Interview with Reba McEntire
by Susanna Reid for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show
Reba McEntire BBC Breakfast Interview 24 Feb 2012
Reba McEntire joined BBC Breakfast presenters Susanna Reid and Charlie Stayt [See Photo] two days before she performs at the Wembley Country Music Festival when the topic was – Whether we Brits are in love with Country?
Susanna Reid – Well we have Reba McEntire to thank for the weather
Reba – I brought it with me, I did [pictured at The Albert Memorial in Knightsbridge, London]
Susanna Reid – You arrived yesterday from LA and you brought glorious sunshine with you so thank you very much indeed. The American country music scene has produced a host of artists which have come to the UK and who the UK has come to love. Dolly Parton of course Kenny Rogers, Shania Twain to name just a few.
Charlie Stayt – This weekend the International Festival of Country Music is being held at the Wembley Arena in London. It hasn’t been hosted in the UK for the past 2 decades? Is that right?
Reba – That’s true
Charlie Stayt – WOW! We’re asking the question this morning about whether we Brits are in love with Country?
Susanna Reid – We’re going to be talking with Reba in just a moment; you might be interested in this.
Reba – And the answer is yes
Susanna Reid – (Laughs)
Charlie Stayt – The answer is clearly yes, have a look
Shows report from BBC Breakfast journalist Aisling McVeigh
Aisling McVeigh: Country music has always been the soundtrack of America and whilst it’s NEVER enjoyed mainstream success in the UK it’s always had its supporters. Regular country music festivals starring the likes of Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash were ONCE popular in this country and now one of the BIGGEST is coming back to London and Belfast after a 20 year break.
Mervyn Conn: The International Festival of Country Music, it’s an idea I thought of in 1968 and I ran it for 20 something years, until 1992. Maybe before I hang my spurs up before the Lord above calls me, I thought lets give it ONE more shot
Aisling McVeigh: In a few days time THOUSANDS of fans will PACK out this arena highlighting Britain’s growing interest in country music. The Country Music Associations (CMA) Songwriters series has just been to London for the first time, showcasing the works of country artists like Clint Black and Bill Anderson.
Bill Anderson: I think in a way our music may have started here a long time ago. You can hear so much of the Celtic influences; you can hear so much of the old English and Scottish Folk ballads and some of the earlier traditional country music. I’m not sure but when we come here that perhaps were not bringing our country music back home where it started centuries ago.
Aisling McVeigh: Bob Harris presents a weekly country music show on Radio 2. He thinks the UK’s image of country music has changed in recent years.
Bob Harris: Britain saw it as kind of cheesy, that has changed I really do think so there’s a whole new generation of very exciting new acts come into country now. I mean for example I’m a particular fan of the band The Band Perry. One of the main instruments in The Band Perry sound is the mandolin and that roots them in bluegrass.
Bill Anderson: There only 2 kinds of music, good and bad (laughs). We’ve all made some of each (chuckles)
Charlie Stayt – What we really needed to hear was Reba’s little commentary going through that. I know him
Reba – I’ve toured with her, I know them, I’ve been around a long time, I know everybody
Susanna Reid – Would you agree with that comment – “There’s only 2 types of music” because I’ve heard stars in your position in your position say – “There’s only 2 types of music Country and Western ?
Reba – Oh well we don’t say Country & Western anymore. Country and Western was more like Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Tex Ritter but I do agree with Bill [Anderson] there is only 2 types of country music good and bad and I stick with the good as much as possible.
Susanna Reid – And it’s working, you are the biggest selling Female country, no the biggest selling female artist in the US of all time
Charlie Stayt – Country artist
Reba – Just country yeah, well I’ve been around for a long time, I’ve had a wonderful career, had lots of fun got to see lots of people toured with lots of different acts and the friends that you get to meet and make that’s the icing of the cake, that’s what’s so special
Charlie Stayt – I tell you what, this is not related to anything really but do you know the single highest selling female artist of all time, of all genres is?
Reba – No, who?
Charlie Stayt – Do you want to guess?
Reba – Barbra Streisand
Charlie Stayt – No
Reba – Whitney Houston
Charlie Stayt – NO
Reba – Celine Dion
Charlie Stayt – Your not going to get it
Reba – OK
Susanna Reid – Put us out of our misery
Reba – I knew that! – Whose that?
Charlie Stayt – Nana Mouskouri, well there you go, you don’t even know. Nana Mouskouri was a star in the 70’s, a Greek lady who is now a Politician but she was an amazing singer. Sorry I’ve taken us on a completely different route.
Reba – Well, I’ve learned something today, that’s very interesting
Charlie Stayt – Female country stars I always think of as a particular brand. In the UK we think of these very strong characters like Dolly Parton. What is it? Is it something particular to female country stars, is there a common thing?
Reba – A common denominator?
Charlie Stayt – Yes of some kind, outside of the music is there something about their character
Reba – They are characters, we are characters, we love what we do, we love life, we’re gypsies at heart, and we love to travel. I can speak for Dolly Parton and myself because when she did the Reba TV show with me years ago we were sitting there talking. I said Dolly are we ever going to retire and quit and she said – “But what would we do” and I said “I don’t know” so she said “Let’s keep doing this, were having fun” so I said “OK, I’m for that”
Susanna Reid – So she’s a good friend of yours?
Reba – Yes, I love Dolly
Susanna Reid – But you would imagine you two would be quite competitive?
Reba – Oh of course we’re all competitive in our business but we all pull for each other too
Charlie Stayt – And to give people so scale, I hate to do this in a way
Reba – Oh go ahead
Charlie Stayt – But often we talk to country stars over here and you’ll be aware but there is a bit of a gap. In America country music is an extraordinary thing, massive phenomena. Here there is a different vibe about it which I know is changing. You haven’t been here for 10 years for example.
Reba – Haven’t been for 10 years. I did Broadway in 2001, I did a television show for six years and been touring in the United States a lot and the reason we wanted to come back over here was mainly for my band and crew. Some of them we’re here with me in 1999 but a lot of them haven’t gotten to tour Europe and so it was a perk for them. It was let’s go over there and have fun and introduce the music that people haven’t seen these past 10 to 12 years to come back over to see them again and show them what we’re up to. We have got a lot of new music for them.
Susanna Reid – What do you open with?
Reba – It’s a song called “All The Women I Am”. It’s the title of my new album that’s been released here
Susanna Reid – And you have a new single “Turn On The Radio” lets hear it, here we go [ video clip shown]
Charlie Stayt – What’s he up to, he doesn’t say much?
Susanna Reid – (laughs)
Reba – Well I kind of found out that he’s cheatin’ on me so I kinda tie him up with the microphone cord and telling him what I’m thinking about him
Charlie Stayt – Oh, aha
Reba – It’s All the Women I Am it’s one of those people inside
Charlie Stayt – Are you kind of an iconic figure for women of a certain age in America?
Reba – I think so, they tell me that.
Charlie Stayt – What do you think you represent?
Reba – Well experience, knowledge, things that I’ve learned sometimes the hard way sometimes advice from other of my buddies like Loretta and Dolly and just trying to keep everybody going down the good road. As they told we “I’m trying to keep you out of a chug hole and the pot holes and away from bad people
Charlie Stayt – Chug Holes (laughs)
Reba – And try and keep you going down the straight and narrow
Susanna Reid – Yeah, although the trouble is, as we just saw in that song constantly in country music people are coming up against men who aren’t good for them.
Reba – Isn’t that true
Susanna Reid – yeah
Reba – Well that everyday life
Susanna Reid – Is it?
Reba – That’s what we sing about in country music and people in the audience can relate to it and what I do, my job is to find the songs that people can relate to because if it touches my heart when I hear it, hopefully it will touch your heart too when I sing it if I’ve done my job well.
Charlie Stayt – Can you do an English accent?
Reba – Oh yes [spoken in Queens English]
Charlie Stayt & Susanna Reid (laughing)
Charlie Stayt – Well I tell you what it’s better than my Oklahoma accent
Reba – Oh no, give it to me.
Charlie Stayt – Oh no, I really can’t, too bad
Susanna Reid – Lovely to see you today
Reba – Thank you so much
Susanna Reid– Have a great time this week
Reba – Thanks, thanks
Susanna Reid– Please leave the weather behind when you go it’s been lovely
Reba – Beautiful here
Susanna Reid– Reba’s new album ALL THE WOMEN I AM is out now and you can see her at the International Festival of Country Music at Wembley Arena this Sunday and at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast [details] on Wednesday the 29th of February. When was the last time you played Belfast?
Reba – Oh, quite a ways back, 90’s
Susanna Reid – OK, it’s changed
Reba – Can’t wait to see it
SOURCE – BBC Breakfast News Fri 24 Feb, 2012 (Programme Showpage available to UK viewers until 1 March, 2012)
Reba McEntire-BBC Breakfast Interview-24Feb2012 – Soundcloud Link