Singer. Born Carrie Marie Underwood on March 10, 1983, in Muskogee, Oklahoma. After winning the musical talent show American Idol, Carrie Underwood has emerged as one of the most popular female performers in country music today. She was born and raised on a farm. “I had a very happy childhood full of the wonderful simple things that children love to do,” Underwood said on her Website. “Growing up in the country, I enjoyed things like playing on dirt roads, climbing trees, catching little woodland creatures and, of course, singing.”
After graduating high school, Underwood went to Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. There she studied for a degree in broadcast journalism, having put aside her dreams of becoming a singer. During her senior year, Underwood decided to tryout for American Idol. She not only passed that audition, but went on to become the winner of the show’s fourth season.
Her debut album, Some Hearts (2005), was certified triple platinum, making it the fastest-selling female country album since the introduction of the Nielsen SoundScan in 1991. Her first single, “Inside Your Heaven,” hit the top of the Billboard charts.
With “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” Underwood hit the top of the country charts. The song proved to be a critical success as well, winning Underwood the Single Record of the Year Award from the Academy of Country Music (ACM), Single of the Year from the Country Music Association (CMA), and a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance in 2006. She also won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist that year.
In contrast to her softer-sounding material, Underwood also had great success with “Before He Cheats,” a tale about a straying ex-boyfriend. The single won Underwood a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance and a CMA Award for Single of the Year in 2007. That same year, Underwood released her follow-up album, Carnival Ride (2007). It reached the top of the album charts and scored several number one country hits with such singles as “Last Name” and “All-American Girl.”
On May 10, 2008, at the age of 26, Underwood was inducted as a member of the Grand Ole Opry by country star Garth Brooks. She is currently the youngest member of the Grand Ole Opry. Later that year, in September 2008, Underwood received two more CMA award nominations for Female Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year for Carnival Ride. Underwood also hosted the award show along with fellow country star Brad Paisley. She won the Female Vocalist of the Year award for the third consecutive time, but lost the Album of the Year award to George Strait.
In February 2009, Underwood won the Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for her song “Last Name.” The win gave Underwood a total of four Grammy awards in three years. Later that year, Underwood was tapped again to co-host the CMA Awards to be held on November 11, 2009. She also received two more CMA nominations: Female Vocalist Of The Year and Musical Event Of The Year. Underwood will release her third studio album, Play On a few weeks before her role as hostess at the CMAs.