Blake Shelton is one of the biggest stars in country music today, but even he had to start somewhere. The superstar was just another newcomer looking for a break when he released his self-titled debut album on July 31, 2001.

Born in Ada, Okla., in 1976, Shelton came to Nashville after he graduated high school. He nailed down a record deal with Giant Records in 2001, and the label released his self-titled debut album in July.

Shelton scored a hit with the first single from his first album, "Austin," which reached No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. But Giant Records closed at that same time, leaving the rising star wondering where he would go from there.

"I had been hearing rumors," Shelton recalls to CMT. "From the day I signed with that record company, I was excited and had a sick feeling at the same time. You know how Nashville is. The rumors were always flying around: 'Giant’s gonna close.' They were true rumors, just way ahead of their time. Luckily, I was able to finish my album before the company closed."

Shelton moved to Warner Bros. after Giant went out of business, releasing "All Over Me" and "Ol' Red" as the second and third singles from his debut album. Both songs landed in the Top 20, setting Shelton up for the success of his sophomore album, The Dreamer. He scored another No. 1 hit, "The Baby," from that album, and has gone on to build one of the most successful careers of his generation at country radio, scoring a total of 28 No. 1 hits to date.

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