The Odd Reason Blake Shelton Thought His Career Was Over

Blake Shelton has had one of the most successful country music careers of any modern artist. Not only that, he’s managed to spread his fame beyond country audiences thanks to his spot as a judge on The Voice.

The success hasn’t gone to his head, and in interviews and TV appearances, Shelton consistently has an even-keeled and grateful view of himself and his career.

It’s due to his open and honest interviewing style that we know for a time he actually thought his career was over. Far from complaining about it, he took it in stride and was glad he had come as far as he had. Despite this speedbump, however, it seems country music isn’t done with him just yet.

Blake Shelton’s early success

Shelton was one of the rare artists to get a number one hit right out of the gate. In August of 2001, he released the song “Austin” off of his self-titled album and it went straight to the top of Billboard’s Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts. Even when his first record label, Giant Records, closed down, he wasn’t deterred. He switched to Warner Bros. and kept on releasing hits.

When it comes to Billboard’s Country Airplay charts, Shelton can boast a whopping 26 number 1 hits. At the height of his career, he had 17 number one hits in a row, but then things started to slow down. His 2017 album Texoma Shore had an initial number 1 hit, but the next two releases didn’t quite make it to the top. Blake began to wonder if this was it for him.

He said at the time: “It was like, ‘Oh, shit. We knew this would happen eventually.’ It was like, ‘We’re not the new guy anymore,’ you know… You always wonder what that would feel like, when that starts slipping away a little bit… And I was kind of okay with it. I was like, ‘Man, I got a lot more out of this than I thought I would.'”

Blake Shelton thought he’d never release a full-length album again

Shelton made peace with the fact that maybe another album just wasn’t in the cards for him, but he had plenty of other things to keep him occupied. After all, he did have his judge position on The Voice and was dating his fellow judge, Gwen Stefani.

He even told Entertainment Tonight in May of 2019: “I don’t want to put out an album. I really don’t. I’m sure that at some point my record company people are going to pressure me into it, but as of now, I’m not putting out an album this year. I know that.”

Shelton also mused about if people really care about full-length albums at all anymore. With changes in the way people listen to music due to the likes of streaming and social media, Shelton wondered if it was even necessary. He enjoyed making and releasing singles and thought he would be content with continuing to do that, but things changed pretty quickly. 

How is Blake Shelton’s career now?

Blake Shelton attends NBC's "The Voice" Season 14 premiere.
Blake Shelton | Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images for NBC

Whatever his protestations were to releasing a new album in 2019, it didn’t last long. In December he released his 7th full album entitled, Fully Loaded: God’s Country.

This is certainly in no small part thanks to his single God’s Country reinvigorating not only his career but his love of making music. In an interview after his single, God’s Country, became a smash hit he said: “I heard the song, and it was almost like an awakening. It was like it re-energized me — like, ‘No, I don’t wanna be done with this,’ you know? ‘I wanna keep making records.'”

Among the songs on his new album is a duet with his girlfriend, Stefani. The two will be performing it together for the 2020 Grammy Awards.

In an interview with Gayle King, Shelton gushes about the experience saying: “I can already tell you that’s going to be one of the greatest rushes I’m ever going to experience, being on stage with Gwen Stefani at the Grammys, doing our song together. The easiest thing in the world I’ve ever done is to sing any song with Gwen.”

Shelton also has an upcoming tour, “Friends and Heroes 2020,” that is set to travel around America in February and March. For now, it seems, Shelton’s career still has some time left yet.