Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood

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About Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood took a bat to a scuzzball boyfriend’s prized ride more than a decade before Beyoncé did in Lemonade. And amazingly enough, when the country star vandalized a vehicle in the video for 2005’s quintuple-platinum “Before He Cheats,” it wasn’t righteous rage she projected—it was pure poise. Underwood was relatable yet unusually composed from the start, a middle-class woman singing about being romantically wronged or living hand-to-mouth who never comes undone, even with a Louisville Slugger in hand. Maybe that’s because she took her time stepping to the plate. Born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, in 1983, Underwood dreamt of becoming a singer but decided on a more practical path—a communications degree—before auditioning for American Idol as a last-ditch effort. With powerful pipes and farmgirl charm, she handily won the show’s 2005 season, while her Some Hearts debut that same year further defined her as a forceful performer with vocal range and athletic theatricality. On 2007’s follow-up, Carnival Ride, platinum tunes like “So Small,” “Last Name,” and Randy Travis duet “I Told You So” exemplified her high-gloss approach: songs that emphasize self-confidence, hair-metal guitar sheen, dance-pop synths, and arena beats. Throughout her career, Underwood has celebrated women in country music—like favoring female opening acts—while upping her songwriting game, bringing unpretentious elegance to a Nashville industry overrun with male composers. By 2018’s Cry Pretty, her sixth album, she’d co-written nine of 13 songs, and co-produced the whole thing. She’s refined her singing too, moving from set-piece performances to R&B-influenced, loose and (seemingly) casual vocals. But even in slicker moments like Ludacris duet “The Champion,” when she wails, “I am invincible,” you know the bat-wielding dynamo of old is still getting in her licks.

Muskogee, OK, United States
March 10, 1983
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