From her rural roots to supernova status (thanks, American Idol!), Carrie Underwood has been a breath of fresh air to country music. But despite the Grammys, chart-toppers, multiplatinum-sellers, and latest hit tour, she’s still grappling with all that comes with fame. Don’t miss all of the photos from our June cover shoot with Carrie, and check out the star’s red carpet evolution!
Carrie Underwood did not see Les Misérables. She says she will eventually, but this is likely a lie. The 30-year-old country megastar is not much for girly, heart-tugging movies. While all her girlfriends went en masse to watch Anne Hathaway weep amid the ruins, Underwood bought a ticket for Texas Chainsaw 3D.
“I’m not a mushy person at all,” she confesses, sitting on her tour bus in the Grand Ole Opry parking lot, her rat terrier, Ace, asleep in her lap. In a few hours, the American Idol-winning (2005), Grammy-collecting (six), best-selling (more than 15 million albums) singer will take the stage, redefining what country music is and can be — most recently with her dramatic albumBlown Away — but for now she is relaxing, well, as much as one can in full makeup and stage dress. Underwood perches on the edge of her seat wearing a canary-yellow shift and glittery heels, her hair a matching Nashville blonde. From her ears dangle daisy drop earrings, a gift from Hoda Kotb after Underwood admired hers during an appearance on the Today show. All taken, she resembles a Hitchcock heroine: trim and angular, nothing extraneous save a coating of dog fur. “We were never a huggy family,” she continues. “Or a ‘let’s talk it out’ family. Technically I have siblings, but they are quite a bit older than me — I was the accident — so I have the only-child syndrome going on. I’m a little more selfish, a little more independent, a little closed.” Underwood shrugs. “I do wish I were softer,” she says plainly. “I wish I were able to form relationships better. But hey, I mean . . .” she says, laughing, “I’m not a sociopath.”
Underwood acknowledges that at times, her reserve has been misinterpreted as chilliness, even by her hockey-player husband, Mike Fisher, a Canadian center for the Nashville Predators. “He is Mr. Nicest Guy on the Planet. I skew the other way.” For example, she isn’t crazy about being touched by strangers. She’s not big on love songs. Refreshingly, unlike many in her profession, Underwood never comes off as cutesy or cloying, eschewing adorable in favor of admirable. While her peers whine about never, ever getting back together with their beaus, Underwood sings about dumping bodies in the ground and getting the hell on with life. “I don’t want to listen to everybody’s problems all the time,” she says. “And I doubt anybody wants to listen to mine.”
“She could have been a general,” jokes Brad Paisley, Underwood’s onetime tour partner and recurring cohost for the Country Music Association Awards. He recalls their first emceeing gig. “She was just this kid from Oklahoma, waiting to walk out in front of the world, to greet this audience that has got to be thinking we have no business being there. Me? I’m scared to death. And instead of panicking, she taps me on the shoulder and says, ‘Let’s do this! Let’s take it to them!’”
Much has been made of the transformation of a rural pretty girl who had never set foot on an airplane prior to her Idol audition into the faultless country diva who harkens back to greats like Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn while at the same time pushing country into a brave new future of relevance. But those who best know Underwood insist she hasn’t transformed at all.
“She was never really a people person,” says Underwood’s retired teacher mother, Carole, who raised Underwood and her two older sisters in Checotah, Oklahoma (population 3,350), alongside husband Steve, a paper-mill operator. “She liked being outside with animals.”
“Carrie didn’t let fame change her,” adds best friend Ivey Childers, who baked the cupcakes for Underwood and Fisher’s 2010 wedding. “She was never super-outgoing. And she doesn’t feel the need to overcompensate now.”
Explains Fisher, “My wife is brutally honest sometimes. She doesn’t know how to hide her feelings.” Which is what he loves about her. As do her fans. “She is real people singing real songs about real life,” says Pete Fisher (no relation to Mike), general manager of the Grand Ole Opry and arbiter of Who’s Who in country music. Pete ranks Underwood as among the best. Of 66 current Opry members, only 20 are women. Tellingly, it is Underwood’s fresh face that opens every Opry performance as the host of the “Welcome to the Opry” preshow video. “What she has achieved is nothing short of historic,” Pete says of Underwood’s galvanizing influence on country music.
Paisley is even more direct. “She’s the best female singer we’ve had in our format maybe ever. She was a nobody in Oklahoma. On the first tour, she told me, ‘I feel like I am a celebrity for no reason, like people are resentful I didn’t have to play bars for 10 years to get a record deal.’ And I told her she was one of the greatest gifts we have been given in Nashville.”
The Music City agrees, putting her face in advertisements alongside Dolly Parton, Chet Atkins, and Elvis Presley — comparisons Underwood feels are premature. “I don’t belong there,” she says with chagrin. She reveals that her family keeps a storage unit for the collateral detritus that comes with renown. “Maybe my kids will have fun playing dress up in the clothes,” she surmises. “But I can’t see saving the stuff for a museum, some giant monument to my awesomeness. That’s Dolly. That’s Loretta. Not me.”
Underwood’s was not an impoverished upbringing, but it was insular, extravagance a four-letter word. “My mom would sew my outfits for talent shows,” Underwood recalls. “She would get material from Walmart. It was a little Coal Miner’s Daughter up in there.” Her parents still live in the modest house where she was raised. (They won’t let her buy them a new one.) Her sisters, 10 and 13 years older than she, are both elementary school teachers. When Underwood tried to buy her father a $400 generator one Christmas, she got in trouble. “My parents are really great people who want nothing to do with any of this,” she says. The last time she played in Oklahoma, her dad didn’t even attend — it was hunting season. “I’m the black sheep of the family,” Underwood says, smiling. “The black-crystal sheep. Swarovski.”
For the full article, pick up the June issue of Marie Claire when it hits newsstands on May 21.
May 9Underwood’s whirlwind of wail blows Civic Center audience away
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Carrie Underwood’s “Blown Away” tour roared through the Charleston Civic Center last night, leaving a wild and animated crowd in its wake.
Grammy-nominated singer-guitarist Hunter Hayes kicked off the concert in fine fashion. The young rising star, who recently collaborated with music legend Stevie Wonder, has been touted as country’s answer to Justin Bieber.
Hayes’ impressive set, comprised mostly of songs from his self-titled debut, was extremely well received by the enthusiastic crowd. The majority of the audience might have come to see headliner Carrie Underwood, but they all left as Hayes fans.
Underwood has become such a successful country superstar, it’s easy to forget her humble beginnings as an unknown, unsigned “American Idol” contestant.
An Oklahoma native and the daughter of a schoolteacher and a sawmill worker, Underwood was crowned the winner of the reality singing competition’s fourth season in 2005. Shortly before her victory, judge Simon Cowell accurately predicted she would go on to outsell every other “Idol” champion.
Now a Platinum-selling, Grammy-winning, Country Music Awards-hosting, Opry-inducted singer-songwriter, model and actor, Underwood is certainly the most popular and prosperous of the “Idol” progeny. Her recent accomplishments include a starring role in NBC’s upcoming live production of “The Sound of Music,” inclusion on People Magazine’s 2013 “Most Beautiful” celebrities list, and being chosen to sing this season’s Sunday Night Football opening theme.
Underwood’s “Blown Away” tour has sold out across the country and she definitely gives her fans their money’s worth. Her powerhouse vocals, shining stage presence, ostentatious and ever-changing wardrobe and extravagant concert accoutrement kept the audience’s attention for the duration of her set, which featured a solid mix of fan favorites both old and new.
Among the career-spanning, crowd-pleasing hits she sang were “Wasted” and “Jesus Take the Wheel” from her 2005 debut, “Some Hearts”; “Flat on the Floor,” “All-American Girl,” and “Last Name” from 2007′s “Carnival Ride”; “Undo It,” “Temporary Home” and “Cowboy Casanova” from 2009′s “Play On”; and “Good Girl,” “See You Again,” “Two Black Cadillacs,” and “One Way Ticket” from her most recent release, “Blown Away.”
The biggest response from the crowd came during Underwood’s thunderous performance of her woman-scorned anthem, “Before He Cheats.”
Underwood also endeared herself by dedicating a brief verse from “Country Roads” to her West Virginian fans.
Hayes returned to the stage for a duet “Leave Love Alone” and the wonders of modern technology allowed Underwood to sing “Remind Me” with a digital image of West Virginia native Brad Paisley.
The Paisley video was just one of many high-tech spectacles of Underwood’s stage production, which also included large LED screens, a simulated cyclone erupting from the stage floor and an imitation hot air balloon lifting the singer above her astounded and adoring audience.
The encores of “I Know You Won’t” and the popular title track from her new album, “Blown Away,” were also highlights. The concert’s tornado imagery was a fitting metaphor for the whirlwind of wail that is Underwood.
Rarely has a singer proven to be such a force of nature in concert, pushing their voice to its very limits with every note of every song.Underwood’s live performance was fierce, fantastically flamboyant and filled with nonstop energy.
Credit -WV Gazette
Fred Gaudelli Opening Remarks: As I’m sure you know, since the inception of Sunday Night Football on NBC, “Waiting All Day for Sunday Night” has opened every Sunday Night telecast. Pink performed it the first season in 2006 and Faith Hill has performed it every season since then. And now I am beyond thrilled to welcome the latest superstar to Sunday Night Football.
She’s had 17 singles go to #1 on the Billboard charts, a six-time Grammy award winner, who’s sold over 15 million albums, and she’s done it in only eight short years. She’s the only woman to win the Academy of Country Music’s entertainer of the year award twice. Carrie Underwood will now open television’s highest rated show with a brand new version of “Waiting All Day for Sunday Night.” Carrie, welcome to Sunday Night Football.
Carrie Underwood Opening Remarks: Thank you. I’m very excited. I think it’s a perfect fit and I am such a sports fan and football fan, and we love Sunday nights around my household, so for me to be a part of it is something really special.
Gaudelli on the decision to make the change: Faith called me in February and told me she thought it was time for her to, as she put it, “pass the torch” and let someone else “rock the open.” So at that point I really only had one person in my sight and that was Carrie. Interestingly back in 2006 when we got the package, Carrie was in my sights back then too and the stars didn’t align that time. But fortunately, this time they did. She’s the only person I spoke to about this.
Underwood on how long it took to say “yes”: Not long. Like [Fred] said, way back when, we kind of had them on the radar for Sunday Night Football, so I guess I had a long time to watch Faith be so amazing at it and bring such an energy to the event every Sunday night. So for me, to have that opportunity to follow in her footsteps and do something really cool like that, it sounded like fun. And like I said, this is something that’s been a part of our household for a while now and to be a part of that is exciting. I can’t wait.
Gaudelli on the evolution of “Waiting All Day on Sunday Night”: Just the evolution, I think, there really are two major components: I think obviously having the right song, a really good song that connects with people and kind of sticks in your head, and then a great performer. Pink kicked it off and Faith did it wonderfully for six years, and I think Carrie is going to bring a new dimension to it – something that is going to be singular to her, and it’s just a fun way to kick off a game. On Sunday night, we think of it as more than a game, it’s primetime. There is an entertainment component to what we do and this is a significant part of that component. It’s a mixture of that. An iconic opening.
Gaudelli on Players Being in the Open: We really like to showcase the players in this, and we’ve tried to do that (through the years). This year should be no different. We’ll be inviting them – I wanted to make the announcement before we started contacting players to come out and shoot but you don’t really ever get a “no.” They all want to be a part of this. We’ll be having players this year.
Underwood on how she will adapt “Waiting All Day on Sunday Night”: Musically, it’s our first step. We definitely wanted to make it sound different and sound like me. Faith put her stamp on it for a long time and did such a wonderful job and it was totally Faith, she owned it. We wanted to be mindful of that and go in and change things up a little bit. So they’re actually going to be recording that here pretty soon, and then I’ll be able to go in to the studio and do what I do. And then everything after that visually, we’ll lock in. We have to get the song first. It’s the same song, same lyrics, but it’s going to be with my flair.
Gaudelli: Carrie’s right about the visuals. We have some ideas right now. Obviously it’s Carrie, it’s players, it’ll probably include some live audience component, and it’ll be a lot of visual effects and hopefully a rocking number to kick off the game.
Underwood on husband and NHL Player Mike Fisher’s reactions: He’s excited. He’s a sports dude. Yes, he plays hockey but he definitely loves football, as do I. He’s really excited. He’s got a lot of friends that play for different teams and I think me being a part of that with them and with a sport that he loves, I think it’ll just make it all the more better for him.
Gaudelli on Faith Hill: I talked to Faith’s representatives this morning to let her know so I’m sure she knows already.
Underwood on Faith Hill: I run into her all the time. The CMA Music Festival is coming up pretty soon so I’m sure I’ll get some pointers from her. She knows all the ins and outs so she can help a girl out.
Gaudelli on the importance of music in the SNF broadcast: It’s a football game but there’s a large entertainment component. Music definitely fits that. I think it’s a huge part. We have the “Waiting All Day” theme and then we have the John Williams theme that gets played, and we like to use a lot of commercial cuts. We’ve played a lot of Carrie’s songs throughout the years (n and out of commercial breaks) because we want to be relevant to pop culture. Music can be somewhat polarizing because not everybody likes the same kind of music, but throughout the course of three hours we try to give everybody a little bit of something that they do like.
Underwood on her relationship with NBC: We obviously met with lots of people in NBC about the Sound of Music and everybody within that family is so wonderful to be around and so wonderful to work with. I don’t think one had to do with the other, but it just made it, working together again, all that much better because we already knew a few people at the network so it makes me even more part of the family.
Credit – NBC Sports
May 7CARRIE UNDERWOOD TO PERFORM “SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL” OPENING THEME ON NBC
Grammy Award-Winning Artist Records “Sunday Night Football” Opening Theme “Waiting All Day for Sunday Night”
NEW YORK – May 7, 2013 – NBC selected six-time Grammy Award-winner and multi-platinum recording artist, Carrie Underwood, to perform “Waiting All Day for Sunday Night,” the opening theme for primetime television’s No. 1 program, Sunday Night Football on NBC. Country music superstar Underwood, the season-four winner of American Idol, makes her Sunday Night Footballdebut on Sunday, September 8 on NBC’s first SNF broadcast of the 2013 NFL season, a heated NFC East rivalry game when Dallas Cowboys host the New York Giants. The opening theme will continue each week kicking off Sunday Night Football every Sunday night throughout the NFL season on NBC.
“I am thrilled to be a part of NBC’s Sunday Night Football and am so honored they asked me,” said Underwood. “I have always loved football season, and it is so exciting to now become part of it every Sunday night!”
Since winning American Idol and releasing her debut album in 2005, Underwood has sold over 15 million albums, and placed 17 No. 1 singles on the charts. Her recent album, Blown Away, made history by debuting at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums Chart, making Underwood only the second country artist in the 47-year history of the chart to have each of their first four albums debut at No. 1.
“Carrie Underwood was our first and only choice to perform the Sunday Night Football opening,” said SNF producer Fred Gaudelli. “She’s one of America’s most popular entertainers and the perfect fit for our show.”
The now platinum-selling Blown Away album also debuted at No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart, making Underwood only the second country artist in history to have three consecutive albums debut at No. 1. She is a six-time Grammy winner, a two-time Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year, a three-time Country Music Association and ACM Female Vocalist winner, and a proud member of the Grand Ole Opry.
“Waiting All Day for Sunday Night” is set to the original Joan Jett song, “I Hate Myself for Loving You” and marks Underwood’s first production with NBC Sports. From 2007-2012, the song was performed by music superstar Faith Hill and in 2006, the inaugural season of Sunday Night Football, Pink performed the open.
Underwood is currently headlining and selling out arenas across North America on her “Blown Away Tour.” The tour, which launched last June, has played in the United States, Canada, the U.K., Ireland, and Australia, and will perform a total of 112 dates by the time is wraps on May 23 in Abbotsford, BC, Canada.
Sunday Night Football, which averaged 21.8 million viewers in the 2012 season, is primetime television’s No. 1 program.
For more information about NBC Sports Group shows and properties, including press releases, photos, talent and executive bios and headshots, please visit NBCSportsGroupPressBox.com.
–NBC SPORTS GROUP–
May 5Belvidere teen meets Carrie Underwood through Make-A-Wish
BELVIDERE — Friday night, 14-year-old Bridgette Peters joined thousands of other screaming fans at the Carrie Underwood concert in Milwaukee.
The Belvidere teenager had the enviable perk of meeting Underwood backstage before the show and having several items, including an acoustic guitar she’s just learning to play, signed by the superstar.
Peters spent the week counting down the days and hours until the show.
“I’m so excited, I can barely sleep at night,” she said.
But that statement isn’t quite true, because Bridgette’s radiation treatments cause her to sleep as many as 20 hours each day. The special hairstyle she got for Friday’s show was arranged so that her remaining blond hair covered some bare spots. And her mother, Kelly Peters, was on edge in recent weeks worrying about what Bridgette’s blood pressure would do in the midst of so much excitement.
Bridgette’s concert trip was made possible by Make-A-Wish, a worldwide organization dedicated to helping children with life-threatening conditions.
At age 7, doctors discovered the tangle of blood vessels covering much of the left side of Bridgette’s brain.
The 6-centimeter mass is inoperable. Its technical name is an arteriovenous malformation — a defect of the circulatory system that generally develops during pregnancy or shortly after birth, most often in the brain or along the spinal cord.
Roughly 300,000 Americans have AVMs, but many experience no symptoms, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Bridgette is among the 12 percent who experience symptoms — seizures, headaches and more. Over the years, Bridgette’s seizures have caused temporary right-side paralysis, speech loss and migraines. Although Bridgette has had symptoms for years, her parents never told her it was life-threatening.
“I wanted to let her be a kid as long as possible,” Kelly Peters said.
Dr. Marvin Rossi, an epilepsy neurologist at Rush Medical Center in Chicago, has been treating Bridgette for years.
He’s had success with medication to decrease the frequency of her seizures, but he’s always tried to balance the risks from different drugs or treatments to not interfere too much with her age or development.
The biggest danger from the AVM is hemorrhage because the bleeding could cause permanent paralysis or even death. Bridgette had a bleed in March 2012, but amazingly it stopped on its own and caused no visible damage.
“She is a miracle,” Kelly Peters said. “God is with this child in so many ways.”
As Bridgette’s brain healed from the bleed, her doctors also decided on a course of treatment. She started radiation in September and so far has had two of three treatments aimed at shrinking the mass.
Bridgette went from being an active athlete — so busy with cross-country, basketball, volleyball and poms that she often had to change outfits in the car between events — to spending most of her time at home resting. She attended just the first two weeks of her freshman year at Belvidere High School this past fall before her parents pulled her out and started home studies.
“Right now, she can’t do anything to raise her blood pressure,” Kelly said, explaining that those types of activities are more likely to bring on seizures, plus Bridgette is wiped out from the radiation. It’s a high price to pay, especially for a teenager, but the family hopes it will pay off.
“The doctor said: ‘I’m going to take three years of your life, but I’m going to give you your life,’” Kelly added.
Despite her health difficulties and lifestyle limitations, Bridgette remains positive.
“I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength,” she said this week, quoting her favorite Bible verse from Philippians 4:13.
Her advice for other young people facing illness is this: “Don’t think what you can’t do, think about what you can do.”
Bridgette’s attitude made Connie Dettman, her Make-A-Wish coordinator from Machesney Park, want to go above and beyond for the teenager when they started working on her case.
“For everything she’s gone through for so many years, she just has an amazing disposition and attitude,” Dettman said of Bridgette.
Dettman helped coordinate Bridgette’s concert trip, complete with a makeover at a Belvidere salon beforehand. Earlier in the week, she spent an afternoon at Macy’s department store getting personal shopping assistance, along with $250 to spend on a new outfit for the concert.
Bridgette came away with a pink dress, jean jacket, cowboy boots and a hat. She also came out of the experience dazzled, her mind far from thoughts of being sick.
“That’s our goal,” Dettman said. “When (these kids) are going through something like this they can dream and wish about something different.”
How to help
The Illinois Make-A-Wish chapter formed in 1985 and has granted an estimated 11,000 wishes to children across the state. To donate or get involved in Make-A-Wish, visit wish.org or call 800-722-9474.
Credit - Rockford Register Star
Apr 28Carrie Underwood Will Put Her Own Spin on ‘The Sound of Music’
While everyone is preparing to be “blown away” by Carrie Underwood‘s role as Maria von Trapp in the upcoming live television broadcast of ‘Sound of Music,’ she is making sure it’s clear that she’s not trying to take the place of the iconic Julie Andrews. Instead, she’s going to put her own spin on it.
According to People, the ‘Two Black Cadillacs’ hitmaker explains that she wouldn’t even think to overshadow the British star, who she says “just has this royal air,” adding, “It would be like you’re beneath her!”
In fact, the powerhouse vocalist explains that the television version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical will be quite different than the Oscar-winning movie. She adds, ”I think once people tune in and realize that [our version] is not a remake, they won’t compare it to the movie.”
While this is unlike anything Underwood has done, she’s excited about showcasing her talent, which was first discovered on the hit show ‘American Idol.’ “It’s a giant challenge, which I appreciate,” she says. “Everybody keeps saying, ‘People don’t do this anymore, singing live!’”
Although Underwood and Andrews have never met, the previous ‘Maria’ singer has stated that she’d love to know the country star. Sounds like the feeling is mutual!
Credit – Taste Of Country