Carrie Underwood: Her Tour, Her Wedding, Her Acting Career (2010)
Originally published in the March 22, 2010 issue of Country Weekly magazine.
Life doesn’t suck for superstar Carrie Underwood. In addition to her ever-expanding music career—she recently performed on the Grammy Awards with Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson, Smokey Robinson and Usher in a tribute to Michael Jackson—Carrie and fiancé (and Ottawa Senators hockey player) Mike Fisher made worldwide headlines when they announced their engagement.
As if that weren’t enough, the 2005 American Idol winner just started her Play On Tour, which is currently scheduled to run through the middle of June, with special guests Craig Morgan and Sons of Sylvia.
She also made a recent appearance on CBS-TV’s How I Met Your Mother and spent time in Hawaii filming Soul Surfer, a movie in which she plays a close friend of surfer Bethany Hamilton.
Oh, and there’s the little matter of singing the national anthem before the Super Bowl in Miami.
In the midst of her hectic schedule, Carrie took time to talk to Country Weekly about her life, her tour, her wedding and her dog, Ace.
You just launched your Play On tour on March 11 in Reading, Pennsylvania. What can people expect?
Carrie: We are really holding nothing back on this tour. I have three albums now. I feel like that’s a really good amount of albums to put together a good show from top to bottom.
Putting together a tour off one album is a nightmare. Off two is so much better because we’d already done one and knew what that felt like and didn’t want to do that again.
This time it’s even better because it’s the cream of the crop and we were just able to play a lot more. I’ve done it before and I’ve done quick changes and all that stuff, so we all have a better idea of how things are going to go. So we went for it. A lot more production, a lot more staging, a lot more moving stage pieces, a lot more tricks up our sleeve.
Will there be costume changes?
Carrie: I’m Carrie Underwood. Of course I have costume changes [laughs].
That’s a long way from performing on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry with very little production.
Carrie: Which is actually kind of what I’d prefer, to be honest. Especially lately, [artists] have more and more production. Everybody is trying to shock everybody and everybody is trying to out-wow everybody else.
I would rather just stand and sing. I don’t even know if I would need music. Let me just sing, because I feel like that’s kind of a dying art form, to be honest. But on a tour things have to be exciting. I may follow it up next time with an all-acoustic, unplugged tour. But I just felt like this is something different for me. It’s not like we’re having dancers on the stage or anything, because that’s not me at all, as far as the tour goes. It’s just fun, lots of light, lots of video content. It’s a lot different than anything I’ve done before.
Do you feel like you need to give your fans their money’s worth?
Carrie: I definitely want to do that, that’s first and foremost, but you also, for yourself as an artist, have to make things different. I don’t want to put on the same show every single year; everything starts bleeding together and it all seems the same. It all seems boring. I have to keep things interesting for myself, too.
I’m singing the same songs from the first album, I’ve been singing them all along, so it’s like, OK, how can we make this different for the audience members that have seen 20 shows, how can this be different for them as well as be different for myself.
Craig Morgan is touring with you. Will he sing with you onstage?
Carrie: We are giving the fan club some control over the songs that we sing. We're going to have a set group of songs, we might change them during the tour, but we have a few songs for them to pick out. One of the songs does involve Craig, so every once in a while if the fan club so chooses, he will be singing.
How involved have you been in the planning of the tour, and when did that start?
Carrie: It’s been going on for a while. We started planning this and they started routing things a long time ago as far as venues go. But I am honestly not a visually creative person— I’ll put songs together, group songs together—but we have a really great tour designer and he’s got an imagination like no other. We are a good team.
With all the things on your plate right now—a wedding to plan, a new tour—are you even thinking about the next album?
Carrie: No. And to be honest, I think we’ll go off this for quite a while. We have a lot of single-potential songs—six or seven—so, we’ll just see. I don’t ever plan too far ahead in advance. If you want to make God laugh, make plans, right?
What was the experience of singing the national anthem at the Super Bowl like? Were you nervous?
Carrie: It was great [but] I was horrified. I was petrified. Singing live a cappella in front of, around the world there’s probably like a billion people watching, no pressure. I was just praying pretty hard ‘til I walked on that podium. I was really excited and very nervous and just very happy to be there. When it was over I was like, “Huuhhh [exhales], OK, that’s done.”
Have you set a date for your wedding yet?
Carrie: There is kind of a working date, [but] it’s not one that we’re willing to make known to the world, because we want to keep it amongst family and friends.
Will it be a small wedding or a big wedding?
Carrie: It’s shaping up to be a good size. I think we would both like a small wedding, but the place that we’re going to have it at, we have a lot of space there and we might as well just go for broke here and invite everyone we know.
Will you tell us what time of year it will take place?
Carrie: No. It’s just a really special day, we don’t want helicopters flying overhead. Not to say anybody would even care, but just in case someone would, we just want to make sure that it’s a very special day for us.
When you were growing up, did you ever imagine you’d have to worry about whether helicopters are flying over your wedding or not?
Carrie: I never even thought about a wedding, let a lone having potential media guests. It’s not something that I ever would have dreamt of, but, you know, that’s life and I think we deal really well with it.
What would your dream wedding be?
Carrie: To be honest, I had never thought about a wedding until Mike asked me to marry him. I don’t know. I’m really not an outdoor wedding kind of person, but I think that’s kind of what we’re going to have.
I just want everybody to have a good time. Neither of us are going to stress about details. We have a few main things that we feel are really important, so we make sure those things are in there the way we want them, but the details we don’t care.
I don’t care what kind of food is there, I don’t care what kind of napkins are on the table, I don’t care what kind of flowers are on the table. We just want to show up and have a good time.
It sounds like you won’t be heavily involved in the planning.
Carrie: Right. I do have a planner that’s helps out a lot. It’s probably gonna be the most involved she’s ever been in a wedding. We’re not [saying] “We want it exactly this way,” we’re [saying] “Whatever she thinks.” We did our tasting [and] we were like, “All of this is good, so whatever the chef wants, just be creative, we don’t want to stifle his creativity.”
Where will you and Mike live after you’re married? Are you going to split time between Nashville and Ottawa?
Carrie: Yeah, because his season lasts October to June if they make it through the playoffs, so most of his time is spent in Ottawa. He loves Nashville, so we will be bouncing back and forth quite a bit for a few years and be little nomads wandering about Canada and the U.S., but it’s all good.
I grew up a loner, I am perfectly OK by myself all the time. This will be really good for me, because we get married but things are still a lot the way they were. We both still have our own things to do.
I love having him be so independent. It’s really great. He’s got his thing, I’ve got mine and we love to be together, so it’s good any way you slice it. It will be a good [way] to ease into a super-full-time relationship.
Are you hoping he’s going to get traded to the Nashville Predators?
Carrie: No, I would never [do that]. I was grocery shopping in Ottawa actually and this woman comes up to me and she’s all accusatory, “Are you going to move him? You’re not going to take him away from us, are you?” And I said, “No ma’am, I’m not.”
He’s played for Ottawa for like 10 years, so he loves it there, he’s a part of that community and I’m pretty sure they love him, too. I would never want him to change that for me.
How do you describe him to people that don’t know him? What kind of guy is he?
Carrie: He is a good person. He loves God, he loves his family, he’s good to his mama, he treats me like royalty, he’s really good to me. He’s very understanding. Very rational, which is really important, especially when I’m off all over the place and I’m on this awards show and that photo shoot and everything else.
You need somebody who kind of understands the business. Maybe not be in the business, but sort of understands what’s going on. He gets it, and he’s very supportive and tells me he’s proud of me all the time.
How does your dog, Ace, get along with Mike?
Carrie: Ace and Mike get along all right. There's definitely some tension over who gets my love. For the longest time I called Ace my number one and I might have to change that a little bit. They do get a long very well, it's really sweet.
Mike has developed an attachment to Ace, so it's really nice. They play and run through the house, so it's really sweet to see a big guy and a little 10-pound baby dog running around the house together, cuddling.
How did your appearances on How I Met Your Mother and in the movie Soul Surfer come about and what were those experiences like?
Carrie: The How I Met Your Mother thing just kind of happened. They called us up and said, “Would you be interested?” I couldn't see myself saying, “Oh, I'm not going to sing anymore and I'm going to go into acting and be a serious actress.” I have so much respect for those people. I don't think I could ever do what they do. It's weird, in fact. It's something that I'm learning a lot about. It ended up being a lot of fun.
And this little surfer movie is kind of one that just happened. I remember hearing the story about Bethany Hamilton and they sent us a script and sent us a book. I blazed through the script, it was just incredibly touching and heartfelt.
These people, these family and friends who love Bethany, just have so much faith, and you know that God was going to work things out and now look at all the lives that she's touched. It was something that I was like, “Man, I have to be a part of this.”
We worked and totally rearranged our schedule and I got to go to Hawaii, which wasn't too bad. I did the best job I could and everybody was really nice and patient with me, and understanding that I've never been on a movie set before. Everybody was really great and I'm just so honored that they asked me to be a part of the movie and I ended up being a part of the movie.
Carrie: Pet Adoption Is ‘Right Up My Alley’
Carrie Underwood loves country music and her fiancé, Mike Fisher, not necessarily in that order, but she also loves animals. She recently joined the sixth annual Pedigree Adoption Drive and is starring in a public service announcement for pet adoption with her rescued dog, Ace. During the press conference announcing the partnership, Pedigree presented Carrie with a check for $50,000 to help build an animal shelter in her hometown of Checotah, Okla. The company is also sponsoring her Play On Tour.
Working with Pedigree on the initiative was “right up my alley,” Carrie says. “Animals are a huge part of my life, my existence. I was born overly loving and concerned about animals, so being a part of the adoption drive is wonderful. Maybe a few more doggies will get adopted because of the PSA. You pray that it will have a positive impact on people and that they'll go out and adopt and be good to their little furry friends.”
The shelter in her hometown is “something that area needs,” she says. “Not just my hometown, but that area in general. It's kind of out in the country. People have a different mindset about taking care of their animals. It seems like nobody spays and neuters and that's one of the things that I'm very, very, very passionate about, because if everybody got their dogs spayed and neutered we wouldn't have four million animals getting euthanized in shelters every year. It's not cool.
“We've got to start from the ground up and [get people] doing the little things that they need to be doing,” she says.