Margaret LeAnn Rimes, known simply
as LeAnn Rimes, (born August 28, 1982) is an American singer-songwriter
and actress, best known for her work in country music. She is best known
for her rich vocals similar to legendary country music singer Patsy Cline,
and her rise to fame at the age of 13, becoming the youngest country music
star since Tanya Tucker in 1972.
Rimes made her breakthrough into country music in 1996. Her debut album,
Blue, reached Number 1 on the Top Country Albums chart and was certified
"multi-platinum" in sales by the Recording Industry Association of
America. The album's lead single of the same name (originally intended to
be recorded by Patsy Cline in the early 1960s) became a Top 10 hit. With
immediate success, Rimes attained widespread national acclaim for her
similarities to Cline's vocal style. When Rimes released her sophomore
studio effort in 1997, You Light up My Life: Inspirational Songs, Rimes
went more towards country pop material, which would set the trend for a
string of albums that would be released into the next decade. LeAnn Rimes
is the youngest person to win a Grammy, and the first country singer to
win the Grammy Award for Best New Artist.
Since her debut, Rimes has won many major industry awards, which include
two Grammys, three ACMs, one CMA, twelve Billboard Music Awards, and one
American Music award. In addition, Rimes has also released ten studio
albums and four compilation albums through her record label of 13 years,
Asylum-Curb, and placed over 40 singles on American and international
charts since 1996. She has sold over 50 million albums worldwide.
Rimes was born Margaret LeAnn Rimes in Pearl, Mississippi in 1982 to
Belinda Butler and Wilbur Rimes. Her family later moved to Garland, Texas
in 1988, where Rimes was raised. As an only child, Rimes was showered with
attention by her parents. She was singing by the age of two, was enrolled
into vocal and dance training, and by the age of five was performing at
local talent shows. Rimes initially began her career in musical theatre,
performing in a Dallas, Texas production of A Christmas Carol, and almost
landed the lead part in the Broadway production of Annie. However, after
appearing on the network television competition show, Star Search, Rimes
decided to pursue a career in country music. Following her national
television appearance, Rimes made a number of appearances on Johnnie
High's Country Music Revue in Arlington, Texas, which garnered the
attention of national talent scouts.
By the age of nine, Rimes was already an experienced singer. She toured
nationally with her father and also regularly performed a cappella
renditions of "The Star Spangled Banner" at the opening ceremonies of the
Dallas Cowboys football games. In order to bring his daughter more
national attention, he began recording her under the independent label,
Nor Ja Vak when she turned eleven. She released three albums under the
label between 1992 and 1996.
Rimes was discovered by Dallas disc jockey and record promoter, Bill Mack.
Mack was impressed by Rimes' vocal ability, and over the following three
years, he also made various attempts to bring Rimes to a mainstream level.
The center of Mack's plan to bring her success was his self-penned
composition, "Blue," which he had written 30 years before in the early
1960s. Mack claimed that the song was intended to be recorded and made a
hit record by Patsy Cline, but she had been killed in a plane crash before
ever recording the composition. By 1995, Mack was able to gain Rimes a
contract with Curb Records, after record executives heard Rimes sing
After signing with Curb, Rimes re-recorded a new version of "Blue" that
was to be released on her debut studio album on the label. In 1996, the
new version of "Blue" was released as a single, peaking at Number 10 on
the Billboard Country Chart. While Curb was releasing "Blue," a claim was
also sent out that Mack had been waiting over 30 years to find the perfect
artist to record "Blue." However, the story was later found to be an
exaggeration, as it was discovered that "Blue" had already been recorded
by three different artists. Mack himself and Kenny Roberts both released
versions of the song on Starday Records in the 1960s. In 1993, Australian
artist Catherine Britt released her own version as a single in her native
country. The story, though, was continually spread throughout the national
press, adding to the idea that Rimes was the successor to Patsy Cline's
legacy. Rimes's album Blue was also released in 1996, and sold 123,000
copies in its first week, which was the highest figure in SoundScan
history up to that point. The album peaked at Number 1 on the Top Country
Albums and debuted at Number 3 on the Billboard 200 albums chart,
eventually selling a total of four million copies in the United States and
8 million copies worldwide. Allmusic considered the album to be
"delightful" and that it could "help inspire other young teens." Rimes
followed up the single with several charting country singles from her 1996
album, starting with "One Way Ticket (Because I Can)," which reached
Number 1 on the Billboard Country Chart in 1996. She also released a duet
single with Eddy Arnold from the album, a remake of his 1955 hit "Cattle
Call." The album's other hits included the Top 5 "The Light in Your Eyes"
and the minor hit "Hurt Me."
With the album's success, Rimes received many major industry awards. In
1996 she won the Country Music Association's "Horizon Award," becoming the
youngest person to ever be nominated and win a Country Music Association
award. The following year she was awarded Grammy awards, one for Best New
Artist and another for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for "Blue."
In 1997, Rimes released a compilation of previously recorded material
under the Nor Va Jak label, Unchained Melody: The Early Years. The album
mainly consisted of cover versions, ranging from Country to Pop covers,
including songs originally recorded by The Beatles, Whitney Houston, Bill
Monroe, and Dolly Parton. Rimes' version of the title track became a major
country hit in early 1997 and helped increase sales for the album. In
September 1997, Rimes released her follow-up studio album to Blue entitled
You Light up My Life: Inspirational Songs. The album covered classic
inspirational songs, such as "Clinging to Saving a Hand" and "Amazing
Grace". It also featured pop music remakes of songs such as Debby Boone's
"You Light up My Life" and Bette Midler's "The Rose". The album was a
departure from Rimes' previous releases as it contained more Adult
Contemporary-styled music than Country. The album sold over four million
copies in the United States, certifying 4× Mulit-Platinum by the Recording
Industry Association of America. The album contained the single, "How Do I
Live", which became a major Pop hit on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching
Number 2. "How Do I Live" set a new record for becoming the
longest-running single in Billboard Hot 100 history, spending 69 weeks on
the chart. The song was originally recorded for the film Con Air, along
with a version also recorded by Trisha Yearwood. Yearwood's manager at the
time had told the press that Rimes's version sounded "too pop." Therefore
Rimes' version received little country airplay (only reaching Number 43)
and was rejected for the film. Yearwood's rendition was released to
country radio shortly afterwards, peaking at Number 2 on the Billboard
Country Chart in 1997, becoming the country hit instead of Rimes's
Rimes released her third album for Curb in May 1998, Sittin' on Top of the
World. The album leaned more progressively towards Adult Contemporary and
mid-tempo Pop music. It included Pop material written by Carol Bayer Sager
and David Foster. It also included a remake of Prince's "Purple Rain" and
was produced by her father. The album was given mixed reviews. Allmusic
gave the album two out of five stars Rolling Stone said Rimes vocal
styles, "holds her own in the more popular style of Mariah Carey and
Celine Dion, wherein a spectacular voice upstages a song, grins and goes
on about her business." Upon its release, Sittin' on Top of the World
debuted at Number 2 on the Top Country Albums chart, and Number 3 on the
Billboard 200, and sold over a million copies in the United States,
certifing "Platinum" in sales by the RIAA. The album spawned the Number 4
Country hit, "Commitment," the Top 20 Pop hit "Looking Through Your Eyes,"
and the Number 10 country hit "Nothin' New Under the Moon."
Rimes released her fourth studio album for Curb, LeAnn Rimes in October
1999, a collection of country standards. The album covered songs mainly by
Patsy Cline — which included "Crazy," "I Fall to Pieces," and "She's Got
You" — that were primarily taken from her 12 Greatest Hits album. The
album also covered Marty Robbins's "Don't Worry" and Kris Kristofferson's
"Me and Bobby McGee." The album included one new song, "Big Deal." The
song gained many positive reviews. Allmusic called the song, "a return to
her roots" and "a salute to one of her idols, Patsy Cline." The album in
general received much praise. Allmusic called the album one of her
"better" efforts, since they had disliked her previous releases.
Entertainment Weekly gave the album a positive review and said that
Rimes's voice, "dares listeners to take note of what is missing in her
interpretations -- the gutsiness and gut-wrenching urgency of performers
who felt what they sang." The album was a major success like her previous
releases, debuting at Number 1 on the Top Country Albums chart, topping
the country albums chart for two weeks. In addition, it also peaked at
Number 8 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. The album also sold over one
million copies in the United States, and was certified "Platinum" in sales
by the RIAA. The album's new song, "Big Deal" was the lead single off the
album, and became a Top 10 country hit that year, peaking at Number 6.
Also in 1999, Rimes recorded a duet with Elton John for the stage musical,
Aida titled "Written in the Stars." The song became a Top 40 hit on the
Billboard Hot 100. The album would spawn a second single, a cover of
Cline's "Crazy" that was released outside of the United States.
In January 2001, Rimes released her sixth studio album, I Need You, an
album aimed at the Pop market. The album topped the Top Country Albums
chart for one week, and also peaked at Number 10 on the Billboard 200. I
Need You did not garner praise from many critics and was mainly given
negative reviews. Rolling Stone gave the album two and a half out of five
stars and called the album, "synthetic-feeling." Despite very little
praise from critics, the album was sold well, certifying "Gold" in sales
by the RIAA. Rimes would later go on to publicly disown the album, which
she stated was compiled together from studio outtakes her father had
produced. The album's lead single, "I Need You" — which was characterized
by Allmusic as having similarities to that of Adult Contemporary and Pop
music — was originally recorded for the TV movie, Jesus. The song became a
Top 10 country hit and also a major Pop hit, reaching Number 11 on the Hot
100. Also included on the album was the song "Can't Fight the Moonlight,"
released from the soundtrack of the film, Coyote Ugly. The song was
released as the album's second single in 2001, and by February 2002, the
song also became a crossover Pop hit, reaching Number 11. "Can't Fight the
Moonlight" won Rimes a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for "Favorite Song
from a Movie." In mid-October 2001, Curb released a compilation of
Patriotic and Inspirational songs titled, God Bless America, in order to
benefit the disaster recovery for the September 11 attacks. It included
the title track, as well inspirational songs such as "The Lord's Prayer"
and "The Sands of Time."
In February of 2002 Rimes re-released the I Need You album with 9 of the
songs originally released on the album, an extended version of the song
You Are, the song Light the Fire Within which she sang at the Olympics the
previous year and 4 bonus remixes. Rimes would later that year release her
sixth album (seventh studio album) titled Twisted Angel, which contained
more adult material. After battling managerial control over her career the
previous year, Twisted Angel became the first album released by Rimes that
was not produced by her father. Instead, Rimes executive produced the
album. A month following the album's release, Twisted Angel was certified
"Gold" by the RIAA, her second Gold-certified album. The album received
mainly negative reviews by most music critics and magazines. Allmusic
stated that the album could possibly "alieniate her from her original
fans" and "the songwriting is a little uneven." Rolling Stone gave the
album two out of five stars, stating that the album sounded too
"country-pop crossover." The album peaked at Number 3 on the Top Country
Albums chart and Number 12 on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart. Three
singles were spawned from the album between 2002 and 2003, however none of
the singles were Top 40 hits on the country or pop charts. The lead
single, "Life Goes on," reached the Top 40 only on the Hot Adult
Contemporary Tracks chart, peaking at Number 19. The second single, "Tic
Toc" was a Top 40 Dance club hit in 2003. The third single, "Suddenly"
only peaked at 43 on the US Country charts, 47 on the UK charts and 53 on
the Australian charts.
The following year when Rimes turned 21, she released a Greatest Hits
compilation in November. The album recapped Rimes' major hits under Curb
records from "Blue" in 1996, to "Life Goes on" in 2002. The album peaked
at Number 3 on the Top Country Albums chart and Number 24 on the Billboard
200 in November. Featured on the album was the single, We Can, which was
originally released on the soundtrack of Legally Blonde 2 in July 2003.
The album would eventually be certified "Platinum" in 2007 The following
year in October 2004, Rimes issued her first holiday-themed album titled,
What a Wonderful World.
In January 2005, Rimes released her seventh studio album, This Woman, her
first album of contemporary country music in many years. Although the
album received mixed reviews from magazines and critics, it was Rimes's
best-selling album in over five years, reaching Number 3 on the Billboard
200 and Number 2 on the Top Country Albums chart in 2005, selling more
than 100,000 copies within its first week. Rimes explained to the Chicago
Sun-Times that the album helped mature her as a person, "I have 10 years
of experience, so it's tough to get anything past me in this business.
I've become a very strong woman because of all I've gone through, good and
bad." This Woman would eventually be certified "Gold" later in 2005, after
selling more than 500,000 units nationwide. The album's singles were
Rimes's first Top 10 hits on the Hot Country Songs chart in five years.
The three singles released from the album — "Nothin' 'Bout Love Makes
Sense," "Probably Wouldn't Be This Way," and "Something's Gotta Give" —
all peaked within the Top 5 on the country charts between 2005 and 2006.
From the album, Rimes was nominated for a Grammy award for Best Female
Country Vocal Performance for "Something's Gotta Give." In addition, she
was also nominated for an American Music Award for "Favorite Female
Country Artist." In 2006, Rimes recorded a cover version of Barbara
Mandrell's "If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don't Want to Be Right)," for a
tribute album to Mandrell's career entitled, She Was a Country When
Country Wasn't Cool: A Tribute to Barbara Mandrell. Rimes also would
record a track for Disneyland's fiftieth anniversary celebration album
entitled, "Remember When."
In summer 2006, Rimes released the studio album Whatever We Wanna, which
was released exclusively outside of the United States and Canada. It was
originally planned on being released in North America, however due to the
success of This Woman, it was never released. The album spawned minor hits
in the United Kingdom, including "And it Feels Like" and a duet with Brian
McFadden entitled, "Everybody's Someone". The album leaned more towards
Pop Rock and R&B music instead of country.
Rimes would release one final single in the US from her album This Woman
in August of 2006 called "Some People" which would peak at 34 on the US
Rimes took a two-year break, and then released her next studio album in
October 2007, Family. The album was a mix of country, pop, and rock music,
and included a duet with Bon Jovi, "Til We Ain't Strangers Anymore".
Family was the first album released by Rimes in which every track was
co-written by Rimes herself. Rolling Stone said the songs on the album are
"uneven" and rated it three and half out of five stars. Allmusic gave
Family four out of five stars and said that the album, "illustrates her
range as a singer along with some true strength as a writer." The album
helped nominate Rimes for the Academy of Country Music's "Top Female
Vocalist" award in 2008. The album's lead single, "Nothin' Better to Do"
was released in mid 2007, and peaked at Number 14 on the Billboard Country
Chart before the end of the year. The album has released two singles to
date; "Good Friend and a Glass of Wine" and "What I Cannot Change." In
2008, Rimes toured with Kenny Chesney where she opened every show on his
2008 Poets and Pirates Tour, along with other artists on select dates such
as Brooks & Dunn, Keith Urban, Sammy Hagar, Gary Allan, Big & Rich, and
Luke Bryan. In late 2008, Rimes was nominated for a Grammy award for Best
Female Country Vocal Performance for "What I Cannot Change," the third
single from the album.
In 2008, she recorded For Good with Delta Goodrem for the Wicked 5th
Anniversary album. LeAnn teamed up with Joss Stone for a CMT Crossroads
special aired in fall 2007.
In 2010, LeAnn Rimes announced plans to release two new studio albums. The
first, which will be an album featuring all cover songs by male artists,
is due out in June. The second, which will feature original material, is
due out later this year.
Since her debut in 1996, Rimes' voice and vocal style have often been
compared to and identified with Patsy Cline. Cline showed distinctive
emotional expression in most of her material. Rimes has also used
distinctive emotional expression in many of her songs, most notably her
first single, "Blue", which was sung in the style of Cline. Rimes' vocal
similarities to Cline had brought wide interest to the idea that Rimes was
the successor to Cline's legacy, and brought her novelty appeal. Many
music critics have argued that Rimes' vocals were only a reproduction of
Cline's original sound, while others have disagreed. Allmusic has called
Rimes' vocals "rich and powerful." Her vocal ability has also brought
Rimes to comparisons to past teenage country stars, including 50s country
star Brenda Lee and 70s country star Tanya Tucker. Rimes was also known
for choosing mature material that was beyond her age range. In her first
album, Rimes recorded such material as Deborah Allen's "My Baby", whose
lyrics provocatively say, "my baby is a full-time lover, my baby is a
full-grown man." Other material such as Diane Warren's "How Do I Live" had
also been considered too mature for Rimes' age and was the main reason why
her version of the song was not chosen to be used in the soundtrack for
the film Con Air.
Rimes has given credit to artists from various music genres, mainly from
the genres of country and pop. She has stated that Barbra Streisand,
Wynonna Judd, and Reba McEntire have been primary influences on her
career. Rimes has stated the main influence on her career is Patsy Cline.
She has covered many of Cline's hit songs since the beginning of her
career. Her 1999 self-titled album is primarily a tribute to Cline, as
Rimes recorded five out of ten songs for the album that had been hits for
Cline ten years before.
After beginning to date actor Andrew Keegan in 1998, Rimes said to the
press that she had some ideas about possibly getting involved in an acting
career. Rimes later moved to Los Angeles, California later in the year
with her mother to pursue an acting career. That year Rimes played a role
in the Made for television movie, Holiday in Your Heart, which is based on
a book she had helped write. For participating in the film, Rimes was
awarded the "Rising Star" award from the Lone Star Film & Television
Awards. She made her official film debut in 2001, making a cameo
appearance towards the end of the film, Coyote Ugly. In addition, she also
recorded four songs for the film's soundtrack, including the Top 20 Pop
hit, "Can't Fight the Moonlight." In 2005 Rimes hosted the country music
television competition, Nashville Star on the USA television network.
However she only held the position for one season after deciding to depart
from the show's cast.
In early June 2007, she was chosen at the last minute to record the
leading song for the soundtrack of Evan Almighty called "Ready For A
Miracle" (previously recorded by Patti LaBelle). The song can be heard in
the movie, during the end credits, and in the trailers of Evan Almighty.
Rimes had in the movie Good Intentions with her friend Elaine Hendricks
which is filming near Atlanta, Georgia. Rimes plays Meg Galligan in the
made for TV movie, Northern Lights, based on the Nora Roberts novel of the
same name. The film aired on the Lifetime network on March 12, 2009.
On May 21, 2000, Rimes filed a lawsuit against her father, Wilbur Rimes,
and her former manager, Lyle Walker in Dallas, Texas. Rimes claimed that
her father and former manager took over seven million dollars from her in
the preceding five years. Rimes also alleged that both men made
unreasonable fees and took advantage of Rimes's label, Asylum-Curb in
order to acquire financial gain. Rimes sought unspecified damages because
her attorney was not sure of how much money had been lost in the preceding
five years. According to Rimes's lawyer, her mother hired two accountants
to investigate how much was taken from Rimes's fortune, and it was
estimated that the men acquired around eight million dollars in
royalties.In 2002, Rimes's lawsuit with her father was "settled on
undisclosed terms." Rimes reconciled with her father for her wedding.
In November 2000, Rimes filed a second lawsuit against her label,
Asylum-Curb. Rimes wanted permission to be released from the contract that
was signed by her parents on Rimes's behalf when she originally signed
with the label in 1995. She also wanted her label to turn over the rights
of her music, video work, and publishing interests, and omit all of her
recordings that were currently being distributed at the time of the
lawsuit. Part of Rimes's legal battles ended in December 2001, when
Asylum-Curb started a new contract with Rimes.
Amid the legal battles, Rimes fell in love with backup dancer Dean
Sheremet. The two had met when he was chosen to dance during Rimes's
hosting of the 2001 Academy of Country Music Awards. After her first date
with Sheremet, Rimes told InStyle Magazine: "This is the guy I want to
marry." The couple married the next year, in 2002. In July 2009, the
couple separated. In September 2009, Rimes announced they were divorcing.
Rimes is currently involved in a relationship with her married Northern
Lights co-star Eddie Cibrian, with whom she had a well-publicized
extra-marital affair prior to the split from her own husband. Cibrian, the
father of two small children, left his wife for Rimes and filed for
divorce in August 2009, after eight years of marriage.
In 2008, she opened up about her lifelong struggle with the autoimmune
disease psoriasis. She participated in a PSA to raise awareness about the
disease.Rimes lent her voice to the 2008 song, Just Stand Up. The proceeds
benefited Stand Up to Cancer. As a result of SU2C fundraising endeavors,
the SU2C scientific advisory committee, overseen by the American
Association for Cancer Research was able to award $73.6 million dollars
towards cancer research.