Martina McBride is not resting on her laurels.
One of the most honored, praised, admired and awarded women in contemporary music is multi-tasking all over the place. She is hard at work on a 2014 album that will again showcase her incomparable voice and peerless interpretive skills on a soulful set of iconic songs. In between studio sessions, she will take to the road on her 2013 Christmas tour. The 12-date run features Martina, her band and a string section showcasing the season’s best-loved holiday tunes as well as her hits.
“This tour is something I look forward to all year,” says Martina. “It’s definitely a show for the whole family, and we love performing it. It helps me get in the Christmas spirit each year, and I know it does that for the audience, too.”
At each stop, a distinguished member of the community is invited to recite “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” while Martina sings “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” On previous Christmas tours, her guests have included pro football stars, hockey players and TV personalities. The tour also incorporates local ballet dancers at each stop and features a spontaneous Q&A between audience members and the star.
The entertainer won’t have much down time after the tour ends on Dec. 21. On January 10, she plans to travel to Atlanta’s Fox Theater to take part in an all-star salute to Rock n Roll Hall of Fame member Gregg Allman. Martina’s co-stars will include Widespread Panic, Natalie Cole, Jackson Browne, Trace Adkins, Keb Mo, John Hiatt and Don Was. The concert will be recorded and filmed for international distribution.
In the spring of 2014, she will be joining Country Music Hall of Fame member George Strait on tour. This is the superstar’s finale as a touring artist, and all of their concerts together are expected to be standing-room-only sell-outs.
On Nov. 12, Martina made space in her schedule to receive another of her many accolades. The Nashville Association of Talent Directors gave her its 2013 Artist Award during its annual NATD Honors gala.
“I love Nashville; I feel passionate about this town,” she told the distinguished guests. “I always knew I wanted to move to Nashville. It was my dream….I went on to live the life I’ve always dreamed of.”
The honor is the latest in a career that has been filled with them. The public and the music industry both respect her extraordinary gifts. Martina McBride has been awarded 14 Gold Records, nine Platinum honors, three Double Platinum Records and two Triple Platinum awards and been recognized for selling 18 million units. The Country Music Association has named her its Female Vocalist of the Year four times. The Academy of Country Music has presented her with its Top Female honor three times.
The Recording Academy has nominated her for a Grammy Award 11 times, and Martina’s participation on the all-star collection Amazing Grace earned that disc a Grammy in 1996. She was honored with induction into the hallowed cast of the Grand Ole Opry in 1995. She has also been recognized by Billboard, BMI, ASCAP, the CMT Video Awards, the Teen Choice Awards, The American Country Awards and the TNN/Music City News Awards.
Martina McBride has many certificates and accolades for her string of broadcast successes. She is ranked as the most played woman vocalist on country radio during the eleven-year period between 1999 and 2010, To date, she has had 20 top-10 hits and six No. 1 smashes.
Even more remarkable is the fact that she has achieved such astounding success by singing lyrics of substance and songs that challenge listeners. “I take pride that I stand up for what I believe in, that I don’t necessarily play it safe,” she comments.
Martina has addressed domestic violence in “Independence Day,” female empowerment in “This One’s for the Girls,” child abuse in “Concrete Angel,” alcoholism in “Cheap Whiskey,” poverty in “God’s Will” and cancer in “I’m Gonna Love You Through It.”
“Independence Day” gave her a platform to caution girls against domestic violence, and she became the issue’s national spokesperson. “A Broken Wing” also threw a spotlight on this social problem. The video for “Cheap Whiskey” was a message about drunk driving.
She used the video for “I’m Gonna Love You Through It” to raise awareness about breast cancer. It co-starred 40 cancer survivors, including such celebrities as Robin Roberts, Sheryl Crow, Karie Couric and Hoda Kotb.
Those women are not her only collaborators. Martina McBride’s duet partners on disc have included Jimmy Buffett (“Trip Around the Sun”), Clint Black (“Still Holding On”), Jim Brickman (“Valentine”), Dolly Parton (“I Still Miss Someone”), Train’s Pat Monahan (“Marry Me”), Bob Seger (“Chances Are”) and even the late Dean Martin (“Baby It’s Cold Outside”).
Martina’s solo hits include such enduring classics as “Wild Angels,” “Safe in the Arms of Love,” “Wrong Again,” “Blessed,” “My Baby Loves Me (Just the Way That I Am),” “Life #9,” “Love’s the Only House,” “Whatever You Say,” “Where Would You Be,” “In My Daughter’s Eyes” and “When God Fearin’ Women Get the Blues.”
She grew up singing country classics in rural Kansas. Her father had a country band, and she began performing with it at age 7. Following a period singing with a rock group in Wichita, she married husband John McBride in 1988. The couple moved to Nashville in 1990. He became the soundman on the 1991 Garth Brooks tour, so Martina tagged along to sell Garth t-shirts and souvenirs to the fans.
She was turned down by every record label on Music Row until RCA gave her a listen. She first made the country charts in 1992 and has been a constant presence on them ever since. While managing their careers, the McBrides are also raising three daughters.
Martina moved to Republic Nashville Records in 2010, and this resulted in renewed promise, publicity and popularity. Today, she stands widely acclaimed as one of the greatest voices of her generation.
“Singing is what I was put here to do,” says Martina McBride “It’s a privilege to do what I do. It’s a privilege to touch people’s lives.”