Since winning American Idol in 2005, Carrie Underwood has become one of the most popular country artists in the business. At the age of 29, she is tied with country legend Reba McEntire as the Female Country Artist with the most number one hits on the Billboard charts. Not bad for a girl from Checotah, Okla.
"Canada's Sweetheart," otherwise known as singer-songwriter Jill Barber, is full of surprises. She crafts songs inspired by a collection of decades and styles — everything from doo-wop to lounge music. Despite the temptation to perform covers, all of Barber's tunes are originals, and all are as surprising as how she came to be known as Canada's Sweetheart.
Anoushka Shankar is the daughter and protege of the renowned Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar, who is credited with introducing Indian classical music to Western audiences. Now, Anoushka Shankar carries on this tradition in more ways than one. On her new album, Traveller, she goes back in time to make the connections between India and Spain.
A lot of the songs on Kat Edmonson's new album, Way Down Low, have a timeless sound, due in part to her own timeless-sounding voice. But she isn't above revealing her influences: The song "Champagne," she admits, was crafted with a particular American songsmith in mind.
"I was trying to write a song like Cole Porter," Edmonson tells NPR's Melissa Block. "Me and a million other people are trying to write a song like Cole Porter."