Darius C. Rucker is an American musician who first gained fame as the lead singer and guitarist of the band Hootie & the Blowfish, and next for his transition from a successful career in rock to a successful career in country music. Rucker was born on May 13, 1966 in Charleston, South Carolina. He went through a difficult childhood rifled with financial difficulties. His father was in a band and was hardly ever present. He was raised by his mother who worked as a nurse, and his maternal grandmother. Rucker recalls his childhood fondly, despite the struggles he had to endure such as when his mother, grandmother and 14 of his family members shared a 3 room apartment.
Rucker first started singing in his local church choir. He had always been an avid singer but he didn’t think of it as a serious career until he went to college. At the University of South Carolina, he first formed a duo with fellow student Mark Bryan who was impressed with Rucker’s voice when he heard him singing in the shower. The two started performing together at local venues. They later added two new members to the group, that is, Jim Sonefeld (better known as Soni), and Dean Felber. They formed a band by the name of “Hootie & the Blowfish” and worked the college fraternity crowd before launching their own mainstream albums.
As a member of Hootie & the Blowfish, Rucker has recorded five studio albums namely “Cracked Rear View”, “Fairweather Johnson”, “Musical Chairs”, “Hootie & the Blowfish” and “Looking for Lucky” which reached the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 six times. His characteristic gruff voice was a huge success with fans and critics alike and several top entertainment magazines gave him glowing reviews. Rucker and Felber moved to Columbia where Rucker began to explore opportunities on his own. He sang the national anthem at the World Series and was invited to perform at Frank Sinatra’s 80th birthday party. He also made a voice appearance on the sitcom Friends and sang backing vocals on Radney Foster’s 1999 album “See What You Want to See”.
Rucker went solo in 2001 with his debut album titled “The Return of Mongo Slade”. However, Atlantic Records never released it and it was later bought and released by an independent label named “Hidden Beach Recordings”. The album was renamed “Back to Then” and released in 2002. This was Rucker’s first and only R&B album. Since then, he has made a successful transition to country music. In 2008, Rucker signed with Capitol Records. His album “Learn to Live” was certified platinum and the single “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, making Rucker the first solo, African American artist to reach the top of the charts in 25 years. He had 3 consecutive No. 1 singles and the songs also crossed over into the Hot 100 charts. He won the Country Music Association New Artist of the Year award, becoming the first African American to win the honor.
His third album was titled “Charleston, SC 1966” and released on October 12, 2010. It also spawned a No. 1 hit for Rucker with “Come Back Song”, consolidating his position as a successful country artist. He also won a Grammy Award, making him the third African American recording artist to win a Grammy Award in a country music category. This was followed by a fourth album titled “True Believers”. Rucker is friends with the golf legend Tiger Woods whom he met at a bar. He has two children, one with his girlfriend and the other with his wife. He was close to his mother and estranged from his father. On August 25, 2014 he released a new song called “Homegrown Honey” which will serve as the lead single to his fourth country studio album, which is yet to be announced.