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The accolades from her fans and the music industry keep on rolling in.
Small-Town Girl Making Big-Time Music
Kellie Pickler has made her mark in the country music/pop scene the hard way. She has paid her dues via the beauty pageant circuit and waitressing before vying for a top spot on television's American Idol. At just 19 years of age, Pickler won sixth place in the reality show's fifth season. She also won a recording contract with BNA.
Her "tell it like it is" southern charm not only has won the hearts of fans but also millions of dollars. She also is friends with such sexy, singin' hotties as Carrie Underwood, Idol roommate Katharine McPhee and Taylor Swift.
And, just like an old country tune, there was a lot of bumps on the road to fame and fortune. She had an unusual childhood. This small-town girl from Albemarle, N.C., was essentially raised by her grandparents. Her mother left her when she was a toddler and has been in and out of her life without consistency. She says her father is an alcoholic and used drugs. He was also incarcerated at the Florida State Penitentiary for awhile.
"I write what my soul tells me to write," she says on her official Kellie Pickler website. "I realized the key to writing is just being true and writing what is real. It's why country music has such an impact. It's music people relate to because it's about telling true stories."
Pickler writes and sings what she knows. She co-wrote her hit single "I Wonder," which is about a mother abandoning her child and a troubled mother/daughter relationship.
"If I've learned anything," she says on her online fan page, "it's that we take so many things for granted. I love it when something I read or someone I meet makes me think, 'You've got it made, girl.' I don't want to dwell on what I don't have. I want to appreciate life and the good things and people I'm surrounded by. I know that's good for the soul."
The 25 year old is also giving back - Kellie Pickler style. On Memorial Day this year, the spunky blonde entertained the troops with her original in-your-face style and hot songs. This was the fifth USO tour for the North Carolina girl.
She told USO the these tours have "definitely been the highlight of my career and my life. It has been the most impactful, life-changing thing I've been able to do. I love and respect our nation's troops, and I jumped at the chance to go out and spend time with them this Memorial Day. This tour may be my fifth, but in many ways it feels like my first time going out' it never gets old and I am always meeting someone new."
She has entertained troops in Iraq, Germany, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Kuwait and England.
Her idols include veterans Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. She wants to add her name to this list of music industry legends.
The accolades from her fans and the music industry keep on rolling in. Since her singing debut at American Idol, won "Best Female Country Artist" at the 2007 Teen Choice Awards, and the CMT Music Awards for her " Wonder" single.
Pickler's third album, 100 Proof, was released earlier this year and features the "Tough" single. Pickler may have had a tough childhood, but this talented songstress has won the hearts of country and contemporary music fans.
Cheri Jensen, Style Columnist: Cheri Jensen is an award-winning writer and editor with more than 5,000 published articles in newspapers, magazines and online. This experience includes special sections editor for the Los Angeles Times, west coast editor for a national publication and lifestyle and fashion editor for a daily newspaper. She has covered the Olympic Games for an international audience and has covered numerous sports and entertainment events for major broadcasting companies. When not hiking diverse locations... (more...)