Carrie Underwood's Blown Away album arrived Tuesday (May 1), and she says it was well worth the nearly three year wait since her last one.
"I'm the kind of person who needs to switch things up and try new things," she said. "So I changed the way I wrote, and I changed the way I recorded and took a little time to miss it and hopefully for people to miss me a little, as well."
She's modest when talking about her popularity, but when it comes to making music, Underwood is all business.
"Good Girl," her first single from Blown Away, has been certified gold for 500,000 digital downloads and is currently sitting in the Top 10 of Billboard's country songs chart. After appearances this week on Good Morning America and Late Show With David Letterman, she'll perform Thursday (May 3) on American Idol. And she just announced dates for her upcoming Blown Away tour.
In the second installment of our two-part interview, we pick up with Underwood's penchant for previewing songs in her car. She talks about the moments when life and music line up, like on "Thank God for Hometowns," and also what connects her to one of her favorite co-writers. Then she reveals the sky's the limit when it comes to dreaming up her tour.
I've heard that when you're deciding what to record, you like to listen to new songs in your car. Can you tell me what your reaction is like when you hear a good one?
The car is that place that everybody will hear your stuff. Even if they buy your CD or they don't, in the end, somewhere along the way, they're still gonna hear everything in their car. So that's just a great indicator of what something is going to sound like and how it's going to translate. And even after I've recorded stuff, I want to go hear it in my car first before I can really sign off on whatever mix or edit is going on. I get so excited when I hear something that I like, obviously. And even if I hear something on my computer, the car's the real test. But I really get "gooseies" when I hear something wonderful, and I get so excited thinking about how it could be mine.
Is it true your car kind of helped you pick one of the new songs on Blown Away?
Oh, yeah. Well, one of the songs kind of marks a moment in my life. I know I heard it before I took this road trip, but I was going back to Oklahoma to visit my parents and go to my high school reunion, and I ran off everything we'd been working on onto CDs so I'd have something to do on the nine-hour drive with my dogs. I listened to it, and the song "Thank God for Hometowns" was really just everything I was feeling at the time. You know, just going back. And my parents still live in my hometown, so I get to go back quite a bit, but that one was just making a trip, and I got to roll my windows down and just take it all in and enjoy that song. It marks a time in my life.
It seems very fitting you'd be going back for a high school reunion when you connected with that particular song.
Yeah, and it's funny how things happen that way. Maybe you notice them because of the things around you, or maybe it was supposed to happen.
I noticed that Hillary Lindsey is a co-writer on almost all of your new songs.
Yeah, she's got as many as I do on this record! (laughs) She's got eight, and I have eight. I think we're tied for most cuts on this album.
What is it that the two of you really connect on?
She's a wonderful person. She's so much fun to hang out with, and she's fun to write with. She's another strong female writer. There are so many guys that write songs for women, and they do it well, but to have another female in there that knows how a female would say something? And to have a range like I have to be able do these melodic things? She knows what I would sound good on. I can hear myself in things that she sings.
Do you get a lot of input from fans about what they want to hear?
I mean, I try not to because everybody has an opinion -- every single person. I've heard about favorites on this album from people, and they've all been different. So I really try not to get caught up in what everyone else wants. I try to think about what I like, and it's somebody else's job to look at all the research and stuff. I don't know the stats on what songs have been downloaded the most and "this kind of song does well from Carrie" and all that stuff.
Is there any way you can top a flying truck for your next tour?
I think there is -- and I think we're going to. We're thinking of some really incredible things. Right now, we're in that imagination phase, and we're talking about all the things like, "If there were no rules, no budget, no nothing, what would we want to do?" And then we're gonna get all that compiled and see what's possible. But I think we'll top it for sure.
Read the first part of CMT.com's interview with Carrie Underwood.