Reba McEntire Interview
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Reba McEntire Interview – by Rick Overall
Change in hairstyle is a simple part of daily life — that’s unless you’re Reba McEntire.
As reigning queen of country music, suddenly every move is under scrutiny, especially when it comes to image.
But even McEntire found both the media and public reaction to the trimming of her trademark big hair a tad over the top.
“Well, my hair was about as big as it could be so we just went in another direction.
“The reaction, well … it’s just funny really. You know you do something like this and you get all this attention and then when you set out to try to get attention for something — nobody even notices,” McEntire says from Toronto.
Speaking of changes, What If It’s You, her 18th album, is fresh, uncluttered and very upbeat.
“With this record, what we really wanted to do was something totally different from my last CD, Starting Over. So we went into our own brand new studios in Nashville and I chose John Guess as my producer this time around because he’s been my engineer for a long while and he really knows what I like.”
But that wasn’t the end of it. She decided on a different route with respect to studio musicians.
“I wanted to bring my stage band into the studio, because we’ve also worked together for a long while and they’re very creative and innovative.”
Frankly, McEntire has succeeded on this recording. The quality of the songs is right up there with what we’d expect, but there’s also a youthful zip to the sound.
“I really wanted to change the production aspects of this CD to make it cleaner.
“If Starting Over was like an ocean, this one is like a crisp, mountain stream. This one reminds me a lot of My Kind Of Country (which she recorded in 1984).
“I just went back to basics here and did the kind of things that are fun for me. It really wasn’t much of a thinking process, instead of wondering what more we could do to a song, we just did it and then left it alone.”
McEntire has always championed a woman’s point of view, and this time around she’s showcasing the good and bad aspects of relationships with a lot of different colors.
Yet, the themes are accessible to everyone.
“It wasn’t intentional, to be woman-oriented, I was just looking for the best 10 songs I could..”
She reveals that’s not such an easy process.
“At one point I had 96 songs on hold and a bunch of us just went into the studio and spent three or four days deciding on which ones we loved and which ones we’d pass on.”
There was a formula for what McEntire included in the final lineup.
“I wanted to go more hip — in the sense of what radio is playing today — but at the same time have the substance in the songs that I’ve always had.”
McEntire says there has been a residual effect on her as a performer with this new direction.
“It’s more fun, sassier and friskier and it’s that coming through on stage. At present we’re just doing the hit The Fear Of Being Alone but we’re fixin’ to add a couple more and then for next year’s concerts there’ll be even more added.”
McEntire is at the top of her form, and as the seller of some 35 million records, she has the voice of experience when it comes to country music and its future.
“I’ve been in the business for 20 years and I’ve seen country music come and go. I’ve seen people desert it and then jump back on the bandwagon.
“But the most impressive thing I see these days is just all the spectacular music the women are making.
“And the girls from up in Canada that are coming down to the States are just really kicking butt. Terri Clark is a treat, she’s fun to be around. Terri’s just the cutest, funkiest thing. You never know what she’s going to say and we’ve embraced her in Nashville.”
“We can’t forget what Shania has done as well, I’m proud of her and I frankly think we haven’t given her enough credit for what she’s done.
“I just really think that it’s the women who are going to blast things wide open.”
It’s pretty hard to keep up with Reba McEntire — but we’ll try.
The hardest working woman in country music never slows down and the current list of items on her plate gives you an idea of just how wide the lady’s scope really is.
First of all, Canadian fans got a bonus with the release of Moments & Memories: The Best Of Reba.
The Canadian-only set features 20 tracks, including 11 number one songs and six Top 10 hits.
It also serves up a never before released version of the ’70s pop hit Misty Blue and a live take on Sweet Dreams.
All this serves to gear her fans up for a new studio CD which hits the streets here on June 2.
For most artists that would be enough, but it’s only the tip of the McEntire iceberg.
She’s filmed a CBS TV movie titled Forever Love.
On another front she joined forces with famed photographer Annie Leibovitz in New York as part of an Anne Klein photo shoot.
She’s included in Significant Women, a major ad campaign that will also be made public in the fall.
McEntire also shot a video with tour partners Brooks & Dunn for their single, If You See Him (Reba) — If You See Her (Brooks & Dunn) which hits the small screen this month.
And she’s flown to Australia for a six-week tour there.
Members of McEntire’s RebaNet news service even got a message from the star about the Aussie tour.
“Right now we’re on a plane to Australia for a month tour. I’ve been looking forward to this trip. Number one, I’ve never been to Australia. And two, I’m taking my family with me, which means we’ll be able to mix a little vacation in with the work,” she says.
If you’d like to check out McEntire’s WebSite, just type in Reba.com.
When that’s done, she’ll be back in Nashville to start rehearsal for another major tour in North America with Brooks & Dunn.
That’s another smart move because last year’s tour featuring the pairing was the largest grossing tour in the history of country music.