America's Sweetheart: Carrie Underwood
By Janelle Landauer
Carrie Underwood thrust herself into stardom a little less than two years ago. Since receiving the title of the "American Idol" (season 4, 2005) - Underwood's music career has exploded. From being America's Sweetheart on American Idol - to now being a favorite worldwide, the rise for Underwood to fame has been nothing short of spectacular.
Underwood released her debut album, Some Hearts on November 15, 2005. The album has been certified Quintuple-platinum (5 million) and has scored Underwood 4 back to back #1 singles with "Inside Your Heaven," "Jesus, Take The Wheel," (six-week #1 single) "Don't Forget To Remember Me" and "Before He Cheats" which topped the charts for five weeks.
Some Hearts is the fastest-selling debut country album from a female since the Nielsen SoundScan started in 1991. The album set yet another milestone record becoming the fastest album for a female country debut in history to earn the 5x platinum mark. The album is not only the best-selling, single-disc country album by a solo artist (male or female) in the last SIX years, but it has also now become the best-selling, single-disc country album by a solo female vocalist in the new millennium. If that wasn't enough, the album is the best-selling, single-disc country album by any artist (solo, male, female, group, duo, etc) since August of 2002 when the Dixie Chicks' scored big with their release entitled, Home. Some Hearts acquired the #1 spot for the year-end Top Country Albums and the #1 spot on the all-genre chart of the Top Billboard 200 Albums in 2006.
Underwood received several awards last year including the "Breakthrough Artist" at the American Music Awards (AMAs), "Single of the Year" and "Top New Female Vocalist" at the Academy of Country Music Awards (ACMs), and two CMT Music Awards. She also walked away with the coveted "Female Vocalist of the Year" Award and the "Horizon" Award at the 40th Annual CMA Awards held in Nashville, Tennessee. At the 2006 Billboard Music Awards, Underwood scored five awards including "Female Billboard 200 Artist of the Year," "Female Country Artist" and "New Country Artist of the Year." Underwood also received the awards for "Album of the Year" and "Country Album of the Year" for Some Hearts.
2006 was the breakout year for Carrie Underwood but I wouldn't be surprised if she does just as well in 2007, if not better. She already has had quite the start to the new year with the Grammy Awards taking place in February. Underwood received her first-ever Grammy nominations in 2006 for "Best Female Country Vocal Performance" ("Jesus, Take The Wheel"), "Best New Artist," "Best Country Song" and "Song of the Year" for "Jesus, Take The Wheel" (awards to the songwriters Hillary Lindsey, Gordie Sampson and Brett James.) And, at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards in February, Underwood walked away with three of the four awards that she was nominated for, only missing out on "Song of the Year" which the Dixie Chicks took home.
Carrie Underwood's talent, sales and radio success can't be overlooked. Nor can the talent that comes from the show, American Idol. Nobody will know if Underwood would have had the same amount of success if she wouldn't have been on the show. But, the known factor is that Carrie Underwood has accomplished more than you can imagine in such a short period of time. All she has to do is continue making quality albums and releasing new music for the fans and she's sure to have a long, successful career in country music. Underwood's upcoming single, "Wasted" from her Some Hearts album hit country radio this month. Could this possibly be another #1 for Underwood? Everyone will have to wait and see... but the odds are definitely in her favor.