Reba McEntire (March 28, 1955)
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A native of McAlester, Oklahoma, Reba McEntire is not only one of the best selling Country artists of all-time, the Reba brand has expanded to include television, clothing, shoes, and housewares. Considered by some to be the "Queen of Country," McEntire began her recording career in 1977 and after more than 50 Top 10 singles, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2011.
Her mother, Jacqueline, introduced McEntire to Country music. McEntire's mother had her own aspirations to be a Country singer, but instead became a schoolteacher and taught her children to sing. Reba, her brother, and her sister formed a singing group and performed at local rodeos. Reba was going to follow in her mother's footsteps and become a schoolteacher until the singer Red Steagall heard her sing the national anthem at the National Rodeo Finals in Oklahoma City. Steagall signed her to her first recording contract with Mercury Records in 1975 and she released her self-titled debut album in 1977.
Seven members of McEntire's road band and her road manager were killed when their private charter jet crashed near San Diego on March 17, 1991. Devastated by the loss, McEntire dedicated her next album, For My Broken Heart, to her band. In an interview with CMT, McEntire said the album was "a tough one" to record and the songs reflect that she was not in a happy place. The title track made it to #1 on Billboard's country chart and also featured a remake of the 1973 Vicki Lawrence hit "The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia
McEntire tried her hand at Broadway in 2001, earning rave reviews for her portrayal of Annie Oakley in the revival of Annie Get Your Gun. That same year, McEntire debuted her sitcom, Reba, which originally aired on the WB network. The series was on the air until 2007 and it finished up its run on the CW network. Playing the wisecracking lead character – named Reba, of course - McEntire won the 2001 People's Choice Award for Favorite Female Performer in a New Television Series. She was also nominated for a Best Actress Golden Globe in 2006.
In 2011, McEntire launched her first new stage-show since the late 1990s with the All the Women That I Am tour. One single on the album, "If I Were A Boy," turned some heads since the song was made famous by R&B superstar Beyoncé. McEntire confessed that she was not familiar with the song until she recorded it in 2010 for CMT's Unplugged Sessions, but the song went viral online and sparked the idea for a whole new album. Before embarking on the tour, McEntire admitted that after 34 albums, to that point, it was hard to narrow down her set list but her most requested song was still "Fancy." McEntire covered the Bobby Gentry hit for the 1990 Rumor Has It album.
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