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Faith Hill (Audrey Faith Perry) was born on Sept. 21, 1967, in Jackson, Miss. Adopted at only a week old, she grew up in the small town of Star. She sang in church growing up and moved to Nashville at 19 to pursue a country music career. Hill’s first Music City job was selling T-shirts at Fan Fair. She later landed an office job with singer-songwriter Gary Morris‘ Nashville company. Morris heard her singing along with the radio and asked her to perform on demo tapes. Hill’s first professional gig was singing backup for songwriter-musician Gary Burr, who would later become her co-producer. She was discovered by a Warner Bros. executive while singing with Burr at Nashville’s famed Bluebird Cafe. Warner Bros. Nashville released Hill’s debut album, Take Me as I Am, in 1993. She made country music history in January 1994 when her debut single “Wild One” held the No. 1 position for four consecutive weeks on Billboard‘s country singles chart. Hill was the first female country singer to accomplish the feat with a debut single since Connie Smith‘s “Once a Day” in 1964.
She earned three Grammy awards in 2000 — for female country vocal performance, best country album and for country collaboration with vocals, for the McGraw duet, “Let’s Make Love.” The couple embarked on the co-headlining Soul 2 Soul tour in 2000. The outing raked in $49.6 million, making it the top country tour of the year. Hill was named female vocalist of the year at the CMA Awards in 2000.
The Faith Hill Family Literacy Project, designed to help combat illiteracy worldwide, launched in 1996. Hill’s concern for family literacy is a result of her own family’s firsthand experience with the issue. Her father, one of 14 children, never learned to read after being forced to quit school in order to help support his family. Hill’s dream is that “someday every person will be able to read.”
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Zac Brown was raised in Dahlonega, Ga. The former restaurant owner started his music career as a solo artist, but in 2004, he formed the Zac Brown Band with bassist John Hopkins and fiddler Jimmy De Martini; more recent additions are guitarist/organist Coy Bowles and drummer Chris Fryar. They average more than 200 shows a year and have sold more than 20,000 CDs independently. The Zac Brown Band has already landed support slots with Sugarland, ZZ Top, Travis Tritt, Etta James, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers Band, Willie Nelson and BB King. Their third album, The Foundation (2008), is on the Live Nation label.
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