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Uncle Kracker Biography

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Birth Name: Matthew Shafer
Born: 1974/06/06
Birth Place: Mount Clemens, Michigan, United States
Years Active: 1987-present
Genres: Rock, Country, Hip Hop, Rap Rock

Matthew Shafer (born June 6, 1974; Mount Clemens, Michigan), better known by his stage name Uncle Kracker, is an American rock, country, and rap rock musician. His music was more rap rock-based at the start of his career before turning to a more country and Top 40 style. Shafer has been friends with Kid Rock since the mid-1990s. In 1994, Kid Rock asked Shafer to play turntables for his band called Twisted Brown Trucker. Shafer knew nothing of using turntables, but since his brother was an experienced DJ, he agreed. He only performed at live shows at the time, until he began recording for Rock's album, "Early Mornin' Stoned Pimp." Shafer was a featured vocalist on some of the tracks. He then began working on a solo album, but he continued being the DJ for Kid Rock.

Upon the release of Rock's multi-platinum album, "Devil Without a Cause," Shafer decided that it was time to release his first solo album, "Double Wide," adopting the stage name Uncle Kracker from his favorite snack producer, the Kraft Kracker Kompany of Flint, Michigan.

“Double Wide” was released in 2000 and peaked at #7 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and is Shafer's most successful and highest-selling album. "Double Wide" was produced by Kid Rock, with mixing additional production by Michael Bradford. The first single taken off the album was "Follow Me," which was co-written with Bradford, and peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. “Double Wide” was certified 2× platinum in November 2001.

After a great deal of touring to promote the first album, he began to work on a follow-up album. Entitled “No Stranger to Shame,” it was released in August 2002. The album reached #43 on the Billboard 200. A hit single was released, a cover version of Dobie Gray's 1973 Top 5 hit, "Drift Away,” featuring Gray as a guest vocalist. Kracker's version of this song peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100, and it set a record for most weeks at #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, remaining atop the chart for 22 weeks. Other singles released from “No Stranger to Shame” included "In A Little While", which peaked at #59 on the Hot 100 and #26 on the Adult Contemporary charts. A third single was released, "Memphis Soul Song", which charted on the Adult Top 40 at #35. A special remix of "Memphis Soul Song" was also released, featuring harmonies by legendary singing group The Jordanaires, who had famously sung harmonies with Elvis Presley. The album was certified gold by the RIAA within a year of its release.

Soon after this period, Kracker became good friends with country music star Kenny Chesney and the two began a successful touring partnership together, brought on by the success of Kenny's 2004 hit single "When the Sun Goes Down," which peaked at #1 on the Hot Country Songs chart, and went on to achieve gold certification.

After touring, Shafer began working on a third album which he called “Seventy Two and Sunny.” He had completely abandoned all rapping, and moved onto a pure country sound. The album featured two singles, "Rescue," which charted at #20 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Singles chart, and "Writing It Down," which did not chart at all. “Seventy Two and Sunny” peaked at #39 on the Billboard 200.

Uncle Kracker's fourth studio album “Happy Hour” was released in 2009. The first single from the album "Smile" was released in July 2009 and has peaked at #31 on the Billboard Hot 100. "Smile" also became his first solo entry on the Hot Country Songs chart, where it debuted at #57 and peaked at #6 in September 2010. The album also features country singer Jesse Lee in a duet they wrote called "Me Again."

Uncle Kracker's six song EP, “Happy Hour: The South River Road Sessions,” was released in June 2010. The EP features country remakes of songs off the “Happy Hour” album. Two songs released were remakes of "Smile" and "Good to Be Me," featuring Kid Rock.