Country-pop diva Faith Hill is back on the charts with an album that reflects her earliest musical influences. Her instinct to move beyond Nashville's hit-making formula has worked in her favor. The collection debuted at Number One on Billboard's Top 200 and Country Albums charts, and it's expected to become one of the top-selling albums of 2002.
Faith Hill returns to her gospel and rhythm and blues roots on her latest album, Cry. The collection marks her first release since 1999's Breathe, which sold eight million copies in the U.S., and brought her a new audience of pop music fans.
In her quest to create something new for Cry, Faith avoided the pressures of radio airplay, chart positions and record sales. She is aware of the risks of straying further from the Country sound that made her famous. But, she feels that artists need to be given the opportunity to grow in their careers.
During her childhood years in Mississippi, Faith performed in a choir that sang at Baptist and Pentecostal churches. She says up until now, it was difficult to find songs that allowed her to tap into her early musical influences.
Cry contains tracks written by some of Nashville's top songwriters, such as Beth Nielsen Chapman, Annie Roboff and Matraca Berg. Faith also recorded the track, If You're Gonna Fly Away, composed by pop-rock star Pink and Linda Perry, formerly of the rock band 4 Non Blondes.
After finishing the "Soul 2 Soul 2000" tour with husband Tim McGraw, Faith decided to take a break from music. She enjoyed some time away from the hectic schedules of her successful career, and, late last year, gave birth to their third daughter.
And speaking of hectic schedules, Faith is now working out details for a world tour in 2003. Just back from media appearances in Europe, Japan and Australia, she'll promote Cry in the U.S. with her own network television special. It airs on November 28.
The title track from Cry recently became the highest-debuting single of Faith's career. Her original idea was to record the song with Aerosmith's Steven Tyler. She says, "it came very, very close, but it didn't happen."