Sam Hunt has gotten some flak on social media for wearing flat-bill caps and incorporating floral prints into his wardrobe, but the fashion risks have landed Sam on the cover of Billboard‘s new Music’s Men of Style issue. It turns out, Sam started out wearing jeans and cowboy hats just like every other male country star out there. That all changed when Sam questioned whether he had to keep dressing like that to be a country artist.
He tells Billboard, “I was like, ‘Wait a minute. Why?’ So I deliberately dressed differently, which has broken down stereotypes. People who might not have listened to me if they’d seen me sitting on a hay bale in a barn on the front of a record — they give the music a chance.”
Sam’s music incorporates hip-hop and R&B elements along with country. The Georgia native was first exposed to those styles while playing quarterback on the University of Alabama at Birmingham football team. Says Sam, “On my teams, as a guy who grew up hunting and fishing, I was in the minority in terms of music and lifestyle. I became good friends with people who listened to R&B and rap. But it wasn’t just an issue of being around it — I was naturally drawn to it, right off the bat.”
Going forward, Sam hopes to make a purely R&B album, but he also has plans to make an acoustic, traditional country album, too. In the end, it’s all part of Sam’s overall goal of just sticking out from the rest of the pack.
He adds, “I study what’s happening in music,” he says. “I want to sound different than everybody else. To use a football phrase, I try to zig when other people zag.”
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