No matter which of the numerous nicknames you use for Eric Church, one thing certain: He's made one heck of an impact on country music throughout his career.

Church, or "Chief" to some, was born on May 3, 1977, and grew up in Granite Falls, N.C. The singer first started writing songs and playing guitar as a teenager, and after his graduation from Appalachian State University, he decided to move to Nashville to pursue a career as a songwriter.

Life had different plans for "Mr. Misunderstood," however: While working as a writer, Church was recorded his own demos, which led to a deal with Capitol Records Nashville. (He did get a couple cuts, though: Terri Clark recorded "The World Needs a Drink," for example.)

From his time paying his dues playing in small venues to his current status as an arena-headlining country superstar, this "Desperate Man" was a talent from the start. Click through the photo gallery below to see Church throughout his country music career:

WATCH: You Think You Know Eric Church?

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