Born on March 10, 1983, in Muskogee, Oklahoma, Carrie Underwood had put aside her singing dreams for a degree in broadcast journalism, but everything changed after she auditioned for American Idol during her senior year at Northeastern State University. She won the show’s fourth season in 2005 and went on to win multiple Grammy, Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music awards. In 2008, at age 26, Underwood became the youngest member of the Grand Ole Opry. Her hit albums include Carnival Ride, Play On and Blown Away.

Early Life

Singer, actress and activist Carrie Marie Underwood was born on March 10, 1983, in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Since winning the famed musical talent show American Idol in 2005, Underwood has emerged as one of the most popular female performers in country music today. She was born and raised on a farm. “I had a very happy childhood full of the wonderful simple things that children love to do,” Underwood stated on her website. “Growing up in the country, I enjoyed things like playing on dirt roads, climbing trees, catching little woodland creatures and, of course, singing.”

After graduating from high school, Underwood attended Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. There, she majored in broadcast journalism and put aside her dreams of becoming a singer. During her senior year, in 2004, Underwood decided to try out for American Idol. Not only did she pass that audition, but she went on to become the winner of the show’s fourth season.

Commercial Success

Her debut album, Some Hearts (2005), was certified triple platinum, making it the fastest-selling female country album since the introduction of the Nielsen SoundScan in 1991. Her first single, “Inside Your Heaven,” hit the top of the Billboard pop charts.

With “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” Underwood then hit the top of the country charts. The song proved to be a critical success as well, winning Underwood the Academy of Country Music Award for single of the year, the Country Music Association Award for single of the year and two Grammy Awards, for best female country vocal performance and best new artist, in 2006.

In contrast to her softer-sounding material, Underwood also had great success with “Before He Cheats,” a tale about a straying ex-boyfriend. The single won Underwood a Grammy for best female country vocal performance and a CMA Award for single of the year in 2007. That same year, Underwood released her follow-up album, Carnival Ride (2007). It reached the top of the album charts and scored several No. 1 country hits, including the singles “Last Name” and “All-American Girl.”

Grand Ole Opry Inductee

On May 10, 2008, at the age of 26, Underwood was inducted as a member of the Grand Ole Opry by country star Garth Brooks, becoming the youngest member of the Grand Ole Opry. Later that year, in September 2008, Underwood won the CMA Award for female vocalist of the year—for the third consecutive time—for Carnival Ride. She was nominated for album of the year, but lost the award to George Strait. Underwood also hosted the CMA Awards with fellow country star Brad Paisley.

More Chart Toppers

In February 2009, Underwood won a Grammy Award (best female country vocal performance) for her song “Last Name”—her fourth Grammy in three years. In November 2009, she received two more CMA Award nominations, for female vocalist of the year and musical event of the year. She also hosted the event for the second time.

A few weeks before hosting the CMA Awards, Underwood released her third studio album, Play On, three songs from which went on to earn a No. 1 spot on the charts: “Cowboy Casanova,” “Temporary Home” and “Undo It.” The singer followed that success with Blown Away, released in May 2012, which had sold more than 1.4 million copies by the following year. The album’s hits include “Blown Away,” “Good Girl” and “Two Black Cadillacs.”

In May 2013, it was announced that Underwood would be performing the Sunday Night Football theme song, taking over the coveted role for fellow country star Faith Hill, who performed “Waiting All Day for Sunday Night” for the past six seasons of the weekly television broadcast. She continued her work on television as Maria in the retelling of the classic musical known as The Sound of Music (1965). The TV event, which was broadcast live, more closely followed the original 1959 musical than the classic film starring Julie Andrews. She starred opposite True Blood’s Stephen Moyer, who played Captain Von Trapp. The television special received four Emmy nominations.

To celebrate her remarkable career, Underwood released Greatest Hits: Decade #1 in the fall of 2014. The album also featured some new material, including the hit “Something in the Water,” which later earned a Grammy for Best Country Solo Performance. In autumn 2015 she dropped her fifth studio album, Storyteller, featuring the Top 5 country single “Smoke Break.” Underwood kicked off the tour for Storyteller in February 2016, which will keep on the road until late May.

Personal Life

Carrie Underwood married NHL athlete Mike Fisher on July 10, 2010. In September 2014, the couple announced they were expecting their first child together. Their son, Isaiah Michael Fisher, was born on February 27, 2015. Underwood announced his arrival via Twitter.