5 Intriguing Emmylou Harris Facts

emmylou harris facts

photo: Jack Spencer

Emmylou Harris has had a successful career over the past 40 years, but here are some facts you may not have known about the strong female country singer.

Throughout her career, Emmylou Harris has gained recognition with numerous awards and hits, selling over 20 million albums. She has received 13 Grammy awards and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008.

Many people recognize her long-lasting success as a female country artist, but here are a few Emmylou Harris facts you may not know!

  1. She did not start out as a country artist.  Emmylou Harris began her singing career in folk and folk-rock. At first, she covered other artists. A folk-rock band called The Flying Burrito Brothers then met Emmylou Harris and introduced her to a former band member, who was looking for a female singer to collaborate with on his debut classic country album.  Emmylou Harris then found her way into classic country music.
  2. She founded a dog rescue in Nashville. The artist is known to have selfless heart when it comes to charitable causes. In 2004, she founded a no-kill dog rescue center in Nashville, Tennessee that takes in adoptable dogs that are at risk of being euthanized at other animal shelters in Nashville. The rescue center is called Bonaparte’s Retreat, named after one of her own dogs who passed two years earlier.  Adoption and fundraising events are regularly held in parks and Harris usually performs at the events. The video below is about the mission of Bonaparte’s Retreat.
  3. She did not finish college, despite being a high school valedictorian.  Emmylou Harris graduated from high school as valedictorian of her class with a 4.0 GPA and as a member of the honors society, while also balancing cheer and Drama club. She then went to the University of North Carolina on a drama scholarship, but she left to become a singer.
  4. She is a women’s rights activist, an animal rights activist, and she supports the LGBT community. As a women’s rights activist, Emmylou Harris fights for equality whenever she gets a chance. She has performed with Sarah McLachlan multiple times at the Lilith Fair, which is open to females-only and has raised over $10 million for charity. Harris has also worked closely with PETA and the Humane Society of the United States for years. The musician supports the LGBT community and wants her fans to know that she does not discriminate against anyone, believing in equality for all. Emmylou has a big heart, working with various groups. Her father was in the military, even being held as a prisoner of war, which has made Harris very passionate about working with veterans as well.
  5. She was not a member of the Grand Ole Opry until 1992!  Even though Emmylou Harris won her first Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance in 1976, she was not declared as a member of the Grand Ole Opry until 16 years later in 1992.

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