Faith HillAudrey Faith McGraw (née Perry; born September 21, 1967), known professionally as Faith Hill, is an American singer and record producer. She is one of the most successful country music artists of all time, having sold more than 40 million albums worldwide. Hill is married to American singer Tim McGraw, with whom she has recorded several duets.
Hill's first two albums, Take Me as I Am (1993) and It Matters to Me (1995), were major successes and placed a combined three number ones on Billboard's country charts. She then achieved mainstream and crossover success with her next two albums, Faith (1998) and Breathe (1999). Faith spawned her first international success in early 1998, "This Kiss", while Breathe became one of the best-selling country albums of all time, led by the huge crossover success of the songs "Breathe" and "The Way You Love Me". It had massive sales worldwide and earned Hill three Grammy Awards.
In 2001, she recorded "There You'll Be" for the Pearl Harbor soundtrack and it became an international success and her best-selling single in Europe. Hill's next two albums, Cry (2002) and Fireflies (2005), were both commercial successes; the former spawned another crossover single, "Cry", which won Hill a Grammy Award, and the latter produced the singles "Mississippi Girl" and "Like We Never Loved at All", which earned her another Grammy Award.
Hill has won five Grammy Awards, 15 Academy of Country Music Awards, six American Music Awards, and several other awards. Her Soul2Soul II Tour 2006 with McGraw became the highest-grossing country tour of all time. In 2001, she was named one of the "30 Most Powerful Women in America" by Ladies Home Journal. In 2009, Billboard named her as the No. 1 Adult Contemporary artist of the 2000s decade and also as the 39th best artist. From 2007 to 2012, Hill was the voice of NBC Sunday Night Football's intro song. In 2019, Hill will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Early life and career beginningsHill was born in Ridgeland, Mississippi, north of Jackson, Mississippi. She was adopted as an infant, and named Audrey Faith Perry. She was raised in the nearby town of Star, 20 miles outside of Jackson. Her adoptive parents, Edna and Ted Perry, raised her with their two biological sons in a devout Christian environment.
Hill's vocal talent was apparent early, and she had her first public performance, at a 4-H luncheon, when she was seven. In 1976, a few days before her 9th birthday, she attended a concert by Elvis Presley at the State Fair Coliseum, in Jackson, which impressed her deeply. By the time she was a teenager, Hill was a regular performer at area churches, even those not in her own Baptist denomination. At 17, Hill formed a band that played in local rodeos. She graduated from McLaurin Attendance Center in 1986, and briefly attended college at Hinds Junior College (now Hinds Community College) in Raymond, Mississippi. At times, she sang for prisoners at the Hinds County Jail, her song of choice being "Amazing Grace". At age 19 she quit school to move to Nashville and pursue her dream of being a country singer. In her early days in Nashville, Hill auditioned to be a backup singer for Reba McEntire, but failed to secure the job. After a stint selling T-shirts, Hill became a secretary at a music publishing firm. Hill also landed a job at a local McDonald's restaurant franchise, which she disliked intensely. "Fries, burgers, cash register – I did it all, I hated it," she has said.
In 1988, she married music publishing executive Daniel Hill (not to be confused with Canadian musician Dan Hill).
A co-worker heard Hill singing to herself one day, and soon the head of her music publishing company was encouraging her to become a demo singer for the firm. She supplemented this work by singing backup vocals for songwriter Gary Burr, who often performed his new songs at Nashville's Bluebird Cafe. During one of those performances, Martha Sharp, an executive from Warner Bros. Records was in the audience, and, impressed with Hill's voice, began the process of signing her to a recording contract.
Shortly after the release of her album, Hill's marriage fell apart. She and Daniel Hill divorced in 1994.
1993–1997: Country music successHill's debut album was Take Me as I Am (1993); sales were strong, buoyed by the chart success of "Wild One". Hill became the first female country singer in 30 years to hold Billboard number one position for four consecutive weeks when "Wild One" managed the feat in 1994. Her version of "Piece of My Heart", also went to the top of the country charts in 1994. The album sold a total of 3 million copies. Other singles from the album include "Take Me as I Am".
The recording of Faith's second album was delayed by surgery to repair a ruptured blood vessel on her vocal cords. It Matters to Me finally appeared in 1995 and was another success, with the title track becoming her third number-one country single. Several other top 10 singles followed, and more than 3 million copies of the album were sold. The fifth single from the album, "I Can't Do That Anymore", was written by Alan Jackson. Other singles from the album include "You Can't Lose Me", "Someone Else's Dream", and "Let's Go to Vegas". During this period, Hill appeared on the acclaimed PBS music program Austin City Limits.
In spring 1996, Hill began the Spontaneous Combustion Tour with country singer Tim McGraw. At that time, Hill had recently become engaged to her former producer, Scott Hendricks, and McGraw had recently broken an engagement. McGraw and Hill were quickly attracted to each other and began a relationship. After discovering that Hill was pregnant with their first child, the couple married on October 6, 1996. The couple have three daughters together: Gracie Katherine (born 1997), Maggie Elizabeth (born 1998) and Audrey Caroline (born 2001). Since their marriage, Hill and McGraw have endeavored never to be apart for more than three consecutive days.
After the release of It Matters to Me, Hill took a three-year break from recording to give herself a rest from four years of touring and to begin a family with McGraw. During her break, she joined forces with her husband for their first duet, "It's Your Love". The song stayed at number one for six weeks, and won awards from both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association. Hill has remarked that sometimes when they perform the song together, "it [doesn't] feel like anybody else was really watching."
1998–2003: Pop music crossover & career breakthroughFaith Hill re-entered the music business in 1998 with her third album Faith. The album showcased her progression toward a more mainstream, pop-oriented sound, although it retained a distinct country sound. "This Kiss" became a number one country hit, and was the first of her singles to place on the pop charts, peaking at number seven. More than six million copies of the album were sold. The album also delivered several other hits including another duet with McGraw, "Just To Hear You Say That You Love Me", "Let Me Let Go" and "The Secret of Life".
To follow up this newfound success, Hill immediately released Breathe in November 1999, which debuted at the top of the Billboard Country and all genre charts, ahead of albums by Mariah Carey and Savage Garden. Although the album had few overt country sounds, it "complement[ed] her vocal strengths." For the first time, the album consisted solely of songs about love and did not venture into the more somber territory that her previous albums had touched. The title track, "Breathe", reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. "The Way You Love Me" hit the top 10 as well, topping out at number six on the charts. The album won Hill three Grammy Awards including Best Country Album, Best Country Collaboration With Vocals for "Let's Make Love" featuring Tim McGraw and Best Country Female Vocal Performance for "Breathe." It also marked a step away from her girl-next-door image, as the videos and promotional pictures all portrayed a much sexier image. Breathe has sold almost 10 million copies worldwide.
2000 was an especially busy year for Hill; besides a successful tour with her husband, Hill was featured in a CBS television special, VH1's Behind the Music, VH1 Divas 2000, and the Lifetime cable channel's Intimate Portrait series. She signed an endorsement deal with CoverGirl makeup, performed at the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards, appeared on the cover of numerous magazines, and performed the national anthem at the Super Bowl. Hill was also named to Mr. Blackwell's 10-best dressed women of 2000, the only singer listed among actresses and other celebrities. Hill and McGraw also embarked on their first Soul2Soul tour, the "Soul2Soul Tour 2000."
Musically, in 2000, Hill recorded a song for the movie Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, entitled "Where Are You Christmas" (written by James Horner, Will Jennings and R&B artist Mariah Carey). The song also appeared on the pop and country charts. Hill's success on the pop charts disturbed some country music insiders, who questioned whether she was trying to dismiss her country roots and move into the pop genre. Despite the grumbling, Hill won the CMA Female Vocalist of the Year Award, and in her acceptance speech announced, "I love this business, and I love this industry... and my heart is here."
In 2001, Hill recorded a song for the Pearl Harbor soundtrack. The track, also titled "There You'll Be", which was originally offered to Celine Dion, has since become one of Hill's most critically acclaimed songs. Because of the single's international success, a compilation album There You'll Be: The Best of Faith Hill, was released to international markets. The album featured dance mixes of "Breathe" and "The Way You Love Me" along with alternate versions of "Piece of My Heart" and "Let Me Let Go." "There You'll Be" was nominated for a 2002 Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in a motion picture.
In 2002, Hill released her fifth studio album, Cry. The album "spotlight[ed] her impressive set of pipes," and also marked the completion of her "transformation into a pop diva," containing few nods to her country roots. Though the album debuted at number one on Billboard magazine's pop and country album charts, the album's singles received much less country radio airplay than her previous hits, instead aiming to international and adult contemporary markets. The album also won a Grammy Award and over 3.7 million copies have been sold worldwide.
An album track from the album "Baby You Belong", was used as the theme song for the movie Lilo & Stitch. The music video featured clips from the movie as well as performance clips.
"When the Lights Go Down", the official second single from the album was used to promote an NBC television special which detailed the making of Cry and also featured intimate performances of Hill's hits.
2005–2006: Return to country music
In 2005, Hill returned with her new country album, Fireflies. The CD debuted on top of the Billboard Country and all genre album charts, placing her among only a handful of artists to have three consecutive albums debut at number one on both charts. The debut single, "Mississippi Girl", became Hill's highest-debuting single. The song was written specifically for her by John Rich (of Big and Rich) and Adam Shoenfield of MuzikMafia, and tells the abbreviated story of her life. Hill recorded two other songs by Rich, "Sunshine and Summertime" and "Like We Never Loved at All", both of which became successful singles. The title track "Fireflies", "Stealing Kisses" and "If You Ask" were written by artist Lori McKenna and also appear on McKenna's albums. They appeared and performed the songs together on the Oprah Winfrey Show and an awards show. The album marked a return to Hill's country roots and succeeded in reestablishing her place on country radio.
In 2006, after a six-year break from touring following the birth of her youngest daughter, Hill and husband Tim McGraw embarked on their Soul2Soul II Tour 2006. The tour became the highest grossing country music tour ever with a gross of $90 million. It was named "Major Tour of the Year" by the prestigious Pollstar, beating out such heavyweights as Madonna and the Rolling Stones.
2007–2010: The Hits, Joy to the World and NBC Sunday Night FootballIn 2007, Hill started work on her first domestic greatest hits package, titled The Hits, which was released on October 2. It contains two new tracks, "Lost" and "Red Umbrella", as well as 13 additional tracks. The album also features hits covering her entire career from 1993 to 2005. Included with the 2-Disc Special-Edition of The Hits is a DVD of 11 of Hill's music videos. The DVD substitutes the Tim McGraw duet "Just To Hear You Say That You Love Me" for their "I Need You" duet on the CD.
Faith is also featured on husband's 2007 album Let It Go where she sings two duets with him, "I Need You" and "Shotgun Rider." Both of these songs were performed during the couple's critically acclaimed Soul2Soul II Tour; this tour began in June 2006 and ran through to August 2007. The song I Need You was nominated for both the Best Country Collaboration with Vocals and Best Country Song awards at the 2008 Grammy Awards.
At the beginning of the 2007 NFL season, Hill replaced Pink as the signature voice of NFL on NBC's Sunday Night Football, singing the weekly game's introductory theme song; of which the show's producer said:Hill performed this opening theme until April 15, 2013.
In September 2008, Hill issued her first Christmas album, titled Joy to the World. The compilation was given positive reviews, including about.com, which gave the album four and a half out of five stars, calling the album, "a great collection of classic Christmas songs". Hill continually worked on the album two years prior to its official release. The album included one original track, "A Baby Changes Everything", which was released as the album's only single in late 2008 and debuted at No. 24 on Billboard's AC chart, quickly rising to the No. 1 position, becoming Hill's fourth number one on that chart.
During the Super Bowl XLIII pregame show On February 1, 2009, Hill performed "America the Beautiful". Other performers at the event were Jennifer Hudson and Journey, whilst Bruce Springsteen performed the Halftime show.
To celebrate the induction of ABBA into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Faith performed "The Winner Takes It All", together with keyboardist Benny Andersson, at the event held in New York City on March 13, 2010. Hill also performed a rendition of "The Long & Winding Road" as part of a tribute to Sir Paul McCartney which was held at the White House on July 28, 2010. Audience members included President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Following these performances, Hill contributed a song titled 'Give in to Me' which appears on the Country Strong soundtrack which was released in October 2010. The film also stars Hill's husband Tim McGraw. Further appearances followed, with Hill featuring in Coal Miner's Daughter: A Tribute To Loretta Lynn, where she performs "Love Is The Foundation". Hill also contributed her vocals to the Ryan Tedder penned song "All I Ever Wanted" for the 2010 film Life As We Know It. The song was used in trailers to promote the film and also appeared during the end credits of the film.
2011–2015: Unreleased studio album and Las Vegas ResidencyBrendan O'Brien, known for producing projects for Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, and Rage Against the Machine, began working with Hill and producing her next album, originally set for release in 2011. Hill also worked with pop producer Brian Kennedy in January 2011 to complete the album.
Faith returned to the studio in March 2011 for another round of recording. "I would like to have a record out," Hill told Billboard.com, "but it hasn't been the right thing yet. I don't want it to be just another record. It's a lot of work to support a record, so I just want it to be ... really great. I want it to represent where I am as a woman. I don't want it to be fake. I want it to be authentic and real." In mid-2011, Hill recorded a duet with George Strait on the song "A Showman's Life" which can be heard on Strait's album Here for a Good Time.
During the CMA Awards held on November 9, 2011, Hill performed the potential first single for her upcoming album titled "Come Home". This song is a re-working of the One Republic song heard on their "Dreaming out Loud" album.
In June 2012, Hill debuted the songs "Illusion" and "Overrated" during her set at the CMA Music Festival. Following the performance, Hill confirmed that the album was done, but made no comment about when it would be released or whether the rumored title of Illusion was official.
While a second single, titled "American Heart", along with its accompanying music video, was released on October 1, 2012, no further singles have since been released while an album also remains unreleased.
Following a successful tour of Australia with their Soul2Soul tour throughout March and April 2012, Hill and McGraw began an exclusive twenty show run of the Soul2Soul show at the Venetian in Las Vegas starting December 2012. A second leg of the show ran from October 2013, through to April 2014. The show was met with critical acclaim.
During the Billboard Music Awards filmed on May 17, 2015, Hill joined Little Big Town on a performance of their single "Girl Crush".
2016–present: New music and touringHill was one of 30 artists selected to perform on "Forever Country", a mash-up track of the songs "Take Me Home, Country Roads", "On the Road Again" and "I Will Always Love You". The single was released September 16 and celebrates 50 years of the CMA Awards.
On October 4, 2016, during a surprise show at Nashville's famous Ryman Auditorium, both Faith and her husband announced that they would once again be going back on the road together with the Soul2Soul The World Tour 2017. The tour began April 7, 2017, in New Orleans, and will continue into Europe throughout 2018, including as part of the C2C: Country to Country festival.
Following the new tour announcement, Faith sent out a tweet via her official Twitter account announcing the release of a new compilation album. The album, titled Deep Tracks, is a montage of Hill's favorite songs that were previously included on her various albums but were not released as singles. The album also includes three previously unreleased songs entitled, "Boy", "Why" and "Come to Jesus". The album, which is Hill's last record to be released via Warner Bros. Records, was released November 18, 2016.
It was reported on February 3, 2017 that Hill, alongside McGraw, had signed a new deal with Sony Music Nashville, also indicating that a duet album between the couple, as well as multiple solo recordings would be produced. The new record label signing also preceded the release of "Speak to a Girl", the lead single from Hill and McGraw's upcoming joint album, The Rest of Our Life, which was released on November 17, 2017. The release of the album coincided with the opening of an exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum titled Mississippi Woman, Louisiana Man, which celebrates the careers of both Hill and McGraw.
Film and television careerIn 1997, Hill guest starred in a three episode arc of popular television series Touched by an Angel and its subsequent spin off series, Promised Land, which marked her acting debut.
In 2002 it was rumored that Faith had won the role of Julia Compton Moore, the wife of LTC Hal Moore, played by Mel Gibson, in the 2002 movie We Were Soldiers. The role was ultimately played by Madeline Stowe.
Hill's film debut was in the summer of 2004, when she co-starred with Nicole Kidman, Matthew Broderick and Glenn Close in director Frank Oz's remake of the 1975 thriller The Stepford Wives. Although the film received mixed reviews, it went on to earn over $100 million.
In 2015, Hill appeared in the more critically acclaimed independent crime drama film Dixieland. The film was written and directed by Hank Bedford and also stars Chris Zylka, Riley Keough, Spencer Lofranco, and Steve Earle. Dixieland had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 19, 2015. The film was released in a limited release and through video on demand on December 11, 2015, by IFC Films.
On October 14, 2015, it was announced that Hill would be an executive producer for a new lifestyle television program with former Oprah executive producer Lisa Erspamer. The show, called Pickler & Ben, debuted in mid-2017, features Kellie Pickler & Ben Aaron as hosts and is filmed in Nashville.
FragranceIn October 2009, Hill released her first fragrance titled Faith Hill Parfums. The fragrance is a blend of Southern Magnolia, Jasmine and Peach Pears. In 2010, Hill released her second fragrance, titled True.
PhilanthropyHill used her 1999 tour to support a national children's book drive, The Faith Hill Family Literacy Project. The charity was inspired by Faith's father, who faced challenges with literacy. Fans who donated books at one of her concerts were entered into a draw to meet her personally after the show. The effort resulted in the donation of 35,000 children's books, which were distributed to hospitals, schools, libraries, and daycare centers in 40 cities across the United States.
In the days immediately following Hurricane Katrina, Hill and her husband, Tim McGraw, who was raised in Louisiana, joined groups taking supplies to Gulfport, Mississippi. The two also hosted several charity concerts to benefit those who were displaced by the storm. Later in the year the couple established the Neighbor's Keeper Foundation, which provides funding for community charities to assist with basic humanitarian services in the event of a natural disaster or for desperate personal circumstances. In a special gesture, the couple also donated profits from their performance in New Orleans to Hurricane Katrina relief.
In June 2010, Hill, along with her husband Tim McGraw, organized Nashville Rising, a benefit concert aimed to raise $2 million for The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee in response to the flood in early May that killed 22 people and caused $2 billion in damage.