Reba Nell McEntire was born near Kiowa, Oklahoma. Her father and grandfather were champion steer ropers and her mother originally had plans to become a country music artist but became a schoolteacher instead.
Her mother did teach her children how to sing. On car rides home from her father's rodeo trips, the McEntire siblings were taught songs and learned their own harmonies, eventually forming a vocal group called the "Singing McEntires." Reba, along with brother Pake and sister Susie performed on local radio shows and at rodeos.
As a solo act, she was invited to perform at a rodeo in Oklahoma City, which caught the attention of country artist Red Steagall. He brought her to Nashville, Tennessee, where she eventually signed a contract with Mercury Records in 1975. She released her first solo album in 1977 and released five additional studio albums under the label until 1983.
Signing with MCA Nashville Records, McEntire took creative control over her second MCA album, My Kind of Country in 1984, which had a more traditional country sound and produced two number one singles: "How Blue" and "Somebody Should Leave." The album brought her breakthrough success, bringing her a series of successful albums and number one singles in the 1980s and 1990s.
McEntire has since released 26 studio albums, acquired 35 #1 singles, and 28 albums have been certified Gold, Platinum or Multi-Platinum in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA.)
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In the early 1990s, McEntire branched into film starting with 1990's Tremors. She has since starred in the Broadway revival of Annie Get Your Gun and starred in her television sitcom, Reba (2001–2007) for which she was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series–Musical or Comedy.
Reba has been called "The Queen of Country," having sold 41 million records in the United States and more than 56 million worldwide. In the United States, she ranks as both the seventh best-selling female artist in all genres and the seventh best-selling country artist, and the second best-selling female country artist of all time, behind Shania Twain.
McEntire holds the record for the most Academy of Country Music Top Female Vocalist Awards (seven), and American Music Awards for Favorite Country Female Artist (twelve), and is tied with Martina McBride for most Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year Awards (four) - though Reba does have the distinction of winning the award four times consecutively.
Reba also is one of only two women in country music history to have attained a number one hit in four different decades, and the only female to achieve solo number ones across four decades.