Toby Keith is one of America’s most successful singer and song writer. He sang about things that mattered to country folks most, food, drinks, work in the oil wells, music in the bars in the countryside, and loving the country, for they were things that mattered most to him too. He is the archetypal cowboy who wears a cowboy hat, rides a horse and works in a farm. His songs, delivered in a husky baritone, touch the heart with their rustic simplicity and directness. As his popularity grew, his music began to appeal to soft rock lovers too. Another secret of his success is that he develops a close rapport with his audience and lets them feel that he is one of them. He started recording for other labels before becoming the producer of his own records. He has also acted in a couple of movies based on his genre of music. He has some interests in restaurant business, spreading through the length and breadth of America, a testimony to his shrewd investment skills. He has strong political views that he expresses openly. He has performed for American troops stationed in the Middle East and Afghanistan. He left the Democratic Party to become an independent. His singing reflects all that is America and American.
Childhood & Early Life
Toby Keith was born in Clinton, Oklahoma to Carolyn Joan and Hubert Keith Covel, Jr. He has an elder sister Tonni and a younger brother, Tracy. His early childhood was spent in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
His grandmother owned a bar in Fort Smith, where he came in touch with many musicians who came to perform.
The family moved to Moore, a suburb of Oklahoma City. He attended Highland West Junior High and Moore School. Music, guitar and football were his chief passions.
After high school, he began working in the oilfields in Moore. But in 1982, the industry began to decline and like many others, he too lost his job.
Toby Keith formed the Easy Money Band in 1981and when a copy of the band’ demo tape reached Harold Shedd of Mercury Record, the company signed a deal with the singer.
The artist released his first self-titled album in 1993. The album, an instant hit, sold over two million copies. The debut single, Should’ve Been a Cowboy, topped the charts.
In 1994, his second album, Boomtown produced by Polydor Records reached the top for the second time. It had singles like Upstairs Downtown and You Ain't Much Fun that touched record sales.
His third album Blue Moon received a platinum certification. Leading the chart was Does that Blue Moon Ever Shine On You, a single that was penned by him.
In 1999, the single How Do You Like Me Now? became the title track of his album. The single, You Shouldn’t Kiss Me Like This headed the pop charts for five consecutive weeks.
In 2001, Pull My Chain was released. Three singles from this album, I’m Just Talkin’ About Tonight, I Wanna Talk About Me, and My List, stayed in the number one spot for five weeks.
He directed and starred in the 2005 film, Broken Bridges, about a country musician who failed to succeed commercially. The movie also starred Kelly Preston and the legendary Burt Reynolds
He opened the Toby Keith’s Love This Bar and Grill restaurants in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, both in Oklahoma State in 2005. Soon, many franchisee restaurants sprang up nationwide.
Two hits came in 2007 with the release of Big Dog Daddy and A Classic Christmas. His popularity showed no signs of waning, with his fans eagerly buying his records.
In 2008, he wrote and acted in the movie, Beer for My Horses. Its title song, a duo with Willie Nelson, was already a hit.
Bullets in the gun released in 2010 did not do so well. For the first time, the artiste did not make it to the top ten.
Hope on the Rocks produced by his company Show Dog-Universal Music was released in 2012. This album was about the artist’s favorite themes -beer, barrooms and heartbreak.
In 2002, Toby Keith released the album Unleashed with the single Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue, a tribute to his dad who died in a motor accident and to the September11, 2001 attack victims.
Shock’n y’all released in November 2003 was a pun on the military term ‘shock and awe’. All of its singles became No.1 and the album sales exceeded 4 million units overseas
In 2008, a two- disc album called 35 Biggest Hits was released. This compilation consisted of most of his singles and also the new single She’s a Hottie.
In 1997, he recorded with Sting, a single with the name I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying, which was nominated for the Grammy that year.
The American Music Award awarded him with the Favorite Country Album for the albums Unleashed and Shock’n Y’all, despite the controversies surrounding the albums.
In 2000, the Academy of Country Music awarded the singer, The Top Male Vocalist Award and the Album of the Year Award for How Do You Like Me Now?
In 2003, the Academy of Country Music declared Shock’n Y’all, the album of the year and this singer, the Top Male Vocalist.
He was declared Billboard’s top country artist and song writer of the decade in 2009.
In 2012, Red Solo Cup received the Country Music Association Award for the Best Music Video. The singer had recorded the title song of the video.
Toby Keith married Tricia Lucus in 1984 and they have two daughters, Shelley and Krystal, and a son Stelen. Krystal has a contract with Show Dog- Universal since 2013.
An avid sports fan, the artist is, in particular, a fan of professional wrestling and frequently attends WWE shows and TNA Wrestling Shows.
He sued the operators of Rodriguez Transportes of Tulsa and won $2.8 million for failing to equip working air brakes properly that led to an accident that killed his father.
The July issue of the business magazine Forbes described him a Cowboy Capitalist and estimated that his entire earning was more than $500million.
His daughter released a video for her song, Daddy Dance With Me, on her wedding day in April 1913 to honor her father.