Reba McEntire Opens Up About Her Emotional Return To The Oscars and ‘Powerful’ Performance of ‘Somehow You Do’
It’s been 31 years since Reba McEntire first appeared at The Academy Awards, where she filled in for Meryl Streep…
Reba; Photo by John Russell, CMA
It’s been 31 years since Reba McEntire first appeared at The Academy Awards, where she filled in for Meryl Streep to perform “I’m Checkin’ Out” a song from the movie, Postcards from the Edge, which was nominated for Best Original Song at the Oscars in 1991.
More than 30 years later, McEntire is back at the 94th Academy Awards to perform “Somehow You Do,” which is nominated for Best Original Song from the film, Four Good Days.
During an interview with Country Now and several other media outlets, McEntire reflected on how she nearly backed out of her first Oscars performance, why she was hesitant to be excited about performing at the Oscars again, and how the Oscar-nominated song brings much-needed hope.
“The first time I got to sing on the Oscars, it was right after the plane crashed,” McEntire shared.
On March 16, 1991, a plane carrying eight of her band members and crew tragically crashed into a mountain about 10 miles east of the San Diego airport, killing everyone on board.
“I almost didn’t do it because of the plane crash, but I did,” said McEntire. “I did sing it.”
“I said yes to the Oscars in ’91, and then the plane crash happened,” McEntire added. “And then I went ahead and sang the song because I felt Jim Hammond [her tour manager who died in the crash] talking to me saying, “Go do it for us. We’re checked out of this heartbreak hotel.”
When she was invited to perform at this year’s Oscars, she was initially hesitant to feel excited about it.
“I thought if I got too excited, something could happen,” McEntire shared. “So I said, ‘God, I’m just going to give it up to you. I don’t know why I didn’t when I first felt this hardness or this heaviness in my heart.’ So I just said, ‘I’m giving it all up to you. Let me have a good time. Let me sing it the way I’m supposed to sing it, the way you want me to sing it, your will, not my will. Your way, not my way.’ And it lifted like a hundred pounds.”
Now, the award-winning singer, actress, and entrepreneur is leaning into the hope that the music brings.
“Here we are, all these years later and I’m singing another song by Diane Warren that is so powerful and needed because it gives hope,” added McEntire.
Songwriter Diane Warren wrote both “Somehow You Do” and the previously nominated track “I’m Checkin’ Out.”
“If you’ve seen the movie ‘Four Good Days,’ it is such an emotional movie about drug addiction, opioids, Oxycontin. So it’s needed today. And this song gives hope, which we always need. So I’m very honored that Diane asked me to sing the song and we are both so thrilled to get nominated. We really need songs of hope and encouragement and I sure hope she wins. Even if I wasn’t singing it, I’d hope Diane would win because she’s such a talented writer. What a gift she has.”
McEntire is the sole country artist in the Best Original Song category, which gives her mixed emotions. “I’m excited, a little intimidated, but I will do my best to represent country music as best I can,” said the Country Music Hall of Fame member.
This year, McEntire worked with Dolce & Gabbana to create two outfits for the Oscars. The GRAMMY, Academy of Country Music, and Country Music Association award winner is notorious for her glamorous fashion moments at awards shows throughout her career, but this year’s preparation has been special.
“They flew in from Milan and we’ve never had this treatment before,” said McEntire. “So it’s like, ‘Wow. So this is how they do it for the Oscars.’ And I’m really excited. It’s razzle dazzle all the way. Beautiful. And I hope everybody likes what we pick out.”
Nicole Palsa is a freelance writer based in Nashville, Tennessee. Since 2012, she has written about the newcomers, superstars, and legends of country music for publications including Music Mayhem, Country Now, and Country Music Tattle Tale. Palsa has served as a volunteer guide with Musicians On Call since 2016 and is a Troubadour member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications and her Bachelor of Arts degree in French. In addition to being a devoted country music fan, Nicole is a family historian and genealogist who can often be found in stacks of research. She is also an avid traveler with a passion for wildlife and nature photography.