Rodney Atkins

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Rodney Atkins was born in Knoxville, Tennessee to an unfortunate series of events - he was put up for adoption immediately after his birth and fell deathly ill, prompting his first set of prospective parents to return him to the adoption agency. A second couple, intent on raising the boy and loving him as their own, adopted Atkins and never gave up. While his life began with hardship, it now persists into musical success and stardom. As a teenager, Atkins played the guitar at events and festivals, slowly gaining stage experience. He went to college at Tennessee Tech, and would travel to Nashville to play gigs on the weekends.

In 1997, Atkins got lucky and signed to Curb Records, in the same year releasing his first single, In a Heartbeat. It managed to reach number 74 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles and chart. At this time he was also planning to release a self-titled debut album, yet prolonged writing many of the songs and eventually saw it shelved.

Atkins recorded two more singles in 2002, entitled Sing Along and My Old Man. Each of these songs did slightly better on the charts then his first, managing to break into the low 40's. In late 2003- early 2004, he finally made it into the top ten with Honesty (Write Me a List), which eventually peaked at the number four spot.

Perhaps the best years for Atkins' career have been 2006 and 2007, in which four of his songs made it to the number one spot on the Billboard charts. If You're Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows) was named the number one country song of 2006, according to Billboard. Closely following this success, his next single, Watching You also made it to the number one spot of the country music charts in 2007. The album from which these songs were taken, If You're Going Through Hell, has since gone platinum, and two more singles (These are My People and Cleaning this Gun (Come on in Boy)) have reached number one on the Billboard Hot Country chart.

Besides being wildly successful, Rodney Atkins is also deeply caring. A young girl dying of cancer, Madeleine Rose Trudel (1999-2006), was given a special private performance by him in her hospital bed on October 25th, 2006. He had learned about her when someone sent him a link to her website, which chronicled her plight. To her pleasure, he played her favorite song; If You're Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows). Rodney is still pursuing his music career and has become a family man as well. He is married and has one son, Elija, who makes a cameo in the video for Watching You.

From Lastfm:

Rodney Atkins, born March 28, 1969 in Knoxville, Tennessee, is an American country singer. He was an adopted child. As an infant at the Holston Methodist Home for Children in Greeneville, Tennessee, he was so sick that two couples who had taken him home returned him just a few days later. A third couple from Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, adopted him as well and, even though his ailments worsened, refused to give him up. His adoptive mother had been raised in a coal mining family near a tannery camp, and his dad survived an upbringing marked by poverty and episodes of abuse.

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From Wikipedia:

Rodney Allan Atkins (born March 28, 1969) is an American country music artist. Signed to Curb Records in 1996, he charted his first single on the Billboard country chart in 1997, but did not release an album until 2003's Honesty, which included the number 4 hit "Honesty (Write Me a List)".

If You're Going Through Hell, his second album, was released in 2006. Its first two singles, "If You're Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows)" and "Watching You", each spent four weeks at the top of the country music chart, and were respectively ranked as the top country songs of 2006 and 2007 according to Billboard Year-End. The album, which has since been certified platinum in the United States, produced two more number 1 singles in "These Are My People" and "Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy)". It's America (2009) included the number 1 single "It's America" and the top 5 hit "Farmer's Daughter", which was added to a later reissue of the album. Take a Back Road (2011) produced his sixth number 1 in its title track.

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