Who Is Sturgill Simpson? A Guide to the Grammy Nominee + ‘SNL’ Guest
At 38, Sturgill Simpson has his very first Saturday Night Live set on the horizon and is in contention with Beyonce and Adele for Album of the Year at the 2017 Grammy Awards. It's all fresh and exciting, but Simpson is hardly new to the game.
So, who exactly is Sturgill Simpson? The outlaw country singer-songwriter got his start in 2004 as part of the bluegrass group Sunday Valley. The outfit toured small venues until Simpson eventually quit to work at a railroad freight-shipping yard. He eventually returned, but by 2012, Sunday Valley had disbanded, and a year later, Simpson and his wife Sarah moved to Nashville. There, the "In Bloom" singer's solo career officially got underway.
High Top Mountain, Sturgill's completely self-funded and self-released debut solo LP, dropped in 2013 and the critically acclaimed Metamodern Sounds in Country Music came a year later, earning Simpson hist first Grammy nomination for Best Americana Album. The project was among Rolling Stone's Best New Albums of 2014 and included "The Promise" and "Living the Dream." Soon, Simpson was playing The Tonight Show, The Late Show and Conan and opened for acts like Willie Nelson and the Zac Brown Band.
After signing with Atlantic Records and Downtown Music Publishing in 2015, Simpson released his first major-label LP, A Sailor's Guide to Earth, in April. Boasting "In Bloom," Simpson's first song to land on Billboard's country charts, the album earned Grammy Award nominations for Best New Album and Best Country Album.
Still Simpson told GQ in January that he's done away with pressure to try to cater to specific markets or land within certain genres. Instead, he's focused on executing his stories well.
"I just don't see myself as a songwriter or a country singer or any of those things anymore. It's more trying to express ideas and emotional textures. Everything from the writing to the production to the performance—and how it all comes together. All I'm really interested in musically is trying to make concept albums. Serving a larger sum than the parts. I just can't sit down and write three verses and a chorus and a bridge anymore. It just don't find it inspiring."
See if Simpson comes away with big Grammy wins when the awards show airs Sunday, February 12 on CBS.
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