Vincent was born in Kirksville, Missouri, on July 13, 1962, and raised in nearby Greentop, Missouri. She is the oldest of three children, and the only daughter of Johnny and Carolyn Vincent.
A fifth-generation musician, Rhonda's musical career started at age five when she sang gospel songs with her family's band, which was later known as the "Sally Mountain Show". Her father bought her a snare drum for her sixth birthday. At age eight, Vincent started playing mandolin. She later added fiddle to her list of instruments at 12. In an interview with Ingrams magazine, she said, "Dad used to pick me up after school, and Grandpa would come over and we played until after dinner almost every night. There wasn’t a lot going on in Greentop, but it was always hopping at the Vincent house." Vincent recorded her first single, a version of "Mule Skinner Blues", in 1970.
The family, including the younger brothers when they were old enough to play instruments, traveled and performed extensively across the Midwest in the 1970s and early 1980s. Except for living in Texas for a short time in 1974, and two summers (1977, 1978) spent employed as musicians at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri, the Vincent family used the Greentop area as home base. The Vincent children all attended Schuyler County R-1 schools, and following high school Vincent later attended Northeast Missouri State University, majoring in accounting.
Vincent’s life of music evolved into a successful career in bluegrass music after being discovered by Grand Ole Opry Star “Jim Ed Brown”, and later spending what she calls her musical college years recording for Giant Record. She learned about the music business from Nashville’s best like James Stroud, Jack McFadden, and Stan Barnett. Even while Vincent was still performing regularly with the Sally Mountain Show, she released her first solo album New Dreams and Sunshine in 1988. In 1985, Vincent had competed in the TV series You Can Be a Star on the original version of The Nashville Network. After winning the competition, she was signed to a recording contract; her first professional performance was with country singer and Grand Ole Opry star Jim Ed Brown. In the 1990s Vincent branched out into mainstream country music, releasing a pair of albums on the Giant Records label, but did not have success there.
During an appearance at the Grand Ole Opry on April 27, Vincent announced that she and Daryle Singletary had spent the previous months recording a duets album, with further details to follow during CMA week. She then introduced Singletary and the two performed a couple of George Jones and Tammy Wynette songs – "Golden Ring" and "One".
It was her pivotal bluegrass album, “Back Home Again” on Rounder Records, that transformed Vincent into the All American Bluegrass Girl. She was crowned the New Queen of Bluegrass by “The Wall Street Journal” in 2000. She is a multi-award winner, with a 2017 Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album, an Entertainer of the Year 2001, Song of the Year 2004, and unprecedented seven consecutive Female Vocalist of the Year awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association 2000 – 2006.
Her powerful vocal style transcends the boundaries of bluegrass music, as evidenced in her collaboration with Dolly Parton on the Elton John / Bernie Taupin Tribute Project “Restoration” 2018. She was invited to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry on February 28, 2020.
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