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Margaret LeAnn Rimes Cibrian (born August 28, 1982), known professionally as LeAnn Rimes, is an American country and pop singer. Known for her rich vocals, Rimes rose to stardom at age 13 following the release of the Bill Mack song "Blue", becoming the youngest country music star since Tanya Tucker in 1972.
Rimes made her breakthrough into country music in 1996 with her debut album, Blue, which reached number one on the Top Country Albums chart and was certified multiplatinum in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The album's eponymous leadoff single, "Blue", became a Top 10 hit and Rimes gained national acclaim for her similarity to Patsy Cline's vocal style. When she released her sophomore studio effort in 1997, You Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs, she moved towards country pop material, which set the trend for a string of albums released into the next decade.
Rimes has won many awards, including two Grammys, three ACMs, a CMA, 12 Billboard Music Awards, and one American Music award. She has released ten studio albums and three compilation albums and two greatest hits albums, one released in the US and the other released internationally, through her record label of 13 years, Asylum-Curb, and placed over 40 singles on American and international charts since 1996. She has sold over 37 million records worldwide, with 20.3 million album sales in the United States according to Nielsen SoundScan. Billboard ranked her 17th artist of the 1990-00 decade. Rimes has also written four books: two novels and two children's books.
Margaret LeAnn Rimes was born in Jackson, Mississippi. She is the only child of Wilbur Rimes and Belinda Butler. The family moved to Garland, Texas when she was six. She was enrolled in vocal and dance classes, and was performing at local talent shows at the age of 5. Rimes began her career in musical theatre, performing in a Dallas, Texas production of A Christmas Carol, and almost landing the lead part in the Broadway production of Annie. After appearing on the network television competition show Star Search, where she clearly charmed host Ed McMahon in addition to being a one-week champion, Rimes decided to go into country music. Rimes appeared a number of times on Johnnie High's Country Music Revue in Arlington, Texas, which gained the attention of national talent scouts.
By age nine, Rimes was an experienced singer. She toured nationally with her father and also regularly performed a cappella renditions of "The Star Spangled Banner" at the opening of the Dallas Cowboys football games. Wilbur Rimes began recording his daughter under the independent label Nor Va Jak when she turned eleven. She released three albums between 1991 and 1996.
Rimes was discovered by Dallas disc jockey and record promoter Bill Mack. Mack was impressed by Rimes's vocal ability, and over the following three years, he made various attempts to bring Rimes to a mainstream level. The center of Mack's plan to bring her success was his self-penned composition, "Blue", which Mack claimed he intended to be recorded and made into a hit record by Patsy Cline, but she had been killed in a plane crash before ever recording the composition. In July 1994, Rimes recorded the song on her independent album, All That.
After signing with Curb, Rimes re-recorded a new version of "Blue" that was released on her debut studio album, and as a single which peaked at number ten on the Billboard Country Chart. During this time the media was reporting that Rimes was the successor to Patsy Cline's legacy. The album Blue sold 123,000 copies in its first week, the highest figure in SoundScan history at that time. It peaked at number one on the Top Country Albums and debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 albums chart, eventually selling a total of four million copies in the United States and eight million copies worldwide. Allmusic considered the album to be "delightful" and that it could "help inspire other young teens". Rimes followed up the single with several charting country singles from her 1996 album, starting with "One Way Ticket (Because I Can)", which reached number one on the Billboard Country Chart in 1996. She also released a duet single with Eddy Arnold from the album, a remake of his 1955 hit "The Cattle Call". The album's other hits included the Top 5 "The Light in Your Eyes" and the minor hit "Hurt Me".
With the album's success, Rimes received many major industry awards. In 1997 at 14 years old she became the youngest person to win a Grammy, for Best New Artist and Best Female Country Vocal Performance for "Blue". She was also the first Country music artist to win the Best New Artist category. The same year she won the Country Music Association's "Horizon Award" for Best New Artist Of The Year, becoming the youngest person to ever be nominated and win a Country Music Association award.
In 1997, Rimes released a compilation of previously recorded material under the Nor Va Jak label, Unchained Melody: The Early Years. The album mainly consisted of cover versions, ranging from Country to pop covers, including songs originally recorded by The Beatles, Whitney Houston, Bill Monroe, and Dolly Parton. Rimes's version of the title track became a major country hit in early 1997 and helped increase sales for the album. In June 1997, Rimes would appear on the Disney Channel for television special called LeAnn Rimes in Concert. In September 1997, Rimes released her follow-up studio album to Blue titled You Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs. The album covered classic inspirational songs, such as "Clinging to Saving a Hand" and "Amazing Grace". It also featured pop music remakes of songs such as Debby Boone's "You Light Up My Life" and Bette Midler's "The Rose". The album was a departure from Rimes's previous releases as it contained more Adult Contemporary-styled music than Country. The album sold over four million copies in the United States, certifying 4× Multi-Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. The album contained an extended version of the single "How Do I Live", which became a major pop hit on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching number two. "How Do I Live" set a new record for becoming the longest-running single in Billboard Hot 100 history, spending 69 weeks on the chart. On October 13, 1997 she published her first novel, titled Holiday in Your Heart, along with Tim Carter.
Rimes released her third album for Curb in May 1998, Sittin' on Top of the World. The album leaned more progressively towards Adult Contemporary and mid-tempo pop music. It included pop material written by Carole Bayer Sager and David Foster. It also included a remake of Prince's "Purple Rain" and was produced by her father. The album was given mixed reviews. Allmusic gave the album two out of five stars. Rolling Stone said Rimes vocal style "holds her own in the more popular style of Mariah Carey and Celine Dion, wherein a spectacular voice upstages a song, grins and goes on about her business." Upon its release, Sittin' on Top of the World debuted at number two on the Top Country Albums chart, and number three on the Billboard 200, and sold over a million copies in the United States, certifying "Platinum" in sales by the RIAA. The album spawned the number four Country hit "Commitment", the Top 20 Pop hit "Looking Through Your Eyes", and the number ten country hit "Nothin' New Under the Moon".
Rimes released her fourth studio album for Curb, LeAnn Rimes, in October 1999, a collection of country standards. The album covered songs mainly by Patsy Cline – which included "Crazy", "I Fall to Pieces", and "She's Got You" – that were primarily taken from her 12 Greatest Hits album. The album also covered Marty Robbins's "Don't Worry" and Kris Kristofferson's "Me and Bobby McGee". The album included one new song, "Big Deal". The song gained many positive reviews. Allmusic called the song, "a return to her roots" and "a salute to one of her idols, Patsy Cline." The album in general received much praise. Allmusic called the album one of her "better" efforts, since they had disliked her previous releases. Entertainment Weekly gave the album a positive review and said that Rimes's voice, "dares listeners to take note of what is missing in her interpretations -- the gutsiness and gut-wrenching urgency of performers who felt what they sang." The album was a major success like her previous releases, debuting at number one on the Top Country Albums chart, topping the country albums chart for two weeks. In addition, it also peaked at number eight on the Billboard 200 albums chart. The album also sold over one million copies in the United States, and was certified "Platinum" in sales by the RIAA. The album's new song, "Big Deal", was the lead single off the album, and became a Top 10 country hit that year, peaking at number six. Also in 1999, Rimes recorded a duet with Elton John for the stage musical Aida, titled "Written in the Stars". The song became a Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. The album would spawn a second single, a cover of Cline's "Crazy" that was released outside of the United States.
In 2000, Rimes would make her full crossover into pop music. On March 8, 2000, Rimes contributed to the soundtrack from the 1999 TV movie Jesus, called Jesus: Music From & Inspired by the Epic Mini Series. The song, "I Need You", would be released as a single from the soundtrack on July 18, 2000. "I Need You" was characterized by Allmusic as having similarities to that of Adult Contemporary and Pop music. The song became a Top 10 country hit and also a major pop hit, reaching number eleven on the Hot 100. Rimes would make a cameo in the 2000 film Coyote Ugly. She would also contribute four songs for the film's soundtrack on August 1, 2000. Two singles were released from the Coyote Ugly soundtrack. "Can't Fight the Moonlight" was released as a single for the soundtrack on August 22, 2000 with the second single from the soundtrack, "But I Do Love You", as the B-side track. By February 2002 "Can't Fight the Moonlight" became a crossover Pop hit, reaching number 11 in United States and becoming the highest selling single of 2001 in Australia. "Can't Fight the Moonlight" won Rimes a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for "Favorite Song from a Movie."
In January 2001, Curb Records released another compilation of previously recorded material, I Need You. The album topped the Top Country Albums chart for one week, and also peaked at number ten on the Billboard 200. I Need You did not garner praise from many critics and was mainly given negative reviews. Rolling Stone gave the album two and a half out of five stars and called the album, "synthetic-feeling." Despite very little praise from critics, the album was sold well, and was certified "Gold" in sales by the RIAA. Rimes would later go on to publicly disown the album, which she stated was compiled together from studio outtakes her father had produced and that it was released without her knowledge or input. At the time, during the litigation with her label, Rimes was asking that her label, Curb, give her the rights to all past recordings and videos, give up all publishing interests in her compositions and destroy all currently available recordings."
In mid-October 2001, Curb released a compilation of patriotic and inspirational songs, titled God Bless America, in order to benefit the disaster recovery for the September 11 attacks. It included the title track, which she released as a single, as well as inspirational songs such as "The Lord's Prayer" and "The Sands of Time".
In March 2002 Rimes reissued the I Need You album with nine of the songs originally released on the album, an extended version of the song You Are, the song "Light the Fire Within", which she sang at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, and four bonus remixes. Rimes would later that year release her fifth studio album titled Twisted Angel, which contained more adult material. After battling managerial control over her career the previous year, Twisted Angel became the first album released by Rimes that was not produced by her father. Instead, Rimes executive produced the album. A month following the album's release, Twisted Angel was certified "Gold" by the RIAA, her second Gold-certified album. The album received mainly negative reviews by most music critics and magazines. Allmusic stated that the album could possibly "alieniate her from her original fans" and "the songwriting is a little uneven." Rolling Stone gave the album two out of five stars, stating that the album sounded too "country-pop crossover." The album peaked at number three on the Top Country Albums chart and number 12 on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart. Two singles were spawned from the album between 2002 and 2003, however none of the singles were Top 40 hits on the country or pop charts. The lead single, "Life Goes On", reached the Top 40 only on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart, peaking at number 9. The second single, "Suddenly", only peaked at 43 on the US Country charts, 47 on the UK charts and 53 on the Australian charts.
The following year when Rimes turned 21, she released her first children's book, titled Jag, in July and she also released a Greatest Hits compilation in November. The album recapped Rimes's major hits under Curb records from "Blue" in 1996, to "Life Goes On" in 2002. The album peaked at Number 3 on the Top Country Albums chart and Number 24 on the Billboard 200 in November. Featured on the album was the song, "We Can", which was originally released as a single for the Legally Blonde 2 soundtrack in July 2003. The album would eventually be certified "Platinum" in 2007.
In 2004, Rimes released her second greatest hits album, The Best of LeAnn Rimes, internationally in February. Rimes would also team up with country singer and idol Reba McEntire to contribute to the 2004 Dr. Pepper commercial campaign. She would also release the sequel to Jag, titled Jag's New Friend, in September and in October she also issued her first holiday-themed and sixth studio album titled, What a Wonderful World.
In January 2005, Rimes released her seventh studio album, This Woman, her first album of contemporary country music in many years. Although the album received mixed reviews from magazines and critics, it was Rimes's best-selling album in over five years, reaching number three on the Billboard 200 and number two on the Top Country Albums chart in 2005, selling more than 100,000 copies within its first week. Rimes explained to the Chicago Sun-Times that the album helped mature her as a person, "I have 10 years of experience, so it's tough to get anything past me in this business. I've become a very strong woman because of all I've gone through, good and bad." This Woman would eventually be certified "Gold" later in 2005, after selling more than 500,000 units nationwide. The album's singles were Rimes's first Top 10 hits on the Hot Country Songs chart in five years. The three singles released from the album — "Nothin' 'Bout Love Makes Sense", "Probably Wouldn't Be This Way", and "Something's Gotta Give" — all peaked within the Top 5 on the country charts between 2005 and 2006. From the album, Rimes was nominated for a Grammy award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for "Something's Gotta Give". In addition, she was also nominated for an American Music Award for "Favorite Female Country Artist." In 2006, Rimes recorded a cover version of Barbara Mandrell's "If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don't Want to Be Right)", for a tribute album to Mandrell's career titled, She Was a Country When Country Wasn't Cool: A Tribute to Barbara Mandrell. Rimes also would record a track for Disneyland's 50th anniversary celebration album titled, "Remember When."
In summer 2006, Rimes released the studio album Whatever We Wanna, which was released exclusively outside of the United States and Canada. It was originally planned on being released in North America, however due to the success of This Woman, it was never released. The album spawned three singles, "And It Feels Like", a duet with Brian McFadden titled, "Everybody's Someone" and "Strong". The album leaned more towards Pop Rock and R&B music instead of country.
Rimes would release one final single in the US from her album This Woman in August 2006 called "Some People" which would peak at 34 on the US country charts.
In October 2007, Rimes released her ninth studio album, Family. The album was a mix of country, pop, and rock music, and included the duet with Bon Jovi, "Til We Ain't Strangers Anymore". Family was the first album released by Rimes in which every track was co-written by Rimes herself. Rolling Stone said the songs on the album are "uneven" and rated it three and half out of five stars. Allmusic gave Family four out of five stars and said that the album, "illustrates her range as a singer along with some true strength as a writer." The album helped nominate Rimes for the Academy of Country Music's "Top Female Vocalist" award in 2008. The album's lead single, "Nothin' Better to Do" was released in mid-2007, and peaked at number 14 on the Billboard Country Chart before the end of the year. Two more singles were released from the album, "Good Friend and a Glass of Wine" and "What I Cannot Change." Before releasing Family, Rimes would once again collaborate with singer, Reba McEntire for her album Reba: Duets, which was released on September 18, 2007. Both artist would later go on to perform the duet from the album, "When You Love Someone Like That", at the 41st CMA Music Awards. The duet would also be included on the album.
In 2008, Rimes toured with Kenny Chesney where she opened every show on his 2008 Poets and Pirates Tour, along with other artists on select dates such as Brooks & Dunn, Keith Urban, Sammy Hagar, Gary Allan, Big & Rich, and Luke Bryan. In late 2008, Rimes was nominated for a Grammy award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for "What I Cannot Change", the third single from the album.
In 2008, she recorded For Good with Delta Goodrem for the Wicked 5th Anniversary album. LeAnn teamed up with Joss Stone for a CMT Crossroads special aired in fall 2007.
In 2009, Rimes published What I Cannot Change along with song co-writer, Darrell Brown. It was released on April 14, 2009 and contains a bonus CD with an exclusive live performance of the song and both Brown and Rimes reading excerpts from the book.
Despite singing new material at several live shows earlier in the year, it was announced, on May 24, 2010 by Rimes via her Twitter account, that her new studio album would be a cover album of country songs, titled Lady & Gentlemen. The first single from the album was a cover of John Anderson's 1983 single, "Swingin'". Rimes first debuted the song at the 2010 CMT Music Awards. The single was released on June 8, 2010. On December 10, 2010, Rimes released her second single titled "Crazy Women" to radio. "Crazy Women," A re-recording of "Blue" and "Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down" were announced, in the same post, as the three extra tracks that Rimes went back in the studio to add to the album. A third single, "Give", debuted at No. 60 in July 2011. Rimes announced via her Twitter account on July 17, 2011 that the new release date for her Lady & Gentlemen album would be September 27, 2011. She also stated that her next studio album is already done and will be released next year. Rimes went back into the studio in March to record fifteen more songs for her new album, Spitfire. On April 4, 2012, Rimes was featured on the song, "The Choice", which was released by Soles4Souls as a charity single to help the foundation put 500,000 pairs of shoes on children who live without. The official first single to be released from Spitfire, "What Have I Done", was released to digital download to on November 20, 2012, but was replaced by the second single, "Borrowed", released on December 18, 2012, for radio release. The album was released to digital download in the UK and Australia on April 15, 2013, with the physical CD copy of the album released on April 22, 2013 in the UK, and on April 26, 2013 in Australia. The album was released in the US on June 4, 2013. Spitfire is Rimes' last album under her contract with Curb Records. Spitfire sold only 10,798 copies in its first week and debuted at No. 36 on the Billboard 200 chart.
Since her debut in 1996, Rimes's soprano voice and vocal style have often been compared to and identified with Patsy Cline. Cline showed distinctive emotional expression in most of her material. Rimes has also used distinctive emotional expression in many of her songs, most notably her first single, "Blue", which was sung in the style of Cline. Rimes's vocal similarities to Cline had brought wide interest to the idea that Rimes was the successor to Cline's legacy, and brought her novelty appeal. Many music critics have argued that Rimes's vocals were only a reproduction of Cline's original sound, while others have disagreed. Allmusic has called Rimes's vocals "rich and powerful." Her vocal ability has also brought Rimes to comparisons to past teenage country stars, including 50s country star Brenda Lee and 70s country star Tanya Tucker. Rimes was also known for choosing mature material that was beyond her age range. In her first album, Rimes recorded such material as Deborah Allen's "My Baby", whose lyrics provocatively say, "my baby is a full-time lover, my baby is a full-grown man." Other material such as Diane Warren's "How Do I Live" had also been considered too mature for Rimes's age and was the main reason why her version of the song was not chosen to be used in the soundtrack for the film Con Air. Rimes also has a vocal range that goes from D3 to Eb6 which is just a little over three octaves.
Rimes has given credit to artists from various music genres, mainly country and pop. She has stated that Barbra Streisand, Wynonna Judd and Reba McEntire were primary influences on her career. Rimes has said the main influence on her career was Patsy Cline. She has covered many of Cline's hit songs since the beginning of her career. Her 1999 self-titled album is primarily a tribute to Cline, as Rimes recorded five out of ten songs for the album that were hits for Cline years before. Rimes has also stated that Judy Garland was an influence as well.
After beginning to date actor Andrew Keegan in 1998, Rimes said to the press that she had some ideas about possibly getting involved in an acting career. Rimes moved to Los Angeles, California later in the year with her mother to pursue an acting career. That year Rimes played a role in the Made for television movie, Holiday in Your Heart, which is based on a book she had helped write. For participating in the film, Rimes was awarded the "Rising Star" award from the Lone Star Film & Television Awards. She made her official film debut in 2000 for Coyote Ugly, providing the singing voice for Piper Perabo's character Violet Sanford and making a cameo appearance towards the end of the film. In addition, she also recorded four songs for the film's soundtrack, including the Top 20 Pop hit, "Can't Fight the Moonlight." In 2005 Rimes hosted the country music television competition, Nashville Star on the USA television network. However she only held the position for one season after deciding to depart from the show's cast.
In early June 2007, she was chosen at the last minute to record the leading song for the soundtrack of Evan Almighty called "Ready For A Miracle" (previously recorded by Patti LaBelle). The song can be heard in the movie, during the end credits, and in the trailers of Evan Almighty. Rimes played in the movie Good Intentions with her friend Elaine Hendricks which is filming near Atlanta, Georgia. Rimes plays Meg Galligan in the made for TV movie, Northern Lights, based on the Nora Roberts novel of the same name. The film aired on the Lifetime network on March 12, 2009.
In 2007, Rimes began hosting The Colgate Country Showdown, a nation wide televised country music talent competition, similar to that of American Idol or Nashville Star. In 2011, Rimes hosted the show for her fifth consecutive year, when the show switched sponsorship, to Texaco.
On May 21, 2000, Rimes filed a lawsuit against her father, Wilbur Rimes, and her former manager, Lyle Walker, in Dallas, Texas. Rimes claimed that her father and former manager took over seven million dollars from her in the preceding five years. Rimes also alleged that both men made unreasonable fees and took advantage of Rimes's label, Asylum-Curb, in order to acquire financial gain. Rimes sought unspecified damages because her attorney was not sure of how much money had been lost in the preceding five years. According to Rimes's lawyer, her mother hired two accountants to investigate how much was taken from Rimes's fortune, and it was estimated that the men acquired around eight million dollars in royalties. In 2002, Rimes's lawsuit with her father was "settled on undisclosed terms." Rimes reconciled with her father for her wedding.
In November 2000, Rimes filed a second lawsuit against her label, Asylum-Curb. Rimes wanted permission to be released from the contract that was signed by her parents on Rimes's behalf when she originally signed with the label in 1995. She also wanted her label to turn over the rights of her music, video work, and publishing interests, and destroy all of her recordings that were currently available to the label at the time of the lawsuit. Part of Rimes's legal battles ended in December 2001, when Asylum-Curb started a new contract with Rimes.
Amid the legal battles, Rimes fell in love with backup dancer Dean Sheremet. The two had met when he was chosen to dance during Rimes's hosting of the 2001 Academy of Country Music Awards. After her first date with Sheremet, Rimes told InStyle Magazine: "This is the guy I want to marry." The couple married the next year, in 2002. In July 2009, the couple separated and in September 2009, Rimes announced their plans to divorce. The divorce was finalized on June 19, 2010, exactly six months after Sheremet filed divorce documents for dissolution of marriage.
Rimes' marriage to Sheremet ended in 2009 following press coverage of her extramarital affair with actor Eddie Cibrian while she worked with him on Northern Lights (a Lifetime made-for-TV film); Brandi Glanville, Cibrian's wife at the time and the mother of his two sons filed for divorce as a result of the adultery in August 2009, ending eight years of marriage. In June 2010 Rimes spoke for the first time about the end of her first marriage stating; "I take responsibility for everything I've done. I hate that people got hurt, but I don't regret the outcome." On December 27, 2010, it was announced via Billboard that Rimes and Cibrian were engaged. Rimes and Cibrian wed on April 22, 2011 at a private home in California. In the years since, Rimes' singing career has been mostly overshadowed by negative tabloid coverage of the affair and her ongoing feud with Cibrian's ex-wife Brandi Glanville.
In 2008, she opened up about her lifelong struggle with the autoimmune disease psoriasis. She participated in a PSA to raise awareness about the disease, then later became one of the spokesperson for Sheer Cover makeup.
Rimes lent her voice to the 2008 song "Just Stand Up." The proceeds benefited Stand Up to Cancer. As a result of SU2C fundraising endeavors, the SU2C scientific advisory committee, overseen by the American Association for Cancer Research, was able to award $73.6 million towards cancer research.
On December 19, 2010, she performed "The Rose," joined by The Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles in remembrance of the many gay teenagers who committed suicide in 2010. On her weblog she wrote on June 18, 2011: "I believe in equality for everyone. I believe everyone should have the right to love and commit to whomever they want. [...] All I know is that in God's eyes we are all the same. I just wish we could see through the eyes of God more often."
On August 29, 2012, Rimes checked into treatment for anxiety and stress.
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