Chris Stapleton: 5 Things to Know About the CMA Award Winner

Plus, watch the New Artist of the Year winner perform with Justin Timberlake.

ByLesley Messer
November 04, 2015, 9:49 PM

— -- Chris Stapleton has already had a big night at the CMA Awards.

Immediately after the singer was named New Artist of the Year, he took the stage with pal Justin Timberlake to sing his song "Tennessee Whiskey" and Timberlake's "Drink You Away."

"I called him up and asked him if he'd be interested in [performing]," Stapleton explained before the show. "He was like, 'Yeah man, I'm in. Just tell me when to show up.' So here we are, we're gonna do it!"

Stapleton, 37, may be a new solo artist, but he's been a presence in Nashville for a while. Here are five other things you may not know about him.

1. He's a prolific songwriter: Before coming out with his own album, Stapleton wrote songs for the likes of Jason Aldean, Adele and Luke Bryan. In 2013, he joined Bryan on stage at the CMA Awards to perform the hit song he co-wrote for him, "Drink a Beer." "I always just try to write the best songs that I can at any given time and sometimes those songs are for me, and sometimes they’re for other people," he told Rolling Stone. "And that’s to be evaluated after the fact."

2. He's used to performing with bands: For years, Stapleton performed with bands called the SteelDrivers and the Jompson Brothers. In 2013, he went solo, but didn't release an album until 2015. "The record label called me and asked if I’d like to make a country record," he told Rolling Stone. "I thought about it for a minute, talked to my wife about it, and decided to give it a shot."

3. He's also worked on soundtracks: A fan of "Cars 2" and "Valentine's Day"? He contributed to those soundtracks.

4. He moved to Nashville in 2001: Stapleton grew up in Kentucky, and before he devoted himself fully to music, he delivered pizzas during the day and played guitar gigs at night. “I didn’t know that songwriting could be an actual job,” he explained to American Songwriter. “I didn’t realize people did that for a living. Then I met a songwriter named Steve Leslie, who heard some of my songs and thought they were pretty good, and invited me down to Nashville to try writing with him.” The rest is history!

5. He's a married man: Stapleton is married to songwriter/musician Morgane Stapleton, with whom he has a son and a daughter. “Oh, we drive each other crazy once in a while,” Morgane told the Washington Post. “But being without each other drives us even more crazy.”

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