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Kellie Pickler

Kellie Pickler to perform at Treasure Island

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Kellie Pickler, who has taken the country music scene by storm, will perform Friday April 20 at Treasure Island Resort & Casino.

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Pickler's raw talent won her a legion of fans on the fifth season of the FOX reality show "American Idol." She reached the show's final 6, signed with BNA Records and recorded her first album in whirlwind sessions sandwiched between dates on the "Idol" tour.

Now, with three hit albums under her belt, she's established herself as both a singer and a songwriter to be reckoned with.

Pickler co-wrote "Red High Heels," which became her first gold single. Her debut album, "Small Town Girl," produced two follow-up hits--the poignant "I Wonder," which she also co-wrote, and the light-hearted "Things That Never Cross A Man's Mind." Together, they propelled the release to near-platinum status.

Her second album, "Kellie Pickler" for which she co-wrote half the songs, spawned the "Don't You Know You're Beautiful" and "Best Days of Your Life." The latter, co-written by Pickler with Taylor Swift, quickly became the biggest hit of her career, rising to the top 10 and earning gold in digital sales.

In fact, the song speaks volumes about Pickler's life in that her close friendship with Swift, like her friendship with another co-writer, Aimee Mayo, has helped her with the process of turning the ups and downs of her life into compelling art.

She won three 2008 CMT Music Awards -- Breakthrough Video, Tearjerker Video and Performance of the Year -- all for "I Wonder," and she has earned many other award nominations.

"I write what my soul tells me to write," she said. "I realized the key to writing is just being true and writing what is real. It's why country music has such an impact. It's music people relate to because it's about telling true stories."

A lifelong student of country music, she is a fan of legends including Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard as well as modern-day talents Jamey Johnson and Lee Ann Womack.

"I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't like to sing. It's a way of expressing who I am, and it's therapeutic for me. It's how I express what I'm going through. People release their emotions, their happiness or sadness, in different ways--dancing, painting, running. Mine is singing. That and writing are healing for me," she said.

Who: Kellie Pickler

When: 8 p.m. Friday April 20

Where: Treasure Island Resort & Casino's Event Center

Cost: $34 and $44

More info: 877-849-1640 or www.ticasino.com

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