Martina McBride

One of Country Music's Biggest Voices

Martina McBride
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Born Martina Mariea Schiff on July 29, 1966, in Sharon, Kansas, it seemed like music was in the cards for this country music superstar from the beginning. Martina grew up in a musical family and was introduced to country music by her father, who fronted a band known as the Schifters. She was singing and playing keyboard with the group by the time she was a teenager. 

The Early Years 

After high school, Martina bounced around Kansas singing with different bands.

She began renting rehearsal space from sound engineer John McBride and the two married in 1988. They moved to Nashville in 1990 with the hope of starting careers in country music. John worked for artists like Charlie Daniels and Ricky Van Shelton, and Martina worked as a demo singer. They were each working for Garth Brooks' tour at the time, John as production manager and Martina selling merchandise.

Brooks took a liking to Martina and offered her an opening slot on the tour under the condition that she'd obtain a recording contract.

The Purple Envelope

Knowing full well that labels don't accept unsolicited material, McBride put a bio, some photos and two demos in a purple envelope. She wrote "Requested Material" on the front and sent it off to RCA Records. She got a call three weeks later and was asked to come in for an interview. She was signed after performing a showcase to demonstrate her ability to sing live.

McBride's first album, The Time Has Come, was released in 1992. Its reception wasn't all that great, but her follow-up album, 1993's The Way That I Am, was a commercial success. "My Baby Loves Me" earned her a Top 5 single, ultimately soaring up to No. 2. Although it never charted, "Independence Day" was hugely popular and it continues to be one of the singer's most recognizable songs.

The music video for the song won the CMA Video of the Year award in 1994.

Number One Success

McBride's third album, Wild Angels, was another hit. The title track became her first number 1 single. She enjoyed some crossover success in 1997 with her fourth album, Evolution, which sold more than two million copies. Then she collaborated with new age artist Jim Brickman on "Valentine." The song made it to the Top 10 and it was also a huge hit on the adult contemporary charts. McBride added two more number ones to her collection with "A Broken Wing" and "Wrong Again." Evolution was the album that propelled her into country stardom.

Emotion came out in 1999 and earned McBride another No. 1 hit for "I Love You." The song was both a country and adult contemporary success. She won the CMA Female Vocalist award that same year. 

Her first Greatest Hits album was released in 2001 and Martina was released in 2003. The album celebrates womanhood, and its first single, "This One's for the Girls," was a huge hit. It included backup vocals from Faith Hill, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, and McBride's two daughters. After much success singing country pop, Martina made a bold move in 2005 by releasing Timeless, an album of classic country covers, and both Martina and Timeless became Top 10 hits.

Waking Up Laughing was released in 2007, followed by Shine in 2009. Martina released her 11th studio album in 2011, aptly titled Eleven. She shook things up with 2014's Everlasting, an album of R&B and soul covers.

Martina Today

McBride has won the CMA Female Vocalist of the Year award a total of four times. She's tied with Reba McEntire and Miranda Lambert for most wins. She's also won the Academy of Country Music Top Female Vocalist award three times and she took home an ACM Honorary Award in 2011. McBride has been nominated for 14 Grammies but has yet to win. Ten of her albums are certified gold or higher, and she's sold more than 14 million albums in the U.S. alone. Her 2016 album, Breathless, opened at number 2 on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart.

McBride is active with several charities.

She's the spokeswoman for the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Network to End Domestic Violence. She founded her own charity, Team Martina, to help spread the healing power of music. Her 2016 single, Just Around the Corner, is the official song of Band Against Cancer. 

Discography:

  • The Time Has Come (1992)
  • The Way That I Am (1993)
  • (1995)
  • Evolution (1997)
  • White Christmas (1998)
  • Emotion (1999)
  • Martina (2003)
  • Timeless (2005)
  • Waking Up Laughing (2007)
  • Shine (2009)
  • Eleven (2011)
  • Everlasting (2014)
  • Reckless (2016)