If you are looking to learn more about popular singer songwriters, these five are both commercially and critically successful. These musicians write the material they perform, which lets the listener know they experienced the lyrics they are singing. All of these singer songwriters are extremely talented, which has been acknowledged by successful album sales and the number of awards they have won.
- Johnny Cash. Born in 1932, country singer songwriter Johnny Cash grew up in Dyess Colony before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force. He was discharged in 1954 and moved to Memphis with his new wife Vivian Liberto. His first release as a singer songwriter was "Hey Porter" and his first popular song was "Cry, Cry, Cry." Johnny Cash's popular song "I Walk the Line" was the name of the Oscar winning 2005 movie about his career. The movie "Walk The Line" showcased his rise to fame, his drug addition, and his romance with June Carter. On September 12, 2003 Johnny Cash passed away from complications with diabetes.
- Taylor Swift. Female country singer songwriter Taylor Swift was born in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania in 1989. Her entire family moved to Hendersonville, Tennessee so Swift could pursue a career as a singer songwriter. She got signed to Big Machine Records after Scott Borchetta watched her performance at The Bluebird Café in Nashville. Her 2006 self-titled album sold more than 2.5 million copies. She quickly became a cross over artist when her 2008 album "Fearless" debuted at number one on Billboards country and pop chart. She is a commercially and critically successful singer songwriter. In 2010 she won four Grammy Awards.
- Conor Oberst. Singer songwriter Conor Oberst was born in Omaha, NE in 1980. He has been part of the musical groups Bright Eyes, Desaparecidos, Norman Bailer (The Faint), Commander Venus, Park Ave., Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, and Monsters of Folk. His most popular project, Bright Eyes, started in the later 90's and combined the sounds of folk, rock, and country. Conor's brother Matt taught him how to play guitar, and his other brother Justin paid for Conor's first album to be released. In 1993 he co-founded Saddle Creek Records with his brother Justin, and in 2003 he founded the label Team Love. Notable albums released by Bright Eyes include, "Lifted or the Story Is in the Soil," and the double disc set "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning," and "Digital Ash in a Digital Urn." In 2008 he released music as Mystic Valley Band before returning to the Bright Eyes name in 2010.
- Sheryl Crow. Female singer songwriter Sheryl Crow was born in 1962 in Kennett, Missouri. She graduated with a degree in music education, which led Crow to become a music teacher at an elementary school. She moved to Los Angeles in 1986 to pursue a singer songwriter career. She started off as a back-up singer before joining the band The Tuesday Music Club. They released a self-titled album which included the popular songs "All I Wanna Do," and "Leaving Las Vegas." Soon after they parted ways and she became a solo singer songwriter. In 1995 she went on to win three Grammy Awards. Her self-titled 1996 album won her two more Grammy Awards.. She is still an active singer songwriter, and in 2010 her seventh studio album was released.
- Josh Groban. Singer songwriter Josh Groban was born in 1981 in Los Angeles, California. He began training at Interlochen Arts Program, which led him to meet David Foster, a producer, label owner, and writer. Foster signed Groban to 143 Records, which is distributed through Warner Music. His self-titled debut album was released in 2001 and went double platinum. He is a pop and classical singer songwriter, which has led him to perform at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert, and at the Vatican in Rome. His second album “Closer” was released in 2003, which landed at number one the second week of release after debuting at number 11. Groban's fifth studio album "Illuminations" was produced by Rick Rubin, and released in 2010.
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