Since earning his first Country Airplay entry with “Hurricane” in 2017, Luke Combs has earned 13 additional No. 1 hits on the chart, sold out stadium shows, and made Billboard history as the first artist in the 56-year history of the Top Country Albums chart whose first two studio albums have spent 25 or more weeks at No. 1.
But before his juggernaut music industry success, Combs was just another aspiring artist auditioning for The Voice — and he was among the long line of hopefuls who have been rejected from the talent competition.
Combs recently appeared on the Full Send podcast and recounted his experience going through a few producer audition rounds for The Voice.
“I tell them I want to do a country song, and they are like, ‘Oh, well, you didn’t sing country before.’ I’m like, ‘So I have to sing one kind of [music]? The show is just about being a singer.’ There’s got to be some sort of angle. I got a letter back after the next audition — which, I made it through — and they told me essentially I was too boring to be on television. … I didn’t make it to the show. I still have the letter in storage that’s like, ‘You’re a great singer, but…’ Essentially it’s about ratings, right?”
Now, Combs is the CMA Awards’ reigning entertainer of the year and is set to release his upcoming album Growin’ Up on Friday. Of course, he’ll be in competition with another former The Voice hopeful, Morgan Wallen, whose Dangerous: The Double Album has spent 62 nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Top Country Albums chart since it was released in January 2021.
When asked to name the No. 1 country star at the moment, Combs answered, “That’s tough. Me or Wallen for sure, I think.”
Asked whether there is any competitiveness between the two country artists, Combs said, “I think anyone who says there is not is lying. I think any business is competitive.”
He added, “I love Morgan. I think he’s a great guy. We’ve been on tour together. I don’t think there’s any — at least, to my knowledge — I don’t know of any country music [artists who are] like, ‘Oh, I hate this guy. I can’t stand this guy.’ … At least that comes to mind straight away.” Combs also added that the competitive nature of the music industry “drives people to be their best.”
Combs recently released the new single “The Kind of Love We Make,” which resides in the top 20 on Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart.