Known As: LeAnn Rimes
Birth Name: Margaret LeAnn Rimes
Birthdate: August 28, 1982
Birthplace: Jackson, Mississippi
Factoids: 1991: At the age of 8, LeAnn was a two-week
Star Search champion
Education: Tutored, skipped two grades
"Superstar" and "sensation" are
a couple of the terms used to describe 18-year-old LeAnn
Rimes early in her career, and she continues to carry
these faithfully as one of the leading singers of the
1990s. Rimes' talent has earned her numerous awards
and experience in dynamic projects that will carry her
into the new millennium. One of the highlights of Rimes'
career was performing "Written in the Stars,"
a duet with Elton John from his album Aida on The People's
Choice Awards, The Tonight Show, Late Night With David
Letterman and The Today Show.
Rimes' debut record, "Blue," took the airwaves
by storm. "Blue" entered Billboard's country
chart at No. 49 and went to Top 10, making Rimes the
youngest country singer ever to debut that high.
Rimes' album, also titled Blue, immediately shot to
the top of the charts the week it debuted, placing itself
as the No. 1 album on the Billboard country charts and
No. 3 on the pop Billboard 200. You Light Up My Life:
Inspirational Songs, multi-platinum follow-up album,
debuted at No. 1 on the country, pop and contemporary
Christian charts -- a first-time accomplishment for
a country artist. The Early Years: Unchained Melody,
a compilation album of Rimes' early work, was released
in early 1997 and sold multi-platinum. To top off 1997,
Rimes had a No. 1 pop single with "How Do I Live,"
which held the Billboard chart record of 60 consecutive
weeks at No. 1, and received their Special Hot 100 award.
Rimes' incredible talents also garnered her Best New
Country Artist at the American Music Awards, the CMA
"Horizon Award", (and earlier CMA nominations
that make LeAnn the youngest CMA nominee in the history
of the Country Music Association), and Grammy awards
for Best New Artist and Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
Born August 28, 1982, in Jackson, Miss Rimes, an only
child, began singing before she was two.
"My dad has tapes of me doing 'You Are My Sunshine,'
'Getting to Know You,' and 'Have Mercy' by the Judds,"
At age 5, Rimes entered and won her first song and
dance competition (with a version of "Getting to
Know You") and told her parents, Wilbur and Belinda,
she wanted a life in show business. The family moved
to Texas when Rimes was 6 to pursue that dream, and
she subsequently auditioned (and nearly snagged) the
lead in Annie II on Broadway. At 7 she made her stage
debut in a Dallas musical production of A Christmas
Carol, playing the lead role of Tiny Tim. Rimes was
a two-week champion on the television show, Star Search,
when she was 8, and she has been a regular on Johnnie
High's Country Music Review in Forth Worth, Texas.
Rimes built a dedicated following in Texas through
her powerful a cappella performances of the "Star
Spangled Banner" at Dallas Cowboy games, the Walt
Garrison Rodeo and the National Cutting Horse Championship
in Fort Worth. In addition, Rimes opened for Randy Travis
at Starplex in Dallas, and in 1995 she made over 100
At age 11, she recorded her first album, All That,
produced by Wilbur, and released on the independent
label Nor Va Jak. The LP featured a version of "Blue,"
which had been sent to the Rimes by its songwriter,
Bill Mack. Mack had originally written the song more
than 30 years before and given it to Patsy Cline, who
died before she could record it. The song lay dormant
until Mack heard Rimes sing at one of her appearances,
and subsequently sent her a tape.
"My dad said the song was too old for me,"
Rimes recalls. "I loved it, though, and I kept
bugging him about it. Then I got the idea to put the
yodel thing to it."
Wilbur and LeAnn headed to Norman Petty's old studio
in Clovis, N.M. (where Buddy Holly recorded his first
album) to cut her LP. Lyle Walker, who runs the studio,
became Rimes' co-manager along with Wilbur.
The first album, sold locally in the Dallas area, also
created a stir in Nashville and sparked a bidding war
among several labels for LeAnn's talents. Ultimately,
Rimes signed with Curb Records.
"Someone sent me her CD; I put it in and everyone
just turned their heads and said 'Who is that?'"
Mike Curb says.
Rimes' first Curb CD includes one of her personal highlights,
a duet with the legendary Eddy Arnold on his classic
hit, "Cattle Call." "It was Mike Curb's
idea to do the song," she says. "Eddy Arnold
was great. He kind of adopted me as his granddaughter
and then as his daughter."
One of Blue's other highlights is "Talk to Me,"
an up-tempo cut that Rimes co-wrote (with Ron Grimes
and Jon Rutherford).
"I've been writing songs for a while, and this
is the first one I've recorded," LeAnn commented.
"I'm really excited about 'Talk to Me,' and I'm
looking forward to continuing my songwriting."
Rimes counts Barbra Streisand, Patsy Cline, Reba McEntire,
Wynonna and her parents among her musical influences.
Off the road and out of the studio, she enjoys riding
cutting horses, tennis, swimming and watching other
Rimes' latest release on Curb Records, LeAnn Rimes,
features her unique interpretation of 11 country standards,
plus one bonus track titled "Big Deal." Expanding
upon other talents, LeAnn made a guest appearance on
the hit TV series, Moesha, starring Brandy. She served
as Good Morning America's celebrity host for the American
Music Awards in January '99, and also appeared on ABC-TV's
HOT 21 special, a television version of the Teen People's
article on the same subject. She appeared on Rosie O'Donnell
in October debuted her first CMT special. Rimes also
appeared on Today, Later Today and The Tonight Show.