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Carrie Underwood's 'Carnival Ride' Strikes Chord With Fans

Carrie Underwood had the top-selling album of 2006, and she's continued to dominate the Country charts again this year. In addition, the Oklahoma native won 13 major industry awards in 2007. And, Carrie shows no signs of slowing down. VOA's Mary Morningstar has more on Carrie Underwood and her new album, Carnival Ride.

Since winning the 2005 American Idol title, Carrie Underwood has seen many of her dreams come true. She sold more than six million copies of her debut album, Some Hearts, which produced three Number One Country hits. Carrie was also named the Country Music Association's Female Vocalist of the Year for the second year in a row. And, she added three more trophies to her collection at the recent American Music Awards.

Only three years ago, Carrie was in her final year at Northeastern State University in Oklahoma. Following the release of her debut album, Carrie completed her studies to earn a degree in mass communication.

"That seemed to be where I was headed, and I had spent three-and-a-half years working to get my degree," she said. "So, I thought it was very important that I go back and finish. I'm glad I did."

Carrie took a more active songwriting role for her second album, Carnival Ride. Earlier this year, she spent time with some of Nashville's top songwriters collaborating on dozens of songs. Carnival Ride includes 11 of the tunes from the songwriting retreat, four that Carrie co-wrote. She also added one cover version on the album. "I Told You So" is a ballad Randy Travis wrote and took to Number One in 1988.

There were high expectations for the commercial success of Carnival Ride. Carrie explains how she avoided pressure to repeat the phenomenal popularity of Some Hearts.

"[We] just disregarded all the numbers from the first one, and decided to start over with something fresh and new, and do the best job that we possibly could," she said. "I think everybody did an amazing job on this album and I'm so proud of it."

Carnival Ride sold 527,000 copies its first week of release to debut at Number One on Billboard's Top 200 and Country Albums charts.

After taking some time off for the holidays, Carrie will begin 2008 performing a co-headlining tour with Australian Country star Keith Urban.

The debut single from Carnival Ride became the first song by a female performer in 43 years to enter Billboard's Country chart in the Top 20.