Hometown Heroes: Music Stars and Humble Beginnings

From Britney Spears to Taylor Swift, even the world’s most sensationalized popstars start somewhere, perhaps in the middle of nowhere. For example, Kacey Musgraves grew up in an unincorporated community known as Golden, Texas, with a population of around 200. Similarly, other hot artists have come from small towns and become hometown heroes to little kids, given their incredible talent. This article will also look into today’s pop stars Carrie Underwood, Childish Gambino, and their humble beginnings.

Britney Spears

1. Britney Spears- Kentwood, Louisiana

Before taking over the world, the Princess of Pop started her domination locally in Kentwood, Louisiana. The rural town has just over 2,000 residents. Before fame and at the age of five, she took dance lessons and sang “What Child Is This?” at her kindergarten graduation. Britney won many state-level competitions and children’s talent shows involving singing and dancing segments. Kentwood saw Britney Spears grow into the natural-born performer the world sees her today.



2. Taylor Swift- West Reading, Pennsylvania

Taylor Swift evermore vinyl

Taylor Swift spent her early years on a Christmas tree farm in West Reading, inspiring her song “Christmas Tree Farm.” The population of the town is roughly over 4,000. Swift’s songwriting skills were impressive even back in 2009, writing the Christmas song in less than a week. For Rolling Stone, she talked about her “magical childhood,” saying, “We all had jobs [in the farm]. Mine was picking the praying mantis pods off of the trees, collecting them so that the bugs wouldn’t hatch inside people’s houses.” The song and video give a great glimpse into what exactly Taylor Swift’s upbringing was like.



3. Kacey Musgraves- Golden, Texas

Kacey Musgraves

The 33-year-old singer grew up in the small community of Golden, Texas, holding an estimated 200 residents. At eight, Musgraves began songwriting with a song called “Notice Me” for her elementary school graduation. At twelve, she started taking guitar lessons from a local musician named John DeFoore, which she described as “one of the most important things that ever happened to me.” Recently, Grammy-winner Kacey Musgraves bought back her childhood home and painted it pink. The house carries many memories–some not good– with her ex-fiancée proposing to her in her childhood bedroom. However, that is what makes a home special and meaningful.

4. Carrie Underwood- Checotah, Oklahoma

Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood always pays respect to her small hometown of Checotah, of 3,200. In fact, Underwood’s song, “I Ain’t In Checotah Anymore,” details her city with great detail and reminisces on pre-fame innocence. She sings, “There’s a single stoplight town/ And back when I was really young / A part of that burned down / On any given Friday night.” Soon, she misses her small-town life in the big city, “I’d rather be tipping cows in Tulsa / Than hailing cabs here in New York / But I ain’t in Checotah anymore”. Underwood helped the Checotah community by buying new uniforms and musical instruments and building playgrounds and animal shelters. She not only put Checotah on the map but helped reinvent the 3,200-person strong town.



5. Childish Gambino-  Stone Mountain, Georgia

childish gambino

Although Childish Gambino was born at Edwards Air Force Base in Edwards, California, he was raised in Stone Mountain, Georgia. In 2014, David Glover, aka Childish Gambino, released the EP “STN MTN,” which pays homage to Gambino’s hometown. Critics found the record refreshingly different; he samples from southern R&B / Hip-hop masters, like Usher, to represent as an Atlanta native. Currently, the Atlanta suburb has over 6,000 residents.




What some of your favorite artists that grew up in small towns? Let us know in the comments!

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