Born in Longview, Texas and raised in Lindale, Miranda Lambert learned about Country music – and guns – from her father. Her interest in Country music was sparked when her parents took her to a Garth Brooks concert when she was nine years old. She began performing professionally in high school, singing with a band at the historic Reo Palm Isle Ballroom in Longview which has also featured acts such as Elvis Presley, Waylon Jennings, and Loretta Lynn.
When she was a child, bad investments led to her family losing their home and, faced with homelessness, moving in with Lambert's uncle. The family eventually moved into a nearby dilapidated rental house, which Miranda's father said probably would have been demolished had they not moved in to it. With only enough money to fix up one room at a time and her father doing anything to provide for his family – including digging ditches for four dollars an hour – they slowly pieced their lives back together. Years later, when Lambert heard "The House That Built Me" on a pitch CD intended for Blake Shelton, it reminded her so much of that house that Shelton insisted she record it. The song went to #1 on Billboard's country music chart in 2010 and won Lambert her first Grammy for Best Country Female Vocal Performance.
Lambert placed third in 2003 in Nashville Star, Country music's version of American Idol. She was actually hoping she wouldn't win because she was afraid that signing a recording contract would force her to change her style. Before eventually signing with Sony, she told label executives that if they would not let her make her music her own way, which included writing her own songs and playing her own guitar, she would not sign and would just go back to playing Texas honky tonks. John Grady, the head of the Sony record label, assured her that she would be allowed to make her own music. Her first album, Kerosene, debuted at #1 on the Billboard country chart, and of the 12 songs, Lambert wrote 11 of them. The title track was a Top 20 hit in 2005.
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