Blake Shelton Credits Fellow Oklahoma Natives Reba McEntire And Toby Keith For Inspiring His Country Music Career

“It’s pretty crazy when you look down the list of artists that have come from Oklahoma,” Shelton admits.

By

Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

March 28, 2024

Share on:

Blake Shelton, Toby Keith; Photos Courtesy NBC, Reba McEntire; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

Blake Shelton joins a long list of country music superstars who hail from the state of Oklahoma – Carrie Underwood, Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, Joe Diffie, and many more. Also included in this coveted group are Reba McEntire and the late Toby Keith, both of whom Shelton says inspired him to want to pursue a career in country music. 

“It’s pretty crazy when you look down the list of artists that have come from Oklahoma. It’s a huge list and it’s a lot of superstars,” Shelton told Storme Warren on the air of The Big 615. “Growing up in Oklahoma, that was part of the drive that gave me the confidence to come to Nashville was knowing that Reba was just 20 miles from here. I mean, I’m talking about she came from the middle of nowhere and now she’s the biggest star in country music. It was really inspiring.”

He then recalled seeing Keith achieve major success with his signature song, “Should’ve Been A Cowboy,” and realizing that if these artists could get out of their small towns and make it to the big time, maybe he would have a chance at doing the same.

“I remember when Toby came out being from Oklahoma and ‘Should’ve Been A Cowboy,’ and my mom saying, ‘Oh my gosh, I saw that guy in Oklahoma City last year.’”

Thanks to the motivation from Keith and McEntire, Shelton’s determination to follow his dreams led him to build his own wildly successful career over two decades later. He’s now racked up 28 No. 1 singles, sold nearly 15 million album equivalents, and has received a slew of major awards, including six ACMs, three AMAs, 10 CMAs, 11 CMTs and more. As a result of his career, Shelton also got the chance to form close friendships with both of his musical heroes. 

All For The Hall Oklahoma Concert

Underneath all his fame is the same Okie native who is will always be proud of where he came from. The Grand Ole Opry member plans to show his gratitude with a special All for the Hall concert at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma,on Saturday, March 30.

The upcoming show will be what Shelton dubs a “huge fun jam night” benefitting Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum and its education programs. This will mark the first All for the Hall concert to take place in The Sooner State.

“We’re working hard to put this thing together. It is a benefit for the Country Music Hall of Fame, which we’re excited about, but for you guys coming to the show, it’s just going to be one incredible epic concert,” Shelton shared via Instagram. “It’s just going to be one great Oklahoma artist after another. So you don’t want to miss this thing. See you guys there.”

Blake Shelton All For The Hall
Blake Shelton All For The Hall

The “Austin” singer will be headlining the show while several other artists are set to join him on stage to perform a few of their songs as well. Among the artists who have been tapped to appear include Music Hall of Fame member Ronnie Dunn, Tony and Emmy Award-winner Kristin Chenoweth, ACM and CMA nominee Wade Hayes, and beloved songwriters/performers The Swon Brothers. There will likely be even more performers who have yet to be announced. 

Toby Keith Had Planned To Be At The Show

During his conversation with Storme Warren, Shelton revealed that before Toby Keith passed in early February, he too had planned to there to show his support for his home state.

“Toby wanted to do it…If you couldn’t physically see him, you would never know that he was sick.”

Toby Keith accepts the Country Icon award from Blake Shelton; Photo by: Mickey Bernal/NBC
Toby Keith accepts the Country Icon award from Blake Shelton; Photo by: Mickey Bernal/NBC

Warren then assured that Keith “will be there in spirit.”

Tickets for the show are on sale now and can be purchased via Ticketmaster at blakeshelton.com. All proceeds from the show will go to the nonprofit museum’s education initiatives, which directly served more than 230,000 people through in-person and virtual programs in 2023. More information is available at countrymusichalloffame.org/learn

Share on:

Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.