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Connecting with Martina

One of country music’s most beloved stars Martina McBride is bringing her soulful lyrics and big voice to Stockton for an intimate performance with her fans in the valley.

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Posted: Friday, July 27, 2012 8:03 am

Country music star Martina McBride is bringing her signature soprano range and crooning ballads to the Central Valley for an intimate concert she says is a treat for her die-hard fans.

“We’re out on the west coast and looking at smaller venues because this tour is about connecting with the audience,” she said. “We want to make it more of a musical experience rather than just an arena show.”

McBride will play at the Bob Hope Theatre in Stockton on Aug. 8. While on the west coast, she’s also working on a new project.

“Opening Act,” a reality show on E!, gives amateur singers a shot at the big time by opening concerts for famous performers. McBride and other music moguls selected singers and musicians from their YouTube videos. Several major music acts, like Nicky Minaj, Jason Aldean, and LMFAO, were game to bring the rookies  out to open a show.

The key was in picking out a singer who would be a good match for each performer, said McBride. There’s no competition. Instead, singers are surprised with the news and have just a week to prepare for the biggest challenge of their burgeoning careers.

“It’s about giving someone an opportunity,” said McBride.  “There are so many videos on the Internet and people really hope to get discovered that way. So we are discovering them. Some really great stories come out of this. It’s a neat concept for a show.”

She isn’t always running around Los Angeles, however. McBride’s home base is in Nashville, Tenn.

Her typical day is a balance between being a mom of three girls, a wife to sound engineer John McBride since 1988 and a recording artist.

During the school year, McBride gets her two younger children off to school in Nashville, then heads to the studio around 10 a.m. She spends the day making music. At 3:30 p.m., her kids are out of school and McBride’s work comes to a halt.

“It’s about trying to create space to focus and be creative, and to be at home,” she said.

She carved out a few minutes for an interview with the News-Sentinel. Below is a lightly edited transcript of her responses.

Q: What’s the quirkiest thing about your hometown Sharon, Kansas, and how has it shaped you?

A: There are only about 180 people. It is a place with a strong sense of community, and accountability, which has definitely shaped my values.

Q: What do you do before each show to make sure your performance is in top shape?

A: I warm up, I spend time alone just singing, and I do my own hair and makeup, which is relaxing. There’s no huge ritual. I just spend some time in the mindset of doing the show.

Q: Who would you like to see in concert?

A: Keith Urban, Aretha Franklin, Train.

Q: Some of the songs on your newer albums you wrote yourself. How do you connect with and find inspiration in songs someone else wrote?

A: Part of what I do is interpreting. It’s about telling a story, and finding something that relates to my life.

“Blessed” and “In My Daughter’s Eyes” both feel like they were written for me about my life. Or it’s about telling a story a knowing other people will relate it to their life.

Q: Is there a particular song of yours you relate to best?

A: There are a few, but for different reasons. “Teenage Daughters” is specifically about being a mother to teenage daughters. It’s about the journey to being whatever they need, how the relationship changes. Right now I have a 17 year old and a 14 year old, so I really relate to that.

Q: A few of your songs are about supporting women through any stage of life — teenage years, cancer diagnoses and, of course, “This One’s For the Girls.” Why is that message important to you?

A: As a woman, that’s what I’m drawn to. It seems like a subject that’s important to me. I don’t really know, it’s kinda hard to sing about trucks and fishing.

Q: Does that tie into your work in preventing domestic violence as a spokesperson for three organizations against domestic violence?

A: What spurred that for me was my song “Independence Day,” which is about domestic violence. It made me aware of the issue in a way I wasn’t before. It made me want to do something to make a different for women and children. I have a passion to help wherever I can.

Q: What’s the last song that got stuck in your head?

A: “Meet my mom.” It’s on the new Train record. It’s a great song but when I’m humming it right when I wake up it’s like, really?

Q: What do you do when you feel like giving up?

A: That’s a hard one. We all get overwhelmed at times. I try to take one thing at a time. I’m pretty good at multi-tasking, but I’m also good at knowing when to back off.

I’m one of those people that take a bit of time to process a problem. I try not to make decisions based on being rushed. When all else fails, I go for a good hot bubble bath, and glass of wine.

Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at

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