For the past five years, Luke Combs has been forging his undeniably successful path in country music. Since his debut single “Hurricane” blew to the top of the charts in 2016, he has released 10 consecutive No. 1 hits, and his latest single, “Cold As You,” is currently making its way to the top. Combs has also built a large and dedicated fan base and won many prestigious awards, including the coveted Entertainer of the Year prize at the 2021 CMA Awards. The Georgia-born artist is often active on social media and open with his fans, but there still may be some facts the average fan doesn’t know about him. Here are 10 things you may not know about Luke Combs.
- He’s an only child.
Luke Combs entertains crowds of thousands of screaming fans now, but he grew up as an only child. He was born in Huntersville, North Carolina to parents Rhonda and Chester Combs. He lived in Huntersville for the first eight years of his life, after which he moved to Asheville, NC, where he grew up and attended high school.
2. He performed at Carnegie Hall in high school.
Combs got involved in music and singing at a young age and joined a chorus class in junior high. He continued singing in groups in high school, and he even managed to sing at the world-renowned Carnegie Hall in his teens. Not only did Combs perform at the legendary venue, but he was chosen to sing a solo at the show. This experience undoubtedly fueled the flame for Combs to follow a career in music.
3. He originally wanted to be in law enforcement.
Although Combs had already been involved in music by the time he made it to college, music wasn’t his first career choice. While attending Appalachian State University, Combs had dreams of following a career in law enforcement and he even worked as a bouncer as a club. Specifically, the singer had an interest in becoming a homicide detective. The singer told Jimmy Kimmel that he eventually left that dream behind.
“My major was Criminal Justice,” Combs shared. ”I wanted to be a homicide detective, which is actually what I wanted to do. People are pretty surprised by that a lot of times. But if you’ve noticed, I don’t actually have the physical build of a police officer necessarily.”
4. He started pursuing music seriously in college.
After Combs’ ideas of going into law enforcement fell by the wayside, he began seriously focusing on music, and more specifically, pursuing a career as a musician. While still in college, he began performing at a bar near campus. Combs told Today’s Willie Geist that he only charged one dollar per ticket for his first show, and 200 people came to see him perform.
5. He was inspired by Eric Church.
Another thing that influenced Combs to make the leap of pursuing a career in country music was the music of fellow North Carolina native and Appalachian State University alum Eric Church. Combs’ admitted on an episode of Straight Up Steve Austin that there was a time in his life when he backed away from country music due to the genre getting “more poppy sounding,” but the music of Church brought him back. That’s when his calling to pursue music became clear.
“Once I heard Eric I was like, ‘This is something I can relate to. And if he can do that and he’s from here, and I’m from here, I can do that.’ And that’s kinda where the fire caught spark,” says Combs.
Combs and Church have now collaborated together on Combs’ track, “Does To Me.”
6. He left college early.
One he realized that his purpose in life was to become a musician, there was no turning back. Combs dropped out of college with a month left in his senior year to pursue music. Combs explained to SiriusXM’s Storme Warren that he wasn’t a bad student per se, he just didn’t have the same passion for school that he had for music.
“I had a hard time being passionate and committed to things that really didn’t set me on fire, for lack of a better term,” Combs said.
Soon after he left college, he moved to Nashville to keep following the music career path.
7. He released two independent projects before signing a record deal.
Once Combs decided he wanted to pursue music, he wasn’t signed by a record label right away. Instead, he recorded and released his music on his own to get it out into the world and begin building a fan base. He released two independent EPs, The Way She Rides and Can I Get An Outlaw, prior to being signed to a record label. The second project, Can I Get An Outlaw, featured “She Got The Best Of Me,” Combs’ fourth No. 1 hit re-released from his major label debut album, This One’s For You.
8. He has been open about mental health struggles.
Luke Combs is one of the most successful entertainers in the business, but the performer has shared that he still battles anxiety and OCD. Specifically, Combs battles purely obsessional OCD, a type of OCD that manifests in obsessive thoughts.
“I know when you think of people that have OCD, you think of them messing with the blinds or straightening the carpet,” Combs told Dan Rather in an interview. “Essentially, my version of fixing the blinds or straightening the carpet is thoughts that play over and over in my head.”
Combs says he still has his “moments,” but he has learned to manage his mental health struggles.
9. He met his wife, Nicole, at a music event.
Combs married his wife, Nicole Hocking, in August 2020, and music is what brought the two together. The couple met when they were both attending the Key West Songwriters Festival in May 2016. They connected when they traveled back to Nashville and they were engaged two years later. The couple returned to Florida, Nicole’s home state, to be married.
10. If he had never found fame, he’d still be ‘Doin’ This.’
Although Combs briefly considered other careers, he made it clear in his newly-released song, “Doin’ This,” that even if he hadn’t found fame in country music, he’d still be singing and playing in any capacity. In the chorus of the song, Combs sings, “I’d be feelin’ on fire on a hardwood stage / Bright lights like lightning runnin’ through my veins / At the Grand Ole Opry or a show in some no-name town / I’d still be doin’ this if I wasn’t doin’ this.”