Sara Lynn Evans was born in New Franklin, Missouri. Sara was raised on a farm, the oldest of seven children. She started singing at five years old with her family’s band. Evans was struck by an automobile when she was 8, and was confined for months in a wheelchair. To help pay medical bills, she continued to sing wherever she could. By the time she was 16, she got a regular gig at a nightclub which lasted two years.
In 1991, Evans moved to Nashville, Tennessee with her dreams of becoming a country music artist. It was there, she met Craig Schelske. They married in 1993. Evans returned to Nashville in 1995, and began recording demos. Nashville songwriter Harlan Howard was so impressed with Evans, he helped her get a contract with RCA in Nashville.
Evans released her first album in 1997. The album was “Three Chords and the Truth”. It was critically acclaimed for returning to traditional country music, and it was included in the year’s top 10 lists. This album was also nominated for awards from Billboard Magazine, CMT, and the MVPA.
In 1998, Evans released her second album, “No Place That Far”. Critics slammed her on choosing a more pop-country sound. When the duet with Vince Gill, “No Place That Far”, was heard by the country music fans, it brought Sara Evans massive success. The album was certified “Gold” by the RIAA.
“Born to Fly” was released in 2000, and later became another major-selling country music hit. This was her first album to receive a “Platinum” rating by the RIAA, and had four country music hits including “Born to Fly”. This single reached No 1 spot on the country music charts.
Her hits continued all the way into 2002. “I Could Not Ask for More”, was released in 2001. Sara’s country version of Edwin McCain’s big pop-rock hit reached No 2 on the country music charts, and was No 35 on the Pop charts. In 2004, “Born to Fly” was officially certified 2X Platinum by the RIAA.
In 2001, she was the most nominated artist at the Country Music Association awards. Her very first country music award was Video of the Year, with “Born to Fly”.
Sara did her fourth album in 2003, called “Restless”. This album debuted at No 3 on the Top Country Albums list. It sold more than 40,000 copies in the first week. The most popular single in the album was “Suds in the Bucket”, which was her third No one hit. It was also her first ever Gold-certified single. “Restless” received a nomination in the 2005 Academy of Country Music Awards.
In 2004, Evans appeared as a special guest on “Nashville Star”.
Evans emerged with a fifth studio album called “Real Fine Place. It was released in 2005. The lead single, “A Real Fine Place to Start” was another No 1 hit for Evans. It not only soared to No 1 on the country music charts, but reached No 38 on the Pop Top 40 list. This was also another God certified single by the RIAA. The album sold 130,000 in the first week. This was her first album to reach the “Top Country Albums” chart.
In 2005, Evans released the compilation album “Feels Like Home” through Cracker Barrel stores. It contains re-mixes of some of her most popular songs.
“Dancing with the Stars” was honored to have Sara Evans on the show. She was the first country music singer to ever participate in the show. She had to leave the show, citing personal reasons. It was discovered later that she left due to a divorce. She had been married to Craig Schelske, an aspiring politician. In September, 2007, the divorce between Evans and Schelske became final. Evans was ordered to pay him a minimum of $500,000 in alimony over a ten-year period. She was awarded custody of their three children.
In 2006, Evans was announced as the “Female Vocalist of the Year by R&R. In the same year, she released “Always There through Hallmark stores for Mothers’ Day. In 2008, she appeared on the game show “Password”.
“Sweet By and By” is a book written by Evans and Rachel Hauck. It was released in January, 2010. It is the first in a four book series. One will be released in 2011, then 2012, then 2013.
ABC Daytime and SOAPnet sponsored a tour headlined by Sara Evans. In late 2009, Evans released a four-song Christmas EP “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” to coincide with her Christmas tour.
Evans now lives in Mountain Brook, Alabama with her new husband Jay Barker, her three children, and his four children.
Sara Lynn Evans is one of the few traditional-styled country music singers to emerge from Nashville in the late 1990s, according to “Allmusic”. With four No 1 country music hits and Gold and Platinum-certified country music albums by the RIAA, Sara Evans has proven that she was “Born to Fly” in the country music business.