Chris Stapleton Stole The CMA’s, But Who Is He?

Chris Stapleton has everyone talking after the CMA Awards last night when he took home more awards than any other artist or group and blew the audience away with a couple of duets alongside Justin Timberlake.

With what the Rolling Stone is calling “a mammoth, mountain-moving voice,” Stapleton made his presence in the country music industry known. After his show-stealing night at the CMA Awards, people are starting to wonder: who is Chris Stapleton?

Chris Stapleton: CMA Awards
Chris Stapleton with his wife Morgane Hayes (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Stapleton took home awards for New Artist of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, and Album of the Year. When he took the stage after winning Male Vocalist of the Year, Chris made a humble acceptance speech about how much he appreciated his win, and about him making the album for his late father.

“About two years ago I lost my dad, and I made this record thinking a lot about the music that he would have liked. He would have liked to have seen this tonight… This is an unbelievable thing, and I’m not going to take it lightly.”

In addition to winning the most awards of the night out of everyone who was nominated, Stapleton also made a show-stopping performance with the help of pop singer Justin Timberlake. Rolling Stone says that the duet was “the evening’s most-anticipated performance”. Chris spoke to the magazine before the performance, saying he wasn’t sure what people’s reaction would be to the odd pairing, but he knew the two would enjoy their performance together either way.

“Some people might want to burn me at the stake for it, or burn him at the stake for it. Who knows? But we’re going to have a good time.”

Chris Stapleton: CMA
Chris Stapleton steals the CMA's with a duet with Justin Timberlake (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

With Justin’s falsetto and Chris’ soulful sound, the pair absolutely slayed the George Jones’ classic “Tennessee Whiskey.” With the way Stapleton sings, he quite possibly could have took on the song by himself and made it great, but the harmony between Justin, Chris, and Chris’ own wife, Morgane Hayes, made for a chill-inducing performance of the classic country song.

Before he was a solo artist and CMA showstopper though, Stapleton had a long but subtle career in the country music industry.

Stapleton, 37 years old, has actually been around for a long time, but he’s been working behind the scenes all these years, as reported by the Rolling Stone. Since 2001, Chris has been writing songs for big names such as George Strait, Luke Bryan, and Adele. Chris’ first Number One song was Josh Turner’s “Your Man.” Stapleton has written other big hits and chart toppers such as Darius Rucker’s “Come Back Song” and Luke Bryan’s “Drink a Beer”.

At one point, Chris was the lead singer of the bluegrass band SteelDrivers. The band only released two albums before Stapleton left the group so that he could put more of his attention on his family and his passion for songwriting. The same year, however, Chris formed the southern rock group known as the Jompson Brothers. The group went on tour as the opening act for Zac Brown Band and released one album.

When Stapleton signed a contract as a solo artist with producer Dave Cobb, he saw success very quickly. His debut album, Traveller, earned Chris the award for Album of the Year at the CMA Awards, only half a year since the album was released. Stapleton is sure to be rocketed into the mainstream spotlight after the country singer’s booming success at the CMA Awards with the awards he won and his soulful, show-stopping performances with Justin Timberlake.

Make sure to watch Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton below as they wow the crowd with their duet at the 49th annual CMA Awards.

[Photo by Jason Davis/Getty Images]