Over the past six years, Miranda Lambert has emerged as one of country music’s most fiery entertainers. However, she wants people to know she’s a songwriter, too. That’s why she signed up for a new episode of the CMT performance series, Invitation Only , where she played her songs to a small room of fans. The episode debuts Monday (Aug. 23) at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
“I’ve never done anything really on camera that’s this intimate with an audience,” Lambert told CMT Insider prior to the taping. “I think it’s going to be cool because it’s not so much about me rockin’ out and being on stage as it is about my songs and my lyrics and people listening to my stories.
“It’s not all about the show and the head-banging, which is part of the reason I love doing what I do, but this will be different because it’s almost like an acoustic show, which are my favorite to do every now and then because I can just tell my stories.”
During the taping, Lambert introduced her new single, “Only Prettier,” in addition to fielding questions from her fans.
“I don’t have anything to hide really. I’m pretty honest and up front about who I am, so I don’t even mind interviews or questions from fans because I want them to know who I am,” she said.
Lambert is the Academy of Country Music’s (ACM) reigning female vocalist of the year, and she says the recognition has made her reevaluate her live performances.
“[It] was really shocking for me … because it’s not something I ever thought I would win,” she admitted. “I don’t consider myself in the same category as far as vocalists as Reba and Carrie and Martina and those girls, but I am so flattered and thrilled and blessed to have that. It really gives me confidence as a singer. It’s given me confidence onstage … to really sing, really concentrate on that more than the other things. I’ve always focused on the show and the lyrics and the writing. I’ve never considered myself a female vocalist of the year. But somebody did, so it’s a huge, huge honor.”
“It’s kind of scary to first step out and do a headlining tour,” she said. “We’ve been on so many big tours and learned so much. It was now our time to put it to the test. It’s scary because if people don’t show up, it’s your name on the ticket, but also it’s great because, if they do, it’s your name on the ticket. We’ve learned a lot. We really honed our skills as a band and really play off each other and learned the right set list for the crowds. I’m really appreciative that it worked out good because stepping out on your own the first time, people watch to see what you’re going to do, especially as a girl. Being a woman, I’ve heard this my whole life — that women don’t draw as much — and I’m gonna change that.”
Lambert’s still riding high from her latest album, Revolution, which includes two previous hit singles, “The House That Built Me” and “White Liar.” Asked if she expected such an upward shift in career momentum, she replied, “I hoped there would be because I thought it was time to move up a level and do something a little different. But making Revolution, I just wanted it to be a great record. I didn’t know what that was going to mean for my career, but I knew it couldn’t be bad if you make a good record, you know?”
She continued, “It’s definitely been one of those things where we feel it. We’ve been working for six years straight on the professional level, on the road and making records, and definitely this is the first time where there’s a prominent jump from where we were to where we’re trying to get. It’s crazy because I’ve had this slow, steady build in my career — which is exactly what I wanted. It’s been slow, and I’ve learned so many things, and I feel like I’ve done it the right way to build a foundation for a long career.
“But this is the first time we’ve actually felt a jolt, and everybody’s like, ’Oh, my gosh. There’s a lot going on right now.’ But it’s awesome. It’s a great feeling to know that the music is carrying it all. The music is the most important thing and people like it. And that’s good for everybody.”
Lambert released her first single, “Me and Charlie Talking,” in late 2004, about a year after placing third on the first season of Nashville Star. Since then, she’s established herself at country radio with hits like “Kerosene,” “Famous in a Small Town” and “Gunpowder & Lead.”
Earlier this year, the Texas native became engaged to country star Blake Shelton, although they haven’t publicly announced a wedding date.
“I realized I really have to stay focused right now because I did the Lilith Fair tour, had my own tour in the spring and then my own tour in the fall again, so I can’t really dive into it yet,” she said. “But I hired a great planner. I hired two girls who have it together. … I love gathering ideas and stuff, but there’s no possible way that I could put any of those things into play without having a nervous breakdown.”
Despite her rising profile, Lambert said she doesn’t have any interest in landing any major acting roles. Yet, there is one casting call from Hollywood she’d definitely take.
“I watch one TV show religiously, which is Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,” she said. “Being on that show, I would be like, ’OK, I’m going to learn how to act if I need to,’ because I really want to be on that show.”
And yes, she realizes that some roles on that show are … well, less lively than others.
“I would be fine with playing a dead girl,” she concluded. “That doesn’t bother me at all.”