Martina McBride was born Martina Schiff in Sharon, Kansas in 1966. Her parents exposed her to Country music at a young age and before she was out of grade school, she was singing with her father's band, The Schiffters. After singing with a Kansas rock band, she formed her own band in 1988 and met her future husband, studio engineer John McBride, during her search for recording space.
Martina caught the eye of superstar Garth Brooks in 1990. She occasionally joined her husband, who worked the soundboard on Brooks' tour, and helped out by selling T-shirts. She impressed Brooks with her work ethic and, despite never hearing her sing, he promised her a spot as an opening act if she ever got a recording contract. She signed with RCA Records in 1991 and Brooks kept his word. McBride released her first album, "The Time Has Come," the following year.
McBride's single "Independence Day
" was initially shunned by Country music because of the subject matter. The song tells about an escape from domestic violence from the point-of-view of an 8 year-old child. It not only became McBride's breakout hit, it was launched McBride's efforts as a spokesperson for victims of domestic violence. Because of the title and the lyrics of the chorus, such as "let freedom ring," the song is frequently misinterpreted as a patriotic anthem.
After several nominations, McBride won her first major award in 1999 when she was chosen the Country Music Association's Female Vocalist of the Year, on the heels of her fifth studio album, Emotion. Since then, McBride's Pop-inflected style has helped her become one of the most popular singers in Country music. From 2000 through 2011, Nielsen-BDS and Mediabase reported that McBride was country radio's most frequently played female artist.
In 2011, McBride released her first album after ending her contract with RCA Records expired. The Big Machine Label Group issued Eleven, which features a song that McBride equates to "Independence Day." "I'm Going to Love You Through It" is a song for caregivers of cancer victims. In October 2011, she was chosen to light the pink lights on the Empire State Building in support of Cancer Awareness Month.