5:35am PT by Wade Jessen, Billboard
'The Voice' Winner Craig Wayne Boyd Debuts at No. 1 on Hot Country Songs
Boyd becomes just the second artist to launch at No. 1 since Hot Country Songs began as a multimetric chart in October 1958. Garth Brooks is the only other act to bow atop the chart, having made history when "More Than a Memory" blew in at the summit on Sept. 15, 2007 (when the list was based solely on radio airplay).
After Boyd won the latest season of The Voice and performed "Smile" on the show's Dec. 16 episode, the track enters atop Country Digital Songs with 99,000 downloads sold, according to Nielsen Music.
Concurrently, Boyd's cover of Alabama's No. 4-peaking 1995 ballad "In Pictures" enters Country Digital Songs at No. 3 (30,000) and Hot Country Songs at No. 28. His take on Randy Houser's "Boots On" (which hit No. 2 on Hot Country Songs in 2009) with Voice coach (and his mentor on the show) Blake Shelton enters Country Digital Songs at No. 9 (23,000) and Hot Country Songs at No. 33.
Boyd also collects the Hot Shot Debut on Top Country Albums at No. 35 with The Voice: The Complete Season 7 Collection, which starts with 4,000 copies sold. No. 1 on Top Country Albums, Brooks' Man Against Machine returns for a fifth week on top (2-1) as the chart's Greatest Gainer (81,000, up 32 percent].
Boyd, who toiled in Nashville for 11 years before winning The Voice, plays the legendary Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Auditorium on Jan. 3. His debut Dot Records album will follow.
"I hope to bring light songs again that have stories with meanings behind them," he told The Tennessean. "I feel like I'm a spokesperson for all of those guys who have paid their dues and slugged it out. If they truly believe in themselves, don't quit. Find any avenue you can; it will pay off."
Watch Boyd's music video below.
This post originally appeared on Billboard.com. Additional reporting by Gary Trust.