Alison Krauss (born July 23, 1971) is an American bluegrass-country singer, songwriter and fiddler. She entered the music industry at an early age, winning local contests by the age of ten and recording for the first time at fourteen. She signed with Rounder Records in 1985 and released her first solo album in 1987. She was invited to join the band with which she still performs, Alison Krauss and Union Station (AKUS), and later released her first album with them as a group in 1989.
She has released twelve albums, appeared on numerous soundtracks, and helped renew interest in bluegrass music in the United States. Her soundtrack performances have led to further popularity, including the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, an album also credited with raising American interest in bluegrass, and the Cold Mountain soundtrack, which led to her performance at the 2004 Academy Awards. As of the 2011 Grammy Awards, she has won 26 Grammy Awards, making her the most awarded singer, the most awarded female artist, and tied for the third most awarded artist overall in Grammy history. At the time of her first award, at the 1991 Grammy Awards, she was the second youngest winner ever (currently tied as third youngest).
Alison Maria Krauss was born in Decatur, Illinois. Her parents are originally from Columbus, Mississippi. Krauss was raised in Champaign, Illinois. She began studying classical violin at age five but soon switched to bluegrass. Krauss said she first became involved with music because " mother tried to find interesting things for me to do" and "wanted to get me involved in music, in addition to art and sports." At the age eight she started entering local talent contests, and at ten she had her own band. At 13 she won the Walnut Valley Festival Fiddle Championship, and the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass in America named her the Most Promising Fiddler in the Midwest. Krauss first met Dan Tyminski around 1984 at a festival held by the Society. Every current member of her band, Union Station, first met her at these festivals.