10 Questions with ... Martina McBride
October 30, 2011
1.) Congratulations on the success of your new album, "Eleven!" This is your first album under Republic Nashville. Was the process of making this album different due to the transition? If so, how?
I think just the excitement surrounding my signing with Republic, both on my part and on the label's part, gave me a great deal of confidence and positive energy going in to the studio. I felt a great support, artistically and creatively, from both Scott Borchetta and Jimmy Harnen. I also had taken lots of time, during the transition, to write and find songs and so I had all the songs ready before I went in to the studio. Usually I find 3 or 4 songs, cut them, and then have to look for more songs, so the record is made in stages. Having all the material before cutting made me able to really see the record as a whole right from the beginning.
2.) Your current single, "I'm Gonna Love You Through It" is an honest ballad, describing a true story about dealing with breast cancer. When you first heard the song, what encouraged you to record it?
I felt it would make a difference to someone. I had the same reaction to it as I had to 'Independence Day' the first time I heard it. While I haven't had any devastating experience with cancer, I immediately felt a connection to the people in this song and I reacted to the honesty of the lyric. I had never heard a song like it before. I think it's so well-written and I love the fact that it not only tells the story of the woman who is going through cancer, but it also tells the support person's point of view, and puts words to feelings that must be, at times, hard to voice.
3.) While in New York promoting the album, you had the opportunity to turn the Empire State Building, "pink" in effort to raise awareness for breast cancer. Not many people can say they've done that! What was that moment like for you?
It was an honor to be asked to turn such an iconic, world-famous building pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month. When I think of how many people look up each night, see the pink Empire State Building, and are reminded of the fight against breast cancer, it means so much.
4.) It's no secret family is important to you, and I'm sure your hands are full with three daughters. How do you manage your mother-duties while on the road?
As my daughters get older, it is easier in some ways and harder in some ways. When they were little I took them to every show, every radio station visit, every appearance. Looking back, that had its advantages and its disadvantages. I had my kids close and we didn't spend much time apart, which I think has made us closer today. But at times it was stressful for both of us. Now that they are older and have friends and more of a social life they don't want to miss, I do more travelling without them, which, as you probably guess, has its advantages and disadvantages. It makes getting out to do, say, a day's worth of radio visits much easier, logistically. But it's hard to be away from them. So I guess, like any working mother trying to balance work and family, it's never 100% easy!
5.) Before releasing the album, you performed each song with the songwriters who either, wrote or co-wrote on "Eleven" at the Country Music Hall Of Fame in Nashville. Not only was it a unique experience, but I'm sure the writers appreciated that as well. What was it like giving back to those who contributed to the album?
It was so satisfying and exciting to be able to share performing the songs with the songwriters. Too often songwriters don't get the attention or recognition they deserve. They do all the work in writing rooms and spots around Nashville and then once the song is recorded, the artist gets most of the attention. I have so much respect for songwriters; I just wanted them to share in that moment when we got to perform the songs live for the first time - kind of a full-circle moment.
6.) Many artists look to you for inspiration. Who are a few acts you look forward to seeing more from?
I look forward to seeing what Miranda (Lambert) does. I feel like she is a real artist who is striving to change and grow, and push for her art. I am also interested to see what The Band Perry comes up with for their second album. I really liked their debut album.
7.) During the release week of "Eleven" you partnered with Amtrak and made 11 stops throughout the country. What a unique way to promote your new music to fans! How did the collaboration come about?
The idea of doing a sort of "whistle-stop" tour to promote the album came from John Zarling at my record label. I was intrigued and excited by the idea. It was so different and I recognized the potential it had to be huge. I also realized what a huge undertaking it was going to be with so many moving parts and details. I can't say enough about what an amazing job the whole Republic Nashville team did pulling it off. Partnering with Pink Together was special as well. It allowed us to take what was just a tour to promote and album, and make it so much more important and worthy. It was an emotional, exciting, in some ways ground-breaking journey, and I was so proud to be a part of it.
8.) Congratulations on your nomination for "Female Vocalist of the Year" for the 2011 CMA Awards! You have been honored with the award four times throughout your career. Does it still feel like you have to pinch yourself when you're recognized by the Country music community?
It is still just as exciting and gratifying as the first nomination. I love this industry and the people in it, so when I get that recognition it feels personal to me.
9.) The album was recorded in Atlanta, which is something you haven't done before. Describe how the process was different, as oppose to recording in Nashville.
Going to Atlanta to make the record allowed me to focus on just making music. I am a real hands-on mom to 3 girls and I have a pretty "normal" life, which involves laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, unloading the dishwasher - in addition to the day-to-day aspects of running my business, touring, and making records. So to just be able to block out four days to focus on nothing but creating this album was, I think, so important to the outcome. I feel like it helped the musicians focus as well, and it was a great bonding experience, which I think is reflected in the music. Finally, not having the strict structure of a Nashville session day - just being about to set our own hours and not have any 'rules' helped us to have a freedom and spontaneity. We were able to spend as long as we needed on a song to experiment, play, and just have fun with making music.
10.) Could you fill us in on any Martina news that fans can expect in the upcoming months?
I am so thrilled about touring with George Strait in 2012. He is 'The King' and we had so much fun last time we toured together. The best part is, after my show, I get to hang out in monitor world with a red solo cup of wine and watch his show every night!
I am anticipating a tour to support 'ELEVEN' in the spring. While we haven't discussed details of the tour just yet, I am hoping it's in smaller venues, honestly. I had the opportunity to play a couple of the music tents in New England a few months ago and realized how much I had missed a more intimate kind of show. I just love to connect with an audience in that way. It's so much more fulfilling and fun for me. So I'm hoping we can do more of a theatre tour rather than an arena tour.
1.) When you have a break from the road, where are your favorite places to hang in Nashville?
I'm currently a little obsessed with Virago. We also love Ruth's Chris and J. Alexandar's. I like the Wine Loft or Rumors on 12th Ave. South. The Gulch has fun shopping and I love all the shops and restaurants in Green Hills. Hillsboro Village is also a cool neighborhood. I try and get out to Franklin to The Iron Gate, Haven, The Registry, Serendipity, and Rock Paper Scissors once a month. It's my little "getaway."
2.) You've been all over the globe performing - is there anywhere that you have not had the chance to visit that you'd love to get to?
I think it would be fun to perform in Alaska. I'd love to get back to the UK and perform more. As far as just travelling for vacation, I want to get back and see more of Italy and someday I would love to see Greece.