Kellie Pickler is living her dream. She's a rising
country star, she's opening for BFF Taylor Swift on
her Fearless tour and both of her CD's made number
one on the country charts! But Kellie's no average
'Small Town Girl'. She has worked hard to overcome
her difficult childhood and become the 'Idol' she is
today. Get all the facts on this bubbly, blonde
Full Name: Kellie Dawn Pickler
Hometown: Albemarle, North Carolina
Birthday: June 28th, 1986
Unusual Pet: Kellie owned a tiny Marmoset
Monkey named Ella
Favorite Candy: Sour Patch Kids and Gummi
Personal Goal: To Live A Long Happy Life
Heroes: Her Grandma and Grandpa
Secret Talents: Dancing, Gymnastics and Shoe
Surprising Fact: Kellie won the 2004 Miss
Stanley County beauty pageant and competed to become
Miss North Carolina
A Challenging Childhood
Life was not always so picture perfect for Kellie
Pickler. Growing up in Albemarle, North Carolina,
Kellie and her little brother Eric were raised by
their grandparents, who Kellie calls her heroes.
Kellie's mom was out the picture for most of
Kellie's childhood. "My mother left me when I was 2
years old which is devastating to a child because
you wonder why in the heck your mother won't have
anything to do with you." says Kellie. A few years
later, her mom came back and regained custody for
two years until Kellie was returned to her
grandparents at age 12. "She got custody of me for
two years, during that time, she was physically and
mentally abusive of me" Kellie says.
Kellie wrote a song for her mom called "I Wonder" on
her debut album, "Small Town Girl". "This song has
not only helped me, writing it, performing it every
night has been kind of like therapy for me but I
think it's really helped a lot of people who might
be going through similar circumstances," says
Kellie's dad was not a positive force in Kellie's
life either. "My father has been in and out of
prison pretty much my whole life...he's a drug
user." Kellie's dad was sent to Florida State Prison
for 3 years and 9 months for aggravated assault and
battery following a stabbing incident in 2003. He
was released in 2006.
Today, Kellie is not close with either of her
parents and says she is not ready to forgive them
for all the pain they have caused her. "If she wants
to give me any peace at all then she will stay away
from me and not hurt me anymore than what she has.
Just leave me alone," says Kellie of her mom.
In the fall of 2005, Kellie's life changed for the
better when she auditioned for "American Idol" in
Greensboro, North Carolina.
Her southern charm and sweet vocal talent impressed
the judges and they sent her straight through to
Even tough judge Simon Cowel was taken with Kellie.
At her audition, Simon said "I think you're
terrific! I really do like you." Simon predicted
Kellie would make it to the top three and even said
he preferred her over season four winner Carrie
Underwood! Wow, way to go Kellie!
Kellie breezed through Hollywood week and made it to
the live show where she quickly became a fan
favorite. Every week, fans would come to the show
with signs and chant, 'Pick Pickler!', Kellie's
rallying cry on the show. When asked who she would
thank if she won, Kellie replied "God, Grandma,
Grandpa, family, friends and American Idol!"
Kellie ended up coming in 6th place. "I have nothing
to go home for" she said upon being voted off and
with that she headed off to Nashville, landed a
recording contract with BNA Records and started her
Success After 'Idol'
In October 2006, Kellie released her debut album,
"Small Town Girl". It sold over 79,000 copies its
first week, shot up to #1 on the country charts and
went gold three months after its release.
"Small Town Girl" also earned her a CMT award
nomination, 'Best Breakthrough Artist Video' for her
spunky hit, "Red High Heels" and a CMA award
nomination for 'Top New Female Vocalist'.
Then it was back to the studio for Kellie. Her
second album, "Kellie Pickler", was released in
September 2008 and once again, shot straight up to
#1 on the country charts! "There isn't a single song
on this record that I didn't live, that I didn't
love. The hardest part was narrowing it down. The
whole record is balanced—there's heartbreak,
revenge, in love and happy, empowerment, and sassy
songs. This record is an update of where I've been,
emotionally, mentally and physically, in the two
years since my first album." says Kellie of her
second hit album.
In April 2009, Kellie went on the road as the
opening act for Taylor Swift's Fearless tour. "It's
always fun to be on tour and be with the fans, and
to be out with Taylor, who is like a sister to me,
is really awesome." says Kellie. An even bigger
treat for fans - on June 28th 2009 Kellie kicked off
her own headlining tour!
Kellie Pickler is one strong and talented girl. She
has worked hard and has given 110% to go from being
a small town waitress from a broken family to being
an accomplished and happy country star. Kellie, we
hope you continue to have 'The Best Days of Your
Life'! You deserve them!