Carrie Underwood was born March 10, 1983. Her family
already owned the farm in Checotah, Okla., though Underwood was born in the next
town over, the one made famous in Merle Haggard's song, "Okie From Muskogee."
Her father, Stephen, worked at a paper
mill, and her mother, Carole, was an elementary school teacher. Carrie Underwood is the
youngest of three sisters. Shanna is 13 years older and Stephanie is 10 years
older. Carrie Underwood was just 4 years old when Shanna moved out on her own but says
her siblings have always been there for her.
Music didn't run in the family, but Carrie Underwood started singing at church when
she was 3. Once she was in school, she sang solo roles in student plays. By the
seventh grade, people were taking more notice of her voice as she entered local
talent shows. She was told she had a "big voice" for "such a little girl."
Her taste in music was varied, thanks to her parents (who liked oldies) and
sisters (who favored '80s pop). She started listening to country music in the
She was involved in her high school music program, but she kept telling
people she was going to become a famous singer. Then she enrolled at
Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla., and became more serious about
her career choice. She chose broadcast journalism for her major and produced a
student-run television program and wrote for the school paper, The Northeastern.
Music wasn't completely out of the picture. While in college, she had a role
in a country music show where she learned about country legends like Patsy Cline
and the Carter Family. She was still taking her college classes when friends
encouraged her to audition for American Idol. At first, she resisted. However,
she soon realized if she didn't audition, she would graduate, get a job and may
never have a chance to try out for the show again. So one night after wrapping
an appearance in the college country music show, she piled into the car with her
mom, a friend and her mother and drove all night, arriving in St. Louis at 6
a.m. They had to be at the stadium by 8 a.m. to receive wristbands to be
eligible for the auditions. Then she waited eight hours before singing Martina
McBride's "Phones Are Ringing All Over Town" for American Idol supervising
producer James Breen.
Carrie Underwood didn't think she sang it well although she was invited to come back
the next day and sing for executive producer Nigel Lythgoe. She sang another
McBride song for Lythgoe, "Independence Day." On the next round,
Carrie Underwood sang
Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me" for the show's judges, who sent her to
Hollywood on her first-ever airline flight. As the weeks went by, the other
contestants were voted off the show one by one, until the finale on May 25,
2005, when it was Carrie Underwood vs. Bo Bice. When Ryan Seacrest announced the
winner, Carrie Underwood became America's new idol.
She signed to 19 Recordings/Arista Records and released the single "Inside
Your Heaven", which debuted as the best selling song in the nation with sales of
170,000. She broke Billboard chart history as the first country music artist
ever to debut at No. 1 on the Hot 100. Carrie Underwood's "Inside Your Heaven" also
became the first song from a country artist to go to No. 1 on the Hot 100 since Lonestar's "Amazed" did so in 2000. However, the single was scarcely played on
Following her win, she performed on the American Idol tour and signed
advertising deals for Hershey's chocolate and Skechers shoes. She released the
single "Jesus, Take the Wheel" to country radio later that year; her debut album
Some Hearts followed in November, less than six months following her Idol
Contact Grabow for more information or to book Carrie
Underwood for your next corporate or private event.