In a recent special conversation with Apple Music’s Kelleigh Bannen, LeAnn Rimes spoke about the 25th Anniversary of Blue, her debut album, which released July 27, 1996. “I was going to speak to truth in the way I knew how as a kid,” the country star noted. “It was clearly set out for everyone on that record, more so than I realized, or anybody realized at the time.”
Her debut album reached the pinnacle of Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart and remained entrenched in the top spot for 28 weeks. The project also landed at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, driven by the success of the album’s title track, which garnered Rimes comparisons to classic country performers such as Patsy Cline. Other singles from her debut album included the No. 1 country hit “One Way Ticket,” as well as “Hurt Me,” “Unchained Melody” and “The Light in Your Eyes.” The breakthrough album also earned Rimes Grammys in the all-genre Best New Artist category, as well as Best Female Country Vocal Performance (“Blue”). The album earned Album of the Year nominations from both the Country Music Association Awards and the Academy of Country Music Awards, while the single “Blue” was named Single Record of the Year and Song of the Year for 1996.
After the release of her debut album, Rimes followed with “How Do I Live.” Famously, the song was simultaneously recorded and released by Trisha Yearwood and Rimes. Regarding working with and through that situation — and its success — Rimes noted, “That was kind of my breaking out of that one box of, ’Oh, she’s just this, she’s the little girl who sings country music.’ That was kind of the first…I was crossing over when people didn’t cross over and got my hand slapped big time for that, but it was also one of the most, I mean, it’s the most successful song by a woman ever still to this date.”
As well, she added, regarding the depth and scope of the album overall, “I don’t ever really listen to my own music. When I was forced to listen to it by sitting there in the car, I really could appreciate how classic of a record that is. It brought kind of the roots of country music into a genre in the ’90s that was very, very different. That was a very different sound for the time. When I think of country music for myself, there are so many classic songs that an artist and that kind of vibe of the genre that really plays to my heart and so that spoke very, very much to who I was as a country music lover.”