Before diving headfirst into country music, Candi Carpenter toured the Midwest with her family's gospel band -- but her two decades in Music City started off shortly after she wrote "Can I yodel for you?" on the back of a Vince Gill concert ticket.

As a teenager, Carpenter signed her first record deal and traded high school classes for honky-tonk gigs. She grew up among iconic country names but is now working on music with decidedly different influences.

Want to know more about what Carpenter brings to the country music table? Take a look through the photo gallery below for five reasons to keep up with her career.

Her First Songwriting Credit Was on a Christmas Song

In her teens, Carpenter cut her teeth touring with country singer Jack Greene, and the first songwriting credit she ever earned was on his "Red, White and Blue Christmas." In 2018, Carpenter released her own version of Merle Haggard's Christmas classic "If We Make It Through December," which she says reflects not only her country influence, but also her penchant for the legends of holiday music.

She Grew Up in Nashville's Honky-Tonks, and Wrote a Song About It

Carpenter's song "Cry Baby" pairs syrupy pedal steel with the singer's rich timbre and soaring high notes. The track is inspired by her first few months in Nashville: "The stages of bars and honky-tonk dives became my classroom," Carpenter tells The Boot. "I wanted to write a song that captured the way I felt as a teenage girl on those smoky, neon nights."

She Also Writes About Serious Heartbreak

Carpenter's songs are all deeply personal. A toxic marriage to a Nashville songwriter became fodder for her honest, emotional lyrics, including those of her song "Burn the Bed."

She's Been on the Road With Country Legends

In addition to Greene, Carpenter, as a teenager, toured with iconic country names such as Little Jimmy Dickens and Loretta Lynn -- when she wasn't spending her weekends backstage at the Grand Ole Opry.

"I had the opportunity to perform with other icons like Loretta LynnLittle Jimmy DickensPorter Wagoner and Jean Shepard," Carpenter tells The Boot. "I learned so much watching my heroes onstage, and I still live by the advice that they gave me."

Her Producer's Worked With Pop Superstars

The year 2019 will bring the release of an EP from Carpenter, produced by Ron Fair, who has worked with superstars such as Lady Gaga and Christina Aguilera. “Ron says it sounds like a country Lady Gaga, but I say it sounds like Freddie Mercury, if Queen had been a country band," Carpenter explains of the project. "It’s going to be a very dramatic EP, which is appropriate, because I’m a very dramatic person. It will also be true to my country roots."

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