Georgia Southern University but didn’t give up on the dream. He found much solace in music and continued to hone his skills by playing local venues with his band at the time. While working on his father’s farm during the day and playing bars at night, Bryan found light through the darkness and met college sweetheart and love of his life, Caroline Boyer. Bryan would later marry Boyer in 2006 (the couple now have two sons, Bo, 5, and Tate, 3).

{Image Credit: Capitol Nashville}

Though his career is red-hot now, Bryan is an inspiration to every late bloomer out there as he never once faltered on his musical dreams. With Luke’s father, Tommy understanding his son’s sense of duty keeping him home, he decided to fire his son in order for him to pursue the music career he knew he still dreamed of. Once in Nashville, Bryan found initial success as a songwriter, penning the tune, “My Honky Tonk History” for Travis Tritt. In 2004, Bryan was offered a solo record deal with Capitol Records Nashville.

Officially coming onto the scene in 2007 with his first album I’ll Stay Me at the age of 31, Bryan has since created quite the name for himself by remolding the traditional country sound and creating his own brand through it. Though his debut single off that album, “All My Friends Say” only reached #5 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs, the album was well received by critics and listeners. Bryan worked extremely hard to build his career all on his own, co-writing all but one song on the album. As the country music scene started taking notice of his style and sound, he was invited by the famous Grand Ole Opry in Nashville to perform. With Bryan’s sister Kelly Cheshire, eagerly helping to organize her little brother’s Opry debut, tragedy struck once again and days after his performance, Cheshire had died suddenly. With the cause to this day remaining undetermined, Bryan opened up to ABC News last year saying, “My only older siblings…gone from the world, in a flash in two, two different, crazy, tragic manners, that…we’ll never know, and never understand.”

{Image Credit: Rick Diamond/Getty Images}

Though Bryan has never written specifically about the tragedy that sits in the shadows of his life, his song “Drink A Beer” off his latest album is no doubt a tribute to his siblings and anyone who can relate to the sudden loss of a loved one. In an interview with Parade, Bryan shares how the song is an “honest connection” to that feeling many like himself have experienced and that his sister was a “drink-a-few-beers-on-the-back-porch-perfect” kind of person. At the 2013 CMA Awards, Bryan dedicated his performance of the track to his late brother and sister, Chris and Kelly.

In 2009, he released an EP titled Spring Break With All My Friends which featured only two songs, along with an acoustic version of “All My Friends Say”. Shortly after the first spring break EP, he released a fourth single called “Do I” for his second album, Doin’ My Thing which released later that fall. The track about thwarted love and the doubt or uncertainty experienced by a partner in a bumpy relationship was written by Bryan along with Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood of the popular country band Lady Antebellum. The Grammy award-winning band’s lead singer, Hillary Scott sang backing vocals on the Bryan track which reached the No. 2 spot on the country music charts, solidifying Bryan as an up-and-coming artist of the beloved genre. The album’s next two singles, “Rain Is a Good Thing” and “Someone Else Calling You Baby” each respectively became No. 1 tracks on the country music charts.

By the time Bryan released his third EP, he was busy at work for his third studio album, Tailgates & Tanlines. The album which released during the summer of 2011, peaked at No. 1 on the US Billboard Country Albums chart, and went on to snag No. 2 on the Billboard 200. His first single off the double-platinum record was “Country Girl (Shake It for Me)”, a song about “a country girl getting up there getting a little wild” and says was inspired by his wife, Caroline. It may have peaked at No. 4 on the country charts and No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100, but his next three singles off Tailgates & Tanlines (“I Don’t Want This Night to End”, “Drunk On You”, and “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye”) each reached No. 1 on the country charts.

With his feisty sound heating up the charts, Bryan has become the model of modern rock country infused with pop. He is not just a charmer through tune (and dance—seriously, have you seen the man dance?!), but has a big dose of that hard-to-describe magic when performing on stage. On top of his talent and knack for song selection, Bryan with his silky voice and charismatic grin is a natural born entertainer with a capital “E”. At last spring’s 48th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, Bryan not only co-hosted the show with country music star, Blake Shelton, but took home the big prize, Entertainer of the Year—an award richly deserved for the humble-hearted performer. Bryan who was visibly emotional and taken aback, struggled to hold back tears, telling the crowd in a heartfelt speech, “This is the defining moment of my life and it means the world to me, and I will never take it for granted.”

Deemed as the “King of Spring Break”, Bryan has released six spring break albums in total, with his five previous releases selling well over 750,000 copies. It’s an evident fact that with the popularity of his fun-loving and party-hard spring break records releasing every year, Bryan’s tradition—reaching five years now—has always been to play shows for vacationing college students in Panama City Beach, Florida. As a child Bryan would vacation with his family on the Florida Panhandle, with frequent visits to the area with his high school and college buddies. Being a destination dear to his heart, Bryan has made it a habit each year since his first spring break album to spend some valuable time with his closest fans. With the release of his sixth spring break EP earlier this year called, Spring Break 6…Like We Ain’t Ever, Bryan performed this past March in Florida’s famed, Spinnaker Beach Club to 110,000 fans; with an astounding total of 230,000 fans showing up to the outdoor beach party over the course of two days.

Last summer Bryan released his album Crash My Party which sold an estimated 528,000 copies in the first week of album sales, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart. It was a shocker to many but impressive as well, seeing as albums by fellow male country artists have not sold this well in nine years. The thirteen track record has become the third best-selling album of 2013 in the United States, with 1.5 million copies sold last year alone; and as of this month, has sold a record 1.9 million copies in the US.

{Image Credit: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Stagecoach}

Since 2010, Bryan has taken home over 18 various awards from CMT Music, the American Music Awards, the Country Music Awards, and the Billboard Music Awards. With all the success he’s found and continues to find, he doesn’t forget where he comes from. With principles rooted deep in the value of family and community, Bryan believes in giving back. His unwavering commitment and social integrity finds him taking part in raising funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, among other causes. Earlier this year, Bryan started a charitable foundation that would allow him and his wife Caroline to give back to causes and organizations they want to support. Though there is no name to the foundation yet, he tells The Country Vibe that they’re gradually getting things built and that a portion of ticket sales will be placed in a special bank account. “It’s very humbling and rewarding when you can give back what you’ve been so blessed to have been given,” he says.

Bryan is said to be one of the most humble and down-to-earth performers by reporters and fans, leaving quite the impression on those who’ve had the honor to meet him. In an interview with The Boot four years ago, Bryan discloses how he tries his hardest to be there for his fans, saying, “If there are people out by the bus, I’ll come off the bus and sign autographs. I always want to be accessible. If a fan wants to meet me, that opportunity is always there. That’s the way you have to be, whether you’re making ten thousand [dollars] or a million a show. I try to be that way; I can’t say I’m the best, but I’m in the top percentage.”

With the summer here and it getting warmer each day, I’ve personally been able to expand my musical palette and include a ton of country music on my playlist. There’s something incredibly charming and romantic about the country music genre. As someone who enjoys good writing and storytelling, I have become newly enamored with the genre because every country song has a story with a strong focus on narrative voices, complete with a beginning, middle and end. There’s no quicker way to get an emotional rush because of this story-like structure, evoking feelings of nostalgia, longing, regret, acceptance and hope. In many ways, country music is able to address the realism of life, while touching on personal meaning and purpose outside of any romantic entanglements, while celebrating life.

{Image Credit: Capitol Nashville}

Luke Bryan is one country artist who has a great and distinct ability to take you away for an hour and tell you a story, whether it’s a sad one about lost love, or about leaving the party early to get your “drunk ass home”. Whatever the case, he’s able to create great visuals and awaken feelings of love, life and the power of a positive attitude. With a firm commitment to his music and fans (congregating at The Nut House), Bryan is happily and creatively “doin’ his own thing” and always excited to have eager listeners crash his party.

Check out Luke Bryan’s latest video, “Roller Coaster” off his album, Crash My Party below:

* * * * *

For more Luke Bryan news, check out his official website and follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube (LukeBryanVEVO). And, catch his LBTV video diaries on YouTube!

Join Luke Bryan this summer on his “That’s My Kind of Night” Tour and get your tickets now!

Connect with Tania Hussain on Twitter and Google+!

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6 Comments on “The Best Buzz You’re Ever Gonna Find: Heating Up Summer with Luke Bryan”

  1. emilybol November 28, 2014 at 8:59 pm #

    I loved this article about Luke Bryan! It was enlightening while being so down to earth. My favorite part was towards the end when you describe country music as “charming and romantic”. Country music is where I feel that I am personally able to have the deepest connection.You also mention that “every country song has a story with a strong focus on narrative voices, complete with a beginning, middle and end.” I couldn’t agree more. I am a journalism student and most of my classes are focused around storytelling and truly evoking emotion out of its listeners. Country music not only provides a story but it hits home for so many people. It is warm hearted with a little sass and can fit any mood someone is in. Thanks for the great post!

    – Emily


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