Happy Birthday, Deana Carter: The Best of 90s Country Singer’s Career

by Clayton Edwards

90s country star Deana Carter turns 55 today. She is best known for her hit songs “Strawberry Wine” and “Did I Shave My Legs for This?”

Deana Carter burst onto the country music scene in 1996 but her aspirations began early in her life. According to Carter’s website, her father introduced her to a wide variety of artists. Her father, Fred Carter Jr., was a session guitarist in Nashville. As a result, he worked with the likes of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Bob Dylan. So, this is the music that was in Deana Carter’s home. One of those artists would be incredibly significant to her career.

At the age of 17, Deana tried to get a record deal. She failed. Instead, she enrolled at the University of Tennessee and majored in rehabilitation therapy. After graduating, she worked with patients who suffered from head injuries or strokes. She did that job for a little over a year before deciding to give music another try. So, she started playing clubs in Nashville. To put food on the table, she worked odd jobs until she landed a job waiting tables at Zaney’s, a comedy club in Nashville. She told Country Standard Time that she learned much about stage presence and entertaining from working there.

Deana Carter Gets Her Big Break

In 1994, one of Deana Carter’s demo tapes landed in the hands of Willie Nelson. The two had met when Carter’s dad worked with Willie. He was so impressed by her songwriting that he incited her to perform at Farm Aid VII. Later that year, she took the stage with Kris Kristofferson and John Mellencamp. She was the only female solo performer at the show that year.

Later that same year, she landed a deal with Capitol Records and two years later released “Did I Shave My Legs for This?”

The album took so long to come out because Deana Carter had to fight with studio executives who thought that the title was too controversial. In the end, Carter’s resolve paid off and her title stuck.

Initially, they planned to release the track “I’ve Loved Enough to Know” as the lead single. However, while playing radio station showcases, Carter got constant praise for the song “Strawberry Wine.”

Because of this support, Carter and the label did a complete turnaround on their marketing campaign. They shelved the video and single cover art for “I’ve Loved Enough to Know,” and started working on the release of “Strawberry Wine.”

That decision paid off. That single was the beginning of Deana Carter’s road to stardom.