Kellie Pickler first appeared on American Idol in 2006. Since then, she has released several hit country albums, including Small Town Girl and 100 Proof. Today, we will celebrate her birthday by looking back on haw she grew as an influential country artist.

Pickler’s Childhood

Kellie Pickler had a childhood filled with trials and despair. After Kellie’s mother abandoned her, her grandparents raised her. Her mother apparently broke up with her father over his abusive behavior. Being closed to her grandarents, Pickler suffered great loss when her grandmother died. She started singing at a young age and it was her grandmother whom Pickler had first begun singing. They would always sit together on the front-porch swing singing the hymnals, “Amazing Grace” and ‘”Jesus Loves Me”.

During her high school years, Pickler was a member of her school’s cheerleading squad. Pickler won a local beauty contest, in 2004, and was named Miss Stanly County. She was working as a waitress before she landed her first big break.

The Beginning of a Promising Carer

The following year, she earned a spot on American Idol Season 5. She came in sixth in the competition. Shortly after her time on American Idol ended in 2006, she landed a record deal. That was when she had his first album Small Town Girl. Featuring songs like “Red High Heels”, the album quickly reached the top of the country charts. Thereafter, several prevalent country albums followed, including her 2011 100 Proof.

“Red High Heels” is a song a woman who is upset by a troubled past with a former lover. The woman then tells him that she will move on in her “red high heels”. The song reached top fifteen on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

Other Interesting Facts

In November 2007, Pickler gave a melodramatic performance of “I Wonder”, about a lost mother, at the Country Music Association Awards. She breaks into tears by the end of the song. Later, she admitted that she had been fighting depression at the time. She and songwriter, Kyle Jacobs, married in a small ceremony in Caribbean, in 2011.

Pickler made headlines for shaving off her long, blonde locks, in 2012. She did this to show support for her best friend, Summer Miller, who was about to begin treatment for breast cancer. She then revealed yet another side of herself, becoming a competitor on season 16 of Dancing with the Stars. Pickler and her partner, Derek Hough, won the contest, wowing the judges with their dance routines.