Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York on October 18, 2015 · Page U2
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Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York · Page U2

Rochester, New York
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 18, 2015
Page U2
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UNDERWOOD V IA INSTAGRAM “It’s like we’ve a lways been t ogether,” Underwood says of Mike Fisher and son Isaiah. “I’ve always needed them — Ijust didn’t know it.” Mike Fisher, did inspire some of the more personal moments on Storyteller , scheduled for release Oct. 23. What I Never Knew I Always Wanted begins with the line “I never was the kind to think about dressing in white.” Not too surprisingly, she says finding the love of a good man and joining with him to welcome achild into their world has transformed her in ways she could scarcely have imagined. “This song was a way to sing about Isaiah and Mike in a way that I think is relatable,” Underwood says. “There’s probably a lot of people out there who are like I was, like, ‘I never really thought about getting married. I never d reamt about my wedding day or h aving a child.’ But now I’m like, ‘What did I do before this?’ It’s l ike we’ve always been together. I ’ve always needed them — I just didn’t know it.” Another relationship inspired Underwood when she wrote The Girl You Think I Am with David Hodges and Hillary Lindsey. “When we got together, we started talking about dads and how awesome they are,” she recalls. “I came up with the idea that my dad (Stephen Underwood) thinks I’m so much better than I am. He t hinks I’m amazing and I can do anything and I’m not afraid of anything, that I can do no wrong. Hillary and I were telling dad stories, and David is a dad of several girls, so he sees it from the other side. We talked about how kids don’t really know how t heir parents look at them until probably they’re adults, and then it’s like: ‘I thought my parents were b eing totally unreasonable and just coming down hard on me. B ut they were looking out for me because they love me.’ “And now that I’m a parent,” she adds with a laugh, “I’m like, ‘Wow, if only I’d known this as a kid!’” These two songs stand out for musical reasons as well. Both maintain a gentle and reflective f eeling, without the soaring choruses and bad-guy characters that drive such Underwood hits as Last Name , Before He Cheats , Blown Away , Good Girl and Two Black Cadillacs . Not to worry, though: Her dramatic flair fuels the urgency of Clock Don’t Stop , the fury of being betrayed on Dirty Laundry , and Renegade Runaway , a kind of role-reversed Cowboy Casanova in which the d angerous character is female. “Well, she doesn’t kill any- b ody,” Underwood observes, sticking up for her hypothetical g al-pal. “She’s just a user and a free spirit. She’s not all bad. And s he’s gorgeous!” In other words, family life h asn’t yet tempered this artist’s love for songs about sleazy guys and righteous acts of vengeance. “In my dating past, which feels like a million years ago and thank God it’s over, I was cheated on,” she says. “I dated some not-so- great guys. So there is that revenge aspect, although the stu I s ing about, like on Before He Cheats , I would never do. I would never go and destroy anybody’s property.” She smiles briefly. “I mean, I’m just not that dramatic.” The two threads that run through Storyteller — slice-of-life sagas and more personal confess ions — come together on Smoke Break , the album’s first single. Written by Underwood, Lindsey a nd Chris DeStefano, it portrays two hard-working folks, a man a nd a woman, each beset by the kinds of di culties that have be- c ome part of the daily routine for too many people. In singing “Sometimes I need a sti drink … I don’t smoke but sometimes I need a long drag,” Underwood embraces empathy in place of the judgment that some of her lyrics harbor for ill- doers. “It’s an everyman song,” she says. “We had the title before anything else. It seemed really c ool for a country song. But we didn’t want to encourage tobacco use, so we asked ourselves: ‘Well, what is it about? What does a five-minute break mean to you?’ “So Hillary, Chris and I started telling stories and making up little vignettes. It’s about a guy who is trying to make a name for himself and climb the ladder of success and make everybody proud, especially his dad. It’s about a woman who’s trying to work and be a wife and be a mom, trying t o be everything to everybody. She’s trying to be a — quote/ unquote — ‘good Christian lady.’ It’s a Southern thing. They both h ave all these things to live up to. ... We’re spread so thin. It gets a l ittle lonely.” Even for celebrities enjoying spectacular international careers? Underwood nods. “When life and work collide, it can get weird. It can get frustrating because Mike and I are really the most normal people ever. When I’m at home, I do laundry. I make d inner. I also try to figure out how to bring my son on tour with me. Separately, everything’s a breeze. But sometimes I need to take a second away from trying to keep a house in order and feed the baby and call my mom and think about what I’m going to wear for tomorrow’s interviews.” S he shrugs. “It’s all life.” How, then, does Underwood take her breather? She answers i mmediately. “It’s when I’m onstage. It’s my favorite thing t o do because I don’t have to worry about anything. That’s my 9 0 minutes of escape — my 90-minute smoke break.” BRIAN RASIC, WIREIMAGE Underwood plays the Apple Music Festival at The Roundhouse Sept. 21 in London. Her new album, Storyteller , arrives Oct. 23. Family life has its place v CONTINUED FROM1U RANDEE ST NICHOLAS “I think p eople e xpected m e to make a mommy a lbum,” Underwood says. CARRIE UNDERWOOD BY THE NUMBERS 58 million worldwide album sales 7 Grammy Awards, including two for best country solo performance (2012 and 2014) 5 Country Music Association Awards, i ncluding three for female vocalist of the year (2006, 2007 and 2 008) 11 Academy of Country Music Awards, including entertainer of the year twice (2008 and 2009) and top female vocalist (2006, 2007 and 2008) Album sales source: Schmidt Relations 2U E1 USA TODAY—DEMOCRATANDCHRONICLE SUNDAY,OCTOBER18,2015 PRESIDENTAND PUBLISHER John Zidich EDITOR IN CHIEF David Callaw ay CHIEF REVENUE OFFICER Kevin Gentzel 7950 Jones Branch Dr., McLean, Va. 22108, 703-854-3400 Published by Gannett USA TODAYLIFE is published weekly. Advertising: All advertising published in USA TODAYis subject to the current rate card; copies available from the advertising department. USA TODAYmay in its sole discretion edit, classify, reject or cancel at any time any advertising submitted. National, Regional: 703-854-3400 Reprint permission, copies of articles, glossy reprints: or call 212-221-9595 USA TODAYis a member of The Associated Press and subscribes to other news services. USA TODAY, its logo and associated graphics are registered trademarks. All rights reserved. USA T ODAY is committed to accuracy. To reach us, contact Standards Editor Brent Jones at 800-8727073 or e-mail accu- Please indicate whether you’re responding to content online or in the newspaper. Corrections & Clarifications MOST DELICIOUS SIDE GIG: ST. VINCENT Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent) has been spending a lot of time in the spotlight with girlfriend Cara Delevingne, but she has not forgotten her Southern roots. She got her start as an indie rocker, so it’s not surprising she would be spotted waiting tables at Resident Taqueria in Dallas. The joint is owned by Clark’s sister, which makes the gesture all the more awesome. Patrons Instagrammed pictures of the singer-turned- waitress with many thanks for their full napkin dispensers. CELEBRITY SUPERLATIVES A‘pig face’ only in the most tender way USA TODAY’s Alexandra Korba digs through the latest celebrity news for highlights ... and lowlights. Think high school yearbook superlatives — if St. Vincent and The Weeknd were classmates. GREATEST CELEBRITY DOPPLEGANGERS: NATALIE DORMER AND DENISE THE PIG Kermit the Frog’s new love interest looks a lot like another high- profile celebrity, and no, it’s not poor Miss Piggy. The Internet has come to the decision that the newest Muppets star is totally twinning with Queen Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) from Game of Thrones. Best part: Dormer is owning the comparison. Apparently, the GoT star was teased in her younger years for her “pig face,” so she’s embracing the twinning moment, even joking that when she saw Denise, she felt personally responsible for Miss Piggy’s ouster. MOST INSPIRING BODY TRANSFORMATION: JOHN GOODMAN Looking more than good, John! After struggling with his weight in the past, the Golden Globe- winning actor has been hopping red carpets for the premiere of his new film, Trumbo , and his new svelte figure. Goodman, 63, looked healthier and happier than ever, all grins with co-stars Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren a nd Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. HOTTEST REMIX DUO: THE WEEKND AND NICKI MINAJ Meek Mill had better watch out: Minaj and Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd) had some serious chemistry during their duet on SNL . The dynamic rapping duo performed a killer remix of The Hills, with Minaj making asexy surprise appearance halfway through the song. Apparently Minaj isn’t the only huge Abel fan: Eminem also hopped on theWeeknd train with his The Hills remix. GTO/DENISE BY HBO/ABC; ST. VINCENT BY FILMMAGIC; THE WEEKND AND KANYE WEST BY KEVIN WINTER, GETTY IMAGES; JOHN GOODMAN BY MIKE MARSLAND, WIREIMAGE BEST ‘ A MERICAN IDOL ’ CA MEO: KANYE WEST Kanye apparently hasn’t had enough screen time l ately. Yeezy made a sur- p rise appearance on American Idol , where he t reated the judges to an a udition of the Kanye classic Gold Digger. West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, came along for the audition, snapping Instagrams in support. No surprise here: West got a golden ticket. He’s going to Hollywood! PUZZLEANSWERS

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