Five years after she rocketed to musical superstardom on "American Idol," Carrie Underwood continues to keep her eyes and mind open for memorable opportunities, from soaring high above the crowds in the back of a suspended pickup during her concerts to making her acting debut playing a hot girl for the ages on the hit sitcom "How I Met Your Mother."
"If I hear about something and if I think it sounds like fun and it sounds interesting, then I'm up for it," Underwood said in a recent phone interview from Los Angeles, where she was in rehearsals for one of those new experiences: playing a sold-out show at the famed Hollywood Bowl.
"If you think too much about like what other people think or 'Will this help me gain or lose fans? What's gonna happen?' I think you can kind of drive yourself crazy doing that. So, I just do things that I can be proud of, and if people like it, that's awesome. And if not, maybe next time," she said.
The Checotah native will return to her home state Wednesday, when she will bring her wildly successful "Play On" tour to the Ford Center. The tour, which is supporting her 2009 platinum-selling album of the same name, will feature the country music star belting her many hits, zipping through numerous wardrobe changes and riding high above the stage in the back of a flying pickup.
"There's just a lot going on. I mean, definitely not too much to be able to take it all in, 'cause we didn't want to dazzle everyone to the point of them not paying attention to the music. I feel like we put together a really complete show. It's like a roller coaster, it kind of has quieter moments and it kind of has big, elaborate tricks up our sleeves. It's just a lot of fun," said Underwood, who played Tulsa's BOK Center last week.
Along with rollicking hits such as "Cowboy Casanova" and "Undo It," the concert will feature "Mama's Song," one of the most personal songs of her still-young career. In "Mama's Song," cowritten with Nashville, Tenn., songsmith Luke Laird, Marti Frederiksen and former "Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi, Underwood croons from the perspective of a bride addressing her mother on her wedding day. The singer wed professional hockey player Mike Fisher on July 10 in a grand ceremony at Georgia's Ritz-Carlton Reynolds Plantation resort.
"As far as like writing about my life, I figure that one's definitely the most (personal). People could probably watch that video and listen to the song and, like, get a glimpse of how I'm feeling right now," Underwood said.
The newlywed got to revisit her marriage memories a month later while filming the wedding-themed "Mama's Song" video, which features her mother, Carole, and new husband.
"Mom's up for anything. She just likes being around us and hanging out and having fun with us. And then Mike, I mean, my whole take on that one was I was like, 'Either you do it, or I'm going to have to hire an actor to come play my husband, which is gonna be weird.' So, he was for it," she said with a laugh.
"It was definitely still an emotional time for my mom 'cause she was kind of just reliving it. I am the baby. I know I'm 27 years old, but to my parents, I'll be forever 6. I think that she was definitely reliving some of the emotional things that were going on with her on the actual wedding day.
The Grammy winner has been acting in more than just music videos this year, appearing on "How I Met Your Mother" and portraying a youth counselor in the upcoming film "Soul Surfer," based on the story of teen surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm in a shark attack.
"The movie was great. That whole experience was great. It was a lot of fun. I had no idea what I was doing but everybody on set was so great working with me," she said.
"As far as future things, I don't know. I mean, I really try not to have too many goals. I've said this before, but things just have a way of coming up. I'm all about doing what I love, and if something else gets thrown in the mix, then I definitely have an open mind towards it.
"I guess I want to do things to have fun and that I can look back on my life and be proud of and my kids can look back and see what I've done and maybe think their mom's kind of cool."
Carrie Underwood with Billy Currington and Sons of Sylvia
Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley will co-host and perform on the 44th annual CMA Awards, which will air live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., from 7 to 10 p.m. Nov. 10 on ABC.
Underwood will compete for female vocalist of the year and album of the year for "Play On" during the Country Music Association's annual awards show.
For more information on the CMA Awards, follow BAM's Blog at blog.newsok.