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Faith Hill

Faith Hill was born Audrey Faith Perry in Ridgeland, Mississippi near Jackson, Mississippi. She was adopted as an infant and raised by a couple in the nearby town of Star. Her adoptive parents reared their two biological sons along with Hill in a very Christian environment.

 

Hill's vocal talent was apparent early, and she had her first public performance, a 4-H luncheon, when she was seven. In 1976, a few days before her 9th birthday, she attended a concert by Elvis Presley at the State Fair Coliseum, in Jackson, which impressed her deeply. By the time she was a teenager, Hill was a regular performer at area churches, even those not in her own Baptist denomination. At seventeen, Hill formed a band that played in local rodeos. She briefly attended college at Hinds Community College in Raymond, Mississippi, but at 19 quit school to move to Nashville and pursue her dream of being a country singer. In her early days in Nashville, Hill auditioned to be a backup singer for Reba McEntire, but failed to secure the job. After a stint selling t-shirts, Hill became a secretary at a music publishing firm.

 

Apart from her quest for entry into the music industry, Hill also began working toward a more robust family life. In 1988 she married songwriter and music executive Dan Hill, who provided the surname she would use as she became famous. Her first husband was not prominent Canadian singer-songwriter Dan Hill despite the similar name. Two years later she began a search for her natural mother, whom she eventually met and with whom she corresponded until her mother's death.

 

Hill's debut album was Take Me as I Am (1993); sales were strong, buoyed by the chart success of "Wild One". Hill became the first female country singer in 30 years to hold Billboard's number one position for four consecutive weeks when "Wild One" managed the feat in 1994. Her version of Erma Franklin's "Piece of My Heart", also went to the top of the country charts in 1994.

 

Shortly after the release of her album, Hill found her marriage falling apart. She and Dan Hill divorced in 1994.

 

The recording of Faith's second album was delayed by surgery to repair a ruptured blood vessel on her vocal cords. It Matters to Me finally appeared in 1995 and was another success, with the title track becoming her fourth #1 country single. Several other top 10 singles followed, and more than 3 million copies of the album were sold. The fifth single from the album, "I Can't Do That Anymore," was written by country music artist Alan Jackson.

 

In the spring of 1996 Hill began the Spontaneous Combustion Tour with country singer Tim McGraw. At that time Hill had recently become engaged to her former producer, Scott Hendricks, and McGraw had recently broken an engagement. McGraw and Hill were quickly attracted to each other and Hill broke her engagement so that she and McGraw could begin dating. The pair became engaged on the tour and married on October 6, 1996. They have three daughters together: Gracie Katherine (b. 1997), Maggie Elizabeth (b. 1998) and Audrey Caroline (b. 2001). Since their marriage, Hill and McGraw have strived to never be apart for more than three consecutive days.

 

After the release of It Matters to Me, Hill took a three-year break from recording to give herself a rest from four years of touring and to begin a family with McGraw. During her break, she joined forces with her husband for their first duet, "It's Your Love". The song stayed at number one for six weeks and won awards from both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association.

 

She reentered the music business with 1998's Faith. The album showcased her progression toward a more mainstream, pop-oriented sound, although it retained some country sound. "This Kiss" became a number one country hit, and was the first of her singles to place on the pop charts, peaking at number seven. More than six million copies of the album were sold. The album also delivered several other hits including another duet with McGraw, "Just To Hear You Say That You Love Me", "Let Me Let Go" and "The Secret Of Life".

 

To follow up this new found success Hill immediately released Breathe, which debuted at the top of the Billboard Country and all genre charts, ahead of albums by Mariah Carey and Savage Garden. The title track, "Breathe", reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. "The Way You Love Me" hit the top ten as well, topping out at number six on the charts, and became one of the longest running singles in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 (57 weeks). The album won Hill three Grammy Awards including Best Country Album, Best Country Collaboration With Vocals for Let's Make Love featuring Tim McGraw and Best Country Female Vocal Performance for Breathe.

 

2000 was an especially busy year for Hill. Besides a successful tour with her husband, Hill was featured in a CBS television special, VH1's Behind the Music, VH1 Divas 2000, and the Lifetime cable channel's Intimate Portraits series. She signed an endorsement deal with CoverGirl makeup, performed at the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards, appeared on the cover of numerous magazine, and performed the national anthem at the Super Bowl. Hill was also named to Mr. Blackwell's 10-best dressed women of 2000, the only singer listed among actresses and other celebrities. Hill and McGraw also embarked on their first Soul2Soul tour the "Soul2Soul Tour 2000".

 

Musically, in 2000 Hill recorded a song for the movie Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas The song also appeared on the pop and country charts. Hill's success on the pop charts disturbed some country music insiders, who questioned whether she was trying to dismiss her country roots and move into the pop genre. Despite the grumbling, Hill won the CMA Female Vocalist of The Year Award, and in her acceptance speech announced, "I love this business and I love this industry...and my heart is here."

 

In 2001, Hill recorded a song for the Pearl Harbor soundtrack. "There You'll Be" also appeared on the album There You'll Be: The Best Of Faith Hill, an international greatest hits album. The album featured some dance mixes of "Piece Of My Heart," "Let Me Let Go," "The Way You Love Me" and "Breathe."

 

In 2002, Hill released her new album with a more pop-oriented sound, Cry. Though the album debuted at number one on Billboard magazine's pop and country album charts, and Hill made her debut as musical guest on Saturday Night Live, the album's singles (including the title track "Cry", written and originally performed by Angie Aparo) received much less radio airplay than her previous smashes. The album however, did win a Grammy Award and 3.7 million copies have been sold worldwide.

 

In 2005, Faith Hill returned with her new country album, Fireflies. The CD debuted on top of the Billboard Country and all genre album charts, placing her among only a handful of artists to have three consecutive albums debut at number one on both charts. The debut single, "Mississippi Girl", became Hill's highest-debuting single. The song was written specifically for her by John Rich (of Big and Rich) and Adam Shoenfield of MuzikMafia, and tells the abbreviated story of her life. Hill recorded two other songs by Rich, "Sunshine and Summertime" and "Like We Never Loved at All", both of which became successful singles. The title track, "Stealing Kisses" and "If You Ask" were written by artist Lori McKenna and also appear on McKenna's albums. The album marked a return to Hill's country roots and succeeded in reestablishing her place on country radio.

 

Her focus changed to charitable endeavors in 2005. In the days immediately following Hurricane Katrina, Hill and her husband, who was raised in Louisiana, joined groups taking supplies to Gulfport, Mississippi. The two also hosted several charity concerts to benefit those who were displaced by the storm. Later in the year the couple established the Neighbor's Keeper Foundation, which provides funding for community charities to assist with basic humanitarian services in the event of a natural disaster or for desperate personal circumstances.

 

After a six-year break from touring following the birth of her youngest daughter, in 2006 Hill and husband Tim McGraw embarked on their Soul2Soul II Tour 2006. The tour became the highest grossing country music tour ever with a gross of $90 million. In a special gesture, the couple donated all of the profits from their performance in New Orleans to Hurricane Katrina relief.

 

In 2007, Hill started work on her first domestic greatest hits package, titled The Hits, which was released on October 2. The Hits features two new songs, "Lost" and "Red Umbrella", plus a live version of the song "Stronger," taken from the Soul2Soul 2007 tour. The album also features hits covering her entire career from 1993–2005. Included with The Hits is a DVD of 11 of Hill's music videos. The album has sold 265,000 copies in the US.

 

Hill also recorded a duet called "Sleeping with the Telephone" for Reba McEntire's Duets album, released on September 18, 2007. She's also featured on husband Tim McGraw's 2007 album Let It Go. She sings two duets with him, "I Need You" and "Shotgun Rider". Both songs were sung at the couple's critically acclaimed Soul2Soul II Tour 2006. She and Tim also did an encore of their Soul2Soul II Tour; Soul2Soul 2007 began in June and ran through August. The song I Need You has been nominated twice at the 2008 Grammy Awards for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals and Best Country Song. The show took place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA on February 10, 2008 but the song didn't win.

 

Hill also sang the theme for Sunday Night Football that airs on the NBC network. The song is called "Waiting All Week For Sunday Night". She will be heard on Aretha Franklin's upcoming album, A Woman Falling Out of Love, planned to be released in late 2008.

 

Annie Lennox has joined forces with Faith Hill and 22 other female artists to raise the awareness of the transmission of HIV to unborn children in Africa. "Sing," which Hill collaborated on, was released on World Aids Day on December 1st 2007, when Lennox appeared at the next Nelson Mandela 46664 concert in South Africa.

 

About releasing a duets album with husband Tim McGraw, she later stated that they have other projects.

 

Hill finished recording her upcoming Christmas album, entitled "Joy to the World" At the 2008 CMA Music Festival, fan club members had a chance to listen to the new album. The album will release September 30, 2008 and the first single will "A Baby Changes Everything".

 

Her next country studio album won't be released before 2009.

 

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