Carrie Underwood’s career in country and pop music is dotted with dramatic songs, big sweeping numbers that put emotional scenes at their center.
But for her latest album, there are few purposefully subtle changes in her approach to music.
“As a whole, the album is a little more laid-back as opposed to the last one,” Un
derwood said about “Storyteller” in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly. “(Her fourth album) ‘Blown Away’ was very dramatic. It was very fierce, (which) was always the word I wanted to use when talking about it. Everything from the cover art to a lot of the songs — it was just very in your face. It was a little more aggressive.”
“This one’s a little more laid-back, and I feel like it’s just really relatable. I think there’s going to be a lot of songs on the album that people can listen to and be like, ‘That’s my story.’ I feel like they’re really going to enjoy going through the journey.”
Underwood’s journey as one of music’s biggest stars continues with a show on April 8 at Reno Events Center.
Overall, Underwood told EW that she’s evolved a lot in the past decade after she won “American Idol” and launched her career.
“Over the past 10 years, any job that anybody does, the more you do things the more you get better at them,” she said. “That’s kind of where I’m at. I feel like I’m at the top of my game as a performer and as a signer and as a songwriter, just because I’ve been doing a lot of it over the past 10 years and having a lot of fun with it. I feel like my sound has evolved.”
Underwood’s ascension began with winning “American Idol” in 2005, but before that she was singing in her hometown of Checotah, Okla., as a youth. At one point around age 14, she was offered a recording contract but it fell through, and Underwood instead pursued college after high school, eventually earning a journalism degree from Northeastern State University. She auditioned for and then won “Idol” just a few years after that.
She told BBC Radio in a recent interview that the early rejection of a career was actually a positive step.
“At 14, I kind of had an artist development thing,” she said. “I got a ‘no.’ I was a baby then. There’s no way I would have been vocally or mentally prepared to go through (an early career). I learned a lot. I think I was OK with it.”
Her career has been more than OK, even after her “Idol” TV boost. Her debut album, “Some Hearts” in 2005, sold more than 7 million copies and was the first of five consecutive No. 1 or No. 2 albums on both the country and pop charts. According to her website, she has earned 21 No. 1 singles on the country charts and has sold more than 56 million records worldwide.
Underwood’s best known songs include “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” “Before He Cheats,” “So Small,” “All-American Girl,” “Cowboy Casanova,” “Good Girl” and “Blown Away.”
She also done some acting, appearing in the biopic “Soul Surfer” in 2011 and in a televised live version of “The Sound of Music” in 2012.
But, of late, Underwood has been asked to reminisce a bit about her “Idol” win, as the show prepares to end its run on TV this year. Underwood told the UK magazine Spy that the stars really aligned for her after “Idol.”
“Just because you’re on a show like that does not guarantee immediate or long-lasting success,” she said. “I was lucky enough to be immediately paired with some really amazing people that are still a part of the team. You’ve just got to have a lot of luck on your side. It’s an opportunity, so when you go and try out and you’re a contestant, and you win or you don’t win, it’s just an opportunity. And whatever happens after that, it’s up to fate.”
Although she’s had some success in the pop charts, Underwood did make clear to Spy that she isn’t interested in trying for the kind of success that an ex-country singer like Taylor Swift has recently received.
“That’s not really my goal, that’s not me at all,” Underwood said. “I grew up listening to country music. That’s my home, and that’s where I want to stay. I don’t really do remixes or things like that — I just never have. Our goal in my team and what we’ve always talked about is making country music that everybody can like, you know.”