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One of the biggest female country stars of the '90s and 2000s, Faith Hill also took advantage of the inroads Shania Twain made into pop territory, becoming an enormous crossover success by the end of the millennium. Of course, Hill's movie star good looks certainly helped her cause, and her much-celebrated marriage to fellow country star Tim McGraw gave her career an extra kick of glamour and mystique. Hill may not have appealed to country purists, but she had the star power of a diva even before her pop success.
Faith Hill was born Audrey Faith Perry on September 21, 1967, in Jackson, MS, and grew up in the nearby small town of Star. She was singing for her family as young as age three and first performed publicly at a 4-H luncheon when she was seven. Hill spent much of her childhood singing wherever the opportunity arose, influenced primarily by Reba McEntire, and at age 17 formed a band that played local rodeos. At 19, she quit college and moved to Nashville to make it as a singer, first finding work selling T-shirts. During this time, she was married briefly to music executive Dan Hill. Eventually she was hired as a secretary at a music publishing firm, where she was discovered by accident thumb|300px|right|Faith Hill - This Kisswhile singing to herself one day. Encouraged by company head Gary Morris, Hill became a demo singer for the firm and also performed professionally as a harmony vocalist behind singer/songwriter/producer Gary Burr, who produced Hill's own demo tape. A Warner Brothers executive caught Burr and Hill's act at a Nashville club, and wound up signing Hill to a solo deal.
Hill released her debut album, Take Me as I Am, in late 1993, with producer Scott Hendricks at the helm. Success wasn't long in coming; the lead single "Wild One" raced up the country charts en route to a four-week run at number one early the next year, making her the first female country singer in 30 years to top the charts for that long with her debut single. The follow-up, a countrified cover of Janis Joplin's "Piece of My thumb|300px|right|Faith Hill - The Way You Love MeHeart," also hit number one, as did the album's title track, and Take Me as I Am wound up selling over three million copies. Hill was set to build on her success right away, but had to undergo surgery on her vocal cords, which delayed the recording of her next album. Nevertheless, the wait wasn't unreasonable, and It Matters to Me appeared in the summer of 1995. The title track became her fourth number one country single, and it was accompanied by a string of Top Ten hits that helped push initial sales of the album past the three million mark. Hill was by now a firmly established country hitmaker, and she continued her active touring schedule by teaming up with Tim McGraw in 1996 for the Spontaneous Combustion Tour. It was an apt name, as Hill married McGraw that October. The couple's first child, daughter Gracie, was born in May of 1997, and not long after, their duet "It's Your Love" -- recorded for McGraw's Everywhere album -- was burning up the country charts, staying at number one for six weeks.
Hill returned in the spring of 1998 with Faith, which provided the first signs that she was interested in crossing over to pop audiences, even if the still-countrified music often straddled the fence instead of making her thumb|300px|right|Faith Hill - Mississippi Girlambitions explicit. The single "This Kiss" proved the savvy of her approach; not only did it top the country charts for three weeks, but it also became her first pop hit, climbing to number seven. By the time "This Kiss" had run its course on the charts, Hill had given birth to her second daughter with McGraw, Maggie. If Hill had been a star in the country world, she was now rapidly becoming a superstar, known not just for her music but also her pure celebrity; she also signed an endorsement deal with Cover Girl makeup. Her next two singles, "Just to Hear You Say That You Love Me" (another duet with McGraw) and "Let Me Let Go," hit number one country, though they didn't duplicate the pop success of "This Kiss."
Faith, released in 1998, became Hill's biggest-selling album yet, eventually moving over six million copies and reaching the Top Ten on the LP charts; plus, it became crystal clear that Hill held major crossover appeal. Accordingly, she re-entered the studio immediately after her supporting tour and cut Breathe, a full-fledged bid thumb|300px|right|Faith Hill - Breathefor pop and adult contemporary success. Breathe entered the charts at number one upon its release in late 1999, and its title track became Hill's biggest hit yet; it spent six weeks on top of the country charts and was an even bigger hit on the adult contemporary charts. While it only climbed to number two pop, the single had such staying power that it wound up the biggest hit of the year 2000. The follow-ups were pretty successful in their own right: "The Way You Love Me" and "There You'll Be" both hit the pop Top Ten, with the former topping the country charts and the latter hitting number one AC. Hill also scored a Top Ten country hit with "Let's Make Love," a third duet with McGraw, and the two teamed up for another tour in 2000. Breathe was a bona fide blockbuster, selling over seven million copies in the U.S. and earning her a slew of award nominations. Hill spent much of 2001 taking a break and spending time with Audrey, her third daughter with McGraw.
In 2002, Hill returned to the spotlight with her fifth studio recording, Cry, a three-million seller whose title track netted her the Best Female Vocal Performance Grammy for 2003. Hill took nearly three years to return to recording, but when she released Fireflies in August 2005 it was hailed as one of her finest works. The lead single "Mississippi Girl" (written by John Rich of the hit country duo Big & Rich) hit number one on the country singles chart, and the album reached number one on the album charts. Her Soul2Soul II tour of 2006, which she co-headlined with McGraw, became the highest-grossing country tour of all time.
At the 2011 CMA Awards in November, Faith made her big comeback appearance, performing for the first time in five years. She sang "Come Home", from her upcoming album. Her seventh album "Illusion" is expected to be released in the spring of 2012.
Faith Hill has established herself as one of the music industry’s top vocalists, with a voice that is as powerful as it is recognizable. Her fifteen-year career has been highlighted by the sale of over 30 million records worldwide, during which time she has celebrated thirteen #1 singles and twenty #1 videos. In fact, 1999’s BREATHE, 2002’s CRY and 2005’s FIREFLIES all debuted consecutively at #1 on Billboard’s Top Pop Album Chart and Country Chart, making her the only female artist ever to accomplish this feat.
Faith is a five-time Grammy Award winner, who has also won 3 Country Music Association Awards, 12 Academy of Country Music Awards, 4 American Music Awards, and 4 People’s Choice Awards. Her marketability knows no equal. Her ability to draw television audiences nationwide is evidenced by the success of her own network television specials; 2000’s CBS Network broadcast of “FAITH!," NBC Network’s broadcast of 2002’s “FAITH HILL: When The Lights Go Down,” 2005’s “FAITH HILL: FIREFLIES,” as well as 2008’s hosting of CBS’ “HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS” and her PBS Network CHRISTMAS SPECIAL for Soundstage.
In 2009, when Faith performed America The Beautiful at the Super Bowl, she became the only country artist to ever perform both America The Beautiful and the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. She did the Anthem at Super Bowl XXXIV. For the past two years Faith has been NBC’s voice for Sunday Night Football and she’s performed at every major awards show including multiple appearances at The Academy Awards, The Grammy Awards and VH1’s Divas 1999 and 2000. In 2001, Faith appeared on “America: A Tribute To Heroes,” a benefit for the rescue workers and victims of the September 11th attacks and in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, she appeared on NBC’s “A Concert for Hurricane Relief.”
Faith co-headlined 2006’s Soul2Soul II Tour, which became the highest grossing country tour of all time and the most attended of the year, in any musical genre. In fact, with the tour’s wrap taking place in 2007, Soul2Soul II Tour was and is the highest grossing multi-year North American tour in country music history. It was selected by Pollstar Magazine as the “Major Tour of 2006” over industry powerhouses including Madonna and the Rolling Stone. This tour came on the heels of 2000’s Soul2Soul Tour which was one of that year’s top grossing and most successful US tours.
As one of this generations most likeable, credible and visible talents, it came as no surprise that Hollywood came knocking for 2004’s remake of “The Stepford Wives.” Faith starred in the Paramount Pictures production alongside Nicole Kidman, Glenn Close, Bette Midler, Mathew Broderick and Christopher Walken.
Later this year, Coty, Inc. will release Faith Hill Perfums.
Raised in Star, Mississippi, Faith moved to Nashville at the age of 19. In 1993, her debut single, “Wild One”, spent four weeks at #1 and from there she never looked back. Faith Hill has based her career on dedication, passion and commitment. Combined with her unparalleled vocal talents and style she has become a sought after entertainer and has firmly planted herself at the top of the music scene, where it’s easy to see (and hear) that she might just stay for a while.