LeAnn Rimes didn’t exactly come from nowhere – by the time she released Blue in 1996, she’d been performing and recording for five years. In fact, Blue was her fourth album, and looking likely to be her last – none of its predecessors had charted. But since then, Rimes had changed labels, and decided to go for broke with this album. She moved away from the country sound of her earlier work to a more pop sensibility. This was recognised as the gamble it was, and hopes were not high.
But Blue defied expectations. It went on to become the number one album on the US country music charts, and actually entered the pop charts at number three (which was also the highest point it would reach there). Her two Grammy’s won the following year in the Best New Artist and Best Female Country Vocal Performance categories, were both on the strength of this album.
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