Some artists recognize their dreams of being a successful country star in their early years, spending hours and hours writing in their bedrooms and working toward that goal for as long as they can remember. But that's not Sam Hunt's story.

Hunt hasn't always been focused on country music; in fact, when he was younger, he was more into playing football than playing the guitar. He didn't listen to a lot of music, and his mom recalls that he was "happiest outside throwing a ball."

Though he only owned a few CDs and certainly wasn't immersed in music like he is now, Hunt enjoyed country music as a kid and learned to love it through Wednesday night church suppers. While his mom was socializing with the church ladies, Hunt would get her permission to go out to the car and surf the radio. Then, as a teen, he eavesdropped on the old guys hanging out at the fast food joint Bojangles -- which made for some really good stories and honed his storytelling skills.

After he graduated from high school, the "Take Your Time" hitmaker bought an Epiphone acoustic guitar at a pawnshop, and it was $200 well spent. He learned a few chords, enrolled at UAB and concentrated on his first love: football. Hunt was so good that he went to a free agent training camp hosted by the Kansas City Chiefs, but after a tough first week, he turned his sights to something else: country music. In 2008, the singer packed his bags for Nashville, much to the surprise of his mother.

The rest is history -- and a successful one at that. Hunt has written songs for artists like Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban and Billy Currington, but his own career has been incredibly successful so far, too. His debut album, Montevallo, is certified gold and made him the fastest new country act to go gold since 2012. He also had the best-selling debut album from a country artist since 2011, and he can thank Wednesday church suppers and Bojangles for at least part of his success.

Check out the video above — the latest in Taste of Country‘s You Think You Know Country? series — to learn more about Hunt's start in country music ... and to see, of course, lots of pictures of the photogenic star.

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