Best known as frontwoman of the Dixie Chicks, Natalie Maines was born in Buddy Holly's hometown of Lubbock, TX. Though she grew up in a musical family, with her father Lloyd and three uncles leading the country group the Maines Brothers Band, Natalie didn't sing professionally before winning a vocal scholarship to Boston's Berklee College of Music in 1994. She dropped out a year later, setting her sights on a music career, first singing backgrounds on a Pat Green album that her father produced. At the end of 1995 the Dixie Chicks, then mainly a bluegrass group, lost their lead singer Laura Lynch soon after signing a major deal with Sony. 21-year-old Maines was offered the job-and as a Duran Duran fan who'd never listened to bluegrass, she initially resisted. The new Dixie Chicks made the most of Maines' rock leanings, moving toward a more mainstream sound. Within two years the Dixie Chicks were the biggest thing in country music; the new lineup's debut Wide Open Spaces spawned five hit singles (beginning with "I Can Love You Better" in October 1997) and in 1998 sold more copies than all other country groups combined. The Chicks played the Lilith Fair tour in 1999, and had fellow Lubbock native and longtime cult hero Joe Ely open their own headline tour. That year's follow-up album Fly was even bigger; eight of its 13 tracks were hits. However, not until "Without You," her tenth single with the band, did Maines score with one of her own compositions. After resolving a dispute with their label the Chicks released their back-to-roots album, the largely acoustic Home, which they produced with Lloyd Maines. It too hit Number One despite the less commercial sound. During a London concert in March 2003, Maines prefaced the antiwar song "Travelin' Soldier" with a reference to George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq: "We do not want this war, this violence, and we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas." This sparked a nationalistic frenzy at home, as the group's concerts were picketed and their lives were threatened. Ticket and CD sales also suffered, and the backlash was eventually documented in a movie, "Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing" (2005). One major casualty was the group's relationship with country radio, particularly after Maines had a public feud with Bush supporter Toby Keith. The next album Taking the Long Way was largely self-written and overseen by then-hot rock producer Rick Rubin; two of its three singles ("Not Ready to Make Nice" and "Taking the Long Way Around") were directly related to the controversy. Maines stirred up further controversy by appearing at a 2007 rally to support the West Memphis Three, the Arkansas teenagers who were accused of murder. The Dixie Chicks resumed touring in 2010 and Maines made her first solo album, Mother<'/i> three years later. Produced by Ben Harper, it included covers of songs by Eddie Vedder and Pink Floyd.