Hardly an overnight sensation, Gretchen Wilson began singing as a child and paid her dues in Nashville, but her 2004 debut album, Here for the Party, introduced her to millions of music fans.

Fueled by four hit singles (all of which went Top 10 on the country charts), the album soared up the Billboard charts, eventually peaking at #2 on the mainstream chart and #1 on the country chart. Wilson co-wrote the album’s biggest, Redneck Woman, with John Rich of Lonestar.

Since her splashy debut, country’s hottest new female act has won countless awards, including the Horizon Award for best new artist at the Country Music Awards. Wilson was also nominated for the more prestigious Grammy Best New Artist Award, which she lost to Maroon 5.

–G. Bounacos