People strive to settle into their dream job. Country music singer Miranda Lambert says she gets to do what she loves—writing songs, performing and touring—everyday.
The 24-year-old took to the road when she was 16, doing honky tonk shows all over her home state of Texas. The honky tonk performances ended when Lambert got her big break on a television show, but touring has been virtually nonstop for her since 2005.
In 2003, Lambert became a finalist on the country talent show “Nashville Star” and she signed a deal to make an album with Columbia Nashville, which had the right of first refusal to sign the show’s performers, according to her website.
Her first album “Kerosene” debuted at No. 1 on the country music charts in 2005. Lambert was also nominated for the Country Music Association’s Horizon Award, the Academy of Country Music’s Top New Female Vocalist Award and a Grammy.
Some doubted that Lambert could top her debut success but she quickly put those worries to rest. This spring Lambert walked away with the ACM’s Album of the Year award for her latest release “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” She also received nominations for Top Female Vocalist and Single Record of the Year for “Famous in a Small Town.”
Lambert took time out from her busy touring schedule to talk with YOUNG MONEY in an e-mail interview about her life as a professional musician.
YOUNG MONEY: You grew up in Lindale, Texas, and now are touring all over the United States. How did you start your career and get to where you are now?
MIRANDA LAMBERT: I grew up playing music and at 16 was performing at honky tonks all over Texas.At one point my mom and I hopped in the car and did a radio tour. We got a good deal of doors slammed in our face, but we were resilient and it finally paid off.
YM: Was there anything specific that you accomplished that got your big break?
ML: “Nashville Star” was by far an amazing opportunity and it surely saved me five more years of playing those honky tonks. It really helped me get to the next level without having to sit and wait my turn.
YM: What is it like to be a professional musician?
ML: Well, I always like to remind folks I’m just a normal girl. I love music and I love songwriting and always have. Now it just so happens to be my job—but it’s the best job out there! I like to balance the craziness by surrounding myself with good people and so far that has really helped me keep things in perspective.
YM: What’s the best thing about your career?
ML: Probably getting to do what I love everyday! Plus I’ve gotten to meet and actually tour with some of my heroes—so at 24 years old my career is just starting but I’ve already had so many amazing opportunities. I can’t wait for the next step!
YM: Have you been touring nonstop?
ML: We’ve played a lot of shows already this year and we’re not slowing doing anytime soon.
This tour I’m mostly headlining clubs, casinos and throwing in a good number of festivals, too. I’ll be on the road through the fall and by then I’m sure we’ll all need a break. But basically I’ve toured nonstop since “Kerosene” came out in 2005.
YM: How has touring been?
ML: Touring has been awesome. I love my band, and we always keep things fun and laid back— until we get on stage and then we go a little crazy.
YM: Are there any items, friends or things to keep you company while on the road?
ML: My dog Delilah is usually with me and is the first one to greet me when I’m done playing a show. She’s the diva of the bus and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m also having some friends come out and join me this tour and I’m working on writing for the new record while I’m on the road.
YM: How would describe your latest album “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend?” How does it compare with your debut album?
ML: I definitely put more of myself out there on this one. People hear songs like “Kerosene” and even “Gunpowder & Lead” from “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and think I’m always that badass, but if you listen to the record and hear songs like “Desperation” and “More Like Her,” the softer side comes through. And at first I was like, “Crap, I just said a whole lot about myself and now there’s no going back!” but fans and critics have responded so well I guess it was a good thing to do!
YM: Were there any challenges in writing the songs or putting “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” together? How was it balancing that with touring?
ML: When I did my debut record, I was writing at 17 years old and in the few years that passed between, I had done a lot of growing up. The first time around, I was writing more about other people’s experiences and on “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” it was more about things I had experienced. Writing on the road is difficult, but I’ve found a way to balance things so there’s time to do it .Although my favorite place to write is when I’m at home.
YM: What are your songs about?
ML: Well, a lot of them are about life like I mentioned before .And others are based on things I’ve seen or done but with a playful edge. My parents used to take in abused women and children and it motivated me to write “Gunpowder,” but that said, I’m not waiting by the door with a shotgun!
YM: You started writing songs at a very young age. What’s your approach or mindset when writing songs?
ML: I don’t have a formula. I write a lot of ideas down. Sometimes it’s a few lines. Sometimes I pick up the guitar and it just flows. I write what I know or feel and it seems to work for me.
YM: How does it feel to be nominated for three Academy of Country Music Awards?
ML: I’m so excited. It is such an honor to be nominated and to know that people recognize your work in that capacity.
YM: Are you working on any new projects or do have upcoming plans after touring?
ML: Yes, I’m writing for the new record and have some other things in the works. I don’t want to give away too much. I’d rather everyone check out my website (mirandalambert.com) to see what I’m up to!