Carrie Marie Underwood (born March 10, 1983) is an American country music singer, songwriter, and actress. She rose to fame as the winner of the fourth season of American Idol in 2005. Underwood has since become a multi-platinum selling recording artist. She is a winner of six Grammy Awards, sixteen Billboard Music Awards, seven American Music Awards, and eleven Academy of Country Music Awards. As a songwriter, she has been nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. Underwood is also a two-time winner of the Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year award and the first woman to win such an award twice (2009/10). Underwood was inducted into and became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2008. She was also inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 2009.
Her debut album, Some Hearts, was released in 2005. Bolstered by the huge crossover success of the singles “Before He Cheats” and “Jesus, Take the Wheel”, it went on to become the fastest selling debut country album in Nielsen SoundScan history, the best-selling solo female debut album in country music history and the best-selling country album of the last ten years. Underwood won three Grammy Awards for the album, including Best New Artist. Her second album, Carnival Ride, was released in 2007, with one of the biggest opening weeks by a female artist in history, and later earned Underwood two Grammy Awards, for the singles “Last Name” and “I Told You So”. Released in 2009, her third album, Play On, was led by the success of its first single, “Cowboy Casanova”, and finished the year as the second top-selling release by a female artist. 2012’s Blown Away, her fourth album, was ranked the second best-selling release of the year by a female artist. She won a Grammy Award for the album’s song “Blown Away”. With over 16 million albums and 30 million singles sold worldwide, and over $100 million in tour revenues, Underwood is the biggest American Idol earner, the fourth biggest album seller of the past ten years and the RIAA’s tenth top digital artist of all time. Additionally, Forbes estimates that she is worth over $100 million.
Described by music critics as Country Music’s reigning Queen, Underwood is the only solo country artist in the 2000s decade to have a number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and the first and only country artist to ever debut at number one on the Hot 100, as “Inside Your Heaven” topped the chart in 2005. She is also the female country artist with the most number one hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, from 1991 to present, having 12 number one’s and breaking her own Guinness Book record of ten. Some Hearts was named the No. 1 Country Album of the 2000 Decade by Billboard and she was the top-ranked female artist on Billboard’s Best Country Artists of the 2000 Decade list.