The daughter of famed studio guitarist and producer Fred Carter, Jr., Deana grew up exposed to the wide variety of musicians her father worked with, including Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Waylon Jennings, and Simon & Garfunkel. Their strong influence would eventually seep into Deana’s own country-pop style, which reflects qualities that can also be heard in similar artists such as Mary Chapin Carpenter and Sheryl Crow.
Developing her songwriting skills by trial and error at writer’s nights throughout Nashville, Deana eventually signed a writing deal with Polygram and soon after a record deal with Capitol Records. One of her demo tapes happened to fall into the hands of none other than Willie Nelson, who remembered Deana as a child. Impressed with how she’d grown as a songwriter, Willie asked Deana to perform along with John Mellencamp, Kris Kristofferson and Neil Young as the only female solo artist to appear at Farm Aid VII in 1994.
Did I Shave My Legs For This? boasted six songs co-written and co-produced by Deana and was released to strong reviews in late summer 1996. By the end of the year, the record had climbed to the top of both the country and pop charts, quickly achieving multi-platinum status. A “first” for the genre, Deana’s celebrated debut held this distinction for more than 5 years.
She followed up her debut by releasing a string of albums on major labels. Then, in an effort to pay homage to her musical roots and preserve her legendary father’s label Nugget Records — which famously presented some of the best in country music some 40 years ago — Deana opened her own label, Little Nugget Records.
Deana now divides her time between Los Angeles and Nashville, writing and producing for both the pop/rock and country markets when not on the road touring. Her success continues, including the No. 1 duet “You & Tequila,” co-written with Matraca Berg and recorded by Kenny Chesney. The song was nominated for the CMA’s “Song of the Year” award, as well as for two Grammy awards, most notably for “Song of the Year.” Deana performed “You & Tequila” on her Grand Ole Opry debut in September 2013.
Deana produces other artists, including Audra Mae, while also still recording her own albums.