Editor’s Note: CMT Hot 20 Countdown takes a look back on 10 years of incredible music with Decade, a weekly segment that features a modern country classic that made its greatest impact between 2010 and 2019. This week, Carrie Underwood talks about her 2012 single, “Blown Away.” CMT Hot 20 Countdown airs at 9/8c Saturday and Sunday mornings.
CMT: The first time you heard “Blown Away,” what was your reaction to that song?
CU: I was in my kitchen the first time I heard “Blown Away.” It was a time when I was gathering songs and writing a lot for my next album. I was making dinner, had my computer open, going through demos that were being sent. It was on my crappy computer speakers and I thought, “Where’s headphones?! Where’s headphones?!” Like, “I need something I need to hear this better!”
It was immediate. When it first started, like in a few seconds, I knew that I needed to hear it better. I called my manager right after I heard it and said, “I need this song.” It felt so cinematic in a way. You have this dark storyline and it was dramatic and it had the Oklahoma reference and all that — I just knew I had to sing it. I knew it was mine.
You have a chance to really belt it out in the end. Do you look for songs like that?
I love challenging songs. I get bored on stage if I’m singing something that is just kind of even-keeled throughout, so I need the drama. And when I listen to a song like “Blown Away,” I do imagine myself singing it. They wrote it for me so it was easy for myself to feel like, “I can do this,” because that’s where it was supposed to go. It definitely makes a difference when I’m like, “I can make it sound like me.”
It’s a dark video, too. Did the video match your vision?
When we first started talking about what the “Blown Away” video should look like, since it was so cinematic, I had this Wizard of Oz kind of vibe happening in my head. I wanted to make it this loose, dark-reference version of the Wizard of Oz. So if you look through the video there are certain things, like we used color. Obviously the tornado. But we did want to have those vibes to it.
You did some acting and it was heavy. I heard you winged it, though?
Yeah. The director Randee St. Nicolas has such a great vision for things. She shoots things in such a way it’s kind of haunting and beautiful. And the dad in the video was really good, like he was scaring me in a good way because he was a really good actor. It was definitely [scary] at one point, because we were just in it, he grabbed my arm, and the next day I had bruises on my arm from where he grabbed me.
How do you think audiences receive it from you singing it live?
We’ve always tried to bring “Blown Away” to life when we do it live. On the Blown Away Tour, we kinda had this tornado thing happening on stage. And with the Cry Pretty Tour 360 we have a tornado that’s behind me on these massive screens and it’s like I’m in that environment. So we try to bring it visually to life and try to make it a dramatic moment in the show.
But one of the reasons I was drawn to the song is that I love strong female characters who take a stand in some way. I love that the girl in the song was pushed to her breaking point and she’s like, “I hope everything is gone.” Blow this house down, like leaving it up to nature but she still takes ownership over herself and her feelings and just stands up for herself.
Does it feel the same to you, to get the same emotions out?
I still feel the drama with “Blown Away” and I feel like the audience loves it every night. I’m on stage and they’re singing along with it and they love it. We have this CO2 jets that are coming up from the floor and I feel like it always surprises people in a good way. I feel that they appreciate the work that we put into this song and this tour, and yeah, I feel like they’re into it.