The multi-talented, award-winning Carrie Underwood was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Raised on a farm with an adoring family, she enjoyed an idyllic childhood. Underwood attended Northeastern State University where she majored in journalism. While in college she paused her studies to audition for American Idol. She won the coveted show’s fourth season and was awarded a recording contract; Underwood was on her way to stardom. The consummate performer returned to college the same year and graduated Magna Cum Laude.
Carrie Underwood has won more than 100 awards including eight Grammys, 16 ACM Awards and was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry when she was a mere 26 years old. She is the most awarded female country artist for singles in RIAA (the Recording Industry Association of America®) history. She has recorded 28 number one singles, sold more than 85 million records and has the honor of being the most awarded female country singer.
In 2013 Underwood performed Sunday Night Football’s theme song, “Waiting All Day for Sunday Night,” which became a huge fan favorite. She’s starred in the NBC televised production of The Sound of Music playing the lead role of Maria.
This legendary luminary is also an entrepreneur and author. In 2014 Underwood launched CALIA, a line of fitness apparel, and in 2020 she penned released the self-help fitness and lifestyle book Find Your Path: Honor Your Body, Fuel Your Soul, and Get Strong with the Fit52 Life, a New York Times best seller.
Travelgirl: We are honored to have you aboard Travelgirl Magazine. You were born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, raised on a farm and loved growing up there. Oklahoma’s so proud of their hometown girl! I was at the Oklahoma Centennial when you brought down the house!!! In 2017, you were inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. Would you please talk about growing up in Oklahoma?
Carrie Underwood: Being raised in Checotah and in Oklahoma definitely shaped the person I am today. My parents taught me the importance of working hard and to always be grateful for what you have. I loved growing up on a farm as it taught me to appreciate the land, which probably helped plant the seeds for my love of land and gardening. Even now, when I visit my family in Oklahoma, I feel such a sense of peace. I can really just relax there.
TG: 2004 was a banner year for you. You were majoring in journalism and decided to try out for American Idol, which you won. You were on your way to stardom and you managed to return to school at Northeastern State University where you graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in mass communications. How did you manage stardom so early and what prompted you to go back and finish college? Would you please share a few memories from that time in your life?
CU: The decision to audition for American Idol changed the entire trajectory of my life. I loved music and performing, but at that point I was planning to pursue a career in broadcast journalism. The idea that everything that came after that was more than I could have even dreamed for, let alone think it could actually happen. It was all such a whirlwind, in the best possible way.
TG: You’ve sold over 85 million records worldwide. You’ve won a wealth of awards including eight GRAMMY Awards, 16 ACM Awards including winning Entertainer of the Year three times. You ended 2022 as Billboard’s top Country female. You are a New York Times bestselling author and successful entrepreneur. Seven of your albums are certified multi-platinum or platinum by the RIAA. You were inducted as a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2008 and were honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2018. How have you kept so grounded all these years? You are humble, gracious and give lots of time to worthwhile causes.
CU: Again, I credit my family with always teaching me to be grateful for the gifts God gives us and the blessings we enjoy every day. I’m very proud of what I’ve been able to achieve in my career but, more importantly, always remember the things that matter the most — faith, family, and gratitude.
TG: Please talk about your fitness app fit52, which you launched in 2020. Every Travelgirl will want to participate and get fit.
CU: fit52 is my app where I can share all the things I’ve learned about fitness and nutrition. My trainer, Eve Overland, and I have such a great time creating new content for the app and I love that we have created a community of people who want to share their journeys, whether they are just starting out on that path or are looking for new and different ways to approach working in working out into their lives.
TG: In December, 2021, you became the first artist to perform at the new Resorts World Theatre in Las Vegas; you actually opened this marvelous venue. Your show, REFLECTION: The Las Vegas Residency, garners rave reviews and you constantly perform to sold-out crowds. You will be on stage at Resorts World in September, November 30 and December. Please talk about your sensational show and performing in this marvelous arena. You dazzle the audience each evening.
CU: I love having our ongoing residency, REFLECTION. As much fun as it is to be on the road, which we were earlier this year with The Denim & Rhinestones Tour, it’s great to be able to be in one place and to put on a show that we could never move from city to city on a concert tour. We have some incredible set pieces and effects. When we were creating REFLECTION, we knew we really needed to put on a show worthy of the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas and the fun and energy of Nashville, and we’ve really accomplished that. I will always love being on the road and coming to the fans where they are, but it’s also really cool that we can be in Las Vegas for periods of time and perform a show we love for audiences who come from all over the world to see us.
TG: Do you have a favorite song and if so, what does it mean to you?
CU: Well, it’s not fair to choose one favorite… but of course Jesus, Take the Wheel will always have a special place in my heart. Not only was it the first single from my first album and the first hit, it just meant the world to be able to wear my faith on my sleeve and lay the groundwork for a career that melds who I am as a person and as an artist.
TG: Will you please talk about the C.A.T.S. Foundation and let our Travelgirl readers know how they can help.
CU: I wanted to create an organization that gave back to where I’m from, and helping to improve my hometown of Checotah, Oklahoma is extremely important to me. The C.A.T.S. Foundation (Checotah Animal, Town, and School Foundation) is all about giving back to the community I grew up in. We’ve helped out in all kinds of ways, from supporting the animal shelter, to the police and fire departments, to the schools (donating musical instruments and computer labs), and have been blessed enough to meet the needs of many different parts of the town. You can learn more about The C.A.T.S. Foundation on our website.
TG: Travelgirl readers will want to know if you have a favorite destination and what travel destinations are on Carrie Underwood’s bucket list.
CU: I’ve been so lucky to visit so many places here in the U.S. and around the world, I’m not sure I could pick just one. Anytime I’m able to squeeze in a little time for myself, I do love being near the water, whether it’s a pool, lake or the ocean. And visiting any vineyard anywhere always makes me a very happy girl.
TG: Do you have any sage advice for those young hopefuls out there who hope to one day walk in Carrie Underwood’s famous footsteps?
CU: Work hard and treat people the way you want to be treated. Always show up prepared and ready to do your job and never take a good opportunity for granted. Remember to have gratitude and humility.
TG: This month you are releasing Denim & Rhinestones (Deluxe Edition). What can we expect from that?
CU: I loved recording Denim & Rhinestones, which we released last year and we just couldn’t include everything we wanted to on the album. I knew I just had to extend the Denim & Rhinestones era so we are releasing the Deluxe Edition with six new tracks, on September 22.
TG: Tell us about your year-round channel, CARRIE’S COUNTRY, on SiriusXM.
CU: We launched CARRIE’S COUNTRY in June and it’s been so much fun getting to welcome listeners into my personal musical universe. I get to share my favorite music across all of the genres I love, from classic rock to the latest in country and a lot of special features highlighting everything from fitness to gardening, behind the scenes and more. fit52.com; thecatsfoundation.com
TG: Thank you for brightening all our lives.