Blake Shelton earned his first No. 1 song with his debut single, “Austin,” back in 2001, but the country star recently revealed that he wasn’t too sure about the song the first time he heard it. “When I first heard ‘Austin,’ I thought it was just super cheesy,” Shelton told Kelleigh Bannen on Today’s Country Radio with Kelleigh Bannen on Apple Music Country.
“Austin” was written by David Kent and Kirsti Manna and follows a woman who moves to Austin, Texas after breaking up with her boyfriend and decides to contact him one year later. Each time she calls, she receives his answering machine, which always ends with the phrase “And P.S. if this is Austin, I still love you.” “I was just like, ‘God, this guy is so desperate, let it go, dude,” Shelton recalled of the song’s premise. “It’s been a year, you’re still putting this answering machine message on, what are you doing?'”
The Oklahoma native added that “luckily,” he had team members Bobby Braddock and Debbie Zavitson “in my ear going, ‘Listen, man, you need to just live with this song, work on it…’ and I was just so stupid, I did, and thank God they stayed on me about that, because otherwise I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you 20 years later, probably.”
Earlier this year, Shelton celebrated the song’s 20th anniversary with a limited edition of “Austin” on vinyl. “I remember the first time I heard ‘Austin’ on the radio,” he said in a statement at the time. “I was driving on 440, and I kept looking to both sides trying to see if other drivers were singing along! At that time, the station had a slogan about how they played new artists and legends, and the DJ said something like, ‘Who knows… maybe this artist will become one of the legends.’ This song started it all for me. I couldn’t be prouder to celebrate its 20th anniversary.”
Shelton has in fact become one of those legends, racking up an incredible 28 No. 1 hits on the country music charts and selling millions of albums. He has won numerous awards and became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2010 before taking a job as a coach on The Voice in 2011 and ascending to a new level of fame.