(CSC) 1. Thanks for your time. Congrats being the first solo female artist in 50 years to debut at #1 on the Billboard Country Albums Charts with an independently released and distributed album! Letís talk about your album ďEverlastingĒ and the decision to record some of the greatest soul and pop songs of all time.
Thank you. Well I just wanted to do an album that was a little different, and I made ĎTimelessí a few years before which was a cover of a bunch of iconic country songs and songs that I had grown up listening to. I wanted to repeat that experience but with a little bit of a different twist, so this is an album that Iíve always wanted to make.
(CSC) 2. Being well versed in performing various genres of music, which aspect of the recording process did you enjoy most from a vocal standpoint?
Just figuring out what I wanted to do with these songs to make it my own, you know these songs are such great songs and such great recordings so I didnít want to just make a karaoke record. I wanted to try to make something that was a little bit my own, so figuring out how to do that was really creative and fun to do.
(CSC) 3. Having been on major record labels since the start of your career, what does the launch of your very own label (Vinyl Recordings) mean for you as a seasoned artist?
You know it really wasnít that much different, I mean Iíve always been involved in the business aspect of my career so it didnít feel that much different really, just that I was able to assemble a team that I believed in. Iíve had really good experiences with major labels so I would definitely go that route again if the project was right. I just felt like this was a good experiment and a good thing to do at the time.
(CSC) 4. Tell us about the concept and your involvement in the ĎEverlastingí tour and what fans can expect to see and hear?
Yeah! Actually, one of my motivations for doing the record was the tour. I had in my mind a concept for the tour that I wanted, I chose songs accordingly that would be great to sing live and for the fans to see live. I wanted to really put together a show that was visually entertaining as well as musically entertaining. I have a four-piece horn section with me on the road and three amazing background singers as well as a core four-piece band. So there are eleven members on stage; everybody is dressed in matching outfits and matching suits. It is kind of a throwback to a Motown Revue with the moves and style. We do a lot of the songs from ĎEverlastingí but also a lot of hits as well that weíve kind of reimagined with the horns. Itís the most fun Iíve had on tour in a long time, itís really fun!
(CSC) Is your original band with you for this particular tour?
(MM) Four members of the seven are, yes.
(CSC) 5. Looking ahead, what style or genre of music would you like to record for your next album?
Yeah, I think for the next record I want to do another record of originals you know, country originals but I also want to do a Gospel record, kind of a mountain Gospel record and Iíd like to do a record of standards that are more of the American Songbook kind of standard. At this point the possibilities are endless. Itís just having fun at this point you know, itís not really about necessarily having hit records (laughs), I mean Iíve done that for a long time, Iíve had a great career and Iím so grateful for it but you know Iím also just really excited about the idea of making a lot of different kind of records.
(CSC) 6. Reflecting upon the early days, when did you first realize that you wanted to make a living out of being a singer and how did your determination to succeed support your ambitions?
I knew I wanted to sing from a really early age, I started singing at about 4 years old and my dad had a country band when I was growing up so I had an outlet for my desire to sing. I think you have to have kind of a single mindedness about it to really succeed and have the ambition and determination like you said to make the sacrifices or to really pursue it wholeheartedly. Moving to
(CSC) 7. Having been married 26 years and being a mother to three beautiful daughters, what moral principles do you apply to your professional life to maintain the foundation of your role as wife and mother?
Well my three girls are the most important thing so priorities, you know Iíve got my priorities straight when it comes to being a parent; it is really important raising three girls. Theyíve been with me a lot on tour so having them on the road with me, I think has kept me grounded. I think that in a business where you could easily become self centered and it gets to be all about you all the time, having kids helps you focus on whatís really important.
(CSC) And the same applies to your marriage? It appears that you and your husband have a very good relationship and work well together.
Yeah, John engineers my records and he is also my sound engineer live so yeah it helps to have a partner that understands what you do for sure.
Enjoy Part II of our interview with Martina McBride:
(CSC) 8. Having influential hit songs such as ďIndependence DayĒ and ďA Broken Wing,Ē do you consider yourself an advocate for women who are victims of domestic violence and what personally attracts you to these types of songs?
Well I donít ever set out to find those kinds of songs, itís not a conscious decision but when I heard ĎBroken Wingí and ĎIndependence Dayí you know, they are such well written songs and I just have a compassion for the people in those songs, for the women and children that battle that everyday. So yeah, I was moved to record those songs. I feel like itís an honor to get to sing somebodyís story, help them relate and hopefully give them some inspiration and help.
(CSC) 9. Out of all the many distinguished career achievements that you admire about Loretta Lynn, which one do you strive to implement in your career and what does Loretta mean to you?
I just think her honesty, her integrity and the way sheís always ďher,Ē and always very real. I think that the fans understand that and see that and love that. I love that about her! Thatís the kind of career I want, one where I can be who I am, just an honest career and have the fans love me for who I am.
(CSC) Do you recall the first time that you met Loretta?
(MM) Iím not sure about the first time I met her but Iíve been able to be around her several times and sheís amazing, just really a national treasure.
(CSC) 10. Speaking of Loretta, what do you recall from the night (November 30th, 1995) that you were inducted into the Grand Ole Opry by Loretta herself?
It was a great night. Her husband was really sick at the time and she still made the trip to Nashville to do that for me. I just was really touched by that and like I said, weíve had, I donít know if I want to say weíre friends because that seems crazy but we definitely have a connection thatís really special to me.
(CSC) 11. With all due respect to your male counterparts in country music, are you concerned by the lack of females being promoted in the business and this so called ďbro-countryĒ movement?
You know, I donít know I think everything is cyclical; hopefully it will come back around. Part of my reason for making this record is because I really canít do that, you know I canít do Ďbro-country,í I canít compete at radio with whatís going on right now. Making this record was kind of liberating for me in a way to do something that was not chasing the format, not chasing a trend but really doing something musical and gratifying for me. Yeah, I donít knowÖ Iím happy for the people that are having success with that but hopefully weíll get back toÖ. songs (laughs), songs that tell stories and what country music is based on.
(CSC) 12. Tell us about Team Martina and the good works that they do. How did this all come to together?
Well a few years ago a group of fans came to me and asked if they could wear my name on a t-shirt ďTeam MartinaĒ to walk in a breast cancer walk and I said sure! So it has just grown from there, we have members in several states and countries; so itís kind of global. I love the fact that it was started by the fans, itís very organic.
For the past couple years Iíve done sound check parties and things that kind of have rewards for high fundraisers, for people who have raised a lot of money. I just started being more involved in it and realized that itís my charity arm in a way, with the charity aspect of what I do but itís all driven by the fans so they decide what they want to be involved in and they decide the fundraisers that they want to do. They connect with each other which is really cool because itís kind of a community, which I really love. Overall weíve raised about almost $250,000 for different causes in the past couple years which is really remarkable; it really is a cool thing!
(CSC) 13. Where do all the fundraising efforts go? Various charities around the country?
Yeah different things, like we raised money for a grant for cancer research at Vanderbilt and we raised money to rebuild a park in inner city Atlanta, we raised money to start a school for music for ĎCovenant Houseí in Guatemala which has abused, homeless and trafficked teenage girls that have been rescued from the streets; so we raised money so they could have a classroom and music instruments and teachers to teach the music. That was the last thing that we did, that was a BIG fundraiser!
There are several big fundraisers a year but then people can also do things in their own community on their own time that they feel passionate about. Itís local so if you want to raise money for the animal shelter in your hometown you can do that and connect with people on the website that can help you do that and contribute to anything from a bake sale to a car wash to a lemonade stand to whatever it is that can help you raise money.
We just raised money in Montgomery Alabama for a shelter; they have a food bank there where we raised money for the shelter. On the road, fans can come in a little early before the show and help a local organization. Itís really cool!
(CSC) 14. With the release of your BRAND NEW book ďAround The Table,Ē what inspired you to gather all of your favorite recipes, decorating tips, personal stories and more?
I love to entertain at home, I love to have people over to my house when Iím home and Iíve made a lot of great memories that way and so I wanted to do a book. I think people are kind of intimidated by home entertaining, it can be intimidating to have people over at your house, you want everything to be perfect, you donít always feel like your house is good enough or your food is good enough or whatever. So I just wanted to make a book that kind of is a guide or a Ďhow toí book; there are ten different parties in the book where people can get ideas for decorating and tips for how to pull it off, different menus and recipes. Iím really excited about it! It comes out October 7th.
(CSC) 15. Lastly, you got your big break opening for Garth Brooks in 1990. Now that heís back on the road after 17 years, can fans expect to see you join the tour at any point?
Iíd love to but I havenít been asked to do that so Iím not sure itís gonna happen but yeah that would be a nice full circle moment for sure!
(CSC) You never know, he might ask you!
(MM) (Laughs) Maybe!
For more on Martina McBride, check out her official website: http://www.MartinaMcBride.com