Luke Combs: Still an Everyman, Despite His Massive Success
From romantic songs to drinking anthems, Luke Combs has tapped into the hearts of country music fans across the country with music that holds a mirror to their own lives. But despite his wave of success since the release of his debut record This One's for You in 2017 -- five No. 1 singles, a Grammy Awards nomination and a headlining tour -- Combs stays down to earth.
"Somebody showed up at my house yesterday for an interview. I was out changing the cat litter. They were just floored that I was [doing that]," Combs shared at his No. 1 party for his single "She's Got the Best of Me," joking, "I was like, I can’t have the cat’s crap all over the house just because I have a couple songs on the radio."
Combs' fan base is tangible proof of his relatability, consisting mostly of young country fans. The North Carolina native singer trusts their input to point him in the right direction.
"I think your fans are your most important, most critical and most honest focus group," Combs reflects. "They’re the reason that we’re selling out arenas. They’re the reason that people wanna nominate us for awards and stuff."
For them, Combs tests out new songs in his live sets, gauging their response and taking their reaction to radio singles to heart. So far, it's been overwhelmingly positive.
"I feel like, listening to them, we can’t be steering in the wrong direction, so I like to run stuff by them, put songs out, see what they’re into, see what they’re not into," Combs says. "Plus, it’s fun to kind of put that new stuff out there and see what people are latching onto and see what they’re interested in."
Combs' approach to his career is based on a simple principle: Honesty is the best policy. From his songs, it's clear that he's not afraid to face his feelings. He's also not afraid to face rejection, as it's another step closer to more opportunity. When Combs didn't win Best New Artist at the 2019 Grammy Awards, he was honest with himself about his reaction.
"I’m not gonna sit there and tell you that I didn’t expect to win. I think people try and posture themselves a lot like they’re not hurt by something, or something doesn’t bother them. I do feel like I deserve to win because I worked my ass off to get here, but everybody did that was nominated for that. So everyone would have felt the way that I did when they lost," Combs says. "I think it’s just part of the human condition to be let down by things that don't necessarily go your way."
While he doesn't saturate himself in negative feelings for too long, he's self-aware: "Obviously, you’re always critical of yourself and songs that you write," Combs notes. But does he feel pressure for each single to perform better than the last one? Combs takes the high road to answer that question.
"I’m a lucky dude, I think. It’s not anything that I do different or better than anyone else. It’s just been [that] we have something right now that fans at country radio love and our fans wanna buy tickets for," he reflects, "so we’re just gonna enjoy it while it’s here."
By taking a genuine approach, Combs has kept his motive pure. In the cases of "She Got The Best of Me" -- a song that he wrote in college -- going No. 1 or selling out huge venues, Combs is just happy to be part of the experience.
"It could all be gone tomorrow, so [I'm] just trying to enjoy the moment and not get too caught up in why it went to No. 1 so quick or why people want to hear it so much," Combs says. "I think once you do that, you start watering down why you’re doing it."
At the end of the day, Combs maintains his country boy personality. He's just one of the boys ... who just so happens to be an upcoming star.
"I really just am the same. I just got nicer boots now," Combs says. "That’s kinda it though; it really is. I’m just the same as I was in college. People recognize me at the grocery store now, that’s really the only difference."
Country Stars Are Just Like Us ... and We've Got the Pics to Prove It!