Alan grew up in a modest house in the small town of Newnan, Georgia. He left high school early to work, and married his high school sweetheart, Denise. On the side, he formed a small band that played locally, and created a demo tape of the songs he had written. His wife, who worked as a flight attendant, kept a copy of his demo handy. One day, she saw country artist Glen Campbell waiting for a flight and gave him the tape. Glen encouraged them to move to Nashville, where Alan found work as a staff writer for The Nashville Network and continued developing his craft in his free time.
In 1989, he landed a record deal with Arista Records, and his debut album, "Here in the Real World," became a massive hit in 1990. He followed it up with album after album, most of which have been certified multi-platinum. His work has won him a Grammy Award, 16 Country Music Awards and 16 Academy of Country Music Awards, and has made him one of the biggest names in country music.