Toby Keith Covel was born on July 8, 1961, in Clinton, Oklahoma. Keith has a sister, Tonni, and a brother, Tracy. When Toby Keith was young, his grandmother owned a supper club where musicians often played. Because of this, he became interested in music and performing at an early age. When Toby Keith was 8 years old, he received his first guitar. While working in the prosperous oil fields of Oklahoma, Keith started his first band, Easy Money, at age 20. He continued to work in the oil fields and play in his band on the side. When the oil industry endured a rapid decline, Keith found himself unemployed and after a couple years of playing with the semi-pro Oklahoma City Drillers football team, he decided to try music full-time. Friends and family were doubtful that the band would succeed, but in 1984, Easy Money began playing the honky tonk circuit in Oklahoma and Texas.
In 1993, a fan of Toby Keith's handed a recorded demo tape to Harold Shedd, an executive at Mercury Records. Shedd was impressed and after seeing him perform he offered him a recording contract with Mercury. The single "Should've Been a Cowboy" off of Keith's self-titled debut album went to number 1 on the Billboard country singles chart. Toby Keith, the album, also hit platinum status. Other successful singles off of the album were "A Little Less Talk and a Lot More Action" and "Wish I Didn't Know Now."
Over the years, Toby Keith has released many more successful albums and singles. In 1994, he released Boomtown, which went gold, and in 1996, he released Blue Moon, which went platinum. Also in 1996, Keith appeared on the Beach Boys album Stars and Stipes Vol. 1, where he covered their 1963 hit "Be True to Your School." Toby Keith's fourth album, Dream Walkin', was released in 1997. Dream Walkin' featured a duet that Toby Keith sang with Sting called "I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying," which had previously been a successful single for Sting himself. In 1999, Keith began working on his next album, How Do You Like Me Now. With the release of the single "How Do You Like Me Now," the album went double platinum.
In 2005, Toby Keith launched his own record label, which he calls Show Dog Nashville. Keith's first release on Show Dog was White Trash With Money. High Maintenance Woman was released in June of 2007 and featured the singles "Unleashed" and "Shock'n Y'all." Toby Keith took a brief break from recording and starred in the film Broken Bridges, which was released in September 2006.