Toby Keith’s Role in Launching the Careers of Taylor Swift and Blake Shelton

Yesterday, Toby Keith passed away at the age of 62 after a battle with stomach cancer. It’s been revealed that Keith helped kickstart the careers of Blake Shelton and Taylor Swift in a major way.

Keith And Shelton

Fox News reported that when Shelton first moved to Nashville, he was preparing the song “I Wanna Talk About Me” as his first single, but it was given to Keith instead and became a No. 1 single. In 2003, Shelton joined Keith on tour as his opening act on his Shock’N Y’all Tour.

Shelton honored Keith at the People’s Choice Country Awards back in September. “They say your big break comes when you sign a record deal or your first song comes out. And for me, one of those things was to get the chance to open for Toby Keith,” Shelton said at the time. 

Shelton Honors Keith

Shelton went on to say that it took about two years for him to feel comfortable enough to joke with Keith on tour. He spoke out to honor Keith after his death.

“Even though I knew about your battle these last few months I still never imagined this day,” he said. “You were the toughest man I ever met. Thank you brother for being a friend, a hero and an inspiration. There will never be another Toby Keith.”

Keith Helped Taylor Swift

Keith also helped launch the career of Taylor Swift, as he started his own label, Show Dog Nashville, back in 2005, the same year Swift signed with Big Machine Records. Keith reportedly held a 10% stake in Big Machine and bought a building in Nashville to house both labels.

Keith’s family announced his death earlier this week. “Toby Keith passed peacefully last night on February 5th, surrounded by family,” read a statement on Keith’s website. “He fought his fight with grace and courage. Please respect the privacy of his family at this time.” Please join us in saying a prayer for Keith’s loved ones during this difficult time.