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Billboard magazine picks Reba McEntire as its first woman of the year

SHARE Billboard magazine picks Reba McEntire as its first woman of the year

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Billboard magazine has picked Reba McEntire for its first "Woman of the Year" award.

The magazine says the award coincides with its second annual Women in Music issue, which will be published in early October.

Billboard Group editorial director Tamara Conniff says the country star was chosen for the honor because of her wide success in music, television, movies and publishing.

"Reba is an inspiration to women everywhere and we are delighted to be presenting her with this award," Conniff said.

McEntire, 53, has a new album of duets coming out next week that pairs her with artists such as Justin Timberlake, Don Henley, Kelly Clarkson, Kenny Chesney, Carole King and Faith Hill.

"I am thrilled to be selected as Woman of the Year by Billboard," McEntire said in a statement. "Although my career has taken me to TV, film and Broadway, music is and always will be my first love. I am touched to be embraced in such a warm way."

McEntire grew up on a cattle ranch in Oklahoma, where her father, Clark McEntire, was a champion calf roper.

After being discovered by cowboy singer Red Steagall in 1974, she struggled through the late '70s to build a singing career in Nashville. She scored her first major hit in 1980 with "(You Lift Me Up) to Heaven." Her other No. 1 hits include "Little Rock" and "What Am I Gonna Do About You."