Rodney Atkins Biography

Rodney Austin Atkins (born March 28, 1969, in Knoxville, Tennessee) is an American country music artist. Signed to Curb Records since 1997, Atkins charted his first single on the Billboard country charts that year, but did not release an album until 2003's Honesty, which included the Top 5 hit "Honesty (Write Me a List)."

If You're Going Through Hell, his second album, was released in 2006. Its first two singles, "If You're Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows)" and "Watching You", each spent four weeks at the top of the country music charts. Both songs were also named as the Number One country song of the year by Billboard magazine ("If You're Going Through Hell" in 2006, and "Watching You" in 2007). The album, which has since been certified platinum in the United States, has produced two more Number One singles in "These Are My People" and "Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy)" as well as "Invisibly Shaken" which peaked at #41. A twelfth single, "It's America," was released in November 2008 as the first release from his third album It's America and the song became his fifth Number One on the chart dated May 2, 2009.


Rodney Atkins was born in Tennessee, and put up for adoption not long after his birth. As an infant at the Holston Methodist Home for Children in Greeneville, Tennessee, he was so sick that two couples who had taken him home returned him a few days later. A third couple, Margaret and Allan Atkins from Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, adopted him as well and, even though his ailments worsened, refused to give him up. His adoptive mother had been raised in a coal mining family near a tannery camp, and his dad survived an upbringing marked by poverty and episodes of abuse.

During high school, Atkins played guitar in his spare time at events and festivals. He went to college at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, Tennessee, where he worked various jobs in order to pay for his education. He also went into Nashville to play gigs and write songs.

Musical career

Rodney Atkins

Atkins was signed to Curb Records in 1997. That year, he charted for the first time with the single "In a Heartbeat", which peaked at #74 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks (now Hot Country Songs) charts. He had also planned to release a self-titled debut album that year on September 17; however, after deciding that he was not satisfied with the album's contents at that point, he asked Mike Curb (the label's president) to allow him more time to work on the album. For two more years, Atkins continued to work on his debut album, although it was never released.


In 2002, Atkins released his second single, entitled "Sing Along". Both it and its followup, "My Old Man", peaked in the lower regions of the Top 40 on the country charts. He entered the Top 10 for the first time in late 2003-early 2004 with "Honesty (Write Me a List)", which went on to peak at #4. The song was the title track to his album Honesty, which was released by the end of 2003. "Someone to Share It With" and "Monkey in the Middle" were also issued as singles from this album, although the former peaked at #41, and the latter failed to chart.

If You're Going Through Hell

Having been absent from the country music charts for most of 2004 and 2005, Atkins returned in 2006 with a single entitled "If You're Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows)", which served as the lead-off to his second released album, If You're Going Through Hell. The song went on to become not only his first Number One hit on the country charts, but also the Number One country song of the year 2006 according to Billboard. This single's followup, "Watching You", earned him a second consecutive Number One, and in 2007, it was also declared by Billboard as Number One country song of the year.

The album went on to achieve RIAA platinum certification in the United States, in addition to producing two more Number One hits, for a total of four consecutive Number Ones: "These Are My People" and "Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy)". "Invisibly Shaken", previously recorded by Lee Greenwood, was the fifth and final single from If You're Going Through Hell. The single peaked at #41 on the Country Singles Chart.

It's America

Atkins' thirteenth single, "It's America", was released in November 2008. This is the first single from his third album, It's America, released on March 31, 2009. The song became his fifth Number One song on the chart dated May 2, 2009. The second single, "15 Minutes", was released to radio on May 26, 2009, where it debuted at #57 on the country charts and peaked at #20 in September 2009, marking his seventh Top 20 hit on the country chart. "Chasin' Girls" was sent to radio in October as the third single and peaked at #48.

Atkins' new single "Farmer's Daughter" debuted at #51 in April 2010. It's America was re-released on June 29, 2010 to include the song as a bonus track.

In 2010, Atkins also released "Get Together", a promotional single for Kraft Velveeta Shells and Cheese, which sponsored Atkins for his "Get Together" tour.

Charitable efforts

Madeleine Rose Trudel (August 26, 1999-November 26, 2006), a young girl from St. Clair, Michigan, was dying of cancer when on October 25, 2006 Atkins gave Maddie a private concert in her hospital room. Atkins learned about Maddie when somebody sent him a link to the Free Press series about Maddie and her illness. He sang "If You're Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows)", his signature song as well as Maddie's favorite song.
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