Billboard News Today
Two of the biggest names in country music have signed with the Paradigm’s agency Nashville office, Billboard has learned. Country superstar and “retired” touring artist George Strait has joined the Paradigm booking team, along with country singer and The Voice judge Blake Shelton.
Shelton was previously represented by WME’s former co-head of Nashville Rob Beckham, who left the agency last year without any explanation. Both Shelton and Strait tour with AEG-affiliated promoter Louis Messina, who works with a number of artists represented by the talent agency, including Ed Sheeran and Shawn Mendes. Last year Paradigm announced that it had acquired the booking business of Morris Higham management, adding Kenny Chesney and Old Dominion to the Paradigm’s growing Nashville roster, which is overseen by Jonathan Levine.
Strait is a veteran performer and songwriter with 37 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart and a staggering 44 No. 1 songs on the Hot Country Songs chart and 86 songs in the top 10. In 2012 Strait announced his plans to retire from touring with the launch of the Cowboy Rides Away Tour. While Strait has stopped playing long road runs, he still plays special engagements with a number of concerts in 2019 scheduled including four shows in Las Vegas.
Shelton also has a tour slated for 2019, playing North American arenas starting Feb. 14 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City and wrapping up June 8 at Columbus Stadium in Ohio. Shelton and Strait joined a stacked roster at Paradigm that also includes breakout country stars Margo Price, Sturgill Simpson and Kacey Musgraves.