On this date in 2019, he was topping the country charts with the album that really started it all, What You See Is What You Get, in 2019.
It ultimately became his very first #1 record, in addition to producing a whopping seven #1 radio hits, including “Beer Never Broke My Heart,” “Even Though I’m Leaving,” “Does to Me (ft. Eric Church)” “Lovin’ on You,” “Better Together,” “Forever After All” and “Cold As You.”
There was certainly no sophomore slump in the cards for the North Carolina native, as it opened with the largest week for a country album since 2018, and became the biggest week in terms of streams for a country album on record.
It was certified 3X Platinum by the RIAA in November, and Luke even featured some of his musical heroes on a couple songs, including the aforementioned #1 with Eric Church “Does To Me,” as well as “1, 2 Many” with Brooks & Dunn. Luke was a co-writer on every song on the 17-song tracklist (later 23 with the deluxe edition).
Of course, it catapulted him to the forefront of mainstream country music and made him a household name in country and beyond.
Luke told The Tennessean at the time that he could’ve never imagined it would all work out the way it did during the lead-up to, and release of, this record, saying he happened to be at “the right place and time in country music,” and I don’ think I could’ve summed it up any better myself:
“I guess I didn’t realize it doesn’t always shake out the way you plan. We’re incredibly lucky to be where we are in such a short amount of time. It’s something we don’t take for granted.
That doesn’t mean that’s what will always happen. We’re at the right place and time in country music.”
And in terms of the songwriting process, he added that he feels more in control being a co-writer and speaking for himself, as opposed to hoping someone else can do it for him, which is why he helped pen every tune on the tracklist:
“It all starts with writing a song for me. If I’m helping write the songs or they’re my ideas and we’re writing them together, I know exactly what’s going on.
I don’t have to hope that someone will write a song that’s good for me. I can just do it myself. I feel like there’s probably some stress involved in that. It’s like, ‘What if nobody writes a good song for me right now?’”
As far as the goal of the record as a whole, Luke says he wanted it to be a no-skip collection of his best work:
“I wanted ‘What You See Is What You Get’ to be something where you could listen to the whole thing and love everything on there.”