Born Randy Bruce Traywick - but known in musical circles as Randy Travis - Randy has recorded more than a dozen studio albums to date. He has charted more than thirty singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, with sixteen reaching Number One.
Travis was born in Marshville, North Carolina. While growing up, he was forced to take guitar lessons by his father and began performing at the age of eight with his brother, Ricky. He often fought with his father and soon dropped out of high school. He was arrested for various offenses, including auto theft and burglary.
His father entered Randy and Ricky in a talent contest at a nightclub called "Country City USA" in Charlotte, North Carolina. In the meantime, Ricky, who also had brushes with the law, was sentenced to jail. Randy had to complete the contest alone, and won. The club's manager, Elizabeth "Lib" Hatcher, took an interest in Travis and gave him a job singing at the club. Travis began focusing on music. He first recorded for Paula Records and released two unsuccessful singles — "She's My Woman" and "Dreamin'."
Travis moved in with Hatcher, who eventually left her husband and, in 1982, she and Travis moved to Nashville, Tennessee. Travis was soon turned down by every record label in town. His early demo tapes were criticized by Nashville record executives as being "too country."
Hatcher took a job as manager of a nightclub, "The Nashville Palace" and hired Travis as a cook and singer. It was during this time that an unlikely romance began to form between the two; Travis said "I think we discovered how much we needed each other." He and Elizabeth "Lib" Hatcher soon came forward with their relationship and were married in a private ceremony in 1991.
In 1982, Travis recorded an independent album Live at the Nashville Palace and Lib Hatcher used it to secure a deal with Warner Bros. Records. However, the label said they had to keep their romance a secret so as not to turn away fans, and changed his stage name from Randy Ray to Randy Travis. In 1985, Warner Brothers released the single "On the Other Hand" which peaked at #67 on the country charts. His next single, "1982," became a Top 10 hit followed by the re-release of "On the Other Hand" in 1986. The re-release became Travis' first number one hit.
His debut album, Storms of Life, went on to sell more than 4 million copies. In the late 1980s he had a string of hits, including "No Place Like Home" and "Diggin' Up Bones."
A song from his second Warner Brothers album Always and Forever titled "Forever and Ever, Amen" arguably launched the neo-traditionalist country era. For two years in a row, Travis won the Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance, for the albums Always & Forever in 1988, and for Old 8x10 in 1989. He also won the Grammy for Best Country Newcomer in 1986. Off the success of his first two albums, Old 8x10 was certified platinum, and Always and Forever was number one for 43 weeks.
In 1992, Travis took a break from music to concentrate on acting and landed roles in several Western-genre films. He returned to recording with the 1994 album This Is Me and the hit single "Whisper My Name." Three years later, Travis parted ways with Warner Brothers and signed with DreamWorks Nashville. He recorded You and You Alone, which produced the top 10 hits "Out of My Bones," "The Hole" and "Spirit of a Boy, Wisdom of a Man."
After the 1999 release of A Man Ain't Made of Stone, Travis shifted away from mainstream country and focused on Gospel. Between 2000 and 2003, he recorded the albums Inspirational Journey, Rise and Shine and Worship & Faith. The single "Three Wooden Crosses" from the Rise and Shine album reached No. 1 and won the CMA song of the year in 2003. That same year, Travis ranked #13 on CMT's 40 Greatest Men of Country Music.
He continued to act in film and television; he appeared in several episodes and in the series finale of Touched by an Angel. His album, Passing Through, was released in November 2004. It combined the country music of his earlier years, with the gospel influences from his latest albums.
After the release of Glory Train: Songs of Faith, Worship, and Praise in 2005 and the Christmas album Songs of the Season in 2007, Travis released his brand new single "Faith in You" as a free download from his official website. It heralded the July 2008 release of his album, Around the Bend, his first collection of mainly secular recordings in nearly a decade.
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-----In February 2009, Travis' "I Told You So" was released as a single by Carrie Underwood, who had recorded the song for her 2007 album Carnival Ride. The next month, radio stations were sent a duet version of the song, featuring Randy Travis on vocals. From then on, he was credited with Underwood on the single, which peaked at No. 2 on the Country charts and No. 9 on the U.S. Hot 100.
That same month, Travis released the 2 disc greatest hits compilation I Told You So: The Ultimate Hits of Randy Travis. In June 2011, he is slated to unveil his latest album, Anniversary Celebration.
Travis and Elizabeth divorced in October 2010 after a 19-year marriage. Despite the divorce, their 34-year business relationship continues.