The answer is Faith Hill. Faith is having a birthday today turning 45.
Hill was born in Ridgeland, Mississippi, north of Jackson, Mississippi. She was adopted as an infant, and named Audrey Faith Perry. She was raised in the nearby town of Star, 25 miles outside of Jackson, Mississippi. Her adoptive parents raised 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,where she served with a group called the Hinds Connection (a student recruiting and public relations group). At times, she sang for prisoners at the Hinds County Jail, her song of choice being “Amazing Grace”. At age 19 she 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. She also worked at McDonald’s but it didn’t go well. “Fries, burgers, cash register – I did it all, I hated it,” she has said.
Two years later, she began a search for her biological 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, Bob Saporiti, 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.