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Gretchen Wilson Biography

Gretchen Wilson Biography

Gretchen Wilson was born in Pocahontas, Illinois to a 16-year-old mother. Her father left before she was two years old, and she and her mother lived in trailer parks and relative poverty. Gretchen's mother worked as a waitress, and Wilson herself dropped out of the 9th grade at age 15 to work as a cook and bartender in rural Illinois. In 2007, she completed the GED program.  She had sung in two bar bands by the age of 20. In 1996 she moved to Nashville to sing back-up and record sample songs. In 2000, she met John Rich, a member of Big & Rich, who invited her to become his song-writing partner. Wilson signed with Epic Records in 2003 and recorded Here for the Party within the year.  Her first single, "Redneck Woman", was released in early 2004 and reached the top of the Hot Country Songs charts and #22 on the Billboard Hot 100. The success of "Redneck Woman" prompted an earlier-than-planned release for Here for the Party, and it debuted at #1 on the Billboard country chart. It also reached #2 on the Billboard 200 and Billboard Internet album sales charts. She performed as a support artist for Brooks & Dunn and Montgomery Gentry. She released the title track to her debut album as the second single. It peaked at #3 on the Billboard country chart. Two other songs were released as singles, and both reached the top 10. Released in markets outside the U.S., the album hit #2 on the Australian country charts (behind Kasey Chambers) and the top 50 of the Australian charts. As of July 5, 2004, "Redneck Woman" was #1 on a world composite country chart (based on the U.S., UK, and Australia charts). Here for the Party was certified 5× Multi-Platinum by the RIAA.

On September 27, 2005, Gretchen released her second album, All Jacked Up, which peaked at #1 on both the Top 200 and Country album charts and sold 1 million copies. The title track debuted at #21 on the Hot Country Songs charts, setting a record for the highest debut ever made by a female artist; this record was broken in late 2007 by Carrie Underwood's "So Small". Despite its high debut, "All Jacked Up" peaked at #8 on Hot Country Songs. Three more singles were released from All Jacked Up: "I Don't Feel Like Loving You Today", "Politically Uncorrect" (a duet with Merle Haggard) and "California Girls", none of which reached Top 20 on the country charts.  Wilson's "I Don't Feel Like Loving You Today" was nominated for two Grammy Awards: Best Female Country Vocal Performance, and Best Country Song. In 2006, Wilson contributed a well-received cover of Kris Kristofferson's "Sunday Mornin' Coming Down" on the tribute CD The Pilgrim: A Celebration of Kris Kristofferson.  On May 15, 2007, Gretchen released her third album, One of the Boys. The album debuted at #5 on the Top 200 and at #1 on the Country album chart. After 11 weeks, it exited the Billboard Top 200, having sold 178,220 copies at that point. "Come to Bed" and the title track, the first two singles released, both peaked in the thirties on the country charts, while the third and final single ("You Don't Have to Go Home") failed to reach Top 40.

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