A member of the Church of Latter Day Saints, Carmen Rasmusen was born March 25, 1985, in Edmonton, Canada, though she grew up in Bountiful, UT. She took both dance and piano lessons at an early age, and at 13 she began singing lessons. In 2003, shortly before her 18th birthday, she joined the contestants on the second season of American Idol as a wild-card pick. Though Rasmusen finished in sixth place, she wasn't deterred, releasing an EP, Carmen, the following year, touring the country with the whole AmIdol crew, as well as picking up small acting parts (Pride & Prejudice, Down and Derby). Music was still her first love, however, and after signing to independent country label Lofton Creek Records, the young singer released her debut full-length, Nothin' Like the Summer, in August of 2007.