Twenty-one years ago today, on July 31, 2001, Blake Shelton's self-titled freshman album was released on Giant Nashville. Blake Shelton includes Shelton's debut single, "Austin," which flew all the way to No. 1.

"Austin" became a big hit for Shelton, but just as the song was climbing the charts, Giant Nashville closed its doors. Shelton then was left wondering if his career was over before it began.

"It wasn’t until 2001 that they released "Austin," and two weeks later, they closed," Shelton recalls to CMT. "I had been hearing rumors. From the day I signed with that record company, I was excited and had a sick feeling at the same time. You know how Nashville is. The rumors were always flying around: 'Giant’s gonna close.' They were true rumors, just way ahead of their time. Luckily, I was able to finish my album before the company closed."

Blake Shelton debut album cover
Giant Nashville

After Giant closed, Shelton moved to Warner Bros., releasing "All Over Me" and "Ol' Red" as singles from his debut album with his new label. Both songs landed in the Top 20, but in spite of the success of his freshman album, Shelton admitted at the time that he wasn't ready to rest on his laurels just yet.

"It sounds goofy, but my goal right now is, I just want a song to break through the Top 10," the singer told Nash Country Weekly in 2001. "It's real important for me to have a Top 10 record at some point in my career. And that's about as long-term as it gets for me right now. I'm really, really concentrating on this single and this current album. That's about as far as I can see right now."

Shelton's wishes came true again and again: After the success of "Austin," the Oklahoma native's sophomore album, The Dreamer, included the chart-topping hit "The Baby." Shelton followed that success with the No. 1 song "Some Beach," from his third record, Blake Shelton's Barn & Grill. As of 2021, 28 of Shelton's singles have made it all the way to No. 1, including 17 consecutive chart-topping hits.

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