Born in 1961 in Burbank, CA, country & western singer/songwriter/musician Jeffrey Steele enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame that materialized in several distinct arenas of the recording industry. Steele kick-started his career by authoring music, and soon attained a status as one of Nashville's most sought-after songwriters, authoring hit tunes for artists including Trisha Yearwood, Tim McGraw, and Rascal Flatts. In time, however, Steele grew dissatisfied with limiting himself to a scribe role and decided to take center stage as lead guitarist of the band Boy Howdy -- a role that gave him an immediate (and much-desired) emotional connection with the audience. The band began recording and touring in 1990 and racked up a long string of hits, but Steele once again felt listless and decided to trek off on a solo career -- to resounding success. His debut album, 2001's Somethin' in the Water, was released by the Monument label to enthusiastic audience response, and presaged a number of hit follow-ups.
Prior to the late-2000s, Steele's on-camera experience was primarily limited to music videos, but this changed in a big way in 2008 with his enlistment as a judge on the USA Network's competitive reality series Nashville Star. The format of the program loosely resembled that of American Idol, redone in a country & western vein.