Carrie Underwood’s career might’ve started much earlier had things gone a different way. At age 14, she auditioned for Capitol Records in Nashville. The label was going to offer her a contract, but that deal fell through when they changed management.
Underwood returned to Oklahoma, finished high school and later graduated from Northeastern State University. Things took a turn for the singer in 2004, when she auditioned for American Idol. Despite a shy start on the show, she would go on to become the season four winner, with a powerful voice that enraptured audiences around the globe.
But not every American Idol winner goes on to make such a big splash. Underwood’s first official single ‘Inside Your Heaven’ landed at the top spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 list, making her the first country artist to debut at number one.
She released her debut album Some Hearts in 2005 and by 2006 she’d earned the Top Female Vocalist of the Year at the CMAs and ACM Awards. Her second album Carnival Ride arrived in 2007, the same year she won Best New Artist at the Grammys.
Given Underwood’s popularity in country music, she began co-hosting the CMA Awards with country singer Brad Paisley, serving that role for 12 years. As she continued releasing new music, Underwood also starred as Maria in NBC’s live version of The Sound of Music.
When she released her fifth studio album Storyteller in 2015, Underwood became the first country artist who debuted all of her albums at either the first or second spot on the Billboard 200.
In addition to her commercial success, which includes major headlining tours, and ongoing critical acclaim, Underwood has won several Grammys for her music. In 2020, she published her first book, Find Your Path, and released her eighth studio album My Savior in 2021.
The 55th Annual CMA Awards take place live from Nashville on Nov. 10.
In 16 years, Underwood has built an enduring legacy, cementing herself as one of the biggest country music stars of her generation. Holler takes the opportunity to rank a few of the musical highlights from her incredible career, one that doesn’t look like slowing down any time soon.
For the first episode of Holler Weekly, Baylen Leonard and Kelly Sutton discuss whether Carrie Underwood will ever make another country album, how Brooke Eden felt she had to hide her sexuality when releasing music, and the legacy of Whiskey Jam; the Nashville night that's become an integral part of Music City.
The night featured duets from Mickey Guyton and Gladys Knight, a new song from Kelsea Ballerini and Paul Klein, Miranda Lambert around a campfire and so much more.
Gabby Barrett won Female Video of the Year while Kane Brown won Male Video of the Year.