Do You Recognize these Faces?
Country music is one of the most popular genres in the United States, and whether you are a fully fledged square dancer, or just like listening to the more twangy Taylor Swift songs, your favourite country music stars are icons around the country. But have you ever wondered what they looked like in High School? Take a look at some of these fan favorites, and then compare them to their year book or high school pics, you’ll be shocked!
Tim McGraw – Now
Since the early 90’s Tim McGraw has been a huge name in country music. He has had an astonishing 14 albums released, with 10 topping the country music charts at number one. He also has a slew of awards, from 14 Academy Country Music Awards, to 3 Grammy’s and 10 American Music Awards, too. He is also one half of an extreme power couple in country music, as his wife is Faith Hill. They’ve been together more than a decade.
Tim McGraw – In High School
Back in the day, Tim grew up in somewhat of a broken home, raised by his mother and his step father. At the age of 18, he was reunited with his biological dad, who was none other than Frank McGraw Jr, a pitcher for the Phillis and the Mets. Tim went to Louisiana University on a basketball scholarship, as he was quite the athlete in high school. Imagine if he hadn’t been injured, he might well have never got into the music biz!
Keith Urban – Now
Keith Urban was born in New Zealand and has been hitting the top of the charts since his debut album in 1991. Going platinum was the way that America welcomed him as one of their own, and whether you’re a country fan or not, you’ll be hard pressed not to start singing when You’ll Think of Me comes on the radio. Due to his huge success, and epic knowledge of all kinds of music, Keith was asked to be a judge on the talent show, American Idol.
Keith Urban – In High School
This incredibly awkward high school photo shows Keith when he was at Sir Edmund Hilary Collegiate, in Auckland where he grew up. He was always into music, taking private guitar lessons, and then beginning competitions as soon as he left school. He even tried expanding out into acting, working with a local theater company. But in 1983, he appeared on New Faces, an Australian talent show, and the rest, is history.
Kenny Rogers – Now
Kenny Rogers might be retired, but his legacy is still pretty active in the country music world. Kenny is probably the most famous male country music singer in history, and he has had more than 120 singles which have hit the charts running. Songs like Lucille, The Gambler, and Coward of the County have helped to give him a six decade long career and a spot in the hearts of all country music lovers throughout the world.
Kenny Rogers – In High School
Kenny was born in Texas, and was one of eight brother and sisters, all living in the same small home. But Kenny had a dream to change his situation, and it involved finding himself a career in the country music world. He saved up, managed to scrape together the money to get him a guitar, and started his own band, named The Scholars. It was the solo record deal he achieved that really started his career though.
Barbara Mandrell – Now
Another country music legend with a lengthy career behind her, 1978 was the year that Barbara Mandrell brought out her first number one single, Sleeping Single in a Double Bed. The song If Loving You is Wrong, I Don’t Want to be Right is well known even by those who don’t usually love country music, and Barbara went on to grab two Grammy awards, four CMA Awards, and six Academy of Country Music Awards, too. A real legend.
Barbara Mandrell – In High School
Barbara knew from when she was a kid that she wanted to make her career out of being a country music star, so she decided to get skilled in what makes musicians great, their instruments! She learned the lap steel guitar, the accordion, and even the pedal steel while she was still at high school! Another thing she did in high school was join the Mandrell Familt band, and marry the drummer, Ken Dudney!
Blake Shelton – Now
In 2001, Blake Shelton released his first album, with his name as the title, and his career didn’t need a second chance. Out of his 24 singles that reached number one in the charts, 17 were consecutive, an incredible feat for a musician of any kind. Due to his huge success, he was asked to join the panel of judges for The Voice, right when the show first began. He used to be married to Miranda Lambert, but after they split up, he began dating Gwen Stefani!
Blake Shelton in High School
Blake is both a singer and a song writer, and he has been doing both since he was in junior high. Apparently he has improved with age though, as he is adorably self deprecating about his first ever song, That Girl Made a Fool Out Of Me, which he wrote at 15 years old. He called it amongst the top 10 worst songs ever written! After he graduated, he ran off to Nashville to chase his dreams, and the world was glad he did!
Carrie Underwood – Now
Everyone remembers the season that Carrie Underwood was on American Idol, and scooped that top spot, beating out all the other contestants. She is one of the most successful winners of the show of all time, and her first record threw her into the world of being a country music superstar. Since then, she has won seven Grammy’s, 12 ACMA’s, and 17 CMT Music Awards, too. She has an incredible success rate, selling more than 65 million records around the world.
Carrie Underwood in High School
Carrie was born in Oklahoma, and actually grew up on a farm with her family. At just 14 years old she had the opportunity to start her music career with Capitol Records, but the deal fell through before it was signed. She went on to complete high school and college and tried to put her singing dreams behind her, saying she had given up on them entirely. Until one day, she auditioned ‘on a whim’ for a little show called American Idol!
Brad Paisley – Now
If you have 32 top ten hits under your belt, you deserve to be taken seriously in the country music world. One of Brad’s most famous songs is When I Get Where I’m Going, which he sang alongside the one and only Dolly Parton, which must have been a huge honor for him. He has sold more than eleven million records, won dozens of awards, and even been a song writer for Pixar, producing songs for the Cars movies.
Brad Paisley – High School
At ten years old, Brad Paisley began singing for his local church. He also played guitar for the choir. The principal of his school was duly impressed, and asked him to come perform at a rotary club meeting, which is where a radio station first got wind of his talent! Even though he was just starting high school, he spend Saturdays opening for other acts on the radio, which must have been immense fun for a young boy!
Shania Twain – Now
Shania Twain is one of the hottest music stars in the country world since Dolly Parton first stepped out on the scene, and she has sold more than 100 million albums. Songs like Man! I Feel Like a Woman, and You’re Still the One are constant companions on the country music radio, and helped her make herself a household name. She took a career break to fight dysphonia between 2004 and 2013, but she recently released her latest album, Now, showing she is back on the scene.
Shania Twain – High School
Shania had a tough time of it as a kid, with her parent’s divorce, and having so little money between them that she often had to go without enough food to eat. At just eight years old, she began singing in local bars to help make money to contribute to the household bills, a crazy burden to put on any young girl. In high school, she joined a band called Longshot, and then after high school, her career really began.
Garth Brooks – Now
When rock and roll music meets country, that’s the sweet spot where you’ve found the likes of Garth Brooks. He is one of the worlds favorite Country Music Stars, and has even been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He has sold over 170 million records, including 5 albums which have gone platinum multiple times. But what was he like in high school, and did he always know this is what he wanted to do with his life?
Garth Brooks – High School
Born in Oklahoma, Garth Brooks is actually called Troyal, but he decided to use his middle name for celebrity purposes, and we think that was a great idea! In high school he knew what he wanted to do with his life… sports! He threw himself into all the teams he could, from football, baseball, and even track and field. It took until 1985, after high school and college, until he started performing with his band back in his home town, and realized music was his true passion.
John Denver- Now
When John Denver was alive, he was one of the most talented and popular country music stars on the scene, starting out in the 1960’s, and producing his records for four decades, until his untimely death in 1997, from a plane crash. During his career he recorded more than 300 singles, including Take me Home Country Roads, Annie’s Song, and Rocky Mountain High. These songs are his legacy, and will be remembered well into the next generation and beyond.
John Denver – In High School
John Denver’s father was in the military, and that means that the family moved around a whole lot. Finally, he had enough of the difficult lifestyle, and in the middle of his time at Arlington Heights High School, he decided to leave and run away to California! He knew a career in music was what he wanted, and he wanted to do anything to make that happen. His dad had other plans though, and drove all the way there to bring him back to school.
Miranda Lambert – Now
In 2005, Miranda’s debut album Kerosene hit the shelves, and began selling like crazy. A star had been born. The album went platinum, and songs like Bring Me Down made her recognizable around the country. She continued with her solo career, bringing out three more successful albums, and also joining up with the Pistol Annies to crate a group which includes Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley. The best of both worlds!
Miranda Lambert – In High School
Ever heard of the Texas Pride Band? No, we didn’t think so! But this was Miranda Lamberts first foray into the music world, the band she was in while she was in high school. She then joined the house band in the Reo Palm Isle, which is where some incredible names in music began, from Willie Nelson to Elvis Presley. Eventually, she was spotted by a record exec when she auditioned for a talent show in Nashville.
Natalie Maines – Now
When Laura Lynch left the Dixie Chicks, no one knew the replacement, a Natalie Maines. But the band flourished with her involvement, and she managed to lead them to 10 Country Music Association Awards, and 13 Grammy Awards, too. After this, she caused some political scandal by making her opinions on the Iraq War vocal, which led to the Dixie Chicks going on hiatus, from 2003-2010. Yikes.
Natalie Maines – High School
Some of the most famous stars started out singing in the same ways we do, the shower, the bus stop, and the school choir! This last one was where Natalie Maines started out, singing for the choir in Lubbock, Texas. She was not short of confidence, even in grade school, even telling her second grade teacher that she didn’t need to learn ‘this stuff’ as she was going to be a star! Well, she was right in the end!
Reba McEntire – Now
The album My Kind of Country came out in 1984, and was the first the world heard of Reba McEntire. 28 albums followed, and within them were an amazing forty number one singles. Since then she has also had success as a producer, a songwriter, and the star of Broadway shows, her own TV programme Reba, and even movies like Tremors. She’s an all rounder, and one of the most famous people in the country music industry today.
Reba McEntire – in High School
Born in Oklahoma, Reba’s mother taught her how to sing, perhaps trying to live vicariously through her daughter, as she had once harboured dreams of a country music career for herself. It looks like she managed it, as Reba was discovered in college by another well known country singer, Red Steagall, when she was singing the National Anthem for a rodeo. She moved to Nashville with his help, and the rest is history.
Faith Hill – Now
Faith Hill is married to Tim McGraw, which makes them one of the most incredibly successful country music partnerships to ever walk the earth! She brought out her debut album back in 1993, and has dozens of singles which have topped the charts, including her most famous songs, The Kiss, Breathe, and There You’ll Be which was on the soundtrack to the hit movie, Pearl Harbor. She has sold over 40 million albums.
Faith Hill – in High School
Faith has been singing since she was a teenager, starting out in churches and rodeos, while she balanced a busy high school career as a cheerleader, a basketball player, a straight A student, and even the class president of her junior class! After she left school, she went where all aspiring country music stars head, Nashville. It wasn’t all straightforward though, and she ended up working at McDonalds. Luckily for us, she was eventually discovered!
Jason Aldean – Now
A quadruple platinum album is more than enough to prove you’ve hit the big time in the music world, and Jason Aldean has followed that up with five more platinum records. His romantic life has not always been so straightforward though. He divorced his first wife, Jessica Ussery in 2013, after a 12 year marriage and two daughters together. He soon after began dating former Idol contestant, Brittany Kerr, who he then married in 2015. They have one son together, named Memphis.
Jason Aldean – High School
Did you know that Jason Aldean was actually born Jason Aldine Williams? He changed it when he was trying to make a name for himself in the business, and a different Jason Williams was singing in Nashville, when he was still a kid. His parents were hugely supportive in him making his dream a reality, and as soon as he was finished school, his dad helped him perform as much as possible until he got his break with Broken Bow Records.
Sam Hunt – Now
Many musicians are seen as less serious because they don’t write their own music, but Sam Hunt does one better, and is known for writing music for some of country music’s hottest stars, from Keith Urban to Reba McEntire. He pushes the boundaries of country music, infusing his hit music with pop and R&B elements which make him popular with a huge audience. He is married to Hannah Lee Fowler, the inspiration for his hit album, Montevallo.
Sam Hunt – In High School
In High School, Hunt was serious about football, and had no aspirations off the field. “I never saw myself as a musician or having any musical talent… I was just killing time that summer, and a buddy had recently bought a guitar. I picked it up one day and on a whim thought, ‘You know, I think I want to buy a guitar.'” Imagine how different his life would have turned out if his friends hadn’t encouraged him to take music further after hearing him play.
Dolly Parton – Now
In 1967, the world was introduced to Dolly Parton in a very literal way. Her first album was titled, Hello Dolly! She is now synonymous with country music, with a sensational 41 top 10 albums in country music, more than any other star on the planet, living or dead. In 1999, she became an inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Her most famous songs include Jolene, 9 to 5, and I Will Always Love You.
Dolly Parton – in High School
Dolly Parton is one of 12 siblings, and she always knew she wanted to be a singer. She started singing at church, and her family was so poor that she even made herself a home made guitar to practice with until she was bought a real one as a gift. Her friends in school laughed at her lofty aspirations, and thought she would never make it as a star. Moving to Nashville after graduation, she sure proved them wrong!