Country music singer Sam Hunt arrived in Anchorage earlier this week ahead of a pair of shows he will perform at the Alaska Airlines Center on Friday and Saturday.
His family and crew members wanted to take a trip after their first visit to the final frontier.
One of the first things Hunt did upon arriving was to buy a fly rod in hopes of fishing for salmon.
Although he hasn’t gone fishing yet, he has enjoyed the view by taking long drives and hiking.
“I can get up in the morning (Friday) and try again on Saturday,” Hunt said in an interview Thursday.
He said the decision to come to Alaska resulted from both his tour and a desire to see the state.
“We heard there might be an opportunity to come and play, and I’ve wanted to visit Alaska for a long time,” Hunt said. “We’ve got a pretty outdoors-loving team and group, so when the opportunity presented itself, I thought, ‘We’re absolutely going to take advantage of it. ”
The tour team brought family and friends with them and made this trip a mini vacation.
He said he hadn’t seen most of the country before embarking on his music career.
“We visited all the states, so many places that I would never have seen otherwise, and had a great time,” Hunt said.
He said he “really cares about” spending more time in the places he goes to perform than he did at the start of his career.
“Part of the reason we came to Alaska was just to experience Alaska,” Hunt said.
[This weekend: Bear Paw Festival, plus country star Sam Hunt in Anchorage and plenty of other musical options]
From outstanding footballer to renowned singer-songwriter
Hunt grew up in the small town of Cedartown, Georgia, where he played football, basketball and baseball. Although he loved music, he never imagined himself as a musician.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of music, I’ve listened to it all my life, but I’ve never tried to play, sing or create music,” Hunt said.
He had the opportunity to play football at the college level, and the summer before he left to join Middle Tennessee State University’s Division I program, Hunt decided to buy his first instrument.
“I bought a little pawnshop guitar and started learning a few songs,” Hunt said. “That kind of transitioning into songwriting, and I started having the idea of, maybe I could move to Nashville and find a way to use it somewhere.”
Although he never played an instrument until he graduated from high school, Hunt went on to become an award-winning country music star. He won numerous accolades for his hit song “Body Like a Back Road”. He won an American Music Award for New Artist of the Year in 2015 and also received the CMT Music Award for Breakthrough Video of the Year in 2015.
But his musical career was almost replaced by his sports activities.
After transferring to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he had a stellar few years, Hunt briefly pursued a career in professional football.
Hunt was invited to the Kansas City Chiefs’ rookie minicamp in the spring of 2008, but he did not make the team and continued his music career.
“I moved to Nashville after the NFL doors closed and never really looked back,” Hunt said. “It wasn’t really a dream of mine to play in the NFL. It was just a potential opportunity after college.
He said he fell into the songwriting community when he moved to Nashville and wrote songs for three or four years. At first he was writing them for himself, then he started trying to get his songs played by other artists.
“It was my life for a long time, and then I completely consumed myself with music like I had consumed myself with sports,” Hunt said.
It paid off and he had some of his work recorded by many of the country music stars he grew up with.
“I had songs recorded by Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban and Billy Currington,” Hunt said. “Reba McEntire recorded a song a few years later.”
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He said these opportunities put him on the radar of several record labels.
“After I recorded a few songs, I was able to get a record deal, make my own album, take off in a van with some of the guys I was playing and hanging out with at the time and I never really looked back,” Hunt said.
The music paved the way for Hunt and his team to not only see parts of the country they never imagined they would see, but other parts of the world as well.
“We’re doing a little tour of Europe,” Hunt said. “Growing up in a small small town in Georgia, we didn’t travel much further than the beach, which would have been the gulf six or seven hours south of us.”
Sam Hunt with Brett Kissel
8 p.m., Friday to Saturday
At Alaska Airlines Center
Tickets: $69, $89, $109, $149 available on site to place