Yearwood, Trisha


Of all the country stars to emerge in the '90s, Trisha Yearwood stands as the most determinedly tasteful. Blessed with powerful pipes--one critic has said she owns the voice to which all other female country singers will now be compared--Trisha wields her gift with tender sensitivity. She can peel notes with the gale strength of Linda Ronstadt; but, more often than not, she slips quietly inside her lyrics, exposing emotions with a soft light rather than a high-watt glare.

She's similarly cultivated when choosing material. At a time when country music is overrun with novelty songs, Trisha consistently unearths mature, well-written songs that poignantly examine adult relationships without falling back on puns, gimmicks or cute wordplay. She's that rare artist who has transformed her star status into a license to put quality before calculation.

Trisha grew up in the small town of Monticello, Georgia, where her father was city manager and her mother a schoolteacher. "I'm basically a country girl," she says. "My mom and dad have jobs, but we live on a farm."

Inspired by Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris, she decided to pursue singing. She convinced her parents to allow her to move to Nashville in 1985 by enrolling in Belmont College, where she earned a degree in music business studies. Meanwhile, she began singing on demo tapes for songwriters who needed a strong female voice to help sell their work.

The power and subtlety of her voice quickly drew the attention of record producers, including Garth Fundis, who had guided hits by Don Williams, Keith Whitley and others. With Fundis's help, Yearwood signed with MCA Records in 1991. That same year, her first single, "I'm In Love With The Boy," catapulted her to stardom. It became the first debut single by a female vocalist to hit No. 1 on charts since Jeannie C. Riley did it in 1968 with "Harper Valley P.T.A."

But the '90s have seen many country newcomers skyrocket to the top, only to fizzle out of view nearly as quickly. While she may not be the genre's biggest seller, she is among its most respected and critically acclaimed vocalists.

With the release of 1997's Songbook, a collection of her radio hits, Trisha enjoyed a surge in popularity that seemed to revive her confidence as well as her sales figures. With her victory as Country Music Association's Female Vocalist Of The Year award and her new album, Where Your Road Leads, the singer seems poised to continue to impact popular music for years to come.

This Biography was written by Michael McCall

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