From “Delta Dawn” to “Little Things,” Tanya Tucker has spent more than 25 years as a country hitmaker. But if there’s one thing that can be said about the Texas native, it’s that you should never count her out. In fact, she’s got a new album on the racks, simply titled Tanya. Fielding fan questions from her home outside Nashville, Tucker talks about hamburgers, Julio Iglesias and the lesson she still has to learn.
Tucker appears on several CMT programs on Saturday (March 8). She’s the featured guest on CMT Most Wanted Live at 7 p.m. (ET/PT), followed by a song or two on Grand Ole Opry Live. CMT also debuts her revealing episode of Inside Fame at 9 p.m. (ET/PT).
1. Will you ever do any more concerts, or is it time for you to relax and take care of family business?
Oh no, I can’t foresee any time I would quit doing concerts. I like it too much and that’s when I make my money! (laughs) But I have enjoyed being off more than I ever have in the last few years, because I just had my third baby and I wanted to spend time with her.
2. What do you remember most about growing up in the Southwest?
That’s where I started singing. I was a desert rat. I was born in Texas and raised in Arizona. I’ve got a big spot in my heart for the Southwest, I tell ya. I love it every time I go back there. I’ve often said that I’d eventually buy a place back there, but I have so many friends back there that I just go stay with them. (laughs) I have fond memories of my childhood there, for sure.
3. Of all the female country singers in the last 10 years, which one has made you go, “Wow!”
Hmm. … That’s a hard answer there. Not that it’s been so many, it’s that there’s not been a whole lot. I think Faith [Hill], probably. I never imagined she’d be so big. I’m so proud of her for doing what she’s done, and I think she’s done it in a classy way. I think she’s probably “Wow!”
4. Which country artists do you miss hearing on the radio?
Oh, I miss hearing Conway [Twitty] and I miss hearing Loretta [Lynn] . And I don’t hear as much Elvis as I used to. I’d like to hear a little more of him. And Hank Williams Sr. , I really miss hearing him.
5. What do you think of the bluegrass craze?
I like it in spurts, you know? (laughs) I’ve never been a big bluegrass fan. I like a little bit of it, but I’m not sure I could listen to a whole album of it. But I do like Vince [Gill] and Patty [Loveless] . I really enjoy hearing Ricky [Skaggs] and the Whites sing. I could listen to them sing all night long. If that’s bluegrass, I could listen to it.
6. Would you ever consider doing an Elvis remake?
Sure. Yeah, sure I would. I think “Burning Love” would be a good one. I was thinking about putting that back in my show, actually.
7. If you hadn’t made it in country music, what would you be doing right now?
Oh God, I don’t know. Probably parking cars. I don’t know. Probably something to do with animals, I think. I’d be showing horses or a veterinarian or a marine biologist or something like that. Or probably being an understudy for another singer! (laughs) Driving her bus! (laughs)
8. Who are some singers you enjoy listening to at home?
There are so many, but what’s in my machine right now is Rod Stewart, his greatest hits, I think. I’ve got the Julio Iglesias Tango album in there. I’ve got Johnny Paycheck in there and a little Tony Stampley in there. Who else have I got? Let me take a quick look here and see what I’ve got in my playlist. I have a lot of people I really enjoy. … (while she’s looking) David Lynn Jones, I really love his stuff. And … Sinatra! A little Sinatra. And I’ve got Tim McGraw in there too. So I’m pretty eclectic. And I think I have Barney in there too! (laughs) My little girl just said, “Barney?” (laughs, then speaks to her daughter) Yeah honey, I’ve got Barney in there.
9. Who is the best-smelling country artist that you know?
10. Can we expect a Christmas album from you this year?
That’s what we’re going to start working on. That’s my next project. I don’t know if it’s going to be this year or next year, but that’s going to be my first Christmas album.
11. Out of our past and present singers, who would you like to do a duet with?
12. What are some of your favorite things to do with your children?
Oh gosh, anything. Living. Life, period. Everyday things. We like to go to Wal-Mart. We have fun at Wal-Mart. We like to ride horses together and we like to fish. We like to go to Disney World together. My 13-year-old, Presley, likes to go shopping with me, and my little boy Grayson likes to go fishing and doing things on the ranch. (speaks to her daughter) And Layla, what do you like to do with Mommy? Read a book? You like me to read books to you? (back into the phone) She likes me to read books to her.
13. You were 13 when you had your first hit and now your daughter is 13. Does that make you nervous to have a teenage daughter?
A little bit. A little bit. I’m kind of going through that right now, with the boys and all that. I want the best for her. I want her to listen to me. That’s the most important thing of all. If she listens to me, she’ll be fine. So I’m just hoping she listens to me more than I listened. Hopefully if she does, she’ll never have a problem. So far she has been pretty good at it. She’s pretty strong-willed, but she’s very, very mature and she’s got her mind in the right place. She’s a Christian girl and her morals are very high.
14. If you could have a do-over in your life, what would you choose to do over?
To do over? Like a redo, in other words? Probably the TNT [an album title] era of my life. I’d do that differently. I wouldn’t mix with the same people. I would go around them! (laughs)
15. Are you having another yard sale during Fan Fair this year?
Everybody’s wanting one, so we may do it this year. But we better get on it if we’re going to. It’s right up on us. We’ve got so many requests to do it, and it’s fun to get people out of the riff-raff in Nashville. All the traffic and the lines and all that and come out to the ranch and get a breath of fresh air and have fun.
16. What’s your favorite hamburger joint in the Nashville area?
Oh gosh. Hmm … my house probably! (laughs) Other than that, Sonic has pretty good hamburgers. But mostly I like the chicken sandwiches.
17. Are you a deep thinker and do you consider yourself spiritual?
At times I can be really deep. Depends on the company I’m keeping. I’m a very spiritual person. I don’t think a lot of people see that side of me, because it’s a very private side. But I am, for sure. Nothing radical or anything.
18. If Hollywood made a movie about your life, what would the title be and who would star as you?
The title would have to be Nickel Dreams. For who I’d like to star as me, I think it’d have to be an unknown girl. At the moment, like if it happened right now, I’d say Drew Barrymore. But she’s getting older, she might be too old to play me. Someone like her would be great. If I could do as well as Loretta did, I’d be all right.
19. What do you consider the high point of your career?
I don’t think I’ve gotten to it yet. (laughs) I’m still working on that.
20. How does it feel to be back doing what you do best?
Well, it feels great. It feels slow, you know, but sometimes things don’t happen as fast as I want them to. I’m used to things happening. But patience is still a virtue, and I’ve still got to learn it. But it’s great to have new songs on the radio, it’s great. And to have my own record label is a milestone for me. If this record goes Top 10, I’ll be the only female in the history of country music that’s had four decades of Top 10 records. That’ll be a cool thing if it happens. And we’re gonna try our best to make it happen! (laughs)