It's been four years since Country star Reba McEntire recorded a studio album. During that time, the Oklahoma native performed on Broadway, and launched her own weekly television series. Reba recently returned to music with a CD that she describes as "the best collection of songs I've ever had on one album." VOA's Mary Morningstar has more on Reba McEntire and her latest album, "Room To Breathe."
I'm Gonna Take That Mountain from Reba McEntire's new album Room To Breathe could describe the multi-talented entertainer's own life. Reba recorded her first album in 1976, but admits she underestimated the challenges she would face in her career.
"When I first got started, I thought all you had to do was sing a song, get on the radio, and you got a bus and you're a star," said Reba McEntire. "That's how little I knew about the music business. Little did I know that it was going to take from 76 to 81 to even get a first Number One record. But, I had lots of people to teach me how to deal with the business, how to work hard, from my mom and daddy on up. It laid a great foundation and I think that's what you need for a career are your roots."
During the past 27 years, McEntire has sold more than 36 million albums in the U.S. In 2000, she was named the best-selling female Country artist of the 20th century. Many of today's most popular female Country singers, including Faith Hill, Martina McBride and Trisha Yearwood, name Reba as one of their biggest influences.
Another Reba fan is fellow Oklahoman Vince Gill. In 1993, he recorded The Heart Won't Lie, a Number One duet with Reba. A decade later, they collaborated again on this track, It Just Has To Be This Way.
McEntire's new album covers a wide range of musical territory. She tells us what we can expect to hear on the collection.
"We got a gospel song and some real hard-core Country, sad songs, and a little bit of jitterbug music in there," she said.
After spending a quarter-century performing and recording, Reba took a break from music to star in the Broadway revival of Annie Get Your Gun. She received rave reviews for her performance, and later gained more acting experience with several motion picture roles. In 2001, Reba landed her own network television comedy series.
"After touring for 25 years and having 27 albums under my belt, I was kinda like, 'Let's do something different for a change,'" she said.
Centered on a dysfunctional Southern family, Reba is now in its third season and is the WB Network's highest-rated show. McEntire received a Golden Globe nomination in the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical or Comedy Television Series.
Reba will kick off her first concert tour in three years on March 7th in support of Room To Breathe. The album debuted at Number 4 on Billboard's Country Albums chart. And, she continues to climb up the Country Singles list with her latest hit, Somebody.