Chart Beat Meet & Greet: Jana Kramer
Chart Beat Meet & Greet: Jana Kramer

The former 'One Tree Hill' star celebrates a top five start with her debut country album.

"The very first time I heard it, I was so sick. I had bronchitis," Jana Kramer recalls of hearing her maiden Country Songs chart entry, "Why Ya Wanna," on the radio.

"I needed to go get medicine at the store, and all of a sudden, I heard my name on the car stereo receiver. I thought 'No way.' I turned it up and, sure enough, it was me. I started screaming with this little voice that I had."

Kramer's memories of hearing her music on the radio aren't all as bittersweet.

"The coolest time was when I was with my mom back home in Detroit a few weeks after that. We had just finished doing a little shopping and my song started coming on. We looked at each other and started screaming, then crying."

The 615 Spotlight: Jana Kramer

This week, Kramer's self-titled debut album bows at No. 5 on Billboard's Country Albums chart and No. 19 on the Billboard 200 with sales of 16,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan. On Country Songs, "Why Ya Wanna" reaches a new peak, rising 18-17 in its 25th chart week with 14 million in audience (up 6%), according to Nielsen BDS.

Before releasing the set, Kramer enjoyed fanfare from numerous acting roles, including on the recently-wrapped CW TV series "One Tree Hill." The Michigan native says, however, that music was always her first love.

"Music has always been my No. 1 passion in life," she says. "I did ('Hill') for three years, and it helped me get the nerve to finally follow my dreams and what I really wanted to do ... my music."

Upon the set's chart entrance, revisit Chuck Dauphin's recent spotlight feature on Kramer for Billboard.com's country column, the 615.

"It's authentic, and it's real," Kramer says of her music. "It's country, and I think you can feel it."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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