Not bad for a small town girl who had pretty much given up on music before auditioning for American Idol in 2004. No doubt the success tastes even sweeter due to the risks America’s favorite “Good Girl” took on Blown Away. She cowrote eight of the album’s 14 tracks and explored some unexpectedly murky waters, particularly on the almost Hitchcockian revenge fantasy track “Two Black Cadillacs.”
Carrie kindly took some time to talk us about her freshly exposed dark side, upcoming world tour and glamorous new image. Jump below to read what she had to say.
“Good Girl” is an adorable crossover country-pop song. Was it a conscious decision to spearhead the album with a more commercial track?
I really don’t get into that whole “which song gets released when” game. I just try to make great music and, hopefully, can give everyone 14 tracks that could all be singles to choose from!
The album explores some dark themes: There’s a murder plot in “Two Black Cadillacs” and references to abuse in “Blown Away.” What inspired the change of direction?
We just seemed to go in that direction. It wasn’t on purpose. I heard “Blown Away” and loved the song. Plain and simple! Then we ended up writing a couple more that were a little edgier. Like I said, I didn’t make a conscious decision to sing songs that were darker. That’s just the way the album wanted it.
You cowrote most of the album. Was it exciting to bring your own point of view and life experience to the lyrics?
It’s always fun to write. I love creating a song out of thin air. That said, I submit my cowrites like everyone else and the best songs are the ones that make the album. I love to write, but it’s not imperative that I write every song on the album. I just want the best album possible!
You’re leading the CMT award nominations — who do you think is your main competition?
You never know who’s going to win awards. But we’re such a tight community of performers, that we all support each other and love to get together and celebrate country music. That said, I do hope I take home something!
“Remind Me” is up for a couple of awards. How did your collaboration with Brad Paisley come about and what was it like working with him?
Brad and I know each other pretty well. We toured together a few years ago and have been hosting the CMA Awards for the past four years. A duet was inevitable at some point in time… we were just waiting on the right song. He came up with “Remind Me” right before he wrapped up his album and asked me if I would come sing on it. A few days later, I was in his studio laying down my part. He is such a great guy and I am happy that I can call him and his family my friends.
You look amazing on your new Billboard cover. Tell us about your new super-glamorous image!
Thank you! I love fashion and love to try new things. It was all about “stepping it up” this time around. I wanted this album to sound, feel and look different from my previous three albums. I got to create more drama in my looks and play around with some styles that I haven’t tried before.
Despite your initial reluctance to use Twitter, you already have a huge presence through unofficial fan accounts. How do you feel about that level of loyalty and do you read tweets that people send you?
The whole Twitter experience has really opened my eyes to fans that I have in other countries. So far, I am having a lot fun with it. It really can be a great way to communicate instantly with fans!
You’re about to embark on a huge tour. What can fans expect from the show?
We have a lot of fun on stage and we want the people in the audience to do the same. I think people can expect to show up and have a great time! I love singing and I think that it really shows in our live concerts.
Of all your great songs, “Jesus Take The Wheel” seems to have struck the deepest chord with fans around the world. Why do you think it has connected with so many different people?
I think we’ve all had those moments in our lives that we realize we need to change some things about ourselves or change the way we’ve been living our lives. It’s a very real sentiment that everyone can relate to. It is certainly one of my favorite songs to sing.