Carrie Underwood is one of the biggest names in modern country music, but she says an iconic performer has inspired her fearless approach to creating music. During a Q&A session at February’s 2020 Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, the country superstar discussed her love for multi-faceted artist Linda Ronstadt.
Ronstadt is known for her work as a solo performer, both in rock and country, and her collaborations with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris. The legendary singer’s life story is highlighted in the 2019 documentary Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice.
“After I watched that documentary, I [realized I] didn’t have any idea of the vast scope of the things that she’s done and accomplished,” Underwood told the crowd. “She did whatever she wanted in a time when people just didn’t do that. I feel like now lends itself a little more to cross-pollination, people stepping outside their boxes and being influenced by other genres of music. It was very inspiring to watch that.”
After finding fame from her own unique mixture of styles, Ronstadt expanded her creative endeavors in ways that most artists would shy away from. She won acclaim for her forays into traditional jazz, opera and Mariachi music, which broke sales records and cemented Ronstadt as one of the most iconic singers of her era.
“After I watched it, it was like, ‘Okay I’m gonna do all kinds of things!'” Underwood said excitedly. “I want to be like Linda.”
Looking at Underwood’s most recent record, 2018’s award-winning Cry Pretty, it’s easy to see that she has already done her best to follow Ronstadt’s creative path by melding elements from various genres to create her own unique sound.
Underwood’s CRS session was far from the first time she has chatted about her love for Ronstadt. In 2019, Underwood joined Harris, Stevie Nicks, Bonnie Raitt and more for a celebration of Ronstadt’s career at the Kennedy Center Honors, performing covers of Ronstadt’s hit songs “Blue Bayou” and “When Will I Be Loved.” Underwood also honored the legendary performer during Ronstadt’s induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.
WATCH Carrie Underwood honors Linda Ronstadt at Kennedy Honors VIDEO BELOW:
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