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July 20

All’s Well that Ends Well: LeAnn Rimes Recalls Milestones and Rejections with ‘How Do I Live’

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Back when LeAnn Rimes was at the prime of her career, she made big waves in  both in the local and international scene of country radio. After releasing Blue in 1997, critics praised her musical talent and even fondly compared her to country legend Patsy Cline. Following her first great hit, she also awed the audience with One Way Ticket (Because I Can), her first number one single. At 14, Rimes’ continuous breakthrough in the music scene led her to win the Best New Artist Grammy Award. It was a surreal experience and a dream-come-true for the singer.

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All’s Well that Ends Well: LeAnn Rimes Recalls Milestones and Rejections with ‘How Do I Live’ 1

One day, she meets Diane Warren, a songwriter whose creative juices breathed life into some of the greatest hits known to man, namely, Cher’s “If I Could Turn Back Time,” Laura Branigan’s “Solitaire”, Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me” and “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by Starship . Rimes and Warren’s paths crossed at a Los Angeles restaurant. Little did they know that the fateful encounter was just a domino effect which made Rime’s career take a sudden turn through Trisha Yearwood—a fellow hitmaker.

Warren invited Rimes to her studio to record a demo of a song for an upcoming big hit, Con Air, where Nicholas Cage starred. At first, they had low expectations that a 14-Year-Old girl could spotlessly interpret such an emotional song. But LeAnn Rimes proved her naysayers wrong. They liked her version so much that she had filmed a music video for ‘How Do I Live.’

Sadly, even after Rimes did an amazing job performing the song, the executives had a last-minute change of heart and pitched the song to Yearwood instead. Yearwood already had four Number 1 country hits and five LPs under her belt at that time.

Rimes’ heart sank to the ground. For her, it was her “first big introduction into the music business.” She adds, “Being a kid gets used against you and it also gets thrown out the window. So, you’re treated like a kid. But if somebody can play that card with you they will. It was an interesting place to be. To be in the middle of that with the songwriter, Diane Warren, and Jerry Bruckheimer, and all of these producers, I think my head was spinning.”

Curb records, her then-record label, still released Rime’s own version of ‘How Do I Live’ the same day Yearwood’s and film was, but to no avail. Years later, Rimes met Mike Curb, head of her record label. He offered to pitch her version to pop radio. Rimes was hesitant at first, knowing that introducing her song to a different genre would isolate her fan base in the country music scene but the risk was worth it since her version earned the number two spot in the pop charts about a week after Yearwood’s rendition debuted in the country charts. In the end, Rimes’ version prevailed, having held on to the Hot 100 charts for a whopping 69 weeks.

Now, Rimes recalls that the experience was a wake-up call for her. “It’s a very deep message in that happy song. But it’s amazing to be able to create and talk about things like that. I think it’s much-needed right now. I can’t hide my heart. That’s written all over it for me, equality and loving people. How people take that? That’s about them; that’s not about me. I spread love.

It opened her eyes to the kind of business her chosen career path could morph into. More importantly, the well-renowned singer learned not to give up so easily because sometimes, failures could be blessings in disguise.

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