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Jessica Simpson

Dance-pop singer Jessica Simpson was born and raised in Dallas, TX, beginning her performing career as a member of her church choir; at 12, she also auditioned unsuccessfully for The Mickey Mouse Club. While attending church camp the following summer, Simpson was discovered by the head of a tiny CCM label, spending the next three years recording her debut album; the label folded before the record could be released, however, although a small pressing was eventually funded by her grandmother. The teen nevertheless became a hit on the Christian Youth Conference circuit, also sharing bills with Kirk Franklin, God's Property, and Ce Ce Winans; seeking to expand her popularity in the secular market, Simpson signed to Sony, touring in support of boy-band sensations 98 prior to releasing her 1999 major label debut Sweet Kisses, which launched the smash "I Wanna Love You Forever." A second studio effort, Irresistable, appeared in spring 2001. Jason Ankeny

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