Brooks grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana. He has one sister, one half-sister, one half-brother and his father adopted one son of his third wife. After graduating from the former Sewanee Military Academy, an Episcopal school in Sewanee, Tennessee, Brooks attended Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, where he was a theatre arts major. He moved to Alaska to work for his father on an oil pipeline for one summer and then returned to Louisiana Tech to finish his education. He then moved to Maine and wrote advertising for a company owned by his sister and brother-in-law.
His father urged him to pursue his desire to become a musician, and Kix moved to Nashville in the early 1980s. His then girlfriend (now wife Barbara, with whom he has a son and daughter) followed shortly thereafter. He began working for Tree Publishing as a staff songwriter. He recorded his first solo single, Baby, When Your Heart Breaks Down, for Avion in 1983 but returned to songwriting after its failure. Brooks and Dan Tyler co-wrote Modern Day Romance, released by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in June 1985; it became the band's second No. 1 hit on the country chart.
Brooks released an album, Kix Brooks, in 1989 on Capitol Records. This album also featured the song "Sacred Ground", which became a No. 2 country hit for McBride & the Ride in 1992.
He was one half of country music duo Brooks & Dunn. Brooks usually provides backing vocals on their songs and singles. The singles featuring Brooks on lead vocals include, "You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone", which went to No. 1, "Lost and Found," "Rock My World (Little Country Girl)," "Mama Don't Get Dressed Up for Nothing," "South of Santa Fe" and "Why Would I Say Goodbye."
On August 10, 2009, Brooks & Dunn announced to their fans, via their website that they intended to disband after 20 years of touring. According to the short statement released on their web site, Brooks & Dunn intend to release a greatest hits album, tour throughout the rest of 2009, and have a farewell tour in 2010.
Brooks resumed his solo career in 2012, releasing a new 12-track album on September 11, 2012. New to This Town features nine songs co-written by Brooks, including the album's first single, the title track. He followed up his second album with the soundtrack to the western film Ambush at Dark Canyon in 2014. Brooks composed the majority of the musical score as well as starring in the film.
On December 3, 2014 it was announced that Brooks & Dunn will reunite along with Reba McEntire to perform a series of concerts in Vegas throughout the summer and fall to 2015.
Brooks and Dunn have won more Country Music Association awards and Academy of Country Music awards than any act in the history of country music. They have won the Country Music Association Vocal Duo of the Year award every year since they debuted in 1991 except in 2000 when the honor went to Montgomery Gentry, and in 2007 and 2009 when it was awarded to Sugarland. They have sold over 30 million records and continue to be one of the most consistently successful touring acts on the concert circuit.
In 2005, Brooks, along with timber industrialist Roy O. Martin, Jr., the civil rights pioneer Andrew Young, and the Louisiana State University sports legends Paul Dietzel and Sue Gunter were among those named a "Louisiana Legend" by Louisiana Public Broadcasting.
On July 13, 2013, during his performance at Paragon Casino, Marksville, Louisiana, Kix Brooks was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.
Since January 2006, Brooks has hosted American Country Countdown, a syndicated radio countdown show based on Mediabase (originally was BILLBOARD, from 2006 to August 2009), country charts. Brooks succeeded the show's former host, Bob Kingsley. Brooks is also co-owner of Arrington Vineyards with winemaker Kip Summers, and businessmen John Russell. Arrington Vineyard is a winery located outside of Nashville.
In 2013 Kix launched the film company Team Two Entertainment along with Eric Brooks. The company makes independent films that Kix produces and occasionally appears as an actor in.
In 2015, Brooks signed a deal with Cooking Channel to host Steak Out with Kix Brooks, in which he travels around America in search of the best steakhouses.