Deana Carter is my favorite country singer. She is so beautiful and I'd like to know more about her.
—Bud H., Tennessee
The 37-year-old Goodlettsville, Tenn., native was born into music. Her father, Fred Carter Jr., was one of the top session players in Nashville—his guitar work can be heard on albums by Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, and Willie Nelson, among others. Deana's dad encouraged her aspirations for a career in music, taking her around to Nashville's record labels and song publishers when she was 17 years old, only to find one rejection after another. So Deana went to college at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville to study rehabilitation therapy. After graduation, she worked in the field for a while, but found it emotionally draining to see so many of the patients she worked with suffering and dying. Music had always stayed with her, so she decided to give a music career another try. Back in Nashville, she took all sorts of day jobs while making her way into the music industry. She got a big break when a demo tape got to Capitol Records, and then into the hands of Willie Nelson. Capitol signed her to the label, and Nelson invited her to sing at Farm Aid. She released her first U.S. album in 1996, and the first single, Strawberry Wine, catapulted her to fame. She recently split up with her husband and now divides her time between Los Angeles and Nashville. Her new album, I'm Just A Girl, was recently released on her new record label, Arista.