One of country music’s strongest female vocalists Martina McBride will return this spring with all new music, in her first project for Nash Icon Records. It’s her 13th album overall and a follow-up to 2014’s R&B covers collection Everlasting (Kobalt Label Services).
On Friday (Feb. 26), McBride will give fans a first listen to the new music with the debut single “Reckless.” An accompanying video is slated for release in the next few weeks.
McBride stopped by MusicRow today (Feb. 24) to offer an early listen to the upbeat, uplifting tune “Reckless,” which McBride called a song about gratitude for people who stand by those they love. She also discussed her plans for the upcoming project.
Musical “Comfort Food”
“My main mindset was to find great songs,” McBride says of selecting songs for the upcoming album. “I know that sounds cliché, but really… I always go into a record not having any hard and fast rules. I knew I wanted it to sound kind of rootsy and organic, though the first single is kind of not that. I tried, all through the record, to keep it a certain sound. And then I found ‘Reckless’ and it didn’t sound like anything else on the record.
John [McBride] reminded me that [McBride’s 1997 album] Evolution had tons of sounds on it. It wasn’t just one thing. So it reminds me of that record in a way, just in that there are some things that are more country-leaning than I’ve done in the past, or more like ‘Blessed,’ with a pop-country sound. Doing this record, it feels like something that is familiar, that my fans will listen to and go, ‘Oh, that sounds like her.’ This isn’t veering off from that at all. It’s going to be like comfort food.”
A Songwriter’s Champion
Nashville singer-songwriter Sarah Buxton is a co-writer on “Reckless” (along with Heather Morgan and Zach Crowell) and also sang the demo. “It’s good to see who’s really coming into their own, like Sarah Buxton right now is writing her ass off,” says McBride. “We’ve got three cuts [of Buxton’s] on the record, and the first single [“Reckless”]. It’s fun to see her blossoming. When you see people work really hard, it’s fun to see it come together.”
On Artistry and Song Choices
“What I think are the best song choices might not be the best song choices to somebody else,” says McBride. “I think that’s what makes an artist, because you are drawn to certain things. When I hear a song as an artist, it’s nothing but instinct. I hear a song and I really love what it says, I think it’s written really smart, and it has a good melody. When you listen to as many songs as we do for a record, the ones that are really great stand out. One will come along that stands above the rest.”
For McBride, “Reckless” was one of those songs that stood out. In fact, McBride was so passionate about the song that she was determined to record it, even when Lady Antebellum had already put “Reckless” on hold. McBride reached out to Lady A’s Charles Kelley, who told her if she was so passionate about the song, that she should be the one to record it.
(Fun Fact: Lady A had a similar moment with their hit song “Downtown,” which was originally on hold for Miranda Lambert. Kelley reached out to Lambert, who graciously allowed them to record the song.)
On Nashville’s Songwriting Community:
“I think our songwriting community is going through a transition. I feel that, anyway when I’m out looking for songs. They are straddling that line between writing for radio and [thinking] maybe there is another way. That maybe there is something coming around the corner that is different. That’s interesting too, because I feel that. It’s exciting as an artist to feel the writing community kind of transitioning, and having the faith and heart to say, ‘I’m writing because this is what I have to write, not because this might be a hit on radio.’ It’s exciting like it used to be. I’ve been here a long time so I’ve got relationships with publishers and songwriters, and I encouraged them to send me stuff.”
No “Issue Songs”
“Someone asked me during an interview, ‘Are there any issue songs on this record?’ and I was like, ‘No,’ because I never go out looking for those kinds of songs. They just come to me. With this album, it’s more like every song has a universal appeal. It’s about life—love stories, redemption, and encouragement. I always have that thread of hope through everything I do. I feel like it’s one of those records where people are going to be able to relate their own story to every single song.”
McBride’s “Dream Team”
Mega producers Nathan Chapman and Dann Huff signed on to produce McBride’s upcoming project together. “It’s like a dream team,” says McBride. “It’s interesting how it came about. I didn’t expect it. I went to each of them separately to do four or five cuts on the record, but let them know I was also talking to Dann or I was talking to Nathan. They both said at separate times, ‘I wish we could just do it together,’ and I was like, ‘Far be it from me to stand in your way. Your wish is coming true.’ They complement each other and are both super gifted musicians and producers. I feel like I’m in really good hands with the music.”
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