Carrie Underwood was born at Muskogee Regional Medical Centre
in Muskogee, Oklahoma to Stephen and Carole Underwood. Carrie
was raised on her parents' farm in rural Checotah (Onapa),
Carrie Underwood has performed at Robbins Memorial Talent Show every year since childhood. At the age of 13 in 1996, Underwood's manager at the time tried to get her a recording contract at Capitol Records. However, due to management changes at Capitol, it never materialized.
Carrie Underwood graduated from Checotah High School in 2001 as salutatorian. Underwood attended Northeastern State University, where she graduated magna cum laude in 2006 in mass communication with an emphasis in journalism. Underwood is a member of the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority. For 2 years during the summer, Carrie performed in Northeastern's Downtown Country Show in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Carrie also competed in numerous beauty pageants at the university and was selected as Miss NSU runner-up in 2004. She has also volunteered at her local hospice.
Carrie Underwood has two older sisters, Shanna Underwood Means and Stephanie Underwood Shelton, born in 1974 and 1971, both elementary school teachers in Oklahoma.
Carrie 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 singing Tiffany's "Could've Been", Randy Jackson said he couldn't believe that no one had discovered her yet.
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 competition, 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 star.
On Carrie Underwood's last song of the night in the final two, Carrie's performance of "Angels Brought Me Here" had Simon saying, "I think you've done enough to win the competition." And Randy Jackson gave Carrie his very first and last standing ovation during the season. 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. Taylor Hicks, Season 5 winner also joined that group.
As part of her title, Carrie 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." One week later, runner-up, Bo Bice, released his version of the song, which debuted at #2. 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 has appeared as a guest on Canadian Idol singing "Inside Your Heaven" during the Idols 2005 tour in Toronto.
Carrie Underwood performed a well-received "The Star Spangled Banner" before Game 4 of the 2005 NBA Finals at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Michigan. In the same year, she starred in ads for Hershey's Chocolate. The commercials have Underwood singing Hershey jingles Hershey's products such as Kit Kat and Almond Joy. Carrie Underwood is also wearing vintage Hershey T-shirts that feature Hershey's, Almond Joy, Kit Kat, Reeses and other chocolate brand logos. The T-Shirts are now available to buy with proofs of purchase. Underwood is also the latest spokesperson for Skechers shoes, following in the footsteps of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.
Carrie Underwood's second single, "Jesus, Take The Wheel" was made available for radio airplay 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. As it climbed it finally 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.
Underwood's initial album release, entitled Some Hearts, hit store shelves on November 15, 2005.  On that same day, she presented an award and performed "Jesus, Take The Wheel" at the 39th Country Music Association awards in New York City. When the week's sales figures were tabulated, Some Hearts entered 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 1990.
In December 2005, Carrie Underwood was named Oklahoman of the Year by Oklahoma Today magazine.
Carrie Underwood hosted a 2-hour Christmas radio special Christmas in the Country. This program was available for the radio market during late December 2005.
On January 9, 2006, Some Hearts was certified Double Platinum by the RIAA with shipments of over 2 million units, making it the fastest-selling debut country album in the history of Nielsen SoundScan.
On February 19, 2006 Carrie's album was released in Australia.
On March 2nd 2006, Carrie Underwood returned to the American Idol stage to sing her hit single, Jesus Take The Wheel.
On March 18, 2006, at the Grand Ole Opry, Carrie performed a rendition of Tammy Wynettes signature song "Stand by Your Man" and received a standing ovation from the audience for her performance.
On May 11, 2006, Some Hearts was certified Triple Platinum by the RIAA with shipments of over 3 million units, making it not only the fastest selling album by a female country artist, but the best-selling debut album coming from any contestant of American Idol.
On May 24, 2006 Carrie Underwood returned to American Idol for a second time. She opened the show with the top 12 contestants singing I Made It Through The Rain and took the stage later on to sing her newest single Don't Forget To Remember Me. She was then spotted in the audience throughout the night. Her very generous appearances have garnered her great respect from the fans of American Idol and her own fans who note her as being, "The Anti Kelly Clarkson" in that she has embraced, rather than rejected, her idol past.
The album's title track, "Some Hearts," was released to pop and adult contemporary radio. It received moderate airplay and made it to #12 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Top 40.
"Don't Forget To Remember Me," the second of Carrie Underwood's singles to be released to country radio, has peaked at #6 on the Hot Country Charts, as well as, #49 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Underwood will be named one of Teen People's "25 Hottest Stars Under 25" for their June/July issue. Both she and American Idol's first season winner, Kelly Clarkson, made the list.
On April 5, 2006, Carrie Underwood won one Dove Award, Best Country Recorded Song of The Year, for "Jesus, Takes the Wheel".
Carrie Underwood won 2 Academy of Country Music Awards, one for Single Record of the Year, for "Jesus, Take the Wheel", and the other for Best New Female Artist on May 24, 2006.
A day after her double win at the ACM's, she returned to American Idol, along side the finalist, Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee and the rest of the Final 12 in that season, before passing on the "American Idol" crown.
On May 26, 2005, U.S. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, presented a resolution congratulating Carrie 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.
As a result, May 25 was declared Carrie Day in Oklahoma.
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