I think Jamie O’Neal is a great country singer. Can you tell me where she’s from and how she became a singer?
—Carla S., Oregon
Born in Sydney, Australia, to a couple of professional musicians, O’Neal was just 2 when her family moved to Hawaii and 7 when they headed to a regular gig at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas. “Once Dad learned that my younger sister Samantha and I could carry a tune, we were on stage,” O’Neal says. They often opened shows for country artists, and she soon decided that she wanted to be in Nashville, Tenn. Eventually, that’s exactly where she ended up, after a stint as backup singer for fellow Aussie Kylie Minogue. Her first country album proved to be a huge hit, with the No. 1 song There Is No Arizona establishing her as an artist to watch. She stepped out of the spotlight for a while when she and her husband had their first child, a daughter named Aliyah, last June. When not changing diapers, she’s working on her second album.