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"You can never underestimate the power of music and the power of a song."
~ Martina McBride

Martina McBride

One of country's finest singers, Martina Mariea Schiff (1966-) was born on this day on a dairy farm in Medicine Lodge, Kansas, a small town with a population of about 200.

With a passion for the roots of country music, she began performing at age three, toured with her father's band, "The Schiffters." She eventually moved to Nashville with her husband in 1990.

"I grew up on country," said the blue-eyed, petite brunette. "As a teenager, I listened to rock and pop, and I sang other music, but by the time I was about 20, I realized that it didn't touch me... Country felt like home."

In a classic Cinderella story, McBride sold concert T-shirts for Garth Brooks in 1991. A year later, she recorded her first album, The Time Has Come, then became Brooks' opening act.

Her second album, Way That I Am (1993), featured the song Independence Day, a controversial look at domestic violence that became a breakthrough hit.

"I tend to sing songs that portray women with a lot of strength and dignity and respect," McBride explained. "I really believe that the music that women are making now is unique, individual. I don't sound like Trisha Yearwood's music. Trisha doesn't sound like Faith Hill's. We bring a sense of ourselves to the music."

With numerous industry awards and tours with Lilith Fair and Tim McGraw, McBride has become the darling of both fans and critics. Celebrating, as Rolling Stone magazine put it, "girl power for women of all ages," she continues to sing powerful songs that touch the heart: "I love strong visual images. I see music. I see the songs. I love it when writers find new ways to do that."

"I hope I'll be remembered as somebody who was always down to earth and who handled her career and other people with honesty, integrity, and class," she said.

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