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Carrie Underwood: About
Carrie Marie Underwood (born March 10, 1983 in Muskogee, Oklahoma) is an American country music singer who won the title of the fourth season of American Idol. She has since become a multi-platinum award winning recording artist. She debuted at triple platinum with her album Some Hearts, the fastest selling female country album since the introduction of the Nielsen SoundScan in 1991. Underwood has won a Dove Award, two Country Music Association Awards, and two Academy of Country Music Awards.
Underwood was born at Muskogee Regional Medical Center in Muskogee, Oklahoma on March 10, 1983, and grew up on her parents' farm in rural Checotah. She is the third and youngest daughter of Stephen (retired from an industrial plant) and Carole Underwood (retired schoolteacher of Checotah Public Schools). She has two older sisters, Shanna Underwood Means and Stephanie Underwood Shelton, born in 1973 and 1970, both elementary school teachers in Oklahoma.
Underwood had performed at Robbins Memorial Talent Show in her childhood. She is a member of Free Will Baptist Church. As a young child, she sang in church, and for Old Settler's Day and Lion's Club, local events in Checotah. At the age of 13 in 1996, her manager at the time tried to get her a recording contract at Capitol Records. However, due to management changes at Capitol, it never materialized.
Underwood graduated from Checotah High School in 2001 as salutatorian and moved on to Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, where she graduated magna cum laude in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in mass communication and an emphasis in journalism. Underwood is a member of the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority. For two years during the summer, she performed in Northeastern's Downtown Country Show in Tahlequah. She also competed in numerous beauty pageants at the university and was selected as Miss NSU runner-up in 2004. Underwood finished with a smile on her face as she ended the pageant by falling down the stairs...
Underwood's musical influences include pop, but are predominantly country; she stated during Idol auditions that her favorite singer is Martina McBride. On the April 20 elimination show, Underwood demonstrated her ability to play the guitar. She can also play piano and yodel, the latter of which was demonstrated on the Tonight Show the night after she won.
After her rendition of Tiffany's "Could've Been", Randy Jackson said he could not believe that she was not yet discovered by record producers and music industry executives. On the March 22 show, after a performance of Heart's "Alone", Simon Cowell said, "Carrie, you're not just the girl to beat, you're the person to beat. I will make a prediction, not only will you win this show, but you will sell more records than any other previous 'Idol' winner." Cowell went on to say on the March 30 show that she has the "it" factor that will make her a pop icon. On her last song of the night in the final two, Underwood's performance of "Angels Brought Me Here" had Cowell saying, "I think you've done enough to win the competition." Jackson gave Underwood his second and last standing ovation during the season (the first was given to Vonzell Solomon after she performed 'When You Tell Me that You Love Me'). On May 25, 2005, she became the fourth winner of American Idol, beating Southern rocker Bo Bice, and joining Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken as the only contestants who had never been one of the "bottom three" singers during any week's results. The following season, her successor, pop-soul musician Taylor Hicks also joined the category. Carrie Underwood also won a blue 2005 Ford Mustang convertible and the use of a Marquis private jet for a year. On May 26 2005, U.S. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, presented a resolution congratulating Underwood for winning American Idol and for being a positive role model. The resolution thanks her for representing the state of Oklahoma as "an intelligent, kind, considerate young woman" to millions of television viewers around the world. The resolution was submitted to the United States Senate, and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. May 25, 2005 was declared Carrie Underwood Day in Oklahoma by Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry.
As part of her win, Underwood gained a recording contract with Arista Records; her first single, "Inside Your Heaven", was released on June 14, 2005. The single debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, with first-week sales of 170,000 copies, and briefly stopped Mariah Carey's run at #1 with "We Belong Together." It became the first song from a country artist to go number one on the Hot 100 since Lonestar's "Amazed" in 2000. Underwood's version was shunned by country radio reaching a peak of #59 on the country charts. The B-side is "Independence Day", a cover of the Martina McBride hit.
Carrie Underwood has performed several well-received renditions of the "The Star Spangled Banner" during major professional sporting events: before Game 4 of the 2005 NBA Finals at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Michigan, before the 2006 NFL NFC Championship at the Qwest Field in Seattle, and again before the 2006 MLB All-Star Game at the PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
Underwood's debut album, entitled Some Hearts, hit store shelves on November 15, 2005, entering the Billboard 200 chart with 315,000 copies sold. The large first week sales of Some Hearts made it #1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and the biggest debut of any country artist since the advent of the SoundScan system in 1991. Some Hearts has since been certified Triple Platinum by the RIAA, and is the fastest-selling debut country album in the history of the SoundScan era Carrie Underwood's first single, "Jesus, Take The Wheel" was released to radio on October 18, 2005. It received so much airplay that it debuted at #39 on the Billboard Country Chart in its first week, setting a record. It eventually reached #1 for 6 consecutive weeks, and was only two weeks shy of Connie Smith's record of an 8 week run back in 1964-1965. The single also debuted at #48 on the Billboard Hot 100 where it reached a peak of #20.
The album's title track, "Some Hearts" was released to pop music and adult contemporary radio. It received moderate airplay and made it to #12 on the Billboard and Adult Contemporary Top 40.
"Don't Forget To Remember Me," the third of Carrie Underwood's singles to be released to country radio, peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot Country Chart, as well as #49 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, it did reach #1 for a week on the Radio & Records Country Singles Chart. On May 24, 2006, Underwood returned to guest-perform on the fifth season of American Idol for a second time. She opened the show with the top 12 finalists with "I Made It Through The Rain" and took the stage later on to perform her newest single "Don't Forget To Remember Me".
Carrie Underwood sang the National Anthem prior to the 2006 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Pittsburgh.
Carrie Underwood also incorporates Christianity in some of her songs. Her singles "Jesus, Take the Wheel" and "Don't Forget to Remember Me" have earned number one spots in Christian radio countdowns. "Jesus, Take the Wheel" won the Gospel Music Academy's award for best country single of the year.
In 2005, Carrie Underwood starred in television advertisements for Hershey's Chocolate. The commercials have Underwood singing jingles for Hershey's products such as Kit Kat and Almond Joy. She is also wearing vintage Hershey T-shirts that feature Hershey's, Almond Joy, Kit Kat, Reeses and other chocolate brand logos as part of her endorsement deal. Underwood is also the latest spokesperson for Skechers shoes, following in the footsteps of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. Underwood appeared in her second Skechers footwear advertisement campaign in fashion and lifestyle publications in June 2006. The new campaign, with was shot in early 2006 in a "behind-the-scenes" style, is reflective of Underwood's busy new life as a multi-platinum recording artist embarking on a summer cross-country tour. Carrie is also one of the celebrity faces of the "Got Milk" ad campaigns for the International Milk Foundation, joining such celebrities as Sheryl Crow, Britney Spears, and Kelly Preston.
Carrie Underwood is a vegetarian and stopped consuming beef when she was 13. She was voted "World's Sexiest Vegetarian" alongside Coldplay frontman Chris Martin in 2005 by animal-rights organization PETA.
Carrie Underwood is a supporter of the Humane Society and has done several public service announcements for the organization.
A native of eastern Oklahoma, she co-wrote a song dedicated to her hometown, "I Ain't In Checotah Anymore". In December 2005, Underwood was named Oklahoman of the Year by Oklahoma Today magazine.
Carrie Underwood also appeared as the featured cover girl for Girl's Life, Teen Vogue, Teen People, Sweet 16, OK!, and Reader's Digest.
Carrie Underwood resides in Franklin, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee, where she owns a two-story home.