Faith Hill (born Audrey Faith Perry on September 21, 1967) is an American country singer. She is known both for her commercial success and her marriage to fellow country star Tim McGraw. Hill's voice (described as both soulful and raspy) and careful song selection have helped her to sell more than 40 million records and accumulate 8 number-one singles and 3 number-one albums on the Country charts.
Hill has been honored by the Country Music Association, the Academy of Country Music, the Grammy Awards, the American Music Awards and the People's Choice Awards. Her Soul2Soul II Tour 2006 with husband McGraw became the highest-grossing country tour of all time. In 2001, she was named one of the "30 Most Powerful Women in America" by Ladies Home Journal. In 2008, Faith Hill released her first Christmas album, titled Joy to the World.
Hill was born Audrey Faith Perry in Ridgeland, Mississippi, near Jackson, Mississippi. She was adopted as an infant and raised by a couple in the nearby town of Star. Her adoptive parents reared their two biological sons along with Hill in a devout Christian environment.
Hill's vocal talent was apparent early, and she had her first public performance, a 4-H luncheon, when she was seven. In 1976, a few days before her 9th birthday, she attended a concert by Elvis Presley at the State Fair Coliseum, in Jackson, which impressed her deeply. By the time she was a teenager, Hill was a regular performer at area churches, even those not in her own Baptist denomination. At 17, Hill formed a band that played in local rodeos. She briefly attended college at Hinds Community College in Raymond, Mississippi, but at 19 quit school to move to Nashville and pursue her dream of being a country singer. In her early days in Nashville, Hill auditioned to be a backup singer for Reba McEntire, but failed to secure the job. After a stint selling T-shirts, Hill became a secretary at a music publishing firm.
Apart from her quest for entry into the music industry, Hill also began working toward a more robust family life. In 1988 she married songwriter and music executive Dan Hill, who provided the surname she would use as she became famous. Her first husband was not prominent Canadian singer-songwriter Dan Hill despite the similar name. Two years later, she began a search for her natural mother, whom she eventually met and with whom she corresponded until her mother's death.
A co-worker heard Hill singing to herself one day, and soon the head of her music publishing company was encouraging her to become a demo singer for the firm. She supplemented this work by singing backup vocals for songwriter Gary Burr, who often performed his new songs at Nashville's Bluebird Cafe. During one of those performances, an executive from Warner Bros. Records was in the audience, and, impressed with Hill's voice, began the process of signing her to a recording contract.
Shortly after the release of her album, Hill found her marriage falling apart. She and Dan Hill divorced in 1994.
1993?1997: Country success
Hill's debut album was Take Me as I Am (1993); sales were strong, buoyed by the chart success of "Wild One." Hill became the first female country singer in 30 years to hold Billboard's number one position for four consecutive weeks when "Wild One" managed the feat in 1994. Her version of "Piece of My Heart", also went to the top of the country charts in 1994 although rock fans drew unflattering comparisons to Janis Joplin's cover. The album sold a total of 3 million copies. Other singles from the album include "Take Me As I Am".
The recording of Faith's second album was delayed by surgery to repair a ruptured blood vessel on her vocal cords. It Matters to Me finally appeared in 1995 and was another success, with the title track becoming her fourth number-one country single. Several other top 10 singles followed, and more than 3 million copies of the album were sold. The fifth single from the album, "I Can't Do That Anymore," was written by country music artist Alan Jackson. Other singles from the album include "You Can't Lose Me", "Someone Else's Dream", and "Let's Go To Vegas"
In Spring 1996, Hill began the Spontaneous Combustion Tour with country singer Tim McGraw. At that time, Hill had recently become engaged to her former producer, Scott Hendricks, and McGraw had recently broken an engagement. McGraw and Hill were quickly attracted to each other and Hill broke her engagement so that she and McGraw could begin dating. The pair became engaged on the tour and married on , 1996. They have three daughters together: Gracie Katherine (b. 1997), Maggie Elizabeth (b. 1998) and Audrey Caroline (b. 2001). Since their marriage, Hill and McGraw have endeavored to never be apart for more than three consecutive days.
After the release of It Matters to Me, Hill took a three-year break from recording to give herself a rest from four years of touring and to begin a family with McGraw. During her break, she joined forces with her husband for their first duet, "It's Your Love". The song stayed at number one for six weeks, and won awards from both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association. Hill has remarked that sometimes when they perform the song together, "it feel like anybody else was really watching."
1998?2003: Pop crossover breakthrough
She reentered the music business in 1998 with Faith. The album showcased her progression toward a more mainstream, pop-oriented sound, although it retained some country sound. "This Kiss" became a number one country hit, and was the first of her singles to place on the pop charts, peaking at number seven. More than six million copies of the album were sold. The album also delivered several other hits including another duet with McGraw, "Just To Hear You Say That You Love Me", "Let Me Let Go" and "The Secret Of Life".
To follow up this newfound success, Hill immediately released Breathe, which debuted at the top of the Billboard Country and all genre charts, ahead of albums by Mariah Carey and Savage Garden. Although the album had few overt country sounds, it "complement her vocal strengths." For the first time, the album consisted solely of songs about love and did not venture into the more somber territory that her previous albums had touched. The title track, "Breathe", reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. "The Way You Love Me" hit the top 10 as well, topping out at number six on the charts, and became one of the longest-running singles in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 (57 weeks). The album won Hill three Grammy Awards including Best Country Album, Best Country Collaboration With Vocals for "Let's Make Love" featuring Tim McGraw and Best Country Female Vocal Performance for "Breathe." It also marked a step away from her girl-next-door image, as the videos and promotional pictures all portrayed a much sexier image. Breathe has sold almost 10 million copies worldwide.
2000 was an especially busy year for Hill. Besides a successful tour with her husband, Hill was featured in a CBS television special, VH1's Behind the Music, VH1 Divas 2000, and the Lifetime cable channel's Intimate Portraits series. She signed an endorsement deal with CoverGirl makeup, performed at the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards, appeared on the cover of numerous magazines, and performed the national anthem at the Super Bowl. Hill was also named to Mr. Blackwell's 10-best dressed women of 2000, the only singer listed among actresses and other celebrities. Hill and McGraw also embarked on their first Soul2Soul tour, the "Soul2Soul Tour 2000."
Musically, in 2000 Hill recorded a song for the movie Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas The song also appeared on the pop and country charts. Hill's success on the pop charts disturbed some country music insiders, who questioned whether she was trying to dismiss her country roots and move into the pop genre. Despite the grumbling, Hill won the CMA Female Vocalist of The Year Award, and in her acceptance speech announced, "I love this business and I love this industry... and my heart is here."
In 2001, Hill recorded a song for the Pearl Harbor soundtrack. "There You'll Be" also appeared on the album There You'll Be: The Best Of Faith Hill, an international greatest hits album. The album featured some dance mixes of "Piece Of My Heart," "Let Me Let Go," "The Way You Love Me," and "Breathe."
In 2002, Hill released her new album with a more pop-oriented sound, Cry. The album "spotlight her impressive set of pipes," but also marked the completion of her "transformation into a pop diva," containing few nods to her country roots. Though the album debuted at number one on Billboard magazine's pop and country album charts, and Hill made her debut as musical guest on Saturday Night Live, the album's singles (including the title track "Cry", written and originally performed by Angie Aparo) received much less radio airplay than her previous smashes. The album however, did win a Grammy Award and 3.7 million copies have been sold worldwide.
Faith Hill's 2002 song "Baby You Belong" off her Cry album was used as the theme song for the movie Lilo & Stitch. The music video featured clips from the movie as well as performance clips.
2005?2006: Return to country
Faith Hill singing in a tribute concert for America's armed forces for ABC's Good Morning America
In 2005, Faith Hill returned with her new country album, Fireflies. The CD debuted on top of the Billboard Country and all genre album charts, placing her among only a handful of artists to have three consecutive albums debut at number one on both charts. The debut single, "Mississippi Girl", became Hill's highest-debuting single. The song was written specifically for her by John Rich (of Big and Rich) and Adam Shoenfield of MuzikMafia, and tells the abbreviated story of her life. Hill recorded two other songs by Rich, "Sunshine and Summertime" and "Like We Never Loved at All", both of which became successful singles. The title track, "Stealing Kisses" and "If You Ask" were written by artist Lori McKenna and also appear on McKenna's albums. The album marked a return to Hill's country roots and succeeded in reestablishing her place on country radio.
In 2006, after a six-year break from touring following the birth of her youngest daughter, Hill and husband Tim McGraw embarked on their Soul2Soul II Tour 2006. The tour became the highest grossing country music tour ever with a gross of $90 million. It was named "Major Tour of the Year" by the prestigious Pollstar, beating out such heavyweights as Madonna and the Rolling Stones.
2007?present: The Hits, Joy to the World and future projects
In 2007, Hill started work on her first domestic greatest hits package, titled The Hits, which was released on . It contains two new tracks; "Lost" and "Red Umbrella," as well as twelve additional tracks. The album also features hits covering her entire career from 1993?2005. Included with The Hits is a DVD of 11 of Hill's music videos.
She's also featured on husband Tim McGraw's 2007 album Let It Go. She sings two duets with him, "I Need You" and "Shotgun Rider." Both songs were sung at the couple's critically acclaimed Soul2Soul II Tour 2006. She and Tim also did an encore of their Soul2Soul II Tour; Soul2Soul 2007 began in June and ran through August. The song I Need You has been nominated twice at the 2008 Grammy Awards for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals and Best Country Song. The show took place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA on February 10, 2008 but the song didn't win.
In 2007 Faith Hill took over as the signature voice of NFL on NBC's Sunday Night Football, singing the theme song about which the show's producer said:
It's not often that you get the opportunity to have a mega-star like Faith Hill perform the signature open to your show.
?NBC Sunday Night Football producer Fred Gaudelli, MSNBC
In September 2008, Hill issued her first Christmas album, titled Joy to the World. The compilation was given a positive reviews, including about.com, which gave the album four and a half out of five stars, calling the album, "a great collection of classic Christmas songs." Hill continually worked on the album two years prior to its official release. The album included one new track, "A Baby Changes Everything," which was released as the album's only single in late 2008. The song debuted at #24 on Billboard's AC chart, and quickly rose to #1, becoming Hill's fourth number one on that chart.
On February 1, 2009 Hill performed "America the Beautiful" at the Super Bowl 43 pregame show. The other performers at the pregame show were Jennifer Hudson and Journey, and Bruce Springsteen performed at the Halftime show.
Faith Hill is releasing her first fragrance by Coty in October 2009. A seventh studio album is expected in 2010.
In 1996 Hill guest starred in the American television series Touched by an Angel and although she was rumored to have won a part in Mel Gibson's We Were Soldiers, she did not actually appear in the movie. Her movie debut came in the summer of 2004, when Hill co-starred with Nicole Kidman, Matthew Broderick and Glenn Close in director Frank Oz's remake of the 1975 thriller The Stepford Wives. Although the film earned over $101 million, it was savaged by critics and Hill has not made another acting appearance since.
Hill used her 1999 tour to support a national children's book drive. Fans who donated books at one of her concerts were entered into a drawing to meet her personally after the show. The effort resulted in the donation of 35,000 children's books, which were distributed to hospitals, schools, libraries, and daycare centers in 40 cities across the United States.
In the days immediately following Hurricane Katrina, Hill and her husband, Tim McGraw who was raised in Louisiana, joined groups taking supplies to Gulfport, Mississippi. The two also hosted several charity concerts to benefit those who were displaced by the storm. Later in the year the couple established the Neighbor's Keeper Foundation, which provides funding for community charities to assist with basic humanitarian services in the event of a natural disaster or for desperate personal circumstances. In a special gesture, the couple also donated profits from their performance in New Orleans to Hurricane Katrina relief.