Since 1992, singer Martina McBride has gone from opening concerts for Garth Brooks to becoming a multi-million-selling Country star. The four-time Country Music Association's Female Vocalist of the Year has just released a new album. VOA's Mary Morningstar has this report.

"How I Feel" is one of three songs Martina McBride co-wrote for her new album, Waking Up Laughing. Martina decided to write for the first time in her career because she was having problems finding songs that were musically different from those she had recorded during the past 15 years. She credits her 2006 tour mates, The Warren Brothers, with showing her how "fun and satisfying" songwriting could be.

Martina also produced her new album alone for the first time in her career. Her husband, John, engineered the collection, but left all production decisions to Martina. "I might make a suggestion about something I think might work, but as an engineer, I know better than to argue with the artist and producer," he says.

Guests on Waking Up Laughing include Country singer Carolyn Dawn Johnson, bluegrass guitarist Bryan Sutton and Country star Keith Urban, who plays guitar and sings harmony on the ballad, "Trying To Find A Reason."

Martina is known for her powerful voice and singing songs with meaningful lyrics. Like her eight previous albums, Waking Up Laughing includes tracks that range from hopeful, spiritual themes to lost love, neglect and abuse. She's currently supporting the album on a 46-city U.S. summer tour, which runs through mid-August.

Martina will take a break from the outing on April 18 to appear on the American Idol television talent competition. Martina will mentor the seven final contestants and also perform her current hit "Anyway," which is her fastest-rising single ever on Billboard's Country chart. The song will be featured in the upcoming cable TV movie, Life Interrupted.