home residents. They sang Christmas carols to elderly residents who were unable to be with family on the holiday. Underwood’s grandfather remembered her as a well-behaved child, who was mostly quiet, except when she was singing. Underwood started singing at age three at the First Free Will Baptist Church that her family attended, and everyone noticed how good she was. Underwood’s elementary school music teacher, Kathy Cooper, described the moment when she thought Underwood was ready to step up and sing a solo, “I wanted to show her off, so I had her sing ‘Somewhere Out There’ from the movie An American Tail . She was just so good and wasn’t scared at all. I went and told her mom, ‘Carole, she’s going to be good if she stays with it.’” She went on to be a featured singer at many school and local events. When she was ten years old, Underwood went to her first county music concert at the Oklahoma State Fair. She sawAlan Jackson and one of her heroes, Faith Hill. Hill’s performance inspired Underwood to begin singing at talent shows and other events around the state of Oklahoma. Her mother was very supportive and always drove her and made costumes to match her cowboy boots. She never won any of these contests, which many fans would later find surprising, but her mom said that’s howUnderwood learned how to lose gracefully. She was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder at age five and started taking medication for it that she still uses today. Despite what seemed like an idyllic , charmed childhood, Underwood struggled through some personal problems and pushed past them to achieve her goals. NASHVILLE DREAMS DASHED When she was fourteen in 1997, Underwood had the opportunity to meet with music producers in Nashville. Capitol Records brought her there to record a demo , hoping she’d become their next teen country star. While she was there, she also sang at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, a honky-tonk across from the Ryman Auditorium.
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