Sara Evans (born February 5, 1971 in Boonville, Missouri) is an
American country singer-songwriter who has had numerous top 10 hits.
Sara Evans was one of the few traditional-styled singers to emerge from Nashville in the late 1990s, according to Allmusic. Since emerging from the late-90s, Sara has become one of Country music's most popular female vocalists, acquiring a few No. 1 Country hits and Gold and Platinum-certified albums by the RIAA, like 2004's Restless and 2005's Real Fine Place. Her 2000 album, Born to Fly was certified Double-Platinum.
Sara was born in Boonville, Missouri in 1971, and is of English and Irish descent. She was raised on a farm, and was the eldest girl of seven children. Music was a part of her life at an early age; by five she was singing every weekend in her family's band. At age eight, she was struck by an automobile in front of the family home, and both her legs suffered multiple fractures. Recuperating for months in a wheelchair, she continued singing to help pay her medical bills. When she was 16, she began performing at a nightclub near Columbia, Missouri, a gig that lasted two years.
Sara moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1991, aspiring to become a Country music artist, where she met fellow musician, Craig Schelske. She then left Nashville with Schelske in 1992, when they moved to Oregon. After the couple married in 1993, Sara returned to Nashville in 1995, where Sara began recording demos. Nashville songwriter Harlan Howard was impressed by Evans' demo of his song "Tiger by the Tail". Howard decided to help Evans' music career, which eventually led to a signed contract with the RCA Nashville.
In 1997, Sara released her first album under RCA, Three Chords and the Truth. Critics praised the album for returning to traditional country and included it in many of their year's "top 10" lists. The album included a cover version of older Country song, Patsy Cline's "Imagine That", which originally reached No. 21 for Cline on the Country charts in 1962. However, the album did not catch on with country radio at the time, and none of the three singles made the top 40. It would be another year before Sara gained full popularity. In 1998 Sara released her second album, No Place That Far. Critics slammed her on choosing a more pop-country sound. Her first single, "Cryin' Game", hardly made a ripple on the charts, peaking outside Country's Top 40. However, it was her next single, "No Place That Far", a duet with Vince Gill, that brought Sara massive success, reaching No. 1 on the Country charts, as well reaching the Billboard Hot 100 Top 40, Evans' first major hit. Because of the success the album gained, Evans' album was certifed "Gold" by the RIAA that year.
In 2000, Sara worked on a third album to be released later that year. The title of the album, Born to Fly was released to stores on October 10, 2000, and later became another major-selling album. She insisted on hiring Seattle-based rock drummer Matt Chamberlain (The Wallflowers, Edie Brickell), who brought a slightly different sound to her music. The album became Evans' first album to receive a "Platinum" rating by the RIAA, and spawned four Country hits, including the title track ("Born to Fly") which was the first single released from the album, reaching the No. 1 spot on the Country charts, Evans' first No. 1 as a solo artist. Hits continued from the album all the way into 2002. After "Born to Fly", the second single, "I Could Not Ask for More" was released in 2001, the Country version of Edwin McCain's big Pop-Rock hit from the year before. Evans' version reached No. 2 on the Country charts and was a No. 35 Pop hit, ironically an even bigger Pop hit than McCain's version on Billboard's Hot 100 (McCain's version reached No. 37). In 2002, the songs continued to be released from the album, "Saints and Angels" and "I Keep Looking" were the last two singles released from the album. "I Keep Looking" reached No. 5 and "Saints and Angels" reached No. 16 respectively. In 2004, the Born to Fly album was officially certified 2x Platinum by the RIAA.
In 2001, Sara was the most-nominated artist at the Country Music Association awards with seven nominations overall, and she won her first CMA award when "Born to Fly" won the award for Video of the Year, her first major award from Country music.
In 2003, Sara recorded a long-awaited fourth album, which was titled Restless. The album was released August 19, 2003 to stores. The first single released from the album in 2003, "Back Seat of a Greyhound Bus" was a Top 20 Country hit, reaching No. 16 on the Hot Country Songs list that year, but it did not hit the Billboard Hot 100, peaking outside it on the Bubbling Hot 100. Despite the album's first single not reaching the Top 10, the album still sold fairly well, debuting at No. 3 on the "Top Country Albums" list and the No. 20 on the "Billboard 200" list, and sold over 40,000 copies within its first week. However it was the album's next single, "Perfect" that broke Country's Top 10, eventually peaking in the top 5 at No. 2, barely missing Country's top spot. The third and last single from the album, "Suds in the Bucket", released in late 2004, was the album's most successful single, reaching the No. 1 spot and was also a Top 40 Pop hit, reaching No. 33. "Suds in the Bucket" was Evans' first ever Gold-certified single by the RIAA. Restless also received a nomination by the Academy of Country Music in the Spring of 2005.
After 2003's Restless album, Sara re-emerged with a fifth studio album titled Real Fine Place released October 4, 2005. The album's lead single, "A Real Fine Place to Start" was the album's first single, reaching No. 1 on the Country charts in 2005, as well as reaching the Pop Top 40 at No. 38. The single marked the first time Sara charted on Billboard's "Pop 100" and "Hot Digital Songs" chart, reaching No. 67 and No. 62 respectively. "A Real Fine Place" was another Gold-certified single by the RIAA. The album, sold 130, 000 copies within its first week, becoming Evans' first album to reach the No. 1 spot on the "Top Country Albums" chart, while also becoming her most successful album on the "Billboard 200" to date, reaching No. 3. The album sold three times more copies than her previous album had done. On December 6, 2005, Sara released the compilation album, Feels Like Home through Cracker Barrel stores. The album contains remixes of some of her most popular songs, including a live version of "Born to Fly" and an acoustic version of "No Place That Far". In 2005's the album's follow-up single "Cheatin'" was a top 10 Country hit, peaking at No. 9 there. The third single released from the album "Coalmine" was the least successful single, just about breaking Billboard's Country Top 40 chart in early 2006.
In 2006, R&R announced Sara as the "Female Vocalist of the Year" in its 2006 Readers' Poll. In spring 2006, Sara released Always There through Hallmark stores for Mothers' Day. The album has six of her favorite already-released songs, including a live version of "Suds in the Bucket" and an acoustic version of "Born to Fly." Two new songs are on the disc: "You Ought to Know by Now" and "Brooklyn & Austin." In 2006, the last significant single from the Real Fine Place album was released titled, "You'll Always Be My Baby", which was a Top 15 Country hit, peaking at No. 13 on the Country charts, but missing Billboard's Hot 100, reaching its peak position on the Bubbling Hot 100 at No. 105. An album cut released from the album in 2006, "Missing Missouri" reached No. 52 on the Country charts that year. Since its release, Real Fine Place is currently Evans' biggest-selling album. On May 23, 2006, Sara competed and performed at the 2006 ACM awards show in Las Vegas, where she won her first ACM for the "Top Female Vocalist". Sara also became a spokesperson for National Eating Disorders Association, and has spoken out widely on this subject, as she has been personally affected by it. Sara Evans also hosted a charity event, Fashion for Every Body, which featured a fashion show, silent auction and performance by Evans.
On October 9, 2007, Sara released her first Greatest Hits collection. The compilation features four new songs, three of which have already been released to radio. Sara released the gift book "You'll Always Be My Baby" (based on her song). It was written by Evans, Tony Martin and Tom Shapiro. It was announced on Monday, October 15, 2007, that Sara will host with LeAnn Rimes the 41st annual CMA Awards show, on 7th of November, 2007.
Sara has also showed support in the 2008 Presidential race for Texas Congressman Ron Paul and was the headliner at his "Rally For The Republic" on September 2, 2008 in Minneapolis, MN. Held the same day as the Republican National Convention in neighboring St. Paul.
The single "Low" (sung by Sara Evans) was released to radio on September 29, 2008 to promote Billy: The Early Years (for the movie released October 10). The song is featured on the movie's soundtrack which was released on October 7, 2008, and also includes other big name country artists.
"Low" debuted (and peaked) on the Hot Country Songs chart at #59 on October 12, 2008. It only remained on the chart for one week before returning for a second week in January 2009 at the same position.
A book called "Sweet By and By" written by Evans, and author Rachel Hauck, will be released sometime in 2009.
Sara Evans is currently working on her sixth studio album. Sara stated in a video posting to her fan club on December 23, 2008, that she is working with her brother Matt Sara and producer Nathan Chapman on her next album. The first single, "Feels Just Like a Love Song", is expected sometime in July 2009, with the album to be released later in 2009.
In 2009, ABC Daytime and SOAPnet will sponsor a tour, headlined by Sara Evans, with performances throughout the summer. Additionally, soap talent will make appearances at her shows. Sara will also participate in performances on the networks, as well as on-air interstitial campaigns and online promotions.
In April 2004, Sara appeared as a special guest on "Nashville Star". Sara Evans appeared on the game show "Password" in June 2008.
Sara Evans also appeared on sitcom The Jeff Foxworthy Show.
In September 2006, Sara began competing with other celebrities on the third season of ABC's Dancing with the Stars with (professional) partner Tony Dovolani. Sara launched a new fan web site to provide behind-the-scenes material from her participation on the program. Sara was the first country music singer to ever participate in the show. However, then had to leave the show in October, originally citing personal reasons. However, it was later discovered Sara left due to a divorce.
Sara recently made an appearance judging on HGTV Design Star. Sara chose which of two redesigned rooms at the Gaylord Perry Opryland Resort & Convention Center was most like her own style.
In October, 2008, Sara also hosted a charity skating fundraiser, "Skating For Life". Olympic skaters skated to Evans' songs.
In March 2009, Sara hosted the ACM GAC Top New Artist Special, that will launch the fan voting for the ACMs three new categories: Top New Female Vocalist, Top New Male Vocalist and Top New Vocal Duo or Group.
Since divorcing from her now ex-husband, Sara has been the subject of numerous controversies. On October 12, 2006, Sara left Dancing with the Stars, citing personal reasons. On October 13, it was revealed that Sara had filed for divorce from her husband of thirteen years, Craig Schelske. An ex-nanny of Evans', Alison Clinton Lee, has sued her for three million dollars, claiming that Sara has smeared her name by including it in her divorce papers from husband Craig Schelske, as one of the many women Sara claims he had affairs with. Divorce documents filed in Williamson County, Tennessee by Evans' estranged husband, Craig Schelske, accuse the singer of having close to a dozen affairs. The list includes singer/songwriter Richard Marx, country star Kenny Chesney, Dancing with the Stars partner Tony Dovolani, various members of Evans' band, and four of the five members of the rock band 3 Doors Down. Marx's former manager and Chesney's publicist have refused to comment on this issue.
In reference to the recent allegations of affairs with Evans, Kirt Webster a spokesman for the rock band 3 Doors Down, stated that the accusations are ludicrous and untrue, and that "They are saddened by what she's going through" On September 28, 2007, the divorce between Sara and Craig Schelske became final. Sara will pay him a minimum of $500,000 in alimony over a ten-year period. Sara was awarded custody of her three children with visitation rights to Schelske.
Sara married Craig Schelske, an aspiring politician, in 1993, and divorced in September 2007. Sara and Schelske have three children: Avery Jack Lyons (born August 21, 1999), Olivia Margaret (born January 22, 2003) and Audrey Elizabeth (born October 6, 2004).
On June 14, 2008, Sara married Jay Barker, a former University of Alabama quarterback and current radio show host. They married in Franklin, Tennessee, with their children as their attendants. Sara and her three children now live in Mountain Brook, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham, with Barker and his four children.
This Sara Evans Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub