Reba school years. This was the start of

Reba Nell McEntire was
born on March 28, 1955 to Jacqueline and Clark McEntire in the town of
McAlester, Oklahoma.  She was the third
of four children, born into a family of steer ropers on their 8,000-acre ranch
in Chockie, Oklahoma.  She would follow
in her father and grandfather’s footsteps in the rodeo by becoming a barrel
racer from the age of 11-years old until she was 21.  Her mother was a schoolteacher and secretary
for the Kiowa school district, who dreamed of becoming a professional country
music singer.  She encouraged all the
children to sing and taught them to harmonize in long car trips while traveling
to the rodeos.  Reba, her older brother
Pake, and younger sister Susie joined the Kiowa High School Cowboy Band while they
were all in high school.  Eventually, the
three broke off onto their own and formed their own group called The Singing
McEntires and recorded a single “The Ballad of John McEntire”, for Boss records
in 1971 (Bufwack, 323).  Reba played the
guitar and wrote all the music for the band while The Singing McEntires
continued to sing and perform at various rodeos, clubs, and dance halls
throughout their high school years.  This
was the start of McEntires’s career in the country music world with a long,
rough road ahead of her. 

            McEntires’s success continued on after graduating high
school and attending Southeastern Oklahoma State University.  She graduated college in December 1976 with a
degree in elementary education and a minor in music.  While not attending school, she continued to
play and perform her songs locally whenever she could.  She was hired to sing the national anthem at
the National Rodeo Finals in Oklahoma City on December 10, 1974.  Her performance caught the attention of
country music artist Red Steagall, who invited her to Nashville to record demos
for his music publishing company (Carlin, 260). She spent Spring Break of March
1975 in Nashville recording demos that would later secure her a record deal
with Mercury Records in 1975 through the help of Steagall.  McEntire released her first debut single “I
Don’t Want to Be a One Night Stand” in January of 1976, and it failed to become
a major hit peaking only at No. 88 on the Billboard country music chart.  The next few releases didn’t fare as well
either, and her self-titled debut album did not make the charts at all.  Despite the lack of initial success, McEntire
was driven and worked to progressively shape her career.  She finally made the charts in 1979 with the
singles “Three Sheets in the Wind’ and the cover of Patsy Cline’s “Sweet
Dreams” peaking at No. 20 and No. 19 respectively on the Billboards Top 20
hits.  In 1980, McEntires’s “You Lift Me
Up (To Heaven)” single brought her to the Top 10 when the song peaked at No.
8.  In September 1981, Reba’s fourth
album “Heart to Heart” was released and was her first album to chart on the
Billboards Top Country Albums list, peaking at No. 2 (Stambler, 305). 

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            In 1983, McEntire decided to leave Mercury records in
hopes to have more control over her overall production including song
selections.  She signed a deal with MCA
Records and was electrified when she was finally allowed to create an album exactly
the way she had always wanted to.  In
1984, she released “My Kind of Country” which contained “How Blue” and
“Somebody Should Leave”, both which soared to No. 1 hits on the charts.  Her hard work, success, and dedication was
ultimately rewarded in 1984 when she won the CMA Female Vocalist of the Year
Award, an honor she would earn unprecedented four years in a row (Dicaire, 18).  In 1986, she brought further admirations when
she joined the Grand Ole Opry in January and was crowned as the CMA Entertainer
of the Year in October.  McEntire’s album
“Whoever’s in New England” became her first to become certified Fold by the
RIAA in 1986, and her “Greatest Hits” album became her fist Platinum-certified
album.  She continued to dominate the
charts and was by this time considered a country music superstar. 

            By 1988, her success led McEntire and her manager at the
time, Narvel Blackstock, to establish Starstruck Entertainment to handle her
bookings, publicity, publishing, and more. 
The company would expand to include other artists as well.  She would eventually marry Blackstock and the
couple would expand their brand to include the production and creation of
successful clothing, footwear, luggage, and other home collection lines that were
sold nationwide in Dillard’s department stores. 
(www.Reba.com)

            Everything seemed to be going well for McEntire until
tragedy struck.  On March 16, 1991, the
plane carrying her manager and band crashed on it’s way back to Nashville from
her latest concerts on the West Coast.  The
crash killed her tour manager and seven band members.  She let her sorrow reflect on the album “For
My Broken Heart” which was released later that year.  Her co-producer kept bringing her upbeat
songs to sing, and McEntire kept telling him that she needed to sing songs that
dealt with misery and heartbreak.  The
songs were a type of release for McEntire that allowed her to deal with the
tragedy and get back to music, which she claimed her late band members would
have wanted (Stampler, 304).  The album
became another platinum release. 

Although
McEntire was never far from the music, she tried her hand in the acting
business and began to explore her options in Hollywood.  She stared in the horror film “Tremors”
alongside Hollywood stars Kevin Bacon and Michael Gross, but it wasn’t until
2001 that McEntire triumphed in her acting career when she appeared as Annie
Oakley in the Broadway play “Annie Get Your Gun” replacing revivals Bernadette
Peters and Susan Lucci.  Not only
bringing a new life to the production, she also landed herself a Drama Desk
Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award to add to her collection (Dicaire, 20).  In the summer of 2001, McEntire moved to Los
Angeles to begin a successful television sitcom “Reba” for the WB Network.  After airing for 6 seasons, it signed off in
February 2007 from the now CW Network, but re-runs continued to play on
Lifetime, ABC Family, and CMT though 2014 showing the shows popularity. 

            McEntire left her longtime home of twenty-five
years with MCA and signed with Valory Music Label in 2008 after releasing her
three-disc Greatest Hits album.  Under
MCA, she had sold a total of dixy -seven million records and won two
Grammy’s.  Her success continued under
her new label when her first album “Keep on Loving You” debuted at No. 1 on the
Billboard Top 200 album chart.  Her album
“All the Women I Am” hit stores in 2010 and gained popularity with a number of
hit singles and received countless reviews from music critics.  In 2011, the Country Music Association
announced that McEntire would be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame
and was inducted by Dolly Parton in May of that same year (Bufwack, 323).  In 2014 she announced that she would be
working on a new album that would end up being her twenty-seventh studio album
and released in April of 2015.  She went
on to create her first Gospel album titled “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith and
Hope” and was released it in February 2017.

Reba McEntire was one
of the most successful female recording artists in history.  She has sold over 56 million albums worldwide
and has won 15 American Music Awards, 13 AMC Awards, 9 People’s Choice Awards,
7 CMA Awards, and 2 GRAMMY Awards.  Above
all, she is one of only 4 entertainers in history to receive the National
Artistic Achievement Award from the United States Congress