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Martina McBride ‘very excited’ for concert at CCA

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Grammy-nominated country artist Martina McBride says she is excited to bring her “Livin’ Life Up” tour to Collins Center for the Arts in Orono on Saturday, March 14, at 7 p.m.

The singer tells The Maine Edge that the name of her tour reflects her vision for 2020 of spreading positivity and bringing light into the world.

With more than 18 million albums sold to date, McBride has placed 20 songs in the top 10 – and six at the No. 1 spot – on the Billboard charts. She has been honored with 15 major music awards, including four wins from the Country Music Association and three Academy of Country Music awards for female vocalist of the year.

With nearly 40 hit singles to her credit, including “Independence Day,” “My Baby Loves Me,” “This One’s For the Girls,” “Wild Angels” and “A Broken Wing,” McBride says it’s a challenge to design a setlist, which she was working on when she called for the following interview. She joked that it’s a good problem to have when you have so many hits that fans want to hear.

McBride personally selects all of the opening artists for her tour; that includes singer-songwriter Hannah Ellis, who will open the Orono show. Rolling Stone has named Ellis an “artist to watch” while CMT named her one of the “Next Women of Country.”

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The Maine Edge: It will be great to have you back in Maine. What comes to mind for you when you think of your Maine fans and past performances here?

McBride: I love Maine. It’s one of my favorite places to have a vacation. The first time I can remember playing there was many years ago in Bangor with Marty Stuart. I remember the reaction we got from the audience because they were so warm and welcoming to us. We were just starting out and that is one of the shows that stands out in my memory from the thousands of shows we’ve done, and we’re very excited to be coming back.

The Maine Edge: How do you decide which songs you’ll perform during a given tour?

McBride: I know there are certain songs I know people really want to hear, like “Independence Day” and “A Broken Wing,” then I kind of have to be selective with the ballads, because I don’t want to have too many ballads in the live show. They are my favorite ones to sing but unfortunately, they are also the first to be cut if we have too many songs in the set.

I like to give a glimpse of my career and play the songs that people probably have memories around. We put in some cover songs and also some songs from my albums like “Timeless” and “Everlasting.” I’m working on the setlist right now, and it is challenging because you want to play everything that people want to hear, but you want to make it fresh at the same time.

The Maine Edge: On this tour, you are giving the spotlight to some up-and-coming artists, including Hannah Ellis, at your show in Orono. Are you personally involved with planning all aspects of the tour, including selecting your opening performers?

McBride: Absolutely. On this tour, we wanted to spotlight some unsigned artists and some up-and-coming female artists. I was sent a lot of music from a lot of different artists and I listened to all of it and then handpicked the girls who will be opening for me on this tour. I’m very excited to not only share this night with them but to also give them the opportunity to reach a whole new group of fans.

The Maine Edge: Another way that you give back is with your “Team Music is Love” charity initiative, by raising money and awareness for food banks, cancer charities, orphanages and other organizations. Did you always have it in mind that you would give back in a big way once you had the platform to do it?

McBride: Absolutely, I grew up in a small town in Kansas where everybody helped each other through whatever hard times there were. I feel a responsibility to give back and I love giving back to the local communities where we play on tour, which happens whenever we can do it. I’m really excited about “Team Music is Love.” We do a lot of really good work.

The Maine Edge: The name of the tour, “Livin’ Life Up,” is also a good name for an album. Do you have plans to release a new album anytime soon?

McBride: I’m working on a couple of new singles that we’re excited to get out. I do love the name of this tour – “Livin’ Life Up.” We were trying to come up with a name and I said ‘Livin’ Life Up’ is about having fun, but I think it’s also about positivity and paying it forward and everything we can do to bring some light into the world right now. I’m excited for people to come to this show and leave all of those problems outside the door, and just being together to share a common experience of connecting with each other through music.

The Maine Edge: Of everything you’ve accomplished in your career, what makes you the most proud?

McBride: I think I’m most proud of the longevity. When I started this career, I hoped for 10 years. I thought if I was able to do it for a decade, I could call that a really good career. I’m also proud of the fact that I’ve built a body of work that people want to hear.

(Tickets for Martina McBride at the Collins Center for the Arts in Orono are reportedly sold out according to promoter Waterfront Concerts.)

Last modified on Wednesday, 11 March 2020 14:15

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