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Carrie Underwood Bio
Carrie Underwood (born March 10, 1983) is an American singer, songwriter and actress. She rose to fame as the winner of the fourth season of American Idol in 2005. Underwood has set and broken several records throughout her career. Her achievements led her to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2008 and into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 2009. She has won numerous music awards, including seven Grammy Awards, seventeen Billboard Music Awards, eleven Academy of Country Music Awards, and eight American Music Awards.
Her debut album, Some Hearts, was released in 2005. Bolstered by the huge crossover success of the singles “Jesus, Take the Wheel” and “Before He Cheats“, it went on to become the fastest selling debut country album in Nielsen SoundScan history, the best-selling solo female debut album in country music history and the best-selling country album of the last ten years. Underwood won three Grammy Awards for the album, including Best New Artist. Released in 2007, her second album, Carnival Ride, had one of the biggest ever opening weeks by a female artist and earned Underwood two Grammy Awards. Her next album, 2009’s Play On, was a commercial success led by the single “Cowboy Casanova“. Underwood’s fourth album, Blown Away (2012), earned her a Grammy Award and was that year’s second best-selling release by a female artist. In 2014, she released her first compilation album, winning a Grammy Award for its crossover single “Something in the Water“. Underwood has sold more than 65 million records globally, and is the Top Country Artist of all time on the RIAA‘s Digital Singles ranking and the biggest American Idol earner of all time. Her fifth album, Storyteller, was released on October 23, 2015.
Recognized by Rolling Stone as the female vocalist of her generation in any genre and by Billboard as Country Music’s reigning Queen, Underwood is the only solo country artist in the 2000s to have a number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and the first and only country artist to ever debut at number one on the Hot 100, as “Inside Your Heaven” topped the chart in 2005. She is also the female artist with the most No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, from 1991 to present, having 14 number one’s and breaking her own Guinness Book record of ten. Some Hearts was named the No. 1 country album of the 2000s by Billboard and she was the top-ranked female artist on Billboard‘s Best Country Artists of the 2000s list. Time listed Underwood as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2014.
2004–05: American Idol
In the summer of 2004, Underwood auditioned for American Idol in St. Louis, Missouri. After she sang “Could’ve Been” by Tiffany on the top 12 girls night, judge Simon Cowell commented that she would be one of the favorites to win the competition. During the top 11 finalists’ performance on the March 22, 2005, Idol episode, Underwood sang a rendition of the number one 1980s rock hit “Alone“, made famous by Heart, and Cowell predicted that Underwood would not only win the competition, but she would also outsell all previous Idol winners. One of the show’s producers later said she dominated the voting, winning every week handily. She gained a fan base known as “Carrie’s Care Bears” during the course of the show. During the final, she sang with Rascal Flatts their song “Bless the Broken Road“. On May 25, 2005, Underwood became the season four winner. Her winnings included a recording contract worth at least a million dollars, use of a private jet for a year, and a Ford Mustang convertible.
2005–07: Breakthrough and major success with Some Hearts
Underwood’s music career began with the release of her first single, “Inside Your Heaven“, on June 14, 2005. The song debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, with Underwood becoming only the third artist to bow in the top slot since chart policy changed in 1998. She also broke Billboard chart history as the first country music artist ever to debut at No. 1 on the Hot 100 and the song became the first song from a country artist to go to No. 1 on the Hot 100 since country group Lonestar‘s “Amazed” did so in 2000. “Inside Your Heaven” is the only single by a solo country artist in the 2000 decade to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also debuted at number one on the Billboard Pop 100 and on the Canadian Singles Chart, topping it for seven consecutive weeks, becoming the longest-running single of 2005 in Canada. It sold nearly one million copies and was certified gold by the RIAA and double platinum by the CRIA.
Underwood’s debut album, Some Hearts, was released on November 15, 2005, entering the Billboard charts with 315,000 copies sold, debuting at number one on the Billboard Top Country Albums and at number two on the Billboard 200. The large first week sales of Some Hearts made it the biggest debut of any country artist since the advent of the SoundScan system in 1991. Some Hearts became the best-selling album of 2006 in all genres in the United States. The album was also the best-selling country album of both 2006 and 2007, making Underwood the first female artist in Billboard history to earn back-to-back honors for Top Country Album. Additionally, it was the best-selling female country album of 2005, 2006 and 2007. Some Hearts has since been certified seven times Platinum by the RIAA, and is the fastest-selling debut country album in the history of the SoundScan era, the best-selling solo female debut album in country music history, the best-selling Country album of the last 10 years, and the best-selling album by an American Idol alumni in the U.S.
The album’s second single, “Jesus, Take the Wheel” was released to radio in October and later peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs, topping it for six consecutive weeks, and at twenty on the Hot 100. The song sold over two million copies and was certified double Platinum by the RIAA. Underwood’s third single, “Some Hearts”, was also released in October, but just to the pop radios. “Don’t Forget to Remember Me“, her fourth single, also proved successful, reaching number two on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Later that autumn, Underwood’s third country single, “Before He Cheats“, hit number one on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs, staying there for five consecutive weeks. The song peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100, achieving the slowest climb ever to the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, breaking the record that was previously held by Creed from July 2000. In February 2008, when it was certified double Platinum, “Before He Cheats” became the first country song to ever be certified multi-platinum by the RIAA. It has now been certified four times Platinum, selling nearly four million copies, and is the fourth best-selling country digital song of all time. On April 11, 2007, Underwood continued her streak of top Country singles with the release of “Wasted“, which peaked at number one on the Hot Country Songs Chart, sold nearly one million copies and was certified Gold by the RIAA. In August 2008, the “Jesus, Take the Wheel” ringtone was reported to have been certified Platinum, making Underwood the first country artist ever to have two songs hit Platinum Mastertone status together with “Before He Cheats”, which had been certified earlier in 2007. Underwood started her first headlined tour, Carrie Underwood: Live 2006, with dates across North America.
At the 2005 Billboard Music Awards, her hit song “Inside Your Heaven” won the coveted Top-Selling Hot 100 Song of the Year award and also Top-Selling Country Single of the Year award, and she won Country Single Sales Artist of the Year. At the 2006 Academy of Country Music Awards, she won Top New Female Vocalist and Single of the Year, for “Jesus, Take the Wheel”. At the 40th Annual Country Music Association Awards she won both the Horizon Award (now New Artist of the Year) and Female Vocalist of the Year. At the 2006 CMT Awards, Underwood won both the Breakthrough Video of the Year and Female Video of the Year for “Jesus, Take The Wheel”. She later won the Breakthrough Artist of the Year Award at the American Music Awards, and was also nominated for Favorite Female Country Artist. She won five awards at the 2006 Billboard Music Awards, including the coveted Album of the Year, Top 200 Female Artist of the Year, Female Country Artist, New Country Artist, and Country Album of the Year. That year, Underwood also won a Gospel Music Association (GMA) Dove Award for Country Recorded Song of the Year, for “Jesus, Take The Wheel”. At the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2007, Underwood won Album of the Year, Video of the Year, and Female Vocalist of the Year. She was nominated for “World’s Best Selling New Artist” at the 2006 World Music Awards. At the 2007 CMT Awards in Nashville, Tennessee, on April 16, Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” won three awards, including Video of the Year, Female Video of the Year, and Video Director of the Year. Underwood won two awards at the 2007 CMA Awards: Female Vocalist of the Year, for the second consecutive time, and Single Record of the Year, for “Before He Cheats”.
In 2007, at the 49th Grammy Awards, Some Hearts received four Grammy nominations and Underwood won her first two Grammy Awards: Best New Artist and Best Female Country Vocal Performance for “Jesus, Take the Wheel. By winning the Best New Artist Grammy Award, Underwood became only the second country artist to ever win the award in the 56-year history of the Grammy Awards, following LeAnn Rimes (1997). She sang the Eagles song “Life in the Fast Lane” alongside Grammy nominees Rascal Flatts. She also sang the Eagles’ “Desperado” to honour Don Henley of The Eagles. She also paid tribute to Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys by performing “New San Antonio Rose“. At the 50th Grammy Awards, in 2008, Underwood was nominated for two more Grammys: Best Female Country Vocal Performance, for “Before He Cheats” and Best Country Collaboration with Vocals, for “Oh, Love” a duet with Brad Paisley. She won one Grammy Award that night, for Best Female Country Vocal Performance, and performed the song at the ceremony.
In December 2005, Underwood was named Oklahoman of the Year by Oklahoma Today. In December 2006, Underwood joined Tony Bennett, Michael Bublé and Josh Groban to sing “For Once in My Life” on The Oprah Winfrey Show. That same month, she paid tribute to Dolly Parton, by singing “Islands in the Stream” with Kenny Rogers (originally by Parton and Rogers) at the Kennedy Center Honors, which honored Parton that year. Underwood performed with the USO Christmas Tour in Iraq during the 2006 Holiday season. Underwood also performed at the 2007 Idol Gives Back concert, singing “I’ll Stand By You“, a cover of The Pretenders hit. Her version of the song debuted at number six on Billboard‘s Hot 100 Songs. In 2007, Forbes reported that Underwood earned over $7 million between June 2006 and June 2007. Also in 2007, Victoria’s Secret named Underwood the Sexiest Female Musician.
2007–09: Carnival Ride, wider success and acclaim
Underwood’s second album, Carnival Ride, was released in October 2007. On Carnival Ride, Underwood was more involved in the songwriting process; she set up a writers’ retreat at Nashville’s famed Ryman Auditorium to collaborate with such Music Row tunesmiths as Hillary Lindsey, Craig Wiseman, Rivers Rutherford, and Gordie Sampson. Carnival Ride moved over 527,000 copies in its first week, debuting at number one on both the Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums, as well as number one on the Canadian Albums Chart, one of the biggest first-week sales by a female artist. Carnival Ride was certified double platinum in just two months after its release, in December. The album is certified triple Platinum by the RIAA, for sales of over three million. “So Small“, the first single from the album, was released in July 2007 and reached number one on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs, topping it for three consecutive weeks. “All-American Girl“, the second single, also reached number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs. The next single, “Last Name“, reached number one on the Hot Country Song chart as well. This made Underwood the first female artist to have two consecutive albums each release three number ones on this chart since Shania Twain in 1998. “Just a Dream“, the album’s next single, was released on July 2008 and later peaked at number one on the Hot Country Songs chart, staying there for two consecutive weeks. With that, Underwood became the first solo female artist to pull four number one’s from one album since Twain did it with The Woman in Me. The album’s fifth single, “I Told You So“, a duet with the original singer of the song, Randy Travis, was released in February 2009. It peaked at number two on the Billboard Country charts and number nine on the Hot 100. All singles from Carnival Ride were certified Platinum by the RIAA, for selling more than one million copies each. In January 2008, Underwood embarked on a joint tour with Keith Urban named the Love, Pain and the Whole Crazy Carnival Ride Tour, with dates fixed nationwide that continued through April. She then started her headlined tour, the Carnival Ride Tour, in February 2008, with dates across all North America, and ended it on December 14, 2008, playing to 1.2 million fans throughout the tour and being named the top-selling country female touring artist of 2008.
At the end of 2007, Underwood won five awards at the Billboard Music Awards, including the coveted Billboard 200 Artist of the Year and also Country Artist of the Year. Also in late 2007, she won three American Music Awards: Artist of the Year, Favorite Female Country Artist and Favorite Country Album, for Some Hearts. At the 2008 Academy of Country Music Awards, she won Female Vocalist of the Year, for the 2nd consecutive time. She received two nominations for the 2008 Country Music Association Awards. Underwood and Brad Paisley co-hosted the awards show and she walked away with the Female Vocalist of the Year award for the third consecutive time, but lost the Album of the Year award to George Strait. At the 2008 American Music Awards, Carnival Ride won the Favorite Country Album award, thus making that her 2nd consecutive win in such category. In 2008, Underwood also won her first international award, which was “Female Vocalist of the Year” at the European Country Music Association Awards. For the 44th Academy of Country Music Awards, in 2009, Underwood was nominated for four major awards. Underwood won for Female Vocalist of the Year and Entertainer of The Year, thus making her the first woman to win the award in ten years and the 7th female to take it in the award show’s four decade run. Underwood was nominated for Video of the Year at the 2009 CMT Awards for “Just A Dream”. In 2009, at the 51st Grammy Awards, she won, for the third year in a row, the Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance, for “Last Name”, and performed the song at the ceremony. At the 52nd Grammy Awards in 2010, Underwood won her fifth Grammy Award: She won the Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for “I Told You So” with Randy Travis and was also nominated again for Best Female Country Vocal Performance, for “Just A Dream”. At the ceremony, she performed with Celine Dion, Usher, Smokey Robinson and Jennifer Hudson during the 3-D Michael Jackson tribute. Grammy Awards producer Ken Ehrlich stated that Michael Jackson greatly admired Underwood, which is why she was hand-picked to perform during his tribute.
On May 13, 2008, Underwood was invited by Randy Travis to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry, later that month she was officially inducted by Garth Brooks into the Grand Ole Opry. A few months earlier, she sang Julie Andrews‘ classic, the title song from The Sound of Music, at the 2007 Movies Rock: A Celebration Of Music In Film. On October 22, 2008, Underwood unveiled her wax figure at Madame Tussauds New York. In 2008, it was reported by Forbes that Underwood earned over $9 million between June 2007 and June 2008, being number 79 on the Top Celebrity 100 list. In 2009, Forbes reported that Underwood was the top earning American Idol alumni from June 2008 to May 17, 2009. She earned more than twice as much as the second-place finisher, with estimated earnings of $14 million during this time period. She appeared on the holiday CD Hear Something Country Christmas 2007 with a rendition of “Do You Hear What I Hear?“. The song reached number two on the AC Chart, and remained there for three consecutive weeks. She recorded the song “Ever Ever After” for the soundtrack of the 2007 Walt Disney film Enchanted. Underwood co-wrote a song for Idol alum Kristy Lee Cook‘s major-label debut album Why Wait. At the 2008 Idol Gives Back, she sang George Michael‘s classic “Praying For Time” and later recorded it. In November 2008, Underwood recorded a virtual and posthumous duet with Elvis Presley, on his classic “I’ll Be Home For Christmas“, for his 2008 album Christmas Duets. Elvis’ ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, herself asked Underwood to do the duet: “Priscilla wanted me to do ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas'”, she says. “I couldn’t say ‘no’.” In March 2009, she tracked a cover of Mötley Crüe‘s ballad “Home Sweet Home” for the American Idol season eight farewell theme. Her version debuted at number 21 on the Hot 100 Songs.
2009–12: Play On and collaborations
Underwood released her third studio album, Play On, on November 3, 2009. The album debuted atop both the Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums, selling over 318,000 copies in its first week, and became, upon its release, the top-selling release of the year by a female artist, but was later overtaken by Susan Boyle‘s I Dreamed a Dream and finished the year as number two. Underwood wrote a song with pop/R&B singer-songwriter Ne-Yo for the album, the song however did not make the album. The first single from the album, “Cowboy Casanova“, co-written by Underwood, Brett James and hip hop producer Mike Elizondo, was released in September 2009. It was a huge success, jumping from number 96 to number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in its second week, one of the biggest single-week upwards on the chart of all time. It later peaked at number one on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs in just ten weeks, the year’s fastest chart-topper by a country female and the fastest number one of her career at that time (her 2014 single “Something in the Water” topped the Hot Country Songs chart in its seventh week). “Cowboy Casanova” has sold over 2 million copies, being certified double Platinum by the RIAA. Second single, “Temporary Home” hit number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs and the RIAA certified it Gold. “Undo It“, Underwood’s third single from “Play On”, was released to radio in May. It was later certified Platinum by the RIAA and hit number one on the Hot Country Songs chart, giving Underwood her tenth number one single on the Hot Country Songs. The 4th single from Play On, “Mama’s Song“, was released to country radio in September, peaked at two on the Hot Country Songs and was certified Gold by the RIAA. The album is certified Double Platinum by the RIAA.
Underwood’s Play On Tour started its first leg on March 11, 2010 in Reading, Pennsylvania. The second leg of the tour started on September 25, 2010 in Portland, Oregon, and ended January 1, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Underwood sold out the prestigious Hollywood Bowl on October 2, 2010. In December 2010, Pollstar.com ranked the Play On Tour one of the Top 50 tours of 2010, at number 18 on the North American raking, and number 31 worldwide. Billboard also ranked Underwood’s tour at number 24 for all worldwide tours of 2010. On January 4, 2011, official statistics revealed that Underwood played to over 1 million fans throughout the tour, resulting in her being named again as the top-ranked female country touring artist of the year.
At the 2009 CMA Awards, she received two nominations and co-hosted the ceremony with Brad Paisley. Underwood was nominated for six Academy of Country Music Awards. At the show, Underwood was named Entertainer of the Year, making her the first woman in history to win this award twice. Host Reba McEntire presented Underwood with the “ACM Triple Crown Award” signifying her winning Top New Artist, Top Female Vocalist, and Entertainer of the Year during her career. She was only the second Female to win the coveted “Triple Crown Award”, the first being Barbara Mandrell. At the CMT Music Awards Underwood walked away with Video of the Year for “Cowboy Casanova” and also won CMT Performance of the Year for “Temporary Home” from CMT: Invitation Only presents Carrie Underwood. Underwood won two international awards at the 8th French Country Music Awards, which were Best Female Vocalist and Video of the Year, for “Cowboy Casanova”. At the 2010 American Music Awards, she won “Favorite Country Album”, for “Play On“, making her the only artist in the American Music Award history to have all albums awarded in such a category. She co-hosted the 2010 CMA Awards with Brad Paisley for the third year in a row. Underwood was the 2010 American Country Awards‘ top winner with six wins, Artist of the Year, Female Artist of the Year, Album of the Year for (Play On), Female Artist Single of the Year for (“Cowboy Casanova”), Female Artist Video of the Year for (“Cowboy Casanova”) and Touring Artist of the Year. At the 2011 Grammy Awards, Underwood was nominated for ‘Best Female Country Vocal Performance’ for “Temporary Home.” Underwood was honored by the CMT Artists of the Year special as one of the 5 top Artists of the year in 2010 in country music. The event aired on CMT on December 3, 2010. At the 2011 Academy of Country Music Awards, Underwood sang with Steven Tyler both her song “Undo It” and Aerosmith‘s “Walk This Way“. In May 2011, Underwood was one of the seven women to be honored by the Academy of Country Music at the Girls’ Night Out: Superstar Women of Country special. She was recognized for being the first and only female artist in the Academy’s history to ever win Entertainer of the Year twice. At the ceremony, Vince Gill introduced Underwood and presented her with the special award. He sang one of her hits, “Jesus, Take The Wheel”, and joined Underwood on a rendition performance of “How Great Thou Art“. The video of the performance turned into a viral sensation, reaching 3 million views on YouTube within two days. On December 5, 2011, Underwood won three awards at the 2011 American Country Awards, including Female Artist of the Year for the second consecutive time.
In December 2009, Some Hearts was named the number one Country Album of the 2000 Decade by Billboard and Underwood was the top-ranked female artist on Billboard‘s Best Country Artists of the 2000 Decade list. Overall, she was ranked number 50 on the Artists of the Decade list by Billboard. Also in late 2009, Underwood had her very own CMT Invitation Only and also hosted a Christmas special, Carrie Underwood: An All-Star Holiday Special, a two-hour variety show on Fox that featured Dolly Parton (with whom she sang a rendition duet of “I Will Always Love You“) season seven American Idol champion David Cook, Kristin Chenoweth, Brad Paisley and others. In May 2010, Underwood was selected on People Magazine’s 100 Most Beautiful People List for 2010. This was the 4th year in a row that she was selected for the list. Also in May, Victoria’s Secret named her legs the Sexiest Legs in Hollywood. In June 2011, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Underwood as the number eleven Queen of Pop, based on a lot of criteria from 2009 until 2011. Underwood co-wrote and recorded a song titled “There’s a Place for Us,” the lead single from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Underwood and songwriters, David Hodges and Hillary Lindsey, received a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. In March 2011, Underwood sang John Lennon‘s “Instant Karma!” at the NBC‘s special All Together Now – A Celebration of Service, which honored former President George H. W. Bush. At the season ten finale of American Idol Underwood selected a song for contestant Lauren Alaina to sing.
Underwood is featured on “Remind Me“, a duet with Brad Paisley that reached number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs, giving Underwood her eleventh number one single on such chart and fourteenth overall. She has also a duet with Tony Bennett on his 2011 album Duets II and another duet with Randy Travis on his 2011 Anniversary Celebration album. Underwood was one of the headliners of the iHeartRadio Music Festival. The event took place on September 23 and 24, 2011. On September 19, Underwood performed “You Really Got a Hold on Me” in order to honor Smokey Robinson, as he was presented with the Ella Award at the Society of Singers annual dinner. Robinson returned the favor to Underwood by singing “My Girl” to her. At the same event, they sang together with Stevie Wonder, Natalie Cole and other artists a medley of multiple songs. In 2010, Underwood was reported by Forbes to have earned over $13 million from May 2009 to May 2010, being the top-earning Idol. In July 2011, Forbes reported that Underwood earned over $20 million between May 2010 and May 2011, being the top-earning American Idol alumnus for the fourth consecutive year.
On February 4, 2012, Underwood joined Steven Tyler to record CMT’s Crossroads at the Pepsi Coliseum during the Pepsi Super Bowl Fan Jam of Super Bowl XLVI. It was the highest-rated episode in seven years. On February 12, 2012, Underwood and Tony Bennett performed their duet “It Had to Be You” at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards. They also sang the song on the season two premiere of Blue Bloods in September 2011.
2012–13: Blown Away and global tour
Blown Away, Underwood’s fourth album, was released on May 1, 2012. Underwood has said that this album features songs with a “darker storyline.” Blown Away debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, the Country Albums Chart and the Digital Albums chart in the United States, selling more than 267,000 in its first week. The first single, “Good Girl“, was released to the iTunes Store on February 23, 2012. It was officially released to Country radio on February 27, 2012. The music video for “Good Girl” premiered on Entertainment Tonight and on VEVO on March 12, 2012. The song peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, giving Underwood her twelfth number one on the chart, and was certified Double Platinum by the RIAA and has sold over two million copies. The song “Blown Away” was released as the second single from the album on July 9, 2012. It was a massive success, selling over 2 million copies, being certified Double Platinum, reaching the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100, the number one spot on the Billboard Country Airplay and the Top 2 of the Top Country Songs, where it became Underwood’s 16th Top 10 hit on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs, a record among women in the tally’s 68-year history. The album has been certified Platinum by the RIAA and was the 7th best-selling album of 2012, the second best-selling country album of the year and the second best-selling release by a female artist in 2012. The album has sold over 1.6 million copies in the United States alone. On August 2012, it was announced that Underwood would have her very own VH1 Unplugged (called “VH1 Presents: Carrie Underwood Unplugged”) and VH1 Behind The Music episodes. “Two Black Cadillacs“, the third single from the album, was released on November 26. It became Underwood’s 17th top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot Country Songs, extending her own record, later peaking at number two on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart and certified Platinum by the RIAA. In March 2013, “See You Again” was announced as the album’s fourth single; it has been certified Gold by the RIAA.
At the 2012 CMT Music Awards, Underwood won the awards for Video of the Year, for “Good Girl”, and Collaborative Video of the Year, for “Remind Me”, her duet with Brad Paisley. She also performed “Good Girl” at the ceremony. At the 2012 American Music Awards, she won the award for Favorite Album – Country, for Blown Away, and performed “Two Black Cadillacs”. On December 10, Underwood won 2 American Country Awards, for Female Artist of the Year and Single of the Year for Remind Me. She has won a total of 11 ACA’s, the most of any artist ever. In early 2013, Underwood won the prize for Top Selling International Album of the Year at the 41st Country Music Awards of Australia, held by the Country Music Association of Australia. Also in February 2013, Underwood won her sixth Grammy Award, for Best Country Solo Performance, for “Blown Away”. She also performed a medley of “Blown Away” and “Two Black Cadillacs” at the awards show. On February 13, Underwood received two nominations for the Academy of Country Music Awards. She won International Album of the Year at the 2013 British Country Music Awards. At the 2013 CMT Music Awards, Underwood won her 10th award, becoming the most awarded artist ever in CMT Music Awards history. She won Video of the Year for “Blown Away” for the fourth time, which also makes her the artist with the most wins ever in the category. During the ceremony, she paid tribute to tornado victims in Oklahoma, by performing “See You Again” backed by a choir from Nashville’s Christ Church.
On May 1, 2012, Underwood announced her international arena tour, the Blown Away Tour. The first leg consisted, besides the North American dates, of concerts in the UK, at the Royal Albert Hall in London, on June 21, 2012, which sold-out in 90 minutes, and five shows in Australia, including a sold-out date at the Sydney Opera House, on July 2. The first leg of the Blown Away Tour made Underwood the best-selling female country touring artist of 2012, grossing over $29.2 million and bringing her career tour revenues to over $95 million. The tour had its own exhibition at the Country Music Hall of Fame, called “Carrie Underwood: The Blown Away Tour Exhibition”, which ran from June 5 through November 10, 2013. The second leg of the tour started in February 2013, with shows in Ireland, an additional show in England, as part of the C2C: Country to Country festival, and several shows in North America. All dates of the second leg of the Blown Away Tour were sold out, breaking records. Underwood wrapped the Blown Away Tour in late May 2013, playing to one million fans across three continents and six countries. Her three headline arena tours have played to over 3.2 million fans combined. On May 31, it was announced on Underwood’s official site that she would release The Blown Away Tour: LIVE, a DVD with nearly 100 minutes of performance footage, behind-the-scene looks, interviews and music videos from the album Blown Away. The DVD was released on August 13, 2013 and is Underwood’s first official DVD concert.
On February 22, 2013, Billboard ranked Underwood as the 16th money maker for the period from February 2012 to February 2013. She earned close to $12 million, being American Idol‘s Top Earner and second for female country artists. In June 2013, Forbes placed Underwood at number 46 on The Celebrity 100 list, reporting that she earned more than $31 million between June 2012 and June 2013, being, once again, the top-earning American Idol.
On January 21, 2013, “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You“, a song by rock band Aerosmith with featured vocals by Underwood, was released as a single. On May 25, Underwood joined The Rolling Stones on stage during the stop of the band’s 50 and Counting Tour in Toronto, Canada. They performed “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)“. On September 22, 2013, at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards, she was part of the Emmy Awards’ special tribute honoring the 50th Anniversary of 1963 Television Milestones, which includes the assassination coverage of President John F. Kennedy and The Beatles’ first U.S. appearance. She performed one of The Beatles’ iconic songs, “Yesterday“.
2014–present: Greatest Hits: Decade #1 and Storyteller
Underwood confirmed that she began planning a new album in August 2013 and would start prep work sometime in 2014. Underwood told Billboard, “After The Sound of Music, I feel like I can really buckle down and start working on the next album.” Underwood also stated she has been planning another tour, which might be toned down from her earlier ones, stating, “I haven’t thought about it much because I don’t know what the next album is going to sound like, but I like just standing there and singing, too. I may take a different approach, a more simple approach on the next one. I loved the energy that rock concerts had,” Underwood told Billboard. Underwood is featured on Miranda Lambert‘s album Platinum, on a song called “Somethin’ Bad“. Released as a single, “Somethin’ Bad” reached No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart, becoming Underwood’s 13th number one on the chart. The same week, the song vaulted to No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100. In early 2014, she performed on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, paying tribute to Linda Ronstadt. Her performances were highly acclaimed by critics and even by Stevie Nicks, who performed with Underwood. In September, Underwood headlined the 2014 Global Citizen Festival, alongside Jay-Z, No Doubt and other music acts. Her cover of R.E.M.‘s “Everybody Hurts” during her performance was highly praised. She also headlined the 2014 Concert for Valor in November, alongside Eminem, Metallica, Foo Fighters and other music acts, where she was backed by the Singing Sergeants of the U.S. Air Force during the performance of “Something in the Water”. Underwood was asked by Bono himself to front U2‘s World AIDS Day (RED) Concert, alongside U2, Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay‘s Chris Martin and Kanye West, on December 1, 2014. She was joined on stage by U2 guitarist The Edge during a performance of her song “Change”, which received acclaim.
The Academy of Country Music awarded Underwood the Gene Weed Special Achievement Award, for her widespread exposure through NFL Sunday Night Football, the live NBC broadcast of The Sound of Music, her worldwide Blown Away Tour and her charity work with the American Red Cross and her C.A.T.S. Foundation. At the 2014 Billboard Music Awards, Underwood won the Milestone Award, for which she had been nominated due to her chart success, specially her record of having the best starting run ever by a woman on the Country Airplay chart (18 top ten hits on the chart). Time listed Underwood as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, placing her in the “Icons” category. She won the award for Favorite Female Country Artist at the American Music Awards, marking her eighth career AMA. She was named 2014’s top female Christian artist by Billboard. In 2015, at the 57th Grammy Awards, Underwood won Best Country Solo Performance for “Something in the Water“, marking her seventh career Grammy Award. At the 2015 Billboard Music Awards, she won the award for Top Christian Song for “Something in the Water”. At the 2015 CMT Music Awards, Underwood won three awards, including Video of the Year for “Something in the Water”. Underwood performed her single “Little Toy Guns” at the event.
In September 2014, Underwood appeared on The Today Show, where she announced her first greatest hits compilation, Greatest Hits: Decade #1, which was released on December 9. The album’s lead single, “Something in the Water“, became a crossover success. It reached No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart, becoming her fourteenth number-one hit on that chart and her second in 2014. With fourteen number ones, she holds the record as the female country artist with the most number-one hits on the Hot Country Songs chart in the Nielsen SoundScan era (since 1991) in the Guinness Book. The song also topped the Hot Christian Songs chart and has held the top spot for multiple consecutive weeks. It debuted at No. 24 on the Hot 100 chart as well. The song set and broke multiple airplay records on Country radio in its first week. The compilation debuted with the biggest sales debut for a hits collection in any genre of music in more than six years and the biggest first-week sales for a female hits album in any genre in over nine years.
Underwood returned to the studio to finish her fifth studio album in the spring of 2015. On August 20, 2015 via live Facebook stream, Underwood announced her album would be titled Storyteller, and was scheduled to be released on October 23, 2015. The lead single, “Smoke Break,” was serviced to radio immediately following the announcement. Storyteller debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, making Underwood the only country artist to have their first five studio albums debut at Nos. 1 or 2 on the Billboard 200. In addition, the album debuted at No. 1 on the Top Country Albums chart, earning Underwood another record as the only artist to score six consecutive number-one albums on that chart.
Underwood appeared on How I Met Your Mother in March 2010. She played the part of Tiffany, a medical sales rep that forms a relationship with Ted. This was the second highest rated episode for season five, gaining 10.48 million viewers. Brian Zoromski of IGN gave the episode 8.5 out of 10. He was surprised how well Underwood performed in her first acting role. A few months earlier, she appeared in an episode of the PBS children’s television series Sesame Street, performing a voice-over as “Carrie Underworm”, a parodied “worm” character. Underwood made her film debut in Soul Surfer in April 2011. She played Sarah Hill, the church youth leader who helped Bethany Hamilton overcome the obstacles she faced after the shark attack.
NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt announced on November 30, 2012, that Underwood would star in the coveted role of Maria von Trapp in NBC’s live broadcast of The Sound of Music, based on the original Broadway musical. The three-hour telecast aired on December 5, 2013, partnering NBC with the producing team of Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. “To have a star like Carrie Underwood perform Maria in The Sound of Music, and in such a very special and unique production, is exciting beyond words,” said Ted Chapin, President of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization. “Part of the magic of Rodgers and Hammerstein is how their work has adapted itself to so many different incarnations, and I am certain the fresh spirit Underwood brings to her own songs will transition into exciting versions of the classic songs we all know and love.”
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