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Reba McEntire Through the Years

Before Reba McEntire came to grace The Voice stage, she'd already lived many chapters in her incredible career.

By Tara Bennett

Singer/actress Reba McEntire has slipped into her Coach role on The Voice like she's always been part of the hit show. Her comfort and charm in the Chair speaks to the depth and breadth of her incredible career, which has been full of unexpected opportunities going all the way back to when she was first discovered at the age of 19. 

How to Watch

Watch The Voice on NBC and Peacock. 

The Oklahoma native has gone from singer to Hollywood actress to Broadway lead, and now all the way to The Voice Coach. Throughout it all, McEntire's had a fascinating career path, that's well worth taking a closer look at. 

A Brief History of Reba McEntire's Career Milestones

Reba McEntire gets discovered young, right out of college in 1974

Reba McEntire performing at The Palomino along with her bandmates.

Fresh off of earning her Bachelor's degree in elementary education with a minor in music from Southeastern Oklahoma State University, McEntire sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City in 1974. Turns out that country artist Red Steagall heard her rendition and invited her and her family to one of his hotel afterparties. Wanting a singing career for her kids, Jacqueline McEntire poked at Steagall to get her kids a recording contract, but he was only interested in Reba. A year later, mom and daughter packed up for Nashville to record a demo to get shopped around. She was signed by Glenn Keener to PolyGram/Mercury Records. 

RELATED: Reba McEntire Tells Seth Meyers Who Her "Greatest Competition" Is on The Voice

After several years of typical paying-your-dues style touring and recording without results, it took producer Jerry Kennedy's guidance on her second album to land a hot single, a cover of Patsy Cline's "Sweet Dreams," which became McEntire's first top 20 hit as a solo artist. She started touring with a new band featuring two of her siblings in 1980. It took until 1983 for her next big milestone, when "Can't Even Get the Blues" hit number one on the country Billboard chart. 

Reba breaks big as CMA's 1984 Female Vocalist of the Year

Reba McEntire standing on stage accepting an award wearing a blue dress.

After toiling in the touring and recording trenches, McEntire hit true breakout success with her eighth album, 1984's My Kind of Country. For this album, she selected the songs she wanted to sing, and it made all the difference with both the passion in the recording and how critics heard her. She won 1984's Female Vocalist of the Year accolade from the Country Music Association, her first win with the organization. 

RELATED: Reba McEntire Says She’s Not the “Best Singer,” But This Is Her Key to Success

From there, her commercial reach skyrocketed, singing at the 1985 World Series, winning Grammy Awards, and achieving certified platinum status with the RIAA for one million in record sales. 

Reba splits time being a mom, singing, and sampling Hollywood offers in the '90s

Shelby Blackstock as a baby posed next to his mom, Reba McEntire sitting on a white porch swing.

Now a major country star, 1990 was a huge year for Reba as she gave birth to her first child, Shelby Steven McEntire, and was cast in her first Hollywood movie as the desert survivalist, Heather Gummer in the cult horror hit, Tremors. She was able to balance motherhood, acting, and performing.

RELATED: From Tremors to Colonel Sanders: A History of Reba McEntire's Acting Roles

Her work in Tremors gave McEntire the acting bug. She followed that movie up with performances in variety of series and movies including The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw (1991), Maverick (1994), Buffalo Girls (1995) and many others.  

Reba becomes a sitcom and Broadway star in the 2000s

Reba McEntire pointing her finger at Dolly Parton during a scene from Reba.

Another huge performing year for McEntire was 2001, when she decided to mix her concert and performing talents together by taking the lead role as Annie Oakley in the Broadway revival of Annie Get Your Gun. 

In October of the same year, The WB network debuted her first headlining sitcom, Reba. A huge hit, the series lasted for six seasons and earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Comedy or Musical. 

Reba becomes a part of The Voice family

Reba McEntire sits during Season 24, Episode 6 of The Voice.

Diehard fans of The Voice know that Reba McEntire's association with the show goes all the way back to 2011 and Season 1, when she was featured as a part-time advisor to those singers who made their way past the Blind Auditions and onto their Coach Teams. She returned to be an advisor again in Season 8.

But it wasn't until Blake Shelton's retirement from the show at the end of Season 23 that Reba was formally invited to be a permanent Coach, and she accepted. Now, she's pressing her button, and bantering with her fellow Coaches like a long-time pro. May her reign in the Coach's Chair be long and mighty!

Catch Reba in action every week on The Voice, Mondays and Tuesdays 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock.