Wynonna Ellen Judd (/waɪˈnoʊnə/; born Christina Claire Ciminella; May 30, 1964) is an American country music singer. Her solo albums and singles are all credited to the singular name Wynonna. Wynonna first rose to fame in the 1980s alongside her mother, Naomi, in the country music duo The Judds. The duo released seven albums on Curb Records in addition to charting 26 singles, of which 14 were number one hits.
After The Judds disbanded in 1991, Wynonna began a solo career, also on Curb. In her solo career, she has released eight studio albums, a live album, a holiday album and two compilation albums in addition to charting more than 20 singles of her own. Her first four singles--"She Is His Only Need", "I Saw the Light," "No One Else on Earth" and "My Strongest Weakness"--all reached number one on the U.S. country singles charts consecutively, as did 1993's "Only Love" and 1996's, "To Be Loved by You." Three of her albums are certified platinum or higher by the RIAA. Her most recent recording, Sing: Chapter 1, was released on February 3, 2009 and she released a new song, "Something You Can't Live Without," in March 2013. Wynonna is most recognized for her musical work, although starting in the 2000s she has also pursued other interests, including writing, acting and philanthropy.
Wynonna was born Christina Claire Ciminella in Ashland, Kentucky, on May 30, 1964. She was given the last name Ciminella after Michael Ciminella, the man her mother quickly married after being abandoned by her boyfriend and Judd's biological father, Charles Jordan. Jordan died in 2000. Her younger half-sister is actress Ashley Judd. Naomi and Ciminella moved with the girls to Los Angeles in 1968 and subsequently divorced in 1972. By 1976, Wynonna and Naomi were living in Kentucky, where Wynonna took inspiration from the country music that her mother listened to and learned to play guitar after receiving one for Christmas. The two of them moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1979 in pursuit of a musical career.
Wynonna and Naomi were signed to RCA Records in 1983 as the duo The Judds. Between 1983 and 1991, The Judds charted 23 hit singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles (now Hot Country Songs) charts, including 14 number ones. They also recorded eight studio albums, one Christmas album and two Greatest Hits compilations. In their six-year career, The Judds sold more than 20 million records worldwide and had won over 60 industry awards, including five Grammy Nominations, nine Country Music Association awards (seven of them consecutive), and eight Billboard Music Awards. At the time, they were the biggest-selling duo in country music and remained so until they were eclipsed by Brooks & Dunn in the 1990s.
A chronic bout of hepatitis C forced Naomi into retirement following a 1991 farewell tour. After the duo broke up, Wynonna signed to MCA Records in association with Curb Records as a solo artist.
Wynonna reunited with her mother for a 1999 New Year's Eve concert to ring in the year 2000 sponsored by K-mart. They embarked on a full-fledged tour together in 2000, and four new Judds songs were released on an exclusive bonus disc with Wynonna's album, New Day Dawning. The Judds again reunited in 2010 for "The Last Encore," an 18-city tour. As a result of the tour excitement, Curb Records announced the release of a new album from The Judds, I Will Stand by You: The Essential Collection, which featured two new songs and twelve of the duo's hits. The album was released on April 5, 2011.
On June 1, 2013 the duo celebrated their 30th anniversary.
1992-1998: Breakthrough success:
On January 27, 1992, Wynonna performed solo on television for the first time at the American Music Awards. She unveiled "She Is His Only Need," the first single from her self-titled solo debut album. This album, Wynonna, was released in 1992 via MCA/Curb, under the production of Tony Brown. "She Is His Only Need" went to Number One on the Billboard country singles charts that year, as did the album's next three singles, "I Saw the Light" and "My Strongest Weakness". "No One Else on Earth" was also the number one country song "No One Else on Earth," was also the number one country song of 1992 according to Billboard Year-End. "She Is His Only Need" and "No One Else on Earth" were also minor Adult Contemporary hits, and the latter peaked at No. 83 on the Billboard Hot 100. "My Strongest Weakness," the album's final single, was a No. 4 country hit. The album shipped five million copies in the United States, earning a 5× Multi-Platinum certification from the RIAA.
Her second album, Tell Me Why, was released by MCA/Curb in 1993. Also a platinum-selling album, it accounted for five consecutive Top Ten hits on the country charts: the title track, "Only Love," "Is It Over Yet," "Rock Bottom," and "Girls with Guitars," which was written by Mary Chapin Carpenter. "Tell Me Why" was her third crossover hit, peaking at No. 77 on the pop charts and No. 24 on the Adult Contemporary charts. Between "Tell Me Why" and "Only Love", she sang guest vocals on Clint Black's 1993 single "A Bad Goodbye" (from the album No Time to Kill), which became her biggest pop hit at No. 43. The success of this song led to a tour called the Black & Wy tour, featuring Black and Wynonna as headliners.
In 1994, she also made an appearance on the Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute album Skynyrd Frynds, on which she covered their song "Free Bird." She also sang duet vocals on pop-Christian singer Michael English's debut single, "Healing," which peaked at No. 120 on the pop charts. After "Girls with Guitars" fell from the charts, Wynonna became the subject of negative publicity, as she had a child out of wedlock. She was absent from the country charts for all of 1995. In 1996, she married Arch Kelly, the father of her daughter and son.
Revelations was the title of her third album, released by MCA/Curb in 1996. Also certified platinum, this album was led off by her fourth and final Number One hit, the Mike Reid/Gary Burr co-write "To Be Loved by You." Despite this song's minor Adult Contemporary success, the album's other three singles did not fare as well: "Heaven Help My Heart" peaked at No. 14, while both "My Angel Is Here" and "Somebody to Love You" missed Top 40 entirely.
Wynonna's fourth and final album for MCA was titled The Other Side. Unlike her previous country pop-oriented albums, this album focused on a more blues and rock sound. It was released in 1997 and produced four singles. The album did not sell as well as her first three, however, only earning a gold certification. Its singles were not as successful on the charts, either: although "When Love Starts Talkin'" and "Come Some Rainy Day" reached No. 13 and No. 14, respectively, "Always Will" fell short of Top 40 and "Love Like That" became the first single of her career not to chart at all. After the release of a greatest hits album called Collection, Wynonna left MCA in favor of Mercury Records.
2000-2004: Success in the new millennium:
In 1999, Wynonna decided to reunite with her mother for a tour beginning on New Year's Eve. A month later, Wynonna released her fifth solo album, New Day Dawning. This album, the first of her career that Wynonna co-produced, included a four-song bonus disc entitled Big Bang Boogie composed of four new Judds songs.New Day Dawning produced the minor singles "Can't Nobody Love You (Like I Do)" and "Going Nowhere." "Stuck in Love," one of the songs from Big Bang Boogie, also had minor chart success, peaking at No. 26.
What the World Needs Now Is Love, her sixth studio album, was released in August 2003, on Curb records. Lead-off single "What the World Needs" reached the Top 15 on the country charts, followed by the lesser singles "Heaven Help Me" and "Flies on the Butter (You Can't Go Home Again)", at No. 37 and No. 33 respectively. This latter song, originally recorded by Lari White on her album Stepping Stone, featured backing vocals from Naomi, and was credited on the charts as "Wynonna with Naomi Judd" instead of The Judds. Judd had success on the Hot Dance Airplay charts with a cover of Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is". Her rendition peaked at No. 12 on that chart in 2005. Also included on What the World Needs Now Is Love were two songs from soundtracks: a cover of the Elvis Presley hit "Burning Love", which Wynonna recorded for the animated movie Lilo & Stitch, and "You Are", co-written by Judd, which was included in the movie Someone Like You, a film starring half-sister Ashley Judd.
2005 - present: New career directions:
Her second release for Asylum-Curb was a live CD/DVD package called Her Story: Scenes from a Lifetime, released in 2005 which was concurrently released by with her best selling autobiography, Coming Home to Myself. The album included one new studio track, "Attitude". Written by Wynonna and John Rich of Big & Rich, this song was issued as a single, peaking at No. 40 on the country charts. That same year she released her first solo Christmas album called A Classic Christmas that included a Latin version of Ave Maria. She also sang an overdubbed duet with Elvis Presley on the late 2008 RCA album Christmas Duets.
Sing: Chapter 1, her first studio album in six years, was released on February 3, 2009 on Curb Records. This album is largely composed of cover songs, except for the title track, an original composition by Rodney Crowell. It also reunites her with producers Brent Maher and Don Potter, who produced all of The Judds' 1980s albums. This album's lead-off single is "I Hear You Knocking", a blues standard first recorded by Smiley Lewis. On May 9, 2009 a seven song EP containing dance remixes of the title track was released.
On September 14, 2010, The Judds appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show where Wynonna discussed "her recent weight loss, her year of living dangerously and what it's like going back on stage as part of the iconic duo, The Judds." The Judds also performed their new single "I Will Stand By You", released Oct 4, 2010."I Will Stand By You" was released as the title track to the Judd's 2011 Greatest Hits collection, I Will Stand by You: The Essential Collection.
In 2011, the New York Times bestselling author released her first novel, Restless Heart.
A new single, "Love It Out Loud" was released in May 2011. On November 27, 2011 Wynonna debuted her new band "Wynonna & The Big Noise" in Nashville, TN at 3rd and Lindsley. In March 2013 Wynonna released "Something You Can't Live Without," the first single off her forthcoming full-length album, produced by her husband/drummer Cactus Moser and set for release 2013 on Curb Records. This album--her first with all new material in over four years--was recorded in her own home studio and is deeply personal, especially noting the life-changing events the couple experienced in 2012.
Wynonna has collaborated with musicians from several genres including country, rock, pop, R&B, jazz, gospel. She has contributed guest vocals on albums for Clint Black ("A Bad Goodbye" from his album No Time To Kill released 1993), Michael English ("Healing" from his album Healing-The Collection released 1994), Michael Bolton ("Love Is The Power" from his album This Is The Time released 1996), Kenny Rogers ("Mary, Did You Know?" from his album The Gift released 1996), Huey Lewis & The News ("I'm Not In Love Yet" from their album Plan B released 2001), Kelly Price ("Mary's Song" from her album One Family: A Christmas Album released 2001), Eric Benét and Michael McDonald ("Heart of America" single released 2005), Natalie Grant ("Bring It All Together" from her album Awaken released 2005), Sam Moore ("I Can't Stand The Rain" from his album Overnight Sensational released 2006), Patti Labelle ("My Everything" from her album The Gospel According to Patti LaBelle released 2006), Dionne Warwick ("Anyone Who Had a Heart" from her album My Friends & Me released 2006), Ann Wilson ("We Gotta Get Out of This Place" and "Get Together" from her album Hope & Glory released 2007), BeBe & CeCe Winans and Vince Gill ("Right Now (We Need One Another)" single released 2008), and a posthumous Elvis Presley ("Santa Claus Is Back In Town" from his album Elvis Presley Christmas Duets released 2008). On Wynonna's 2003 album What The World Needs Now Is Love, guitarist Jeff Beck guested on the song "I Want To Know What Love Is."
Wynonna has also partnered with several artists for high-profile performances, including Clint Black, Travis Tritt and Tanya Tucker ("Rockin' Country Sunday" Super Bowl XXVIII halftime show, January 1994), Bette Midler ("Let It Be Me" at VH1 Honors, June 1995 and "The Rose," 1996), Sting ("You've Lost The Lovin' Feeling" at the 11th Annual Rainforest Foundation Benefit at Carnegie Hall in New York City, April 2002), Wynton Marsalis ("It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing" and "When the Saints Go Marching In" at the Apollo Theater in New York City, June 2005), Natalie Grant ("Song" at Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, April 2008), Patti LaBelle and Chaka Khan ("I'm Every Woman" at Chaka Khan Foundation's 3rd annual 'I Believe' gala in Century City, CA, May 2008), Kenny Rogers ("Song" MGM Grand at Foxwoods in Ledyard Center, CT, April 2010), The Band Perry ("Love Can Build A Bridge" at VENUE, October 2011), Kid Rock ("Hell Yes I'm Country" at CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, June 2011), John Fogerty ("Proud Mary" at ACM Girls Night Out at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, April 2011), John Rich ("Grandpa" at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital benefit at The Cannon Center for the Performing Arts in Memphis, June 2013), Kree Harrison ("Love Is Alive" and "Grandpa" at 3rd & Lindsley in Nashville, June 2013).
On July 9, 2004, CMT Crossroads: Wynonna & Heart aired on CMT. Songs performed included "Girls With Guitars," "Only Love," "Dog and Butterfly" and "Magic Man."
Wynonna also recently recorded duets with Willie Nelson & Colt Ford - both 2013 releases.
Judd provided the voice of the rock star Molly Cule in the cartoon The Magic School Bus (Meets Molly Cule). During the fifth season of Touched by an Angel, Judd guest starred as a singer whose son was dying of cystic fibrosis. In the year 2005 Judd was a guest star on the show Hope & Faith in the episode "Wife Swap: Part 1 and Part 2" where she played the mean and rich Cynthia. In 2007, Wynonna starred in a special television event on NBC honoring her 23-year career titled "Wynonna: A Tribute on Ice", which featured skating champions such as Kimmie Meissner and Brian Boitano. Both Wynonna and Naomi performed on this special. Additionally, in 2006, Wynonna hosted the fourth season of USA Network's Nashville Star. She also appeared as herself on the NBC sitcom Kath & Kim. In August 2009, she guest starred as herself on the 10th anniversary of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire with Regis Philbin for Backpack Ministries. In May 2010, she guest starred as herself on Lifetime's Army Wives.
On April 10, 2011, The Judds debuted on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. The six episode American reality-documentary television series followed the daily life of Wynonna and Naomi Judd as they prepared for and traveled on tour. The series also shed light on the duo as they worked to strengthen their bond.
Dancing with the Stars:
Wynonna was a contestant on season 16 of Dancing with the Stars. She was partnered with all-star season champion Tony Dovolani. She and Tony Dovolani were the first couple eliminated on April 2, but second to leave, because of Dorothy Hamill's injury.
Wynonna has a long history of being involved with a wide array of charities. In 2005, Wynonna received the USO's Merit Award for service to all divisions of the United States Armed Forces and teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to record "Heart of America", with Michael McDonald and Eric Benet which in turn helped raise over $90 million for victims of natural disasters to the Gulf Coast. She brought attention to the global emergency of AIDS as United States Ambassador for YouthAIDS for four years. In 2006, she won was nominated for "Tennessean of the Year" for her continuous humanitarian efforts. She has made innumerable appearances and performed at many events benefiting such causes as the American Red Cross, YouthAIDS, MusicCares, Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, Nashville's drug and alcohol program The Oasis Center, St. Jude and various war veterans' groups. In 2013 she received the GI Spirit Award from the GI Film Festival for her charitable work in support of the troops at the screening of the dynamic documentary, The Hornet's Nest.
Awards and nominations:
Wynonna won the ACM Female Artist of the Year award in 1993. Not being present at the ceremony, her mother Naomi accepted the award on Wynonna's behalf.
In 2007, Wynonna was presented with a star on the Music City Walk of Fame.
In 2005, she received the USO's Merit Award for service to all divisions of the United States Armed Forces and teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to record "Heart of America", with Michael McDonald and Eric Benet which in turn helped raise over $90 million for victims of natural disasters to the Gulf Coast. She continues to bring attention to the global emergency of AIDS in her fourth year as United States Ambassador for YouthAIDS.
On June 7, 2008, Wynonna sat down for a live Internet chat for her fans in which she was asked questions submitted during the session. Over 6,000 fans signed up in a 5-minute span causing the server to crash. A total of 18,000 fans eventually logged on to watch Wynonna's chat live via Stickam.com. In 2009, she also became the spokeswoman for alli, the only FDA-approved over-the-counter weight loss product, which features the artist in a national marketing campaign.
Wynonna met Arch Kelley III in 1993, and their son Elijah Judd was born on December 23, 1994, in Nashville by C-section. She married Kelley on January 21, 1996, when she was four months pregnant with their second child. Their daughter Grace Pauline was born June 21, 1996. They divorced in 1998.
Wynonna's second husband was her former bodyguard, D. R. Roach, whom she married on November 22, 2003, in Tennessee. On March 22, 2007, Roach was arrested for sexual assault of a child under the age of 13; Judd filed for divorce five days later.
In November 2003, just two weeks before her DUI arrest, Wynonna taped an appearance of an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show discussing what she described as a "severe" dependency on food. The episode aired in February 2004. Judd had been working with the show in an effort to lose a significant amount of weight and get to the root of her dependency. In September 2005, Wynonna made a second appearance on the show, discussing how she had lost some weight, had patched up relationships with her mother and with the man she considered "her dad", Michael Ciminella, from whom she had been estranged for almost a decade.
Wynonna was also a judge for the 6th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers.
On July 21, 2010, Judd, along with her daughter and tour manager were involved in a head-on collision in Salt Lake City, Utah, on their way to a sushi restaurant. The three of them were taken to a hospital where their injuries were treated, and all three were released at midnight that evening.
On December 24, 2011 Judd became engaged to her boyfriend, musician Cactus Moser, best known as the drummer for Highway 101. She married him on June 10, 2012 at her home in Leiper's Fork, Tennessee.
On August 18, 2012, Judd's husband Moser was severely injured in a motorcycle accident in South Dakota. Moser was on U.S. Route 16 in the Black Hills the previous day when he crossed the center line and hit a car. This accident resulted in his left leg being amputated above the knee.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license