Carrie Underwood’s debut album was a smash success. Coming on the heels of her American Idol win, Some Hearts became the best-selling album of 2006 and would go on to earn platinum certification nine times. The list of records broken goes on — first female artist to earn Billboard’s Top Country Album two years in a row, best-selling solo female debut album in country music history and best-selling album by an American Idol star in America. But before that, the country star’s first-ever single on American Idol Season 4 – The Showstoppers was scant in funding.
In an interview with The Messenger, famed music producer Desmond Child discussed career highlights and memories detailed in his upcoming book Livin’ on a Prayer, out today.
One anecdote revealed that Underwood and her fellow Idol stars recorded the album in his office with a bare-bones set-up. “We didn’t have a lot of funding for the Showstopper record. So I had everybody come and sing in my office with headphones on, and I’d wear the headphones and I’d stand next to them kind of guiding them,” he said in the exclusive interview. “There was no control room or any of that business.”
Child detailed Underwood’s immediate star power. “I was standing next to Carrie Underwood, and I felt this feeling that came over me. I felt like, she’s an angel. She’s an angel on earth, she’s going to win this. She just has it. She had it,” he said. Child also explained that the singer was initially steered toward R&B pop, but decided to pursue country.
“She was being kind of guided towards singing more kind of R&B, like urban kind of Mariah Carey,” he continued. “And I asked her, because the song we did was ‘Independence Day’ by Martina McBride, and she sang it so well. She sang country. I said, ‘What kind of music would you really like to be in?’ She said, country music. I said, ‘Then don’t sing anything but country music. Move to Nashville.'”
He then introduced her to fellow producer Mark Bright, who would go on to work with her on hits like “Jesus Take the Wheel.” Child reflected, “I did envision it. She’s a forever star, and she’s the nicest person ever. And she has that feeling that I felt from day one, when she was just in sweatpants and a sweatshirt with no makeup.” He went on: “One of the hits that I did with her was called ‘Inside Your Heaven.’ That was her first number one. And it was just like, when she sang that song, you felt heaven on earth. You really did.”
Elsewhere in the conversation, Desmond explained the reasoning behind revisiting his history in the new book. “I got to the point where I felt my sons were growing up. They went off to college and I felt like, wow, I’ve been working so hard and for so long and gone all the time. They don’t even know who I am. So I thought I’d put it all down, all the little things that they would never sit down to listen to,” he told The Messenger. “It was a very cathartic journey…I call it a reckoning of all the things that I did wrong and people I hurt, and in ways, how many things I did right as well.”
“I thought, well, I want to put it all down, so maybe someday they’ll pick it up, maybe once or twice in their lifetime, and read it and get to know me again.”