Carrie Underwood Finds Purpose on New Album ‘Cry Pretty’
Carrie Underwood exudes several qualities on her new album, Cry Pretty: vulnerability, honesty, empathy, intrigue and confidence, inviting people into her heart in ways she hasn't before. But at the core of the album is purpose.
After a year of trials and tribulations that pushed her out of her comfort zone, Underwood found purpose in those moments and turned them into art. The result is 13 revealing tracks, nine of which she co-wrote, on an album that begins to capture who she is.
She explains the creative process this time was different. Typically setting aside dedicated time for writing, Underwood instead was living life in between writing sessions, life that is reflected in her new compilation of songs.
"It was a year full of ups and downs for a lot of reasons, and a lot of reasons I'm not quite ready to talk about," Underwood shares with Taste of Country and other media at a roudtable in Nashville. "Life makes its way into what you're doing, and I feel like this was the most that I could really inject myself into what I was writing." (Underwood would subsequently reveal that she had suffered three miscarriages in two years before announcing she was expecting her second child in August).
Underwood exhibits all different sides throughout the project. You feel her vulnerability on the defining "Cry Pretty," sense the blend of sexiness with longing on "Backsliding," connect with the empathy she inspires on "Love Wins" and believe her passion for the ones she loves on "Kingdom."
Get the Details of Carrie Underwood's Cry Pretty
Though one of music's most popular artists, the superstar isn't immune to insecurity. She reveals that the challenges she faced forced her to confront emotions she often avoids, that naturally found their way into the music.
"I've always been good at writing stories about other people and not so great writing about myself. I felt like through all the ups and downs of last year and the beginning of this year, I had to. That's what was on my mind and on my heart," she confesses. "I felt like this past little while has been really good at making me deal with my own emotions. It's been good for me, but it's also been scary because if you inject yourself into your art and then you put your art out into the world and people don't like it or judge it, it's like they're judging you or they don't like you," she continues. "So I really hope, for better or for worse, people just get it."
One song in particular that she hopes fans understand the message of is "The Bullet." Underwood had the song on hold before many of the tragic mass shootings that plagued the nation over the past year, including the horrific mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. Even in the aftermath, Underwood felt compelled to carry the song's message of honoring the loved ones of the victims of gun violence. The singer is not making any political statement with the song, but rather honoring the stories of those affected by such tragedies.
"'Do we still do this, am I the one to do this?'" Underwood explains her mindset toward recording the song in the wake of the Vegas tragedy. "I know it is a hot button issue, but that doesn't change what's going on and the people that are affected by it. I feel like we as a society, we're so conditioned to seeing bad things on the news every night that we really don't stop to think about all the other people involved. That's what the song is about."
Though Underwood admits she doesn't buy into the notion that everything happens for a reason, she does believe in the power of turning a negative situation into a positive solution. As tough as it may be to navigate the low points in our lives, the humble singer is open-hearted knowing that the hardships are necessary to appreciate life's joyful moments.
"I think you're allowed to be upset about things, but then there comes a time when you have to say, "What am I going to do about it?'" she reflects.
In Underwood's case, after the nasty fall she suffered outside of her home in late 2017, life forced her to slow down, focus on family and channel energy into what she truly wanted out of the following year and new project. The result is a piece of work that powerfully bares her soul, making for some of her best music yet.
"I feel like it's more authentically me than anything I've ever done. You can turn some bad stuff into some good music," she says with a smile.
Underwood released Cry Pretty on Friday (Sept. 14).
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