From Scratch To Stardom
In last week’s editorial we featured the “Goddess of Food” Nigella Lawson who has proved that with perseverance and conviction you can succeed and prosper in a male dominated world.
This week I would like to introduce you to another woman who has inspired millions of people across the globe, she is a singer, songwriter, film and television actress, an accomplished Broadway performer and also a live musical performer on stage. Her name is Reba McEntire and I found her to be one of the most compelling and motivating women I have interviewed.
Ms McEntire was born in March, 1955, in Oklahoma in the deep South of the United States. Her parents were simple law abiding people who valued hard work and Christian values.
These simple values have rubbed off on Reba who has strived and worked very hard for everything she has achieved. She taught herself to sing and play guitar from an early age and with the help of her mother learned songs and formed a singing group called “The Singing McEntires” with her brother Pake.
At the age of 18 she began University hoping to become a school teacher and graduated two years later, but her first love was still singing. At the age of Ms McEntire was hired at a large rodeo meeting to sing the National Anthem and her performance was so impressive another Country Singer named Red Steagall vowed to take her to Nashville Tennessee which was the home of Country singing and make her a star.
In 1976 at the age of 21 Ms McEntire made her first recording for mercury records, it was not a success but with her steeling mind and determination this was the only opportunity she needed. She released her second and third single which all flopped. In 1983 after 5 albums and many songs recorded Ms McEntire hit the big time with her first number One song titled ‘Can’t Even Get The Blues’.
Today she is one of the highest selling female singers in history with over 100 Million records sold. She has sung duets with the who’s who of the music industry, people like Justin Timberlake, Leann Rimes, Faith Hill, Kelly Clarkson and Andrea Bocelli.
She is a multi talented Country Music legend singer and songwriter, her strength she told me comes from her very grounded and principled lifestyle which has been ingrained in her upbringing.
Ms McEntire is a fascinating yet incredibly down to earth person. She told me about her Christian faith and her very strong sense of justice, respect, loyalty, compassion and forgiveness. She also noted that whether you are a Christian, Hindu, Muslim all the scriptures preach the same thing, but it is up to the individual to practice.
In addition to her singing career she had a huge hit comedy television series named “REBA” of which she was the lead actress and it ran prime time in the United States for 6 years and was extremely popular, winning her many accolades and awards.
It may seem a lot for one person to handle but Ms McEntire takes it all in her stride and told me “A little bit of hard work never hurt no one”.
Ms McEntire does charitable work with many agencies including The Salvation Army, Texoma Medical Centre, Children’s Medical Research, Habitat for Humanity.
Texas is the home for The Reba McEntire Rehabilitation Centre, Reba’s Ranch House, and The TMC Reba Mobile Mammography Unit.
For her considerable charitable work she was presented with the top Salvation Army’s award in the category of being one of five people they consider outstanding Americans.
Reba McEntire an inspiration that with hard work and commitment you can achieve your dreams.
Edited by Paula Tuvuki
The writer is a Fiji Sun columnist.