Martina McBride

On Her Career, Ties to Arizona (and Upcoming Show!), Giving Back, and Her Mom's Pot Roast

Martina McBride was just 4 or 5 years old when she began belting out songs at church and Christmas programs.

By 7, she was wowing audiences on the stage and already knew that she wanted to be a professional singer.

“I grew up singing country music,” she says. “My dad had a band as a hobby. I grew up on a farm in Kansas. He was a farmer but also a musician and had a local country band that played local dances and things like that—weddings and clubs. I started singing at about 7 years old in the band, and just always knew that that’s what I wanted to do.”

Fast-forward to today and McBride is not only a singer-songwriter and record producer, but she has been nominated for 14 GRAMMYs, sold more than 23 million albums, had five singles that reached number 1 on the country chart, and one that reached number one on the adult contemporary chart. She’s won the Country Music Association’s “Female Vocalist of the Year” award four times and the Academy of Country Music’s “Top Female Vocalist” award three times.

“Sometimes you’re lucky enough or blessed enough, to be born with an innate sense of what it is you’re supposed to do here on this Earth. That was pretty obvious to me from a young age that I was given that gift,” she says.

She would later meet her now-husband, John, in Kansas.

“He had a sound company—he’s a sound engineer—in Wichita, Kansas,” she explains.

A couple of years after meeting, the duo decided to move to Nashville to pursue her dream as a singer, with John moving his sound company, as well.

It was early 1990.

Her Career Takes Off

By 1991, McBride had a record deal with RCA Records. In 1992, she put out her first record.

“I just started doing the work—whatever it took to make it happen. I started touring, continued to make records, and little by little you get people’s attention and you have songs that matter to somebody and get noticed, and the next thing you know, it’s 30 years later and you’re excited about doing a show in Chandler, Arizona!” she says.

Her show will be at Chandler Center for the Arts on Sept. 10.

“We’re just really excited to be on the road again. We were off with 18 months with no live shows, and now we’re just getting out there and trying to reconnect with everyone and bring them a little bit of joy.”

A History With Arizona

Chandler may be a long way from Nashville or Kansas, but it’s not McBride’s first time in the state. In fact, she’s visited many times—and 30 years ago, actually filmed her very first video in the area.

“I shot my very first video in Arizona—“The Time Has Come”—about 30 years ago, and it’s always been a great place for country music fans. A lot of country music fans are there and so we always get such a great reception when we come out there,” McBride says.

She says she enjoys touring, and as for her songs, she “loves all the work I’ve done, and I feel proud of it.”

When asked about favorites, she says that “I still love singing ‘Independence Day’ and ‘A Broken Wing’ [and] I always love singing ‘This One’s for the Girls.’ It always seems like it lifts up the show and people really enjoy that one.”

Giving Back

In addition to focusing on her singing career, McBride also makes time to give back. She works with a variety of charities and has served as a spokeswoman for several of them, including the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the National Network to End Domestic Violence, and for Tulsa Domestic Violence and Intervention Services. She also works with organizations such as the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline.

She launched her own charity initiative called Team Music is Love.

“It’s a charity initiative I started quite a few years ago now,” she explains. “It started out as a fan-based volunteer organization—which it still is, in a lot of ways—and we try to see whatever the need is out there and support that. Sometimes it’s in the towns that we play. We’ve done everything from building an inner-city park, to starting a music school in Guatemala, to providing diapers and formula for a shelter in New York City, to food banks—just a lot of things that have helped people in need.

“I grew up in a small town and everyone kind of looked out for each other and it just feels like the right thing to do. I think it’s just part of giving back and making the world a better place than when you found it,” she explains of her drive to give back.

Other Ventures

As if creating music, touring, volunteering, and raising a family—she and John have three daughters—isn’t enough, she also authored Around the Table: Recipes and Inspiration for Gatherings Throughout the Year and Martina’s Kitchen Mix: My Recipe Playlist for Real Life Cookbook.

“I love to cook, and I love to share food. I think it’s similar to music in a lot of ways in that it’s about bringing people together,” she says. “And it’s creative in a different way than music.”

One of her favorite recipes she shares is her mom’s pot roast.

“It was her signature dish,” she shares. “It’s fun to be able to pass that on.”

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