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Mindy McCready was best known for her hit country music album Ten Thousand Angels, as well as for her ongoing personal struggles. At the age of 37, she was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
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Born in Florida in 1975, Mindy McCready was a country music singer whose success was overshadowed by her personal struggles. Although her 1996 debut album Ten Thousand Angels was a hit, McCready struggled to stay at the top of the charts and she was dubbed "the Amy Winehouse of country music" for her struggles with mental health and alcohol abuse. At the age of 37,
"I never really think that looking back at your mistakes is more important than your triumphs."
"I liked Madonna and Michael Jackson, and I was the karaoke queen of my hometown."
McCready was found dead at her home from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Mindy McCready was born Malinda Gayle McCready on November 30, 1975, in Fort Myers, Florida. McCready began singing at the age of 3 in her local Pentecostal church. At age 9, she began training for the opera with a retired Juilliard professor, but later decided that she preferred the kind of country singing she'd learned from karaoke tapes of Trisha Yearwood and Reba McEntire.
"I liked Madonna and Michael Jackson," she later said, "and I was the karaoke queen of my hometown. It was that Garth Brooks-Trisha Yearwood time, and Trisha had just sung 'She's In Love With The Boy.' I fell in love with it; it's so much about what I was doing and how I was growing up. So when I decided to pursue singing professionally, I wanted to sing country."
After graduating early from high school, McCready moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where she signed her first recording contract at age 17. Her first album with BNA Records, Ten Thousand Angels, was released in 1996 and spawned four hit singles, including the chart-topping "Guys Do It All the Time." The album was certified double platinum and soon McCready was headlining concerts alongside country music legends like George Strait and Tim McGraw.
Her songs were notable for their strong female voice and empowering lyrics. She said, "All my songs are tunes that women will want to listen to and say, 'Yes, sister!' They're not traditionally country, in the sense that they have images of dogs in trucks or submissive women. If the women aren't equal to the men, the songs aren't there for me. 'Stand By Your Man' is not the Mindy McCready way. No way. If he's not a good guy, I'm not standing by him!"
McCready followed her smash debut with 1997's If I Don't Stay the Night, which was certified gold, and 1999's I'm Not So Tough, which did not sell well. When BNA dropped her third record, McCready signed with Capitol Records and released her 2002 album Mindy McCready. The album again proved commercially disappointing and McCready was also dropped from Capitol.
But flagging record sales were the least of Mindy McCready's troubles. In August 2004, McCready was arrested for using fake prescriptions to obtain the narcotic painkiller OxyContin. McCready initially disputed the charges, but later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a $4,000 fine and three years probation. In May 2005, she was arrested again, charged this time for driving under the influence for driving with a suspended license.
That same month, Mindy McCready's on-again-off-again boyfriend Billy McKnight was arrested and accused of attempted murder after severely beating and choking her.
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