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Thread: Carrie Underwood (AI 4)

  1. #2581
    FORT Fogey razorbacker's Avatar
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    Apr 2004

    Re: Carrie Underwood

    Here is another great insight into Carnival Ride & how it was put together. And the writers she was working are very complimentary.

    Carrie Underwood captures the world of country - USATODAY.com

    Carrie Underwood captures the world of country

    Story by Brian Mansfield, Special for USA TODAY
    NASHVILLE — Carrie Underwood is used to seeing crowds at the Ryman Auditorium. For three days in February, though, she had the former home of the Grand Ole Opry pretty much to herself, as she and a dozen Nashville songwriters worked on new tunes

    We just ruled the Ryman for a little bit," the 24-year-old singer says. "We kind of hung out there. We ate on the stage. We thought it would be a nice place to get inspiration from."
    After the release of her 2005 debut, Some Hearts, which has sold nearly 6 million copies, Underwood committed to developing her songwriting skills for her new album, Carnival Ride, out Tuesday.
    "I'm the kind of person that, if I got in there and wrote and it was bad, I'd be, like, 'I'm not a writer; I'll let the professionals handle this,' " she says. "But it was something I definitely wanted to see if I could do."

    It's not as if she didn't have plenty of other things to do. Just three years ago, Underwood was a mass-communications major at a midsize Oklahoma university. Her American Idol performances established an image for the fresh-faced singer somewhere between Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz and a Barbie princess.
    Some Hearts reached double-platinum status (2 million sold) faster than any country album in history. Three of the album's songs —Jesus, Take the Wheel; Before He Cheats; and Wasted— topped Billboard's country singles chart. Underwood won best new artist at the Grammys, the first Idol to do so, and she's the reigning female vocalist for both the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.
    She has pulled back on the concert dates this year, after having played about 150 last year — which gave her more time to write for and record Carnival Ride, to drink the milk in her refrigerator before it went bad, and to go to the occasional cookout or bowling night with friends.
    Underwood went into Some Hearts an American Idol — an assurance of name recognition, but hardly a guarantee of future success. She goes into Carnival Ride a country superstar, the kind of celebrity who gets linked romantically with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and, more recently, Gossip Girl's Chace Crawford. She has two nominations for the American Music Awards, three for the CMAs and a song sung over the credits of the animated film Enchanted, opening Nov. 21. She gives single So Small its TV premiere Saturday night at the Grand Ole Opry. On Tuesday, she plays Times Square for Good Morning America.
    Fortunately, she has people who keep her on schedule, because she still has a hard time adjusting to the whirlwind of activity. "Time has no relevance for me," she says.
    Riding the whirlwind
    "You get used to life at a much slower pace, then, all of a sudden, everything's flipped upside down. You have no idea where you're at or what you're doing. You're just trying to keep your sanity. Your mom asks where you're at, and you say, 'I'm not sure. I think I'm in Idaho.' "
    Underwood returns to the themes of uncontrollable outside forces and the sense of being overwhelmed time and again on Carnival Ride, from the twister imagery on Flat on the Floor that opens the album to the seemingly insurmountable problems of So Small. When she sings "God put us here on the carnival ride/We close our eyes never knowing where it'll take us next" on the disc's final track, Wheel of the World, she leaves the inescapable impression that she's holding on for dear life.
    "I can pause the ride occasionally," she says, "but it never stops. It's always going, waiting for me to get back on."
    The three-day retreat at the Ryman offered Underwood such a pause. In a place where Hank Williams and Patsy Cline once sang, where Johnny Cash taped his ABC variety show, Underwood got to write with such top tunesmiths as Craig Wiseman, whose credits include Tim McGraw's Live Like You Were Dying.
    "The goals were twofold," says retreat organizer Chris Oglesby, who runs OWM/19 Entertainment, the Nashville office of the company that manages Underwood's career. "One was to continue to get Carrie more comfortable writing and writing with different writers. The other was to create an environment where we could build some camaraderie, as well as find some great songs to put on a record."
    Overcoming her shyness
    For a person as naturally bashful as Underwood, getting familiar with new people takes some time. She acknowledges she can come across as standoffish. "Some people think I don't like them, because I don't really talk to people I don't know," she says. "I'm perfectly fine with not talking, unless I have something to say."
    Each morning at the Ryman, the songwriters broke up into groups of two or three to write in the venue's dressing rooms. Underwood would team up with writing partners, but she would also roam from room to room throughout the day, acting as a sort of quality-control expert for works in progress.
    "If you can catch somebody in the beginning stages of a song and say, 'I don't think I'd sing it that way,' or 'This isn't a subject matter I really want to talk about,' nobody wastes time," she says.
    In the evenings, the writers recorded demos of the day's songs on the Ryman stage with Underwood's producer, Mark Bright.
    "That was a little nerve-wracking," says songwriter Luke Laird. "You've just finished this song, and you're going to try to put it down in front of the producer of the record and whoever else is hanging around. But it was cool — there's something about that pressure. There were some great songs written there."
    A similar retreat after Underwood's 2005 American Idol win yielded three songs for Some Hearts. Although Underwood says she left February's retreat with enough material to fill multiple CDs, only Twisted— written the first day by Laird and Jesus, Take the Wheel co-writers Hillary Lindsey and Brett James — made the final cut for Carnival Ride.
    Still, the event served its larger purpose of better acquainting Underwood and the writers. The ones at the retreat account for 11 of the 13 songs on Carnival Ride.
    Underwood had a hand in writing dozens of songs.
    "Once I got comfortable with people, I had no problems chiming in," she says. "I realized that whatever I said wasn't going to be stupid. Because everybody says 50 things before they decide on a word — you go through 50 before you pick out one."
    Though an artist's presence in a songwriting session can create tension and resentment, Oglesby says, Underwood is earning the respect of her songwriting peers, not just because an Underwood co-write can mean a financial windfall but because she approaches the process with seriousness and humility.
    "Almost without exception, every single writer came to me and said, 'She's the real deal,' " he says. "She knows what she wants. She's got a good melodic sense. She's got a good lyric sense.
    "She's great at this, and she's going to be amazing at this."

  2. #2582
    FORT Fogey razorbacker's Avatar
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    Apr 2004

    Re: Carrie Underwood

    Don't forget to catch Carrie tonight at The Grand Ol Opry on GAC. This will be the televison debut of So Small.

  3. #2583
    FORT Fogey razorbacker's Avatar
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    Apr 2004

    Re: Carrie Underwood

    All Music.com is the first ones to officially review Carnival Ride, they give it 4 of 5 stars.. This next week should be pretty exciting for Carrie. Hope some of you got to see her on the Opry last night.

    allmusic ((( Carnival Ride > Overview )))

    Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
    The pivotal American Idol moment for Carrie Underwood was when she teased her hair to the heavens and sang Heart's "Alone," belting out the power ballad with sincerity and a natural flair for drama. It was the surest sign that Carrie wasn't merely the country star the show gladly pigeonholed her as, that she was a pop star by any measure. Of course, the great irony was that Carrie had little interest in being a pop star; she wanted to be a country singer, but the sheer magnitude of American Idol meant that she was already a pop star who needed to cross over to country, a reverse of the usual crossover move. Underwood pulled off that tricky maneuver with a deceptive ease on her 2005 debut, Some Hearts, which turned into a smash success, turning sextuple platinum at a time when many albums struggle to go gold, even surpassing the sales of the original Idol, Kelly Clarkson. Such success raised the bar for her 2007 follow-up, Carnival Ride. Traditionally, second albums are a place where artists consolidate their strengths or expand their reach, either with an eye toward artistic growth or commercial success, and Carrie chooses the former option, creating a record that is more purely country than her debut. She dials down the pageantry drama that peppered her debut — there are no Diane Warren songs, for instance — and plays up her humble, all-American persona, singing songs about small towns and big dreams, even attempting to kick up some dirt and grit on the one-night-stand anthem "Last Name," which is Miranda Lambert filtered through Shania Twain. And one of the striking things about Carnival Ride is how completely Carrie Underwood has stepped into the void that Shania and Faith Hill left behind: the small-town girl made good but who hasn't left her roots behind. In other words, she hasn't made the big pop diva move that Shania did with Up! or Faith with Cry; she's planted herself firmly within country. Now, Carrie's country is hardly traditionalist — despite the lack of Diane Warren tunes, there are plenty of power ballads here, along with light drum loops that aren't commonly heard in Nashville — but her approach is completely contemporary country, in how it blurs the borders between country and arena rock, something that's perfect for a girl who made her first big splash singing Heart. Sound and feel do mean a lot, but country records really survive on the strength of their songs, and the remarkable thing about Carnival Ride is that it's stronger song for song than Some Hearts, some of this due to Carrie herself, who bears four songwriting credits here, often in conjunction with some permutation of Steve McEwan and Hillary Lindsey, who pen a bunch of other tunes here. The songs may veer just a bit too close to the big power ballads, but they all work as strong pieces of commercial country, built on surging melodies (all the better for Carrie to belt) and lyrics that play into Underwood's small-town girl persona but are also open-ended enough to be relatable. All this very well may be more calculating than it appears, but the appealing thing about Carnival Ride is that it plays so smoothly and assuredly that you just go along for the ride, especially because Carrie sells these songs completely, making the clichés and cornball phrases believable. It's a gift that Shania had, but she always seemed larger than life. In contrast, Carrie Underwood only sounds larger than life, and she still comes across like the girl next door despite her massive success, and this lingering sense of innocence — however constructed for stage it may be — gives an album as big and shiny as Carnival Ride the appearance of a genuine heart, something that no other big country-pop album has had since the glory days of Come on Over.

  4. #2584
    Rock Stars! bbnbama's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    In my own little world where all things are Idol......

    Re: Carrie Underwood

    Posting some Carnival Ride promo pictures razor found of the beautiful Carrie....

    Reality is the beginning...not the end....Wallace Stevens

  5. #2585
    Scrappy Spartan Broadway's Avatar
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    Apr 2004

    Re: Carrie Underwood

    Couple of articles out there for you.

    The Tennessean

    Sunday, 10/21/07

    Fame complicates the dating game for Underwood


    When it comes to dating, Carrie Underwood has learned that there's no keeping secrets from the press.

    The press has most recently been speculating about her relationship with Gossip Girl star Chace Crawford, 22. Earlier this year, the 24-year-old singer was linked with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.

    "There are definite ways around it, but eventually you are going to get busted if you are dating someone," she says of the press coverage. "It's just weird when it's not a date and people immediately assume it is."

    Carrie says she and Tony were never a couple. "Right now, the place we are at, he is my best friend. He'll call me after games…. Either I'm flying high with him or making him feel better.

    "It took a little while to get to this point. It seemed like maybe for a bit we were headed there. We never got there."

    Carrie says dating post-American Idol is awkward and strange. Now she can't always be sure that a man likes her for who she is as a person.

    "I like hanging out with people that I know through someone. Then at least that person at some point will allude to their character, 'Oh my gosh, he's such a great guy,' or, 'She's fun to hang out with.' Meeting people in general, I like to have a reference to go off of."

    You can read more of my interview with Carrie in the Life section

    ****************************** *
    and The Tennessean Article#2

    Sunday, 10/21/07

    Carrie Underwood takes a 'Carnival Ride'
    Country singer pushes past new-kid status with sophomore album

    Staf Writer

    Carrie Underwood found the name of her second album, Carnival Ride, within a line in "Wheel of the World," the last song on the album: "God put us here on this carnival ride/We close our eyes never knowing/Where it'll take us next."

    It's no surprise that those words spoke to her. Underwood, 24, was catapulted from the safe life of a shy Oklahoma college student into the unknown world of an award-winning country superstar in less than two years.

    Six months after winning American Idol in May 2005, she released her debut album, Some Hearts. It sold 6 million copies, making it the best-selling female country album of the past three years. All five singles hit No. 1, including "Jesus, Take the Wheel," "Before He Cheats" and "Wasted." The reigning Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music female vocalist has won two Grammys and several other industry awards. On Tuesday, she releases Carnival Ride, for which she co-wrote four songs, and she's up for three awards at the Nov. 7 CMA awards show.

    "It was a great fluke to me," she says of her debut's success. "We got really lucky and a lot of people did their jobs really well and worked really hard. I don't think I can still process it, quite. I think I'll process it when other stuff doesn't do as well," she says with a laugh, "and then it will hit me, 'Wow, that was really cool.' "

    Singer keeps her cool

    After changing from a short black dress and heels into a sweatshirt and leggings, Underwood sits on a black sofa in a Grand Ole Opry House dressing room and nibbles on a granola bar. As her mother, sister and grandfather watched, Underwood sang four songs on the Tuesday-night show, including "How Great Thou Art." The song's notes were so high that it was painful to sing, so she found herself unexpectedly moved to tears by the audience's overwhelming response.

    This was a rare moment when her emotions got the best of her. Like her father, Underwood remains on even keel, staying steady whether she's receiving news that excites or disappoints. For instance, when she was text-messaged by her manager that she received two American Music Awards nominations, her only response was, "Cool. Who else is nominated?"

    "I am not great with emotion sometimes," she says. "That might perturb people occasionally or they might get the wrong idea because I don't act as excited as I should. I'm a thinker. Even when I get good news, I'm like, 'All right, what does this mean?'

    "I just don't wear them on the outside. I'm excited on the inside. Every once in awhile my emotion escapes me, and when it does, it's weird to me."

    Her quick rise hasn't been easy

    Despite her unchanging demeanor and impressive stats, it hasn't all been one steady ride to the top.

    Thrust into the unfamiliar country music industry, where she's faced resentment and jealousy, she was often terrified as she tackled high-profile endeavors such as singing at the 2005 Country Music Association awards show in front of some who doubted her place on that stage.

    "There were no thoughts running through my head; my heart was pounding. I had two minutes to convince everybody sitting in those seats that I am supposed to be here, so there was a lot of pressure."

    Says her label chief, Sony BMG Nashville chairman Joe Galante, "She stepped up to the plate, knocked it out of the park and made us all proud."

    She hit the road to open for Kenny Chesney and Brad Paisley and headlined her own shows. "It's great being onstage, but I think a few people would forget occasionally that I had one album out and that I am just now being not new at this — now. I am just now becoming not the new kid on the block anymore."

    When she was able to escape from the pressures and return home to Checotah, Okla., she discovered that her old life had changed, as well. Most of her family and friends treated her differently, and suddenly speculation about her love life — much of it wrong — surfaced in tabloids.

    "It was just really weird . . . 'Wow, I don't think I can be friends with this person anymore because they go and tell everything I say to them,' or they post private pictures of us hanging out on the Internet — not anything bad, but to get attention," she says. "They talk about me like they know me really well. I realized it when I started having to cut people out of my life."

    Paisley says Underwood has handled fame better than anyone else he's seen who has ascended so fast. "She seems to have weathered the storm and slipped comfortably from relatively unknown to superstar. This is someone who has her head on straight, a healthy outlook on music and life, and everything going for her — the sky's the limit."

    Some resent her success

    But not everyone has been as happy with Underwood's success. Soon after her album's release, rumors began circulating on Music Row that a standoffish Underwood had refused to speak to others backstage at industry events.

    "If anybody came up and talked to me — and I'm not even saying a lot of people did — I was as nice as I knew how to be. You know, I was in a different world; I didn't know what I was doing there.

    "I'm better at it now, but I was the new kid and nobody knew anything about me, so I would say everybody was kind of being standoffish towards me.

    "I've been in dressing rooms where I've known people were sitting 8 feet from me, talking about me when I was sitting right there," she says, adding that others such as Vince Gill, Reba McEntire, Wynonna Judd and Keith Anderson have been extremely supportive.

    That resentment became apparent to Underwood after the 2006 CMA awards, where Faith Hill joked on-camera after Underwood's female vocalist win by saying, "What?" and raising her hands.

    Hill's gesture made people take sides, Underwood says. "It was a stupid fluke; she let her guard down for five seconds. There were no sides, but then you realized people were saying she had the right to be angry."

    LeAnn Rimes wrote on her Web site that Underwood hadn't paid her dues long enough to fully deserve that award.

    "She had megasuccess early on, and you know she wasn't a 12-year-old playing in bars," Underwood says. "I didn't really think that much of it coming from her. If it had been somebody who had spent 20 years working to get this and then they got it, that would be a little different.

    "I mean no disrespect to anybody in the industry, but everybody in the music industry knows that if they had the chances that I had that they would take them in a heartbeat. If anybody acts like they wouldn't, they are lying," she says with a laugh.

    "And nobody knows what I went through in Idol, nobody. There were 10 of us on the show that understand what we went through. It was the hardest thing, the most nerve-wracking, scariest thing that I've ever gone through in my entire life. I don't know anything that will ever be more monumental than that."

    She's found her place

    Wynonna Judd says Underwood is the future of country music.

    "What I admire about Carrie is that she has held her head up through the storm and through all the opinions and judgments based on whether she belongs in Nashville or not because of her American Idol upbringing," Judd says. "The fact is, she has a place here. She is part of our community and she has a right to be here and she has earned her spot.

    "She's come from a very fast-paced presentation, American Idol, and people feel she's won the lottery and hasn't earned it. That disappoints and burdens me, because how dare we judge and question God's timing? It's arrogant and it's just because we're entitled."

    Galante, who predicts Underwood's new album will go multiplatinum in a market declining 30 percent in sales, says he shudders to think about country's market share without Underwood's 6 million in sales.

    "The breakthrough moment for all of the people doubting her was when she got up at the Grammys and said, 'I'm a country artist and I love country music,' " Galante says. "It took everybody that long, which was a full year later, for people to go, 'Oh, she is one of us.' "

    Does she feel fully accepted now?

    "I am accepted as I need to be," she says. "I feel good. Country radio has been good to me and a lot of people have been great to me. It's like any other job or thing you do; there are going to be people at the office who are great to you and there are going to be people who aren't so great to you and cause drama."

    Now secure with her place in the industry, she has no interest in convincing anyone that she belongs.

    "If somebody likes me or likes the way I sing or the way I am onstage, awesome," she says. "I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. I've realized that people who don't like you for any reason are never going to like you, most likely. You can't win most people over.

    "I remember being in high school and someone saying, 'My favorite singer is blah blah.' I would be like, 'Ugh, you like that person? I hate them.' Somebody is saying that about me. That's just the way it is."

  6. #2586
    Who Dat lildago's Avatar
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    Feb 2004

    Re: Carrie Underwood

    I heard mention of that first article on the radio and must admit I was slightly disappointed. Chace is a cutie but I'm just a little partial to Tony Romo.
    Getting lost will help you find yourself.

  7. #2587
    FORT Fogey razorbacker's Avatar
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    Apr 2004

    Re: Carrie Underwood

    I don't know if you have had a chance to see the Target ad for Carnival Ride. Check it out, it's pretty cool & red is definitely her color.

    Online Video: Carrie Underwood - Carninal Ride Target Ad | Veoh Video Network

  8. #2588
    Techsan by the grace of G texasgirl73's Avatar
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    Jul 2004

    Re: Carrie Underwood

    Quote Originally Posted by lildago;2622824;
    I heard mention of that first article on the radio and must admit I was slightly disappointed. Chace is a cutie but I'm just a little partial to Tony Romo.
    Me too...definitely a downgrade from Romo to Chace. JMO
    *Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes*

  9. #2589
    FORT Fogey razorbacker's Avatar
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    Apr 2004

    Re: Carrie Underwood

    I know it's a bit of a late reminder, but for those of you staying home today Carrie will be performing live in Times Square for Good Morning America.

    And don't forget to pick up your copy of Carnival Ride. Today is the day.

  10. #2590
    FORT Regular
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Re: Carrie Underwood


    If I want to help Carrie w/sales numbers, do I buy the album today or anytime this week? Do they track debut day or debut week sales, or both?

    Did you mention that Target has a DVD w/the CD? Is this a good deal?

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