Connie Smith (born Constance June Meador; August 14, 1941) is an American country music artist. She began her career in 1963 after winning a local talent contest near Columbus, Ohio, which attracted the attention of country songwriter Bill Anderson. After recording several demos for Anderson to pitch to other artists, Smith was offered a contract by RCA Victor Records in 1964.
Working under the direction of producer Bob Ferguson, her debut single entitled "Once a Day" was released in August 1964. The song reached #1 on the Billboard Magazine Hot Country Singles chart, spending eight weeks at number one on that chart, which still holds the record for the most weeks spent at number one by a female country artist. In addition, the single also became the first debut single by a female country artist to reach number one, a record that was held for over twenty five years. The single brought Smith breakthrough success in the country music industry, bringing her nineteen more singles that reached the top ten, including "Then and Only Then", "Nobody But a Fool (Would Love You)", and "Cincinnati, Ohio". Because of such success, Smith was one of country music's most popular female artists during the 1960s.
After encountering trouble in her personal life, Smith became a Born Again Christian in 1968 and became less career-oriented by the turn of the decade. By the mid-70s, Smith's record sales dropped considerably and her popularity declined. During this time Smith began to reconsider her music career and went into semi-retirement to raise her family.
After marrying country artist Marty Stuart in 1997, Smith staged a musical comeback, releasing her first studio album in exactly twenty years in October 1998. In 2003 she released a collaborative gospel album with Barbara Fairchild and Sharon White entitled Love Never Fails. Smith is often considered by music critics and counterparts alike to be one of the best and most underrated vocalists in country music history. Artists such as Dolly Parton,George Jones, and Chely Wright have cited Smith as either one of the best vocalists in the music industry or one of their favorite artists.