Missouri native Sara Evans signed with RCA Nashville in 1996, after her rendition of Buck Owens' "I've Got a Tiger By the Tail" caught the attention of its songwriter. In July of 1997, Evans released her debut album, Three Chords and the Truth, but it was her sophomore album, No Place That Far, that put Evans on the country music map, when its title track became her first No. 1 song.

In the years since, Evans has placed more than 20 singles on the country charts; below, she recalls the very first time she heard her voice on the radio.

I was so lucky, because I was home in Missouri visiting my mom, and we heard "Three Cords and the Truth" on my hometown radio station. It was so amazing! We both cried.

We were leaving a restaurant and got back in the car and heard it. We screamed and turned it up, and then we kept screaming, and then we would be like, "Shhhhh ...," and then we would scream again!

I feel the same way today: When I hear one of my songs on the radio, I always listen, because I feel like I should never take this for granted. I started singing when I was four and grew up in a band. I knew my only destiny in life was to be a country music singer, so I thought I would hear myself on the radio someday -- I just didn't know when or what song it would be, but it was always my dream.

This story was originally written by Pat Gallagher, and revised by Angela Stefano.

See Sara Evans + More Country Stars Then and Now

More From 101.9 The Bull