It was a purple envelope with a cassette tape that was sealed and labeled “requested materials” that landed a budding songstress from Kansas a life-changing record deal – this risk-taker is now known as country music icon, Martina McBride.
It was her angelic vocals and determination to get noticed in a male-dominated industry that captured the attention of RCA Nashville in 1991. After McBride put pen to paper to sign her music over to the powerhouse label, her career blossomed in a blink of an eye.
Before McBride became a signed musician, record-breaking artist Garth Brooks saw the fire burning inside of her and knew she was destined for greatness. At the time, the aspiring performer joined Brooks on tour to sell merchandise. However, the “Friends In Low Places” singer promised the go-getter that he would make her his opening act on tour if she could obtain a recording contract.
As mentioned, RCA took a chance on her and Brooks kept his word. While out on the road, McBride learned from the multi-platinum artist. “The way he is with his fans, it’s a familiar kind of feeling. Also, his crew and the people that work with him. I saw that firsthand having worked for him, and my husband obviously was his production manager for many years. So, really getting an inside peek behind the scenes and how things work…that was a great example for me to follow,” shared the icon during an exclusive Country Now interview.
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30 years later, McBride experienced a full-circle moment – as the Country Hall of Fame honors her legacy with the exhibit, Martina McBride: The Power of Her Voice. On opening day, she phoned Garth Brooks to be a part of her memorable milestone. “I invited him to come because he was such a big part of my career,” says McBride to Country Now reporter Tiffany Goldstein.
“I didn’t really know if he would be available to come…but he texted me right back and said, ‘I wouldn’t miss it.’ It was really special for him to take his time and come to that event because he did give me such a huge opportunity when I opened that tour. We did 77 shows together, and at the time, I don’t even think my single was out when we did our first couple of shows. So, it was really a leap of faith,” she adds.
After three decades in country music, the hall of fame showcases the ever-lasting impact that Martina had on society as an influential female artist. Out for display, music-goers could read a heartfelt letter from Dolly Parton addressed to McBride, flip through her high school yearbook, admire the southern-inspired stage outfits, appreciate her well-deserved awards, and check out never-before-seen wedding memorabilia.
To go along with the exhibit that will be open for viewing until August 7, 2022 – Sony Nashville released a double vinyl package, Greatest Hits: The RCA Years. The collection is chockfull of McBride’s top-charting hits such as “Independence Day,” “Concrete Angel,” “This One’s For The Girls,” “A Broken Wing,” and many more fan-favorites.
“When I signed my record deal with RCA in 1991, vinyl was out, and CD’s were in. Even though I’ve always been happy to have my name on any form of recorded music, I’ve always hoped to see my music on vinyl,” says McBride. “This is a very special project to me, and I’m excited that everyone will be able to add it to their vinyl collection.”
As fans reminisce on the tracks that tend to unlock joyful memories, McBride confessed that it was challenging to get to where she is today as a female country artist. The multiple Grammy-nominated singer told Country Now that she always had to advocate for herself and hopes to see rising women in the Country music do the same.
“I’ve always been very hands-on with everything in my career. The record company, the video director, the art director, the hair and makeup…but, all of those people will go on to do other projects, and I’m left with my legacy and my history,” expresses Martina.
“So, it was important that it was authentic, that it feels like me, that it looks like me, that it sounds like me. If a young woman runs into resistance by asserting their authentic self, opinions, or ideas…they need to work with other people because they are not the right people. You need to find people that will encourage you to grow as an artist and to express yourself in the way that you feel is you. That would be my biggest piece of advice,” she adds with confidence.
She continued to praise breakthrough female musicians such as Carly Pearce, Maggie Rose, Hailey Whitters, Runaway June for their craft, witty play on words, but most importantly, their unstoppable drive. “I’m so excited for those girls and to see them blossom, especially in a time when I feel like it’s hard. It’s never been easy for women, particularly on country radio.”
This was from the #CMAawards when I presented Blake with the award for Best Male Vocalist! Can you believe it’s been that long ago @blakeshelton? I am so excited to announce I’ll be joining him in Nashville on 9/9 at @BrdgstoneArena. Grab your tickets! https://t.co/dNcgQEV2RC pic.twitter.com/Q5KP7aKrcO
— Martina McBride (@martinamcbride) July 8, 2021
Even as a country music icon, McBride still finds herself on male-dominated lineups. In fact, she is currently ruling the stage on Blake Shelton’s Friends and Heroes 2021 tour. “I’m sort of plopped down in the middle of a lot of testosterone,” laughs the artist. “I love Blake, we have been on tour together before, and it’s going to be so much fun.”
Country fans can purchase tickets at blakeshelton.com and get their very own Greatest Hits: The RCA Years on Vinyl in black from martinamcbride.com or the exclusive sea blue record only available at Walmart.