NASHVILLE, Tenn., March 2, 2013 – Country superstar Kellie Pickler’s musical influences can be heard quite clearly on the singer’s latest album, 100 Proof. From Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn to Kitty Wells and Tammy Wynette, Pickler has developed a unique style and approach to music that rivals that of many of music’s greats. Upon meeting her idol Parton, Pickler says it was a “great moment for me to meet someone that inspired me to pursue country music as a career.”
Born and raised in Albemarle, NC, Pickler’s small-town roots simply feed into her love and passion for Country music. After getting her big break on American Idol in 2006, she quickly signed to 19 Recordings/BNA Records for her debut disc Small Town Girl, which has since sold around 800,000 copies. She later released a self-titled album in 2008 and lastly 2012’s critically acclaimed 100 Proof, before parting ways with the label. A few months later, she signed with Blake River Entertainment and is currently working on new material for an album to be released later this year. Despite achieving little chart success compared to contemporaries Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert, Pickler says all that doesn’t really matter to her. “I don’t know if I’ll always be accepted, but I don’t think that’s the No. 1 goal in life,” the 26-year-old tells The Times Herald. “I definitely have my priorities. It feels good for people to like your music if your music is a reflection of you. I just write songs about my life and my story and hope that someone out there identifies with it and that it helps them celebrate the good times or mourn the sad times.”
Even though her budding career is still on the rise, she has no qualms about being honest and genuine in her music. “My life is a country song,” she says. “I think that it’s hard to be an artist and not expose part of yourself. It’s gonna come out in your songs if you’re honest.”
Recently, Pickler took to the stage at the annual Country Radio Seminar in Nashville with several new songs, including “Ring for Sale” and “Tough All Over,” presumably cuts for her new record. “I’m not going to make the same exact album because I’m not in the exact same place I was in that particular phase of my life,” she says of making the new album. “It will be more of where I am now. I definitely want to grow. I don’t want to repeat myself, but I want to stay true to myself.”
In addition to her inspiring music and work ethic, the singer is also known for her USO tours, which have been life-changing for her. “I come from a military family, so anytime I get an opportunity to go overseas and shake hands, give somebody a hug and say thank you to our troops, I’m going to take advantage of that,” she explains. “Some of my favorite parts of the tours is just sitting down in the chow halls and talking with the troops. I’ll just go and sit down wherever there is an empty chair. It’s really fascinating to hear their take, just have a normal conversation. I think it can really change you as a person if you let it.”
As expected, Pickler also offers a nugget of wisdom for life. “I think it’s so important that you find joy in whatever it is you are doing,” she asserts. “That’s with any job. No job is too small as long as it brings you joy. And you can never forget why you fell in love with whatever it is you pursue as a career.”
“My goal in doing ‘American Idol’ was to hopefully get a record deal and be able to move to Nashville and make a country record. It wasn’t so I could be on television and be famous. I just wanted to sing my little song,” she concludes.
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