Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood, Shania Twain

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Country Music Week, Theme Week

It was the summer of 2004 when a young girl by the name of Carrie Underwood appeared in the same room as Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell for a special audition.

Wearing faded denim jeans and a pink tank top, the 21-year-old Oklahoma resident voiced her love for Martina McBride before singing Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me."  

"I have the ability to cluck like a chicken," she told the judges. "I just clucked my way to American Idol didn't I?"

As it turned out, it was the start of an amazing musical journey that would lead to Grammy wins, sold-out world tours and 5.8 million Twitter followers.

Carrie may be one of the best examples of a small-town girl who became a music superstar thanks to an unforgettable voice and natural talent. But like so many familiar faces in the industry today, life wasn't always glitz and glamour.

For Shania Twain, growing up in the wilderness of Ontario had its highs and lows. After her parents broke up when she was two, money became tight. As a result, the woman behind "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" started singing in bars at the age of 8 to earn extra income.

"[It was] overwhelming for any child to never know what to expect from one day to the next," Shania once shared with ABC News. "I would certainly never have humiliated myself enough to reach out and ask for help and say, You know, I'm hungry. Can I have that apple that you're not going to eat? I didn't have the courage to do that."

Shania's challenges only continued when her parents were killed in a car accident. 10 years later, the singer released her breakout album titled Come On Over that featured smash hits including "You're Still the One" and "That Don't Impress Me Much."

Dolly Parton

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While trying to make it big, some artists took on ordinary jobs as they followed their dreams. Kellie Pickler was a fast-food worker at Sonic while Faith Hill and Martina McBride sold T-shirts.

And then there are artists like Darius Rucker and Miranda Lambert who turned their average childhoods into hit singles. Does "The House That Built Me" ring a bell?

Perhaps the biggest success story is the one and only Dolly Parton. Before being able to open a theme park and receive the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the singer was just a Tennessee resident living a simple life.

"We always made jokes and said we didn't even know we were poor till some smart aleck up and told us," Dolly once shared with Willie Geist on the Today show. "We didn't have any money, but we were rich in things that money don't buy. You know, like love and kindness and understanding."

As some would like to say: It's nice to be important, but more important to be nice. 

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