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April 28, 2022 29 mins

The most successful American Idol winner, Carrie Underwood, went from farm girl to superstar. After winning American Idol’s fourth season in 2005, Carrie performed a 47 state tour that introduced fans to #1 hits like “Jesus Take the Wheel” and “Before He Cheats” off her debut album, Some Hearts. Her talent quickly continued to be recognized as she won two Grammys and an induction to the Opry. At 25, she met her future husband, NHL player Mike Fisher, who became the inspiration for her next album, “Play On”. Carrie has since then released six studio albums and earned a total of 7 Grammys, 12 Billboard Music Awards, and 15 million albums sold. With continued success down the line, Carrie Underwood continues to prove her title of being the most critically acclaimed country artist of all time, all while exploring other ventures such as fashion, fitness, and acting. Watch Behind the Music now on Paramount+.

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
She's the Oklahoma farm girl who became America's most successful idol.
But Carrie Underwood's journey to stardom wasn't as easy as
it looked. Carrie spent her teens fighting for fame but
finding only rejection. An impulsive decision led her to American idol.
She became a superstar overnight. Then she had to fight

(00:27):
for respect from Nashville, and scandal soon followed. Carrie became
one of the most successful artists of her generation, but
she was still looking for love. Her Cinderella story was
complete when she found her soul made in hockey star
Mike Fisher. Now, Carrie opens up about her modern day

(00:48):
fairy tale. This is Carrie Underwood, the story behind the music.
It's September two thousand and twelve, Carrie Underwood. It is
in Redding, Pennsylvania, on the opening leg of her New
World tour. I want people to be blown away by
this tour. I mean, that's why I named the album

(01:09):
blown Away. I just want people to leave saying, oh
my gosh, I want to I want to see another
one carry in her band, have some last minute last
I see you guys up there to like what's side
and then she walks to the stage, where she is
slowly lifted to an arena full of fans who are
ready to be blown away. I think it's pretty indescribable

(01:32):
that moment when you when you come out on stage,
when you're set starts, and that's when people are like
their loudest, they're most excited. I'm very happy when I'm
on stage. Carrie's love affair with her fans started just
eight years earlier, when she made an impulsive and faithful
decision to try out for American Idol. There's so many

(01:52):
great memories, so many great things I've been able to
do and accomplished and be a part of. I've definitely
had some luck on my side, but they're been a
whole lot of hard work too. I got my opportunity,
and I took it. I think, more than anything, that's
what I would want people to take away from my
life is that there will be a God given opportunities
no matter what field you're in. You just have to

(02:14):
recognize them and take them. Carrie underwood Cinderella story began
in a one stoplight town. She was born in Nree
and raised in rural Shakota, Oklahoma, population Shakota is just
small town USA. You know, a lot of a lot

(02:36):
of good, hard working people, not trying to be anything extravagant.
Carrie's mom was a school teacher. Her dad worked at
the local paper mill. They owned a small family farm,
and Carrie and her two older sisters where the farm hands.
Carrie has always been a good kid. She was a tomboy,
and she's always been an animal person of a kind.

(03:00):
We'd have the cows and it was the coolest thing ever.
And I remember just thinking, oh my gosh, like this
is a little calf and I'm like bottle feeding this calf.
I honestly think my love for animals was just born
into me. The only thing Carry loved more than animals
was music. She grew up singing in church and at

(03:21):
school events. I was that annoying look at me, watch me, kid,
I'm gonna sing you a song. Now. She's been singing
from the time she was able to sing. Everybody knows
that she's the most talented person in our class. We
had school plays and we would have to try out

(03:42):
for the lead role, like a competition, which I'm all about.
Carrie loved to sing all kinds of songs, but she
was raised on country music. At the age of ten,
she went to her first concert at the Oklahoma State Fair.
Alan Jackson was headlining, but she was mesmerized by his
opening act, Faith Hill. She was so young and beautiful

(04:04):
and doing her thing and people loved her, and that
I think really resonated with me. That was probably a
reason I started singing in talent shows. By the age
of twelve, Carrie was performing a talent shows and fairs,
even local TV stations. We want to say hi to
your playss room. Hi, dad just tied all my friends. Okay,

(04:30):
my mom would make my outfit. I'd go find a
pair of boots somewhere on sale and I would design
a whole costume around that pair of boots. So what
a nice thing for my mom to do. She would
put her time and energy into making me these things.
Over the next few years, Carrie performed in countless talent shows,
but always came up short. I never won anything ever ever, um,

(04:55):
so I learned how to lose me being the competitive
person I am, I did learn how to lose. I
really thought she had the talent and if the right
people saw her that she would someday be discovered in
local businessman saw fourteen year old carry perform and he

(05:17):
was so impressed he offered to help her set up
meetings with record labels in Nashville. We came to Nashville
and like, met a lot of people and I did
sing it Tusi's I remember being so excited. I remember,
you know, thinking this as Nashville, Tennessee, I can't leave.
I'm actually here. Carrie was offered a development deal at
Capitol Records, and in the spring of nine, the fifteen

(05:39):
year old recorded her first demos. I remember the producers
wives talking about what we were going to wear to
the Grammys. I was like, huh, but what the Grammy's. Yeah, so,
I mean obviously there were high hopes and then we
were like asking, like when her name is going to
be finished, and they were like, oh, by the way, yeah,

(06:03):
they're not going to be finished. Carrie's hopes were dashed
when Capital decided not to move ahead with her recording contract.
Of course, you know, at the time, we were a
little disappointed when everything didn't work out. I certainly wished
it had been something that had happened, but that just
wasn't the right place at the right time. And thank god,
you know, because I was a I was a baby.

(06:25):
It's not a lot of growing up to do. Carrie
put her dreams of stardom on hold and returned to
high school, where she graduated at the top of her class,
and in two thousand one, she headed off to nearby
Northeastern State University to study journalism. Music was no longer
a career path she was considering. I moved on to

(06:47):
something more practical. I've always been a planner. I was
going to college to get a job. That's what you did,
you know, A singer. That's not a job. But in
August of two thousand four, while she was home on
break before her senior year of college, Carrie saw a
news report announcing auditions for the fourth season of American Idol.
I asked, Mom, you know how far away is St. Louis?

(07:10):
She said why? I said, well, they're having American Idol
tryouts there. And I told her that, you know, I
take her if she wanted to go. No, it's stupid,
it's stupid. I mean, come on, what me to American
id oak Line. Later that night, Carrie reconsidered and made
a fateful decision to drive to St. Louis for the audition.
I think she just realized that this was going to

(07:33):
be the last time that she was going to maybe
get that opportunity. I think I needed something at that
point in my life to mess me up, you know,
to get me away from my little control planned out life.
John sts out for a meal. We drove all night,
so there was you know, definitely kind of a well,

(07:55):
I sure hope this is worth our doing. When I
walked in the room and saw them sitting there and
this is real, she looked like a little scared. I
don't know what this is. I don't know how this
is gonna go. It was very like cut and dry,
like what are you gonna be singing for us today?
And like I can't make you love me. I remember

(08:17):
they cut me off, and then I was like oh,
and then they started speaking positively, so I was like, okay, Wow,
this girl knows who she is. She's got the will
and determination and more importantly, the voice to take her there.
They let me through, which was, Oh my gosh, I'm
going to Hollywood Like that just sounds ridiculous. I think
my head was just spinning. Carrie went back to Shakota

(08:41):
to prepare for American Idol. She had to drop out
of college for the competition, but as her parents drove
her to the airport, she nearly had a change of heart.
There was such a fear of the unknown and failing
in front of millions of people, and I almost chicken
out of it. I'm like crying in the car. And
my dad even said to me, we can turn this

(09:03):
car around, we can go home, and you don't have
to think about this again. She said, no, I'll go
ahead and go. I'll go a lot of emotion there.
How come I don't know because she went. I didn't
let Dad take me home that day because um, I

(09:24):
think I always would have wondered and I don't know
if I could have dealt with that. In November of
two thousand four, Carrie took her first plane trip ever
to Hollywood, California, where she joined nearly two d contestants
in the grueling Idol competition. When she first began that

(09:46):
very very nervous person up there on stage, and then
after that, you could see a little bit of confidence
building with her. She changed completely from that green country
girl to being, you know, sort of a seasoned entertainer.
The turning point for Carrie came in the round of eleven.
She ventured out of her country comfort zone and belt

(10:08):
it out Hearts Rock Anthem alone. She just like railed
the dude. We were like, whoa, oh my god. I
mean she can sing any song when she's effortless. After
twenty weeks, Carrie landed in the final two with her
good friend bo Bice, But just days before the finale,
Carry was nearly knocked out of the competition by an

(10:30):
accident she has never talked about. We were getting fitted
for like in ear molds, and I had had an
incident with the lady that was doing mine, and she
managed to hit my ear drum. I was like in
ridiculous pain and I couldn't hear out of one of
my ears, like nothing, it was dead. But Carrie pushed

(10:51):
through the pain of a burst ear drum and performed
on the finale. Her ear was hurting her really bad,
but the show must go on and you aunt wine
and complain about it. So I was just crossing my
fingers hoping I was singing on key. There was no
doubt in my mind that Carrie had one, and I'm very,
very proud of. On May two thousand five, with over

(11:14):
thirty million votes. Cast Carrie Underwood finally one her first
talent show, You Call My Name, and I to this day,
I love confetti falling. Just looked up and it was
just beautiful, and all I could think about was where
his mom and trying to find her in the audience.
And she kept motioning me to come up there on stage,

(11:36):
and and uh, you know, I was thinking, you know,
this is what I'm supposed to do. Well, they get
upset with me if I go up there was overwhelming
at that point in time, because you don't know what
to expect. It was so surreal, and there's all these
people that want to meet you, and they're like, oh,
I'll be working with you on your album, and I
don't even know who these people are, and it was
just it was chaos. And then afterwards it was like

(11:57):
time for press that was like bam bam and band,
Welcome to your life coming up next. The press pits
Carrie against her childhood idol, and later she meets the
man of her dreams when Behind the Music continues. In

(12:22):
May of two thousand five, twenty two year old Carrie
Underwood had gone from farm girl to superstar overnight as
the reigning American Idol Since the very first day, Carrie
immediately hit the road on an intense forty seven city
American Idol tour. Oh my gosh, that's our new American Idol,

(12:43):
quickly becoming a country music superstars. This is just a
bit overwhelming. It feels really good to be home. I
miss Oklahoe was so much. Along with a sudden fame
came a ense pressure American Idol. So what it doesn't

(13:03):
mean anything, It means you want American Idol. Carrie moved
to Nashville to start working on her debut album. Almost immediately,
there was a battle at her label over the album's direction.
The idea was that she was going to make a
pop record, so we went through this political battle. She
put her foot down and she said, I'm a country singer.

(13:24):
I make country music. I did my best to make
it clear when I was on the show that I
wanted to sing country music. It just seemed like a
natural thing. So I'm really not even sure why it
was a question. When it came time to choose her
first single, Carrie couldn't have gone anymore country. Jesus Take
the Wheel was an inspirational ballad that put Carrie's Christian

(13:46):
faith front and center. I remember people being like that
was kind of risky talking about Jesus on your first single,
and I'm like this country music like they think about
Jesus all the time. It spoke of inspiration and faith,
and I remember getting letters from lots and lots of
people to say how much it had affected their lives.

(14:08):
Released in October two thousand five, Jesus Take the Wheel
shot straight to number one on the country charts. It exploded,
and that record became a pop hit. Even though it
didn't get pop airplay, it just was a popular record.
Her album Some Hearts also debuted at number one and
spent an incredible twenty seven weeks there. The album launched

(14:31):
four number one country singles, including the massive smash Before
He Cheats. But while America idolized Carry, the Nashville establishment
did not. Some felter success had come too easy. These people,
of course, are rightfully a little upset when somebody is

(14:52):
thrust into the spotlight seemingly out of nowhere and very quickly.
Let's face it. She won a talent contest and video
uh A talent buyers, We're looking at her like that
she had to prove her must. I'll be the first
person to say that, you know, I don't deserve you

(15:12):
know where I am. People were resenting the fact that
she had jumped the hand and all of a sudden
she started getting nominations. You just put a record out,
You're supposed to spend years working before you got there.
In April of two thousand six, Carry one Breakthrough Video
of the Year at the c MT Awards. This is

(15:34):
my very person that dip. But backstage reporters seized on
some comments why Nona Judd made when she was asked
about Carry. I've seen her sing maybe once or twice,
and I think she's good. I'm feeling like it's getting
a little vanilla sometimes out there, and it's not just
about her, it's just about music in general. Well, Carry's
an airshot at this, and I think it really really

(15:55):
hurt her feelings. Why Nonah later said, I was not
saying you're vanilla, not mean that you were, And my
apologies if that's what came out. But I think in
that moment maybe the damage was done. But Carry says
she and Winona immediately put it behind them. I know Whinna. Now,
she's a really sweet person, and I know what it's

(16:16):
like now to have your words twisted. I do feel
like that was a situation that got a bit about
a proportion. A few months later, Carry was faced with
another controversy at the c m A Awards in November
of two thousand six. She was honored to be up
against her childhood idol, Faith Hill for Female Vocalist of

(16:37):
the Year, but when Carry won the award, faith Hill's
televised reaction caused a media frenzy. All you see is
Faith Hill backstage going what lots of us tonight about
Faith Hill's reaction from the c m A Awards when
she lost out to Carry Underwood. She was completely joking.
And I know this for a fact because I worked

(16:57):
with crew guys that were back there with her saying, oh,
she was cutting up. She was in a great mood.
Everybody knew Carrie was gonna win. The tabloids ran with
the story. I think people wanted to paint faith Hill
as the jealous older artists, you know, this young rookies
coming along and stealing her thunder. But Carrie insists there
was never any bad blood between her and Faith in fact,

(17:20):
she was thrilled to talk to her childhood hero. She
called me immediately and said it was just kind of
a joke on bad and I would never disrespect you,
and I had no reason, you know, not to believe her.
And I said, thank you. You know that means a
lot to me that you called my heart hurt for
because I knew that it wasn't right being portrayed in
a negative way. People love a good story, and sometimes

(17:40):
if there's not one, they'll make By the age of
twenty four, Carrie Underwood had sold more than five million
records and won sixteen major awards, including two Grammys. As
she started working on her second album, Carnival Ride in
early two thousand seven, she was determined to continue to
try her hand at songwriting, and that was some really

(18:02):
great writers and people that really made me feel very
comfortable and let me try. One of the first songs
Carrie wrote was So Small. It was inspired by her
own experience with fame and how it can pull you
away from the important things in life. The song is
basically just about how everybody takes little good things for granted,

(18:24):
like the people that are around you and the stuff
that you miss. Because you're thinking about stupid and significant things.
Success doesn't necessarily mean lots of money and fame and
power and all that stuff. It means, you know, being
happy with your life and making a difference. So Small
became the first single off Carnival Ride, and when it
was released in August two thousand seven, it went straight

(18:46):
to number one. The next two singles, also co written
by Carrie, top the country charts as well. At the
age of twenty five, Carrie Underwood seemed to have everything
except boyfriend. We're going together, I'll be at home alone,

(19:06):
all of myself. It dated a lot of different kinds
of guys, and I was trying to figure out what
I wanted and I always missed the mark. Everything I
thought I wanted never really turned out to make me
very happy. This is Tony. He's a six ft two
And when Carrie brought NFL quarterback Tony Romo to the

(19:28):
Academy of Country Music Awards in May of two thousand seven,
tabloid rumors swirled about the country girl enter Dallas Cowboy.
My problem was someone would snap a picture or see
us out on a date or talking, and we're immediately
in a relationship and we're so in love or whatever
it was, when all you're trying to do is figure

(19:50):
out what kind of person you want to spend the
rest of your life with. A few months later, Carry
started a highly publicized romance with gossip Girl heartthrob Chase Crawford,
and by the spring of oh eight, the world knew
how it ended. We broke up like over text, so
it wasn't even like it's like piece out. Not the
kind of person to sit around and be broken hearted

(20:13):
about it. I'd work for about a day and after
that it's time to go be awesome. Most of my
um like heartache bickup songs are more of Ben. In
October of two thousand eight, Carrie's bass player Mark Childer's
thought he had found the solution toward dating problems when
he fixed her up with Mike Fisher, a professional hockey

(20:34):
player from Canada. I mean, can I make dating more difficult?
Let's get a hockey guy who lives in another country awesome?
And I'm like, we're sticking him in meet and great
because if he's weird, I don't want to do with.
Needless to say, it was a little bit nervous first
time I saw her she is more beautiful person than
on TV. I text my bass player hot, hot, Hot,

(20:57):
because I thought he was cute. So first time I
met I ever saw her speechless. And she denies that
she was speechless, but she was absolutely speechless. I was
not speechless. She was definitely speechless. He asked me if
I wanted to go for a drink or something, and
I said sure. As we were talking, she started eating
my dessert. I was like, oh, let me try and

(21:19):
I'm like, you're try this one. That's when I kind
of knew that things were going okay. So we exchanged
numbers and we started talking on the phone quite a
bit for the next three months. We have a lot
of the same values and beliefs, and we just got along,
were well, and we're a real good fit. By the
time they had their first official date on New Year's

(21:40):
Eve two thousand and eight, Carrie knew that she was
falling from Mike. Yeahn't kissed yet, but finally midnight rolls
around and you know, put down the champagne. Here it comes. Um.
That's kind of her romantic story. I guess our first
kiss was on New Year's Eve. It's ark sly, you know,

(22:01):
and when you have this spark with somebody and you
have a connection, that's wonderful. But then when you agree
on the core things in your life, your beliefs and
your your faith, and that that does connect you to
somebody even deeper. Coming up, Carrie Cinderella story gets its
fairy tale wedding went behind the music continues. By early

(22:33):
two thousand nine, Carrie Underwood had two chart topping albums
and ten number one singles under her belt. The year
old had become one of the youngest performers ever to
be inducted into the Grand Old Opry, the newest member
of the Grand Old Operay. Just carry on me. Thank
you guys so much. Petty similar Um, I just want

(22:54):
to thank everybody at the Opery for having me as
a part of your family, because it really seems like
a great family to be a part of. And finally
she had someone to share her success with. She had
fallen in love with hockey star Mike Fisher. I've never
considered myself a person to need a man in my

(23:15):
life to make me feel complete, but I need that man,
that particular one. There's so much the love about her.
She's she's funny, she's very cary. She loves me with
you know, everything she's got, and I did the same
for her. Carrie's love for Mike and their shared faith
became a powerful source of inspiration for her next album,

(23:36):
Play On. Mike actually came up with the idea for
the song Temporary Home, and Carrie wrote a dedication to
Mike in the liner notes of the album to thank him.
I was like, oh gosh, if we break up, this
is gonna be really is gonna be like on there
forever um. But I had to acknowledge him, you know,

(23:57):
he had become an important part of my life and
inspire you know, a lot of the songs that were
on that album. On December twentie of two thousand nine,
almost a year to the day of their first date,
Mike proposed in the woods near his home in Ottawa.
It was just a really sweet moment. You know, you said,
my full name, Carrie ring Underwood, you know, will you
marry me? Got down on his knee like every man said,

(24:21):
and I tackled him in the snow like and and
I forgot to even look at the ring. I wasn't
even paying attention, which I thought, Man, that's a good sign.
To care about the ring. So but then I was like,
are you gonna look at the ring? It's like, oh, whoa,
it's beautiful. And then after that we prayed together, you

(24:43):
know that, you know, we're both so excited and we
just wanted God to watch over us and our you know,
our plans and our marriage and whatever might happen from
that day forward. On July tenth, two thousand ten, Carrie
and Mike were married in a small ceremony at a
Georgia resort, and Carrie channeled the emotion of her wedding
day into the video for her next single, Mama's Saw.

(25:06):
It was shot only a couple of months after the ceremony,
featuring her real life husband and mother. I know dad's
give their daughters away, and it was really Mom that
was the one letting go. I think it was probably
hard for me because she was the baby of the family.
Mom cried when she first heard it. Um she knew

(25:28):
it was coming from a very personal place. Brings tears
to my eyes because I just didn't want her to
leave me. But I realized that it's just something that
that happens. And as I get older, then I can
look back to my mother and think, you know, I know,
but she felt now so. In July two thousand ten,

(25:51):
twenty seven year old Carrie Underwood had married the man
who made her Cinderella story complete, hockey star Mike Fisher.
They bought a few hundred acres in the Rolling Hills
south of Nashville, where they planned to build their dream
house and raise their kids. Someday, all my kids to
just love being outside and love getting dirty and you know,

(26:13):
climbing trees. She'll have probably heard of animals, And I
know she's gonna be a great mom because she loves
her dogs like I've never seen anyone love anything. In
two thousand and twelve, Carrie returned with a vengeance, releasing
her highly anticipated fourth album, blown Away. The first single,

(26:33):
good Girl, became Carrie's fifteen number one hit. Thank you
fans so much for this, I really really appreciate it.
Thank you, Michael, love you. With over fifteen million albums sold,
Carry has fulfilled Simon Cow's prediction of being the most
successful American idol ever. That is the finest singer in

(26:56):
this business. She's on part of become a legendary this
and I can't say that for every other weather Susan
arts and sings for the fans. She's not up there.
Hey you love me, it's I love you. This makes
me very proud for her, and I love to see
her perform, but I love the things that she can
do for others as well. It's important to me to

(27:19):
know that I've done the best job that I can
too to be a positive thing in the world. I
feel like it's not about the accolades or the sales numbers,
or the you know, awards or any of that. It's
about helping people with their lives and making a difference
that way. If it all ended tomorrow, I'm I'm so

(27:43):
blessed and so happy for everything that I've gotten to do.
But I hope it doesn't end tomorrow, you know. I
hope I have a long, happy career and um. Other
than that, I'm one. I want God's timing. We'll see
what happens. With a total of seven Grammy Awards and
twelve Billboard Music Awards, this Provincial Cinderella has become the

(28:04):
most critically acclaimed country music artist of all time. She
is currently in production for her ninth studio album, featuring
the single ghost Story, which was released in March. The
mother of two has delved into fashion, acting, fitness, and writing,
expanding her talents and impact. From the American Idol stage

(28:25):
to the super Bowl, the Grammys and stadium tours. This
powerhouse voice has made her way into the homes and
hearts of fans all over the world. Listen and subscribe
to Behind the Music on the I Heart Radio app,
Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your favorite podcasts. Be

(28:46):
sure to rate and review Behind the Music on Apple
Podcasts and Spotify. What more episodes You can watch remastered
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