“The Oklahoma farm girl who became America's most successful ‘Idol.'”
That's how the familiar voice of narrator Jim Forbes introduced Carrie Underwood when the country music superstar was featured earlier this fall on VH1's long-running documentary series “Behind the Music.”
More than seven platinum-selling, chart-topping, award-winning years since she won “American Idol,” the Checotah native says she still feels like that small-town Oklahoma girl.
“It's so funny, 'cause I still feel like — I don't know — I just have a weird job. I'm the same person,” Underwood said with a laugh during a phone interview earlier this month. “I mean, it's definitely a fun job. ... I get to travel and go all over the place. And I definitely know how blessed and how lucky I am. So, I feel like I'm not all like Hollywood or entitled or anything.”
She may live in Tennessee now, but there's still no place like home. Underwood, 29, is bringing her third headlining tour to Oklahoma for two autumn shows. “The Blown Away Tour,” which is supporting her new album of the same name, will stop Thursday at Oklahoma City's Chesapeake Energy Arena and Nov. 21 at Tulsa's BOK Center.
“My parents still live in the house I grew up in, which I'm so thankful for, because there's my home in Nashville. But if I say I'm going home, it means I'm going to Oklahoma,” Underwood said in a clear Sooner State drawl. “I feel like the crowd is always just so much more energetic. The closer we get to home, I feel like the more fun I really, really get to have onstage.”
Blowing away fans
The five-time Grammy winner said fun was a priority when she and her team devised the production and set for “The Blown Away Tour,” although her fourth album took a thematically darker and more dramatic turn than her previous records. “Blown Away” was released in May, more than 30 months after Underwood's third album, 2009's platinum-selling “Play On,” stretching her previous every-two-years release schedule by six months.
“It's so easy to get caught up in a routine when you do this. You know, you make your album, you write and you figure out what you're gonna sing, you go sing it, you go out on the road and you start all over again. So I think it's really easy for a lot of artists to just settle into their one particular sound, and I don't want to be like that. I feel like I want to kind of reinvent myself with every album and have every album definitely still sound like me but kind of a slightly different version,” she said.
“I really try not to put too many stipulations on what I want the album to be. ... I love just kind of going with the flow and the vibe and seeing what's gonna happen. But it did, a lot of it did end up being dramatic. And I love that because I love being able to sing the songs and see the characters in my head as I'm singing to the audience.”