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It’s true that Carrie Underwood sprang to fame as an American Idol winner, but her career needs to be defined in the context of country superstars instead of reality-show contestants. Her millions of records sold, her dozens of awards, her many record-breaking feats on the charts, and her status as one of the most powerful people in the music business all testify to a staying power beyond American Idol. Underwood’s debut single, “Inside Your Heaven,” hit number one on the country charts in 2005, the first of a dozen country chart-toppers over the course of her career.

Underwood grew up in the small town of Checotah, Oklahoma, and began singing with her church at the tender age of three. She performed throughout her childhood, eventually moving on to festival gigs in several states. Along with developing her singing, Underwood learned to play guitar and piano. She graduated from high school as her class salutatorian and majored in mass communication at Northeastern State College with an eye on a career in broadcast journalism, but continued her singing career throughout her studies.

As a senior just a few credits short of her degree, Underwood heard about the auditions for the 2005 season of American Idol. She tried out for the show at the St. Louis, Missouri auditions, and her innocent charm and pure, pretty voice ended up winning her not only a place among the 12 finalists, but the title of 2005′s American Idol. Her debut single, “Inside Your Heaven,” was released that summer, and she finished recording her debut album after completing the American Idols Live! tour. Some Hearts was released later that fall and became a smash hit, selling over 300,000 copies in its first week and eventually going platinum a whopping seven times. The album’s lead single, “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” was also a big success, topping Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart for six weeks.

Underwood has won over 100 major awards including 7 GRAMMY® Awards, 14 ACM Awards including 2 for Entertainer of the Year (the first female in history to win twice), 20 CMT Awards where she holds the record for the most award wins ever for the show, 7 CMA Awards, and 15 American Music Awards with her 7th win for Favorite Female Artist – Country and 6th win for Favorite Country Album for Cry Pretty, breaking the AMA record for Most Wins in the Favorite Country Album Category.

Taking you back to 2010 is “Jesus, Take The Wheel” one of Carrie’s top hits in her discography.

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