Willie Hugh Nelson (born April 30, 1933) is an American country singer-songwriter, author, poet, actor and activist. Nelson started studying music from mail order material, given to him by his grandparents. He wrote his first song at the age of seven, and joined his first band at nine. During high school, he joined the Bohemian Fiddlers before joining the National FFA, and also worked as a DJ in Texas radio stations while also singing in honky tonks. Nelson joined Baylor University for a year but dropped out, and moved to Vancouver, Washington, were he wrote the song Lumberjack in 1956 and Family Bible. In 1960 signed a publishing contract with Pamper Music that allowed him to join Ray Price's band as a bassist. During these times, he wrote songs that would be country standarts that were recorded by the most prominent artists of the time, including "Funny How Time Slips Away", "Hello Walls, Pretty Paper and "Crazy (Willie Nelson song)", and recorded his first album, And Then I Wrote, in 1962. Due to this success, Nelson signed in 1965 with RCA Victor and joined the Grand Ole Opry.
In 1973, after singing with Atlantic Records, Nelson incoursed into Outlaw country, working in albums as Shotgun Willie in 1973, and Phases and Stages in 1974. In 1975 switched to Columbia records, were he recorded the critically acclaimed Red Headed Stranger the same year, and confirmed his transference to outlaw country with the 1976 album Wanted! The Outlaws, alongside Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter and Tompall Glaser. During the mid 1980's, while working in hit albums as Honeysuckle Rose and recording hits as "On the Road Again", "To All the Girls I've Loved Before"and Pancho & Lefty, he joined country supergroup The Highwaymen, along fellow singers, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson. During the 1990's and 2000's Nelson continued touring intensibly and released albums in consecutive years, from succesful, to mixed reviews, exploring besides country, genres as reggae, blues, jazz, folk. Nelson also has worked on films, making his first appareance in the 1979 film, The Electric Horseman , Honeysuckle Rose, Thief, Barbarosa, among others.
Considered an American icon, Nelson is an major activist, co-chair of the advisory board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, in favor of marijuana legalization, and maked apparences in television shows and radio commercials in its favor. Also, covering ambientalism, Nelson owns the Bio-diesel brand Willie Nelson Biodiesel, made from vegetable oil. He's an active contributor to Farm Aid by performances in several benefit concerts.