LeAnn Rimes (born August 28, 1982) is an American country singer, songwriter, actress, and author. She is known for her rich vocals and her rise to fame at the age of 13—becoming the youngest country music star since Tanya Tucker in 1972. Rimes made her breakthrough into country music in 1996. Her debut album, Blue, reached Number 1 on the Top Country Albums chart and was certified "multi-platinum" in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America. The album's lead single of the same name (originally intended to be recorded by Patsy Cline in the early 1960s) became a Top 10 hit. With immediate success, Rimes attained widespread national acclaim for her similarities to Cline's vocal style. When Rimes released her sophomore studio effort in 1997, You Light up My Life: Inspirational Songs, Rimes went more towards country pop material, which would set the trend for a string of albums that would be released into the next decade. Since her debut, Rimes has won many major industry awards, which include two Grammys, three ACMs, one CMA, twelve Billboard Music Awards, and one American Music award. In addition, Rimes has also released ten studio albums and four compilation albums through her record label of 13 years, Asylum-Curb, and placed over 40 singles on American and international charts since 1996. She has sold over 37 million records worldwide, with 20.3 million album sales in the United States according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Born Margaret LeAnn Rimes (in Pearl, Mississippi), she is the only child of Belinda Butler Rimes and Wilbur Rimes. The family relocated to Garland, Texas when she was six years old. She was singing by the age of two, was enrolled into vocal and dance training, and by the age of five was performing at local talent shows. One of her best friends, Jordan Villarreal, supported her when she sang. Rimes initially began her career in musical theatre, performing in a Dallas, Texas production of A Christmas Carol, and almost landed the lead part in the Broadway production of Annie. However, after appearing on the network television competition show, Star Search, Rimes decided to pursue a career in country music. Following her national television appearance, Rimes made a number of appearances on Johnnie High's Country Music Revue in Arlington, Texas, which garnered the attention of national talent scouts. By the age of nine, LeAnn was already an experienced singer. She toured nationally with her father and also regularly performed a cappella renditions of "The Star Spangled Banner" at the opening ceremonies of the Dallas Cowboys football games. In order to bring his daughter more national attention, he began recording her under the independent label Nor Va Jak when she turned eleven.
She released three albums under the label between 1992 and 1996. Rimes was discovered by Dallas disc jockey and record promoter, Bill Mack. Mack was impressed by Rimes' vocal ability, and over the following three years, he also made various attempts to bring Rimes to a mainstream level. The center of Mack's plan to bring her success was his self-penned composition, "Blue," which he had written in the early 1960s. Mack claimed that the song was intended to be recorded and made a hit record by Patsy Cline, but she had been killed in a plane crash before ever recording the composition. By 1995, Mack was able to gain Rimes a contract with Curb Records, after record executives heard Rimes sing "Blue." After signing with Curb, Rimes re-recorded a new version of "Blue" that was to be released on her debut studio album on the label. In 1996, the new version of "Blue" was released as a single, peaking at Number 10 on the Billboard Country Chart. While Curb was releasing "Blue," a claim was also sent out that Mack had been waiting over 30 years to find the perfect artist to record "Blue." However, the story was later found to be an exaggeration, as it was discovered that "Blue" had already been recorded by three different artists. Mack himself and Kenny Roberts both released versions of the song on Starday Records in the 1960s. In 1993, Australian artist Catherine Britt released her own version as a single in her native country. The story, though, was continually spread throughout the national press, adding to the idea that Rimes was the successor to Patsy Cline's legacy.
Despite singing new material at several live shows earlier in the year, it was announced, on May 24, 2010 by Rimes via her Twitter account, that her new studio album would be a cover album of country songs, titled Lady and Gentlemen. The first single from the album is a cover of John Anderson's 1983 single, "Swingin'. LeAnn first debuted the song at the 2010 CMT Music Awards. The single was released on June 8, 2010. According to LeAnn Rimes' official website, she is planning on re-recording her hit, "Blue" for the new album. She stated that she wants "the album to be perfect." Since she is doing this, the album would take a longer waiting time to come out. On November 8, 2010, LeAnn released her second single titled "Crazy Women" to radio. "Crazy Women," "Blue" and "Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down" were announced, in the same post, as the three extra tracks that LeAnn went back in the studio to add to the album. A third single, "Give", (penned by Rimes) debuted at #60 in July 2011, released as the third single. Rimes announced via her Twitter account on July 17, 2011 that the new release date for her Lady and Gentlemen album would be September 27, 2011. Since her debut in 1996, Rimes' voice and vocal style have often been compared to and identified with Patsy Cline.
Cline showed distinctive emotional expression in most of her material. Rimes has also used distinctive emotional expression in many of her songs, most notably her first single, "Blue", which was sung in the style of Cline. Rimes' vocal similarities to Cline had brought wide interest to the idea that Rimes was the successor to Cline's legacy, and brought her novelty appeal. Many music critics have argued that Rimes' vocals were only a reproduction of Cline's original sound, while others have disagreed. Allmusic has called Rimes' vocals "rich and powerful." Her vocal ability has also brought Rimes to comparisons to past teenage country stars, including 50s country star Brenda Lee and 70s country star Tanya Tucker. Rimes was also known for choosing mature material that was beyond her age range. In her first album, Rimes recorded such material as Deborah Allen's "My Baby", whose lyrics provocatively say, "my baby is a full-time lover, my baby is a full-grown man." Other material such as Diane Warren's "How Do I Live" had also been considered too mature for Rimes' age and was the main reason why her version of the song was not chosen to be used in the soundtrack for the film Con Air.
Amid the legal battles, Rimes fell in love with backup dancer Dean Sheremet. The two had met when he was chosen to dance during Rimes's hosting of the 2001 Academy of Country Music Awards. After her first date with Sheremet, Rimes told InStyle Magazine: "This is the guy I want to marry." The couple married the next year, in 2002. In July 2009, the couple separated and in September 2009, Rimes announced their plans to divorce. The divorce was finalized on June 19, 2010, exactly six months after Sheremet filed divorce documents for dissolution of marriage. Rimes is currently married to Northern Lights co-star Eddie Cibrian, with whom she had a well-publicized extramarital affair prior to the split from Sheremet. Cibrian, the father of two children, left his wife for Rimes and filed for divorce in August 2009, after eight years of marriage. In June 2010, Rimes spoke for the first time about the end of her first marriage, stating that, while she was sorry that people were hurt, she had no regrets about the outcome of the affair. On December 27, 2010, it was announced via Billboard that Rimes and Cibrian were engaged. The couple wed on April 22, 2011 at a private home in California. In 2008, she opened up about her lifelong struggle with the autoimmune disease psoriasis.
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