Born in Jackson, Mississippi, Margaret LeAnn Rimes is the only child of Wilbur and Belinda. After little LeAnn demonstrates the ability to sing in perfect pitch at just 18 months, her parents sign her up for vocal and dance class. By age 5, she is determined to be a performer. "I told my mom and dad, 'This is what I want to do,' and I went for it," Rimes tells Interview in 1998. At 6, she wins her first talent contest when she performs "Getting to Know You."
At 8, Rimes becomes a finalist on Star Search, and becomes a popular act, performing more than 100 stage dates a year. She adds to her local fan base when she sings the national anthem at Dallas Cowboys football games, where Texas deejay Bill Mack hears her. Mack, who wrote a song titled "Blue" for Patsy Cline, taps Rimes (pictured with her parents) to record the ballad.
Just two years after telling the Dallas Morning News, "I'm going to be a huge star," Rimes makes the big time with her breakthrough single and album, Blue. Asked to explain the meaning of "Blue," Rimes giggles: "Something about a man and a girl falling in love or something, I don't know." The 13-year-old's album goes on to sell more than 8 million copies.