Reba McEntire - Biography
By J Poet
Grammy winning multi-platinum singer, actress, TV star, comedian, and businesswoman, Reba McEntire has the longest run of #1 hit singles of any female country artist and an eclectic taste in music that spans pop, soul and R&B. She’s appeared on Broadway in Annie Get Your Gun, and at Carnegie hall in South Pacific, starred in her own sitcom on the WB, Reba, which ran for six years, and has continued to make hit albums in the new century.
McEntire was born on a ranch near Kiowa, Oklahoma in 1954. Her father Clark and her grandfather were rodeo champions and her mother was a singer, who taught her children to sing. The family followed Clark on the rodeo circuit and she had a singing group with her siblings, The Singing McEntires. She also became a first class rodeo barrel race rider and even while attending Southeastern Oklahoma State University she continued to compete in rodeos. In 1974 producer Red Steagall heard her sing the national anthem at the National Rodeo Finals and told her he’d get her a deal if she made him a good demo tape.
Steagall helped get her signed to Mercury, and according to legend nearly blew out the studio transistors when she hit the high notes on her first recording session. Her Mercury albums, including Reba McEntire (1977 Mercury) and Feel the Fire (1980 Mercury), were fine but not spectacular, although Unlimited (1982 Mercury) did include her first two #1 singles “I Can't Even Get the Blues” and “You're the First Time I've Thought About Leaving.”
In 1983 he moved to MCA and started managing her own career. Her first album for the label My Kind of Country (1983 MCA) was a smash and went gold behind the #1 hits “How Blue” and "Somebody Should Leave." She also took home the Country Music Association's Female Vocalist of the Year Award. She co-produced Have I Got a Deal for You (1984 MCA) and won her first Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for Whoever's in New England (1986 MCA).
In 1987 she relocated to Nashville and continued racking up the hits on albums like The Last One to Know (1987 MCA), Reba (1988 MCA) which had a more pop sound and included a cover of “Respect,” and Sweet Sixteen (1989 MCA) another country/pop album.
McEntire created Starstruck Entertainment in 1989, a management, booking, publishing, promotion, publicity, accounting, and ticket sales venture. Rumor Has It (1990 MCA) her first full bore pop album, went multi-platinum. In 1991 her tour manager and six members of her band were killed when their plane crashed on the way home from a gig. For My Broken Heart (1991 MCA) with its themes of lost and regret was clearing inspired by the tragedy and went double platinum. It's Your Call (1992 MCA) another collection of tearful ballads, was her third multi-platinum album in a row. Her video for “Is There Life Out There” won the Academy of Country Music’s Video Of The Year Award in 1992. Her dramatic performance may have been inspired by her work in the horror spoof Tremors (1990) and a start turn in the Kenny Rogers TV movie The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw (1991). In 1993 she also won a Grammy for her duet with Linda Davis on the single “Does He Love You” later include in the two CD set Reba: #1’s (2005 MCA)
In the 90s McEntire’s winning streak continued with Read My Mind (1994 MCA), Starting Over (1995 MCA), What If It's You (1996 MCA), You See Him (1998 MCA), Secret of Giving: A Christmas Collection (1999 MCA), her second Christmas album and So Good Together (1999 MCA).
She kicked her acting and comedic career into overdrive in the new century with a starring turn in Annie Get Your Gun (2001) and the sitcom Reba (2001 – 2007) on the WB Network. I'll Be (2001 MCA) and Greatest Hits -I'm a Survivor (2001 MCA) both went gold, making her the most certified female country artist in history. Room to Breathe (2003 MCA) was her first pure country album in years, while Reba Duets (2007 MCA) featured the best of all possible worlds with country tunes and guest shots by Kelly Clarkson, Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, Ronnie Dunn, Faith Hill, Trisha Yearwood, Vince Gill, Carole King and Justin Timberlake. In 2009 she released Keep On Loving You, followed by All The Women I Am in 2010. She currenty stars on the TV sitcom Malibu Country.