Excerpt from “Thanks to ‘Austin’, Shelton’s career (and answering machine) is lighting up” By Tom Roland for the Tennessean (August 2001)
Los Angeles-The song that launched Blake Shelton to public recognition rolled its sentimental way to six weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard country sings chart this past summer. Shelton became the first artist to accomplish that with a debut single since Bily Ray Cyrus’ Achy Breaky Heart in 1992. As a result, recognition has begun to pile up. Radio & Records magazine named Shelton “country music’s breakthrough artist of the year” and he was nominated for new country artist of the year at the Billboard Music Awards.
Excerpt “Answering machine clicks for Shelton” by Walter Carter (Nashville Beat, The Tennessean)
David Kent and Kirsti Manna got the idea for ‘Austin’, Blake Shelton’s current hit, from a message on a friend’s answering machine. Ironically, their friend is a songwriter but he wasn’t interested in writing about this particular real-life romantic experience. “He broke up with a girl who, in fact, did move back to Austin.” Kent said. “He left as his outgoing message, ‘If this is Austin, I still love you.’” It was Manna who recognized the song potential in the message. “I said, ‘We should write that,’” she recalled, “He and I have written a lot of songs about his jilted love affairs, but I guess he was too close to this one.” “He said ‘No’ and I said, ‘Can I take the title?’” With the friend’s permission, Manna and Kent turned the idea into a song, giving it a happy ending, which, incidentally the real-life version did not have. As Blake Shelton’s hit recording began climbing the charts, Manna and Kent began hearing from people whose lives were affected by the song. A typical one, Manna said, “was about how this relationship went down the pike, and I heard that song and it inspired me to call. It’s just great when your music can move people.”