Written by Lejla Pracic. 21 October 2014.
Carrie Underwood is very often referred to as America’s sweet heart. How she got this title is a story within itself. Underwood was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma on March 10, 1983. She grew up on a farm in Checotah, Oklahoma where she loved doing things like “playing on dirt roads, climbing trees, catching little woodland creatures, and singing” (Carrie). After graduating high school, Underwood decided to attend Northeastern State University, where she pursued a major in broadcast journalism. Because of school, she put her dreams of singing on the back burner. However, one small decision changed Underwood’s life forever. In the midst of her senior year Underwood made the choice to audition for American Idol.
“Waiting on the stage, of Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre was two finalists” (Mattern). One of these finalists was Carrie Underwood. She was the first country artist to make it to the final two on American Idol and a few minutes later she was the first country artist to ever win American Idol. Underwood paved the way for other country artists to go out and audition for American Idol. American Idol has had a consistent audience throughout the shows many years being on air. Underwood had the perfect story that made people fall in love with her. Simon Cowell, who is a judge on American Idol, said that he knew Carrie Underwood was going to win American Idol. Sure enough his prediction was pronounced true at the American Idol finale. Needless to say, Carrie Underwood’s dreams of being a singer were coming true. She knew that a dream she almost gave up on was finally coming true (Mattern). Standing there on stage and being hugged and congratulated by everyone, Underwood knew that “her life would never be the same” (Mattern). What she has wanted all her life had finally arrived. Underwood was about to “become a bigger star than she had ever imagined” (Mattern).
Soon after American Idol she released her debut album, Some Hearts (2005). On this album Underwood recorder her first single. “Inside Your Heaven.” It reached the top of the Billboard charts. Some Hearts (2005), showed the world Carrie Underwood as an artist and what kind of music they could expect from her. While on American Idol, Underwood had already established her identity as a country music artist while on American Idol. She won the hearts of many American people and quickly established her fan base. Everyone seemed to love Underwood and her girl next-door persona. Some time had passed after Underwood was crowned American Idol, and people were eagerly waiting for her album to be released. When Some Hearts did drop in 2005, Underwood quickly became a fan favorite. The American Idol studio audience was a sea of Carrie Underwood fans. From t-shirts to banners, Underwood’s name seemed to be on it all. Her audience ranged anywhere from young teenage girls to older adults. Everyone loved Carrie Underwood.
In addition to her first single, “Inside Your Heaven”, Underwood’s debut album consisted of thirteen other songs that quickly gave Carrie Underwood the successful singing career she had always dreamed of. Other songs on Carrie Underwood’s Some Hearts (2005) album include: Wasted, Don’t Forget to Remember Me, Some Hearts, Jesus, Take the Wheel, The Night Before Life Goes On, Lessons Learned, Before He Cheats, Starts With Goodbye, I Just Can’t Live a Lie, We’re Young and Beautiful, That’s Where it is, Whenever You Remember, I Ain’t in Checotah Anymore, and Inside Your Heaven. Just like with every artist Carrie Underwood’s fans liked some songs more than others. The more popular songs from her first album include, Some Hearts, Jesus, Take the Wheel, Don’t Forget to Remember Me, and Before He Cheats. Many of Underwood’s songs hit the top of the country music charts, including Jesus Take the Wheel. In this song Underwood sings about a girl who is going to visit her parents and loses control of the car and she asks Jesus to take the wheel for her. During the time of her first album, Carrie Underwood was learning how to adjust to her new life. This song could be a picture of Underwood being overwhelmed with her new life and all the things that came with it. She’s portraying that part of her life in this song. We all have those times in our lives where nothing seems to be going our way or things become to crazy and hectic, which makes it easy for Underwood’s audience to relate to this song.
Along with Carrie Underwood’s new life came a new address. Growing up in a small town, on a farm Underwood was not use to the big city life. Her song, “I Ain’t in Checotah Anymore”, talks about the change she endured in her big move from a small town to a big city. She sings about the difference between the life she lives now and the life she had before her dream came true. This song perfectly depicts the difference between Carrie Underwood’s life before and after American Idol. Underwood sings, “my hotel in Manhattan holds more people than our town”, “I rather be tipping cows in Tulsa than hailing cabs here in New York” and “what I just paid for dinner would be a down payment on a house.” Carrie Underwood’s fans knew what kind of life she came from and through her debut album they learned about the many life changes Underwood experienced with her newfound fame.
Underwood is part of a very close-knit family. “Carrie’s family was close and loving” (Mattern). For her audition for American Idol, her mom was there with her. Being on American Idol Underwood had to spend a lot of time away from her family. After winning American Idol she also had to move from her single stop light town and into the big city. Leaving her home and being away from her family was hard for Carrie Underwood. In her fourth single on first album, “Don’t Forget to Remember Me”, Underwood tells a story about a parting story when she is taking the next step in her life after high school. She is leaving home to go to college and her mother is telling Carrie Underwood not to forget her. Underwood sing’s about the experience of living by herself and not having her family around when she comes home. She talks about living the adult life relating it in her lyrics, “and those bills there on the counter keep telling me I’m on my own.”
Underwood had no idea what American Idol would do for her life. She never knew that one small audition would change her life forever. Despite being America’s sweetheart, and a country music fan favorite, Underwood is still a “country girl at heart” (Mattern). Her debut album exemplifies that Underwood has not forgotten where she comes from and that her celebrity will not change the person that she was back in Checotah, Oklahoma. Even though, like her debut album explains, there are many changes that came with her new life, Carrie Underwood still stayed true to her roots and never for a second forgot the life she came from.
- “Don’t Forget to Remember Me” (A. Gorley, M. Hayes)
- “Some Hearts” (D. Warren)
- “Jesus Take the Wheel” (B. James, H. Lindsey, G. Sampson, J. Yudkin)
- “The Night Before (Life Goes On)” (W. Mobley, J. Olander, N. Thrasher)
- “Lessons Learned” (D. Warren)
- “Before He Cheats” (J. Kear, C. Tompkins)
- “Starts With Goodbye” (H. Lindsey)
- “I Just Can’t Live a Lie” (W. Hector, S. Robson)
- “We’re Young and Beautiful” (S. McEwan, R. Rutherford)
- “That’s Where it Is” (G. Becker, M. Peirce, S. Robson)
- “Whenever You Remember” (D. Warren)
- “I Ain’t in Checotah Anymore” (C. Underwood, T. Bruce)
- “Inside Your Heaven” (A. Carlsson, S. Kotecha)
“Carrie Marie Underwood.” Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2014. Web. 06 Oct. 2014.
Mattern, Joanne. Carrie Underwood. New York: Chelsea House, 2012. Print.