Here’s how Toby Keith helped kickstart the careers of Taylor Swift and Blake Shelton


Toby Keith Blake Shelton
YouTube Source: News 9 YouTube, People

Yesterday we reported that country music star Toby Keith died Monday night at age 62 after a battle with stomach cancer. Now, it’s been revealed that Keith helped kickstart the careers of Blake Shelton and Taylor Swift in a major way.

Keith and Shelton

Fox News reported that when Shelton first moved to Nashville, he was preparing the song “I Wanna Talk About Me” as his first single, but instead it was given to Keith and it became a No. 1 single. In 2003, Shelton joined Keith on tour as the opening act on his Shock’N Y’all Tour.

Shelton honored Keith at the People’s Choice Country Awards in September.

“They say your big break comes when you sign a record deal or when your first song comes out. And for me, one of those things was getting the chance to open for Toby Keith,” Shelton said at the time. “When I was a new artist, I got the chance to go on tour with Toby and then, night after night, 20,000 fans showed up to see Toby perform, and he kept them fat and happy.”

Related: Sad details emerge about Toby Keith’s death after he dies at 62

Shelton honors Keith

Shelton went on to say that it took him about two years to feel comfortable enough to joke around with Keith on tour.

“I remember one night, it was after an awards show,” Shelton recalled. “And Toby had been up for four or five awards and, boy, he didn’t win shit that night. Then I talked to him and I got up the courage – I was so excited to get under his skin – that I said, “Man, Toby, if I ever get big enough one day and get nominated for some awards, I hope it’s against you.’

“I swear, Toby looked at me and said, ‘Do you know why I brought you on tour with me?’ And I said, “No.” And he said, ‘I wanted to show this industry that I don’t really need an opening act,’” she added.

Shelton spoke out to honor Keith following his death.

“Even though I knew about your struggle these past few months, I never imagined this day,” he said. “Anyone who knew you knows what I mean. You were the toughest man I ever met. Thank you brother for being a friend, a hero and an inspiration. There will never be another Toby Keith.”

Related: Kid Rock pays tribute to his friend Toby Keith after his death at 62

Keith helped Taylor Swift

Keith also helped launch Taylor Swift’s career. He founded his own label, Show Dog Nashville, in 2005, the same year Big Machine Records launched. Founded by Scott Borchett, Big Machine Records was Swift’s original label, and she signed Keith.

Swift said at the time: “You’re in the room with him and you can feel it. There’s a power there. You just say, “Oh my God.” I don’t think I’ll ever get to the point where I don’t see him and go, ‘Oh my God, that’s Toby Keith.'”

Keith reportedly held a 10% stake in Big Machine and purchased a building in Nashville to house both labels.

“Toby is a really smart businessman. I send him the checks,” Borchetta said in 2013.

“I know there’s an extra comma, if you add up all the money I’ve ever made,” Keith said at the time, referring to the money Swift brought in.

Keith’s family announced his death earlier this week.

“Toby Keith passed peacefully last night, February 5th, surrounded by family,” read a statement on Keith’s website.
“He fought his battle with grace and courage. Please respect his family’s privacy at this time.”

Please join us in saying a prayer for Keith’s loved ones during this difficult time.

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