Editor’s note: CMT Insider’s interview with Carrie Underwood is featured in the new episode premiering Saturday (Aug. 4) at 11 a.m. ET/PT.
“When I first heard the song, I just had visions of what I wanted it to be like. And I really wanted it to be a dark Wizard of Oz in 2012 kind of thing,” she told CMT Insider at the premiere event earlier this week.
In the video, Underwood addresses an abusive situation with a cinematic twist — or twister, as the case may be.
“The girl in the story has been struggling with this for a very long time. She just wants a fresh start. She is at her wits end, and she gets what she wants,” she added.
In this exclusive interview, Underwood discusses her desire to turn the song into a mini-movie, her real-life experiences with tornadoes and the intense opening scene that left her bruised.
CMT: How do you feel about having this event in San Antonio with your fans?
Underwood: It’s really all about the fans and getting them excited and participating and wanting all of us to come and have this music video premiere in their town. So it’s really all their fault. It’s really great to be here in San Antonio, and we’ve had so much time to make this video perfect. It’s exciting that we’re finally releasing it into the world.
Do you think that it will end up being controversial?
I hope not. That’s not what we were aiming for at all. I try to stay away from controversy in any form or fashion. It was just such a great story and such a mini-movie, listening to the song, and we really wanted to do it justice in the video.
You must have at least considered the possibility that it might be considered controversial.
I think it would always be in the back of someone’s mind, but I can’t live my life like that. I love the song. I wanted to sing the song. I thought it was such an amazingly well-written song, and the music ended up being so amazing. That’s what it was all about for me. So, if anyone else tries to read too much into it, I think they’re just … digging too deep. They’re digging into stuff that’s not real and not the way we mean it.
Growing up in Oklahoma, did you see these kind of storms for real?
Yeah, and I do feel like that kind of adds to my cred in making this music video. This is something that I did grow up with. And there were many, many nights where we would have to go wait it out in the cellar. Yeah, it is something that I’m pretty used to.
The song was written by Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins. Did they write this song for you, or was it just a happy coincidence?
When I saw them after I heard the song, I was like, “Oh, my gosh. This is going to be huge! I cannot wait to record the song!” And they said, “Well, we were sitting there writing, like, ’Well, either we’re writing for Carrie Underwood, or we’re crazy.'” This song never belonged to anybody else. It always belonged to me. And they knew it, and I knew it when I heard it.
What do your fans say about the song?
So far, so good. A very good response about the song. And hopefully about the video after it’s out. I think people love that it’s different. It doesn’t sound like anything else on the radio. It doesn’t sound like anything I’ve ever done. They love the juicy story.
At the beginning, when you’re acting, how difficult was that scene for you? You’ve done some acting, but that was pretty intense.
That was a last-minute thing. We weren’t originally planning to do that, but obviously in getting in there and making the video, it would make sense that father and daughter actually interact at some point. He was such a great actor, the guy that played my dad. I felt uncomfortable, to be honest. He was that good because he was so intense and so angry. … There was no script. We went in and acted out the scene the way we thought it might happen. And I actually left with bruises on my arm from when he would grab me and I would pull away. I had finger marks on my arm when I left at the end of the day, so I was like, ’Wow.’ … It was intense. I wasn’t just imagining it, it was really intense.