Carrie Underwood’s fourth album, “Blown Away,” hit stores on Tuesday, and has the 29-year-old singer reflecting on how her imperfect moments on “American Idol” seven years ago shaped her public image today.
Underwood told The Associated Press, “I’m glad I can present a polished version of myself when it counts. When I was on ‘Idol,’ I said some dumb stuff, and learned what that could do, and that stuff lives on…. It seemed like every single solitary stupid thing I said was aired and featured and replayed over and over and over again.”
Infamous Idol judge, Simon Cowell, tapped Underwood early on in the competition as a winner, but peppered his praise with criticism of her “somewhat old-fashioned” and “boring” personal style.
After her experience on Idol, the college-educated songstress made a deliberate effort to watch what she said and did in the public eye, resulting in a somewhat constrained and cold public personal.
While writing and recording her latest album, however, Underwood found she was finally able to let down her guard. She confessed, “When you go in to write, you have to be willing to sound stupid…. Before you have a chance to think about something, you blurt it out and it doesn’t make any sense, and everybody gets a good laugh out of it. You can’t be afraid to sound completely dumb when you go to write.”
Underwood co-wrote eight out of 14 tracks on “Blown Away,” which features an eclectic mix of dance beats and country twang. The album’s title track tells the tale of a girl who seeks refuge in a storm shelter while hoping a tornado takes away her home along with her abusive, alcoholic father. Other tracks include the reggae-infused “One Way Ticket,” breakup ballad, “Wine After Whiskey,” and “Cupid’s Got A Shotgun,” featuring fellow country crooner, Brad Paisley, on guitar.
Grammy-winning songwriter Josh Kear was delighted to see Underwood’s silly side while they were co-writing “Cupid’s Got A Shotgun.” Kear said, “It was kind of goofy, and a lot of people don’t get to see that loose, goofy side of her, and I think that is one of the reasons she was excited to get those songs is she gets to bring a side of herself that hasn’t really always been out there…. Hopefully now people will imagine that as part of who she is.”
Underwood also honed her humorous side as co-host of the Country Music Association Awards for the last four years alongside Brad Paisley. The award show’s executive producer, Robert Deaton, says he chose Underwood for her undercover sense of humor. “The more you know her, the more you like her,” Dalton said. “That outgoing personality, just funny, timing is perfect, witty. She’s also incredibly intelligent and smart as well. Her participation is so deep on many levels. On one hand, she can do comedy. On the other hand, she can also bring class and beauty to the broadcast…. Then she can go out and do an unbelievable performance, so it’s multi-layered of what she brings to the table.”
As a multiplatinum Grammy-winning artist, Underwood co-wrote a total of six of her own number one country singles, but not necessarily based on her own experiences. She’s said, “I honestly in a lot of ways don’t want to sing about my real life, because that’s private…. I’m pretty private about my personal life and my husband and our life together, and I think it’s so wonderful I can separate the two. I get to be an actress. I get to play a character. I get to have fun and tell stories.”
What is your favorite Carrie Underwood song?