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Entertainment News

Sunday, 1 July, 2007 9:47 PM

CMA New Artist Spotlight: Kellie Pickler

PHOTO BY ROBERT ASCROFT

BNA recording artist Kellie Pickler.

By Kristin Sherer
© 2007 CMA Close Up News Service

Kellie Pickler may not have been the winner on "American Idol," but from the opening notes of Small Town Girl, her debut album, it's crystal clear that she has no intention of giving up on her dream. Raised by her grandparents since 2 in Albemarle, N.C., Pickler was surrounded by the music of Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Martina McBride and Dolly Parton. She started singing at an early age and hasn't stopped since.

After graduating from North Stanly High School in New London, N.C., Pickler's life began to change after she sang her first solo at her graduation in 2004. Having caught the performing bug, she began competing in local Miss America pageants, winning the "Miss Stanly County" contest at 17 and vying for Miss North Carolina 2004.

The 19-year-old Pickler auditioned for "American Idol" in the Fall of 2005 in Greensboro, N.C. After surviving the first few rounds, it was off to Hollywood, where she became one of "Idol" judge Simon Cowell's favorites. She made it to Top 6 before being eliminated. In the show's finale, she showed off her formidable comedic skills in a segment entitled "Puck 'n' Pickler" with chef Wolfgang Puck.

Following her "American Idol" experience, she returned to her hometown where she was feted with a parade and presented with a key to the city. The mayor proclaimed May 6, 2006 as "Kellie Pickler Day." For the young singer, the whirlwind was just beginning as she hit the talk show circuit, appearing on "Today," "The View," "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Live with Regis and Kelly" and the "Ellen DeGeneres Show."

Small Town Girl was produced by Blake Chancey and released Oct. 31 on 19 Recordings/BNA Records. Pickler is a writer on five of the album's songs, including the lead single "Red High Heels," which she co-wrote with Chris Lindsey, Aimee Mayo and Karyn Rochelle.

IN HER OWN WORDS:

Who is your musical hero? "Dolly Parton, of course."

What actor would portray you in a biopic about your life?
"Reese Witherspoon."

What moment in your life would you relive if you could?
"Every moment I shared with my grandma Pickler."

What song do you wish you had written?
"'I Will Always Love You' by Dolly Parton."

When they look back on your life in 50 years, what do you hope people say about you? "That they have enjoyed my music and that Ialways had great shoes!"

On the Web: www.kelliepickler.com

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