Trisha Yearwood Tackles 10 Pressing Questions

Singer reports from her tour about changes in her life and career.

St.Petersburg Times

Country singer Trisha Yearwood calls from a tour stop in support of her latest CD, Real Live Woman, to answer 10 Pressing Questions.

1. Everyone expected you to go more pop after you won a Grammy for "How Do I Live?" Now you've come out with an album full of Dobro and steel guitar, and you're pegged as one of Nashville's remaining traditionalists. Do you feel pressured?

"I've been real careful to always say I'm not a traditional country artist. I haven't made the album Tammy Wynette would have made. This is how I was inspired. I don't know what the next album will be. After 'She's in Love With the Boy' [RealAudio excerpt] came out, an article called me 'the next Reba.' I felt pressured then. Then my second album was more artsy, more left-of-center.

"Real Live Woman wasn't a statement that going pop was wrong, but after eight albums, I could make any album I wanted, so I did. To have the critics be so wonderful about it is gratifying, but even if they didn't like it, I'd still be proud."

2. What's it like being a country artist these days when the genre is so rapidly changing with crossover artists such as Shania Twain?

"It's scary. So much of the music is created out of fear about record sales. Art is coming out of panic instead of the right place. If I want to call myself an artist, I have to do what I want, let the chips fall where they may. All these record labels, they all went out and bought new buildings and Mercedes and now have the pressure of having to sell so many records. Let artists be who they are. Let them make the music they want to make, then figure out how to market it.

"[Being a career artist] is the way I prefer it. I'd rather sell 14 million albums over the course of a career than all at once and then be gone. I was watching on television something about theSpice Girls the other day. They sold a gazillion records, and I had forgotten all about them."

3. Do you think being a Southerner (from rural Monticello, Ga.) helps you as a country singer, since Southerners are known for storytelling?

"I've never thought about that. I always loved country because it does tell stories. Plus, all the people in my hometown listened to it. When I go home I sit on the front porch with my mom and dad, and we tell stories when we're not watching Braves games."

4. What's your favorite food?

"Any kind of potatoes. Fried, baked, I don't care. I love potatoes."

5. Your marriage [to Mavericks bassist Robert Reynolds] broke up last year. Have you ever considered covering [the Wynette hit] "D-I-V-O-R-C-E"?

"Never. It's not something I like to focus on."

6. Do you resent the big deal the press made out of your marriage ending?

"I don't like it, but I understand it. But think of the most unpleasant thing you've ever gone through and then to have strangers come up and ask you about it. The weird thing is people know more about you than you do. But most of what's printed is inaccurate."

7. You've said being single has given you strength and you feel now, at 35, better than ever.

"I have days when I think I've figured it all out. Then I have days when I have no clue. I'm truer to myself than I've ever been, that's for sure. You make hard choices. It's hard."

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger?

"Exactly."

8. I've heard that you are "violently staying in the house" to make sure you don't accidentally meet somebody. Are you still opposed to dating?

[Laughs.] "I'm still keeping myself under lock and key. And with this tour I'm so busy. I'm not dating until the year 2001. Ask me after the first of the new year."

9. Will it be tough being such a successful, famous, attractive woman? Does that intimidate potential suitors?

"Well, it will be interesting."

Who pays the check?

"Exactly."

10. Will you date another musician?

"I always say I won't, but I always do. But not now. I'm a nun at the moment."

— Gina Vivinetto