Faith Hill

September 21, 1967
  • Faith Hill was born Audrey Faith Perry in Ridgeland, Mississippi and was adopted as an infant. One of her earliest influences was Elvis Presley, who she saw perform live in 1976. Over 30 years later, in 2008, Hill would cover "That's Alright Mama" and "Peace in the Valley" for an ABC television tribute to Presley. Throughout her childhood, Hill performed locally in venues including church, rodeos, and the Hinds County Jail. She moved to Nashville when she was 19 to pursue her singing career and auditioned to be a backup singer for Reba McEntire, but did not get the job. The woman who did get the job, Paula Kaye Evans, died in a 1991 plane crash near San Diego that killed seven members of McEntire's band and her road manager. Hill told Larry King in a 2006 interview that she does not think fate had anything to do with her life being spared, saying, "I wasn't a great background singer and I didn't get the part."
  • Hill's 1993 debut album, Take Me as I Am, featured her breakout hit, "Wild One." She became the first female country singer in 30 years to claim the top spot on the Billboard country chart for four consecutive weeks when "Wild One" went to #1. She followed up Take Me as I Am with It Matters to Me in 1995. The following spring, Hill met fellow country singer, Tim McGraw, while on tour. Both singers report that the attraction was "instant" and began an affair that led to their marriage in 1996. Hill took three years off of performing to have children, although she did record the duet "It's Your Love" with McGraw, which won Song of the Year from the Country Music Association in 1997.
  • The singer's sound began to move away from country and more toward pop when she returned to recording with 1998's Faith, featuring the "This Kiss." The song went to #1 on the Country chart and #7 on the Pop chart. On the heels of this success, Hill released her smash hit album Breathe, winner of three Grammy Awards including Best Country Album, although many critics suggested that the album bore little trace of Country music. Hill again stepped away from recording to spend time with her children and she did not make another album until 2005, when she released Fireflies. The album debuted at #1 and featured a more distinctive Country sound than Breathe. "Mississippi Girl" became her first #1 Country single since "The Way You Love Me" in 2000.
  • Hill tried her hand at movies in 2002 when she won the role of Julia Moore, starring opposite of Mel Gibson in the movie, When We Were Soldiers. However, she left the film and Madeline Stowe assumed her role. Hill's film acting debut came in 1994's The Stepford Wives. Her husband has gone on to a more active acting career and while he made Country Strong with Gwyneth Paltrow in 2010, Hill spent time with Paltrow's husband writing songs. Paltrow is married to Chris Martin of the rock band Coldplay. Four years earlier she had indicated to Larry King that she is a fan of the band, saying that it had become more challenging over time to find material that challenges her and "now I want to record all Coldplay songs."
  • She gave Lori McKenna a big boost when she recorded three of her songs for her 2005 album Fireflies. McKenna went on to become a top songwriter, co-writing the Little Big Town hit "Girl Crush" and writing "Humble and Kind," which McGraw recorded.

    "Faith sort of calms everybody down," McKenna told Songfacts. "I've seen star quality in people, but I've never really seen it – for lack of a better term - as bright as with her."
  • In 2007, Hill began a six-year stint as the voice of the theme song for NBC's Sunday Night Football broadcast, singing "Waiting All Day for Sunday Night" to the tune of Joan Jett's "I Hate Myself For Loving You." Hill, who replaced Pink as the song's performer, is a fan of the Tennessee Titans and also sang the national anthem at the 2000 Super Bowl. Her rendition of the "The Star Spangled Banner" was so popular that it made it to #35 on the Country charts after the terrorist attack of 2001, despite never being released as a single.
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