For the last several years (and her past three albums), vocal superstar Martina McBride has been working more on writing the songs she sings.

It’s a process that didn’t come easily at first, but one she now finds “really liberating,” as she tells CBS Local in a recent interview.

“I’ve always written songs,” Martina explains. “But I just put it away for a really long time.” When she first moved to Nashville, she says, “there were so many great writers here I just didn’t think I could be a part of that.”

Plus, she says, back then it wasn’t a high priority for her. “The [artists] I idolized growing up were people like Reba, Linda Ronstadt — [singers] who didn’t necessarily write their own songs. So, I didn’t grow up thinking I had to be a singer-songwriter. I just really wanted to be a singer, an interpreter of songs. So it got shelved.”

“And then,” she continues, “about five or six years ago, people kept saying, ‘You need to write.’ And I kind of got dragged kicking and screaming through that door by the Warren Brothers. They sang me a little bit of ‘Anyway’ [Martina’s 2006 single] — they were touring with me. And I said, ‘That’s great, I will totally record that, go and finish it.’ And they said, ‘No, you need to finish it with us.’ And so, [in the dressing room], we finished the song in an hour.”

Obviously the effort paid off. “Anyway” reached the Country Top 5, and it even cracked the Top 40 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

“It was the first time I thought, ‘I can this. I do have something to say,'” Martina remembers. And so for her latest album, Eleven, “I just made a conscious decision to take the time to do it. Because, that’s part of it, you have to be dedicated to setting aside time to write.”

“What I learned was, it’s really liberating. I still love to find a great song by a great songwriter. But there’s something about being able to say what you want to say – and not have to wait for someone else [to say it] – that’s really been wonderful.”

And because of this effort, she says, “I feel like this [Eleven] is my most personal record.”

Listen to the full Martina McBride interview on Chicago’s US99.5.

– Kurt Wolff, CBS Local

Martina is currently on a national tour that includes dates in theaters and smaller venues.

Eleven is available on Amazon and iTunes.


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