In the mid-70s, Emmylou Harris became one of the biggest country music stars. With such a crystalline voice and a restless creative spirit, she easily won the many hearts of country fans – helping her bag eight gold albums, five No. 1 hits, and several accolades.
While the ’80s have worn into the ’90s, Harris refused to hang up her own hat. She never showed any signs of slowing down or even started experimenting with electric material. This perseverance gave her not only a strong reputation but also a public following. And today, we’re going to get to know her even better with these exciting facts.
1. She’s a native of Birmingham, Alabama.
Emmylou Harris was born April 2, 1947, in Alabama, but her family moved greatly. She spent most of her childhood in North Carolina and Woodbridge, Virginia.
2. She’s a part of a military family.
Harris’s father, Walter Rutland Harris, was actually a decorated Marine Corps officer who spent more than ten months being a prisoner of war in Korea during the early 1950s.
3. She graduated high school as the class valedictorian.
But Harris was not just a straight-A student; she was also a cheerleader and the marching band’s saxophonist.
4. She once studied drama at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Harris earned a drama scholarship to the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance at the University of North Carolina. There, Harris spent her time learning music – most especially songs by Joan Baez and Bob Dylan on guitar. However, she later dropped out and moved to New York City to pursue a career in music.
5. She used to work as a waitress.
To make ends meet, Harris worked as a waitress while performing folk songs in Greenwich Village clubs and coffeehouses.
6. She has won twelve Grammy Awards.
There’s no doubt that Emmylou Harris songs were one of the best tunes that ever graced the country radio. So, it was no longer a surprise when the singer found herself winning Grammy Awards repeatedly. This includes a Grammy for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for her 1987 album, Trio – where she teamed up with fellow country legends Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt.
7. She kicked off her career as a folk singer.
Harris didn’t even think that country was a great genre. But she now admits she wasn’t mature enough at the time to appreciate country music.
8. She got married three times.
While in New York, Harris met a songwriter named Tom Slocum. The two got hitched, and her first daughter was born. However, the relationship failed. In 1977, she married Brian Ahern, only to divorce him seven years later. She once again married in 1985 to Paul Kennerley – but just like her previous marriages, it ended in divorce. Harris did not marry again.
9. She’s a women’s rights activist.
The country singer actually fights for equality whenever she gets a chance.
10. She chose to live her life privately.
Despite having a massive following, Harris prefers to keep her most prized memories to herself. It’s definitely very rare for you to hear about her personal life making the news.
So, did you enjoy these facts about Emmylou Harris?