Darius Carlos "Hootie" Rucker (born May 13, 1966) is an American singer and songwriter. He first gained fame as the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist of the Grammy Award-winning American rock band Hootie & the Blowfish, which he founded in 1986 at the University of South Carolina along with Mark Bryan, Jim "Soni" Sonefeld and Dean Felber. The band has released five studio albums with him as a member, and charted six top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. Rucker co-wrote the majority of the band's songs with the other three members.
He released a solo R&B album, Back to Then, in 2002 on Hidden Beach Recordings but did not chart any singles from it. Six years later, Rucker signed to Capitol Nashville as a country music singer, releasing the album, Learn to Live that year. Its first single, "Don't Think I Don't Think About It", made him the first black artist to reach number one on the Hot Country Songs charts since Charley Pride in 1983. (Ray Charles hit number one in March 1985 in a duet with Willie Nelson with Seven Spanish Angels). It was followed by two more number one singles, "It Won't Be Like This for Long" and "Alright" and the number three, "History in the Making." In 2009, he became the first African American to win the New Artist Award from the Country Music Association, and only the second African American to win any award from the association. A second album, Charleston, SC 1966, was released on October 12, 2010. The album includes the number one singles, "Come Back Song" and "This".