When in Tennessee, Shelby Lynne met veteran songwriter Bob Tubert, and she gave him her demo tape. Tubert liked it and played it for the TV producer of Nashville Network’s Nashville Now, who invited Lynne to perform on the show. The performance caught the attention of CBS Records, and Lynne was offered a contract with the label.
Over the next three years, Lynne produced an album a year: Sunrise (1989), Tough All Over (1990) and Soft Talk (1991), landing a few hits along the way. In 1991, she won the Academy of Country Music’s Top New Female Vocalist award.
Never complacent, after two more albums, Lynne became hungry for a change from the Nashville system, and for her next album she enlisted producer Bill Bottrell, who had worked with such artists as Michael Jackson, Madonna and Sheryl Crow. The resulting album, I Am Shelby Lynne (1999), recorded far away from Nashville on the Northern California coast, earned Lynne the Grammy for Best New Artist in 2000—which was especially poignant as she had been in the music business nearly 13 years.