After finishing in sixth place on American Idol, Kellie Pickler has carved out a remarkable niche in country music, stemming from her influences gathered from Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette. Thus, it isn’t any wonder that the tender singer-songwriter has fully embraced her traditional roots. On 2012’s critically acclaimed “100 Proof,” Pickler stuck to her guns and released an album that truly articulates her artistry and vocal prowess. Despite not gaining any airplay (paired with dismal sales), she remains a bright fixture in a budding generation of roots-driven music making waves in the mainstream. As she heads into her fourth studio release, Pickler promises her fans that she will remain by her roots and has no plans to change.
“I’ve made records where I’m trying to make everybody else happy and say what other people want me to say. That was miserable,” Pickler tells Rolling Stone, noting her previous studio releases (2006’s “Small Town Girl” and 2008’s self-titled record). “If you go in and you’re honest, people will either like you or not. You can’t please them all, so you might as well be happy with it yourself. It’s your face on the cover.”
She adds, quite frankly, “You can’t change who you are to please other people.”
Even Pickler understands the fickle music industry. She says, “I didn’t sell a lot of records with [100 Proof], but it’s my favorite album I’ve ever done because I went into the studio and said what I wanted to say and made a more traditional record. Had I gone in and made the same old shit, then Rolling Stone and different music critics wouldn’t have picked it as one of the best albums of 2012. That showed me that I made the right call. It was tough, but I’m glad I stood up for myself.”
Earlier this year, the North Carolina native dazzled “Dancing with the Stars,” eventually snagging the title alongside professional dance partner Derek Hough. Of what the experience taught her, she ponders, “”It’s neat to watch people step outside their comfort zones and discover a passion they never knew they had. I’ve always expressed myself through writing and singing, so now I’ve discovered another way to express myself. You don’t have to say anything. You just show how you feel with your body.”
She continues, “Music is my number one priority. But if it’s the right role, I would do it . . . Maybe the right Broadway role. I don’t see why you can’t do it all. Just look at Dolly. I like putting myself out there to try new things. But it would have to be worth the sacrifice of taking time off from music. People who know me get that. People who don’t will, if they ever meet me.”
Her current single “Someone Somewhere Tonight,” an emotional ballad that has been previously covered by Kenny Rogers and Pam Tillis, serves as the forthcoming album’s lead single. Relive the music video above.
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