We had the chance this morning to speak with the always-bubbly Kellie Pickler on her album “100 Proof” out on Tuesday. Kellie, who is recovering from a bad head cold, is ready to show the world this new direction and new side of her that her “friends” may not have seen before. Don’t get it wrong – she’s not making any apologies for her tribute to the old classic country that she loves. In our interview with Kellie, we discuss if marriage has an effect on her music, what she would have picked for a single if she had her way, which songs were never meant for anyone to hear, and we gave her what she says is the hardest question anyone’s ever asked her in her career.
Kellie’s new album “100 Proof” is out next week. Her third studio album is easily the best she’s ever put together, with Frank Liddell and Luke Wooten working together to co-produce the record. She’s proud of the album, and she should be. See the different side of her that fans might not know in our exclusive interview below:
First of all, how are you feeling? I know you’ve been pretty sick this week.
I’m feeling better than yesterday (laughs). I’m all ready with my dose of antibiotics, I’m trying to get better before we have to go to New York and start the album press tour.
Speaking of your album, you decided to go with one that shows off your real country roots. Do you think some people may be surprised by your new direction?
I don’t know! If they are I guess that’s okay too. I love traditional country music, and that’s the first style of music that I was introduced to growing up. I really hope country music fans can grow with me in this record. I hope they like it. If they don’t, I can’t do anything about that, can I? (laughs).
Has your marriage had an effect on what songs you cut?
The place where I am in my life definitely has an effect on the songs I cut. I would say absolutely, especially this record. I would have never cut a song like “100 Proof” if I had never met my husband. There’s two couples in this song – one in an unhealthy relationship, and in the chorus there’s a healthy relationship. I’ve been both girls in that song. I’m happy to be the girl in the happy relationship now. Seeing how I am that girl, I met my husband and we’re so happy and in love. That’s why songs like “100 Proof” found their way on to this record.
What was it like working with Frank Liddell on your record, and why did you pick him this time around?
Frank Lidell and Luke Wooten co-produced this record together. I met with a few producers in Nashville before I went into the studio. I met with several record producers and for some reason with Frank, I felt like he could handle me (laughs). I can be quite a pistol. I knew that he would allow me to have the freedom in my music. The chemistry was right. And Luke Wooten is absolutely amazing, and I think he did a phenomenal job capturing my heart on this record. I’m so proud to have worked with both of them on this project. I am hoping to work with both of them down the road on the next one, too.
You have some pretty personal songs on your album. How hard of a decision was it to cut those for the world to hear?
Wow, that’s a good question! You know, it can be a little tricky. When I wrote “Mother’s Day” and “The Letter” it was never intended for anyone to hear. I did not write those songs to record them. I wrote those songs because I needed closure at those times of my life. I did kind of go back and forth on whether or not I wanted those songs to be on the record because once you choose to put it out there to the world – it’s out there forever! It’s out there to be talked about and to be picked apart.
I think I’m at a point in my life where I’m stable. For the first time in my life I have stability. I know who I am and I know what fits me; I know what I like and what I don’t like. I did this record for me, it wasn’t for anyone else, I made this record for myself. There’s going to be people who like it and there’s going to be people where this isn’t their cup of tea. That’s alright, I can’t please everybody. I made this record exactly the way I wanted it to be. I didn’t think about anybody else but myself, I was actually kind of selfish when I wrote this record. I think that’s the way to be sometimes, I think it’s okay to be selfish now and then. I think it’s alright to look out for yourself, and I did this record for me. It might be the case where the record really connects with other people really well, and it’s for them too.
If you could pick the third single from the album, which would you pick?
If I could pick the third single? Right now, I’d say either “Stop Cheating On Me” or “Unlock That Honky Tonk.”
That’s my favorite, “Unlock.”
Aw, that’s what I thought should have been the single. That was my pick, that’s what I wanted. Can’t win ‘em all.
If you had to choose between Loretta or Dolly to record with, who would you choose?
Oh my goodness! This is the hardest question anyone’s ever asked me in my career! Can I not have both of them? That’s the hardest thing that anyone’s ever asked me. Lord! If I could sing with both of them on a song, wouldn’t that be cool? Maybe that can be on the next record. I’m gonna add myself. I’m gonna ask Dolly and Loretta if I can be a Honky Tonk Angel too!
So if you could put together your dream tour, who would you tour with?
If I could put together my dream tour? You know who I would really love to do an album with? If I could do a Duets album with anyone, it would be Jamey Johnson. I’d love for us to do a record together and tour. I love his music and I’m a big fan.
You were just recently on 90210. Do you think we’ll see some more acting from you in the near future?
I would love to do that as long as it doesn’t interfere with my music of course (laughs). This is where I want to be, I want to be in Nashville. I want to be on the radio, that’s always been the most important thing to me. I’ve always wanted to be a part of country music and the country music family. As long as it doesn’t interfere with what I love to do the most, then yes, I’d love to do some more.
What is the one thing you hope fans get from “100 Proof”?
I hope that fans that don’t really get me now, and don’t really know me, that they’re going to really know me when they hear this record. Actually – I don’t hope that they get to know me, I know that they will get to know me. I do hope that it does bring my fans and I closer together. I have the best fans and I don’t like to call them fans, actually, I like to call them friends because to me, I don’t know, I don’t really feel any different and it’s weird to use the phrase “I have a lot of fans.” I like to say, and I like to think, “I have a lot of friends.” That’s what my fans are to me, they’re my friends, because they support me and they love me unconditionally. I might go on television and fall flat on my face and make a fool out of myself, but they still love me and laugh with me and take care of me. I like to call them friends.