Not every artist can claim the accolade of securing a Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 single and a Billboard 200 No. 1 album in the same week. But Zach Bryan did just that, though not without a hitch. The Grammy-nominated country/rock star experienced one of the most roller-coaster weeks in his professional career when he was arrested in Oklahoma for obstruction of investigation, as per the Craig County Sheriff’s Office.
- Bryan’s song “I Remember Everything” with Grammy-winning country star Kacey Musgraves became a Hot 100 chart-topper. The acclaimed self-titled album from which the hit single is drawn debuted atop the Billboard 200, marking his first No. 1 album in the U.S. Every single track from the album, all 16 of them, debuted on the Hot 100. The album achieved the record for the largest streaming week for a rock album in history. Earlier in the year, Bryan’s track “Something in the Orange” from his American Heartbreak album reached the Hot 100’s top 10.
The Incident Leading to Arrest
According to an arrest affidavit released by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Bryan’s arrest was a result of a confrontation with a state trooper during a traffic stop involving Bryan’s security guard. The singer, frustrated with the duration of the traffic stop, reportedly questioned the trooper on the delay, leading to escalating tensions. He was then warned to retreat, or face arrest for obstruction of the traffic stop. Bryan’s challenge and subsequent disparaging remarks about law enforcement earned him an arrest.
In a phone conversation overheard during his booking process, there were references to open containers of beer in Bryan’s truck. The situation seemed to further escalate when Bryan’s father hinted at involving the Governor.
Bryan, eager to clear the air, took to social media with a video where he provided his detailed account of the events leading up to his arrest. Recounting the incident, Bryan admitted to acting impulsively, interrupting the officer multiple times, and regretting his confrontational approach. In his own words, he “felt like a child.”
He began by discussing an incident from the previous day when he was pulled over for speeding. Bryan expressed his reluctance in giving out his address to the officer, leading to a brief standoff and eventual handcuffing. The situation was resolved once Bryan provided his address.
The subsequent day saw the aforementioned traffic stop involving Bryan’s security guard. Bryan, apparently waiting “10-15 minutes”, grew restless and decided to intervene, resulting in the arrest. Reflecting on the ordeal, Bryan expressed regret for his actions and admitted that his conduct was not appropriate. He stated, “I was just an idiot and I’ll take the fall for it. I’m a grown man and I shouldn’t have behaved like that.”
In Oklahoma, “obstruction of investigation” is defined as “willfully delaying or obstructing any public officer in the discharge or attempt to discharge any duty of his office”. This charge is considered a misdemeanor in the state. Following the arrest, Bryan spent several hours in Craig County jail before being released.
Support and Backlash from the Music Community
The sudden arrest not only sparked conversations around the incident but also affected Spotify’s playlist covers. On Friday (Sept. 8), Spotify changed the cover of its “Outlaw” country playlist to showcase Bryan’s new mugshot. This decision, while timely, has received mixed reactions from the music community. Billboard has reached out to Spotify for a statement on the change.
Zach Bryan’s unprecedented week serves as a testament to the unpredictable journey of stardom. While his musical accomplishments remain a significant achievement, his actions off the stage serve as a stark reminder that celebrities, like all individuals, are prone to human errors and impulses.