Carrie Underwood’s Blown Away Summer

Originally published in the June 10, 2013 issue of Country Weekly magazine featuring Carrie on the cover.

Carrie Underwood is practically giddy. 

Just moments before speaking with Country Weekly, the official word came out that she would be the new voice and face of the NBC Sunday Night Football musical opening when the NFL returns in September. “Yes, that happened!” says Carrie, who is currently nominated at this month’s CMT Music Awards for her videos “Two Black Cadillacs” and “Blown Away.” It will be a thrilling way to conclude her summer—one that will see the singer taking a little time off from playing shows, opening her Blown Away Tour exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and starting to rehearse for her role as Maria von Trapp in the upcoming television production of The Sound of Music.

So without question, Carrie is a busy woman, trying to balance the demands of her musical career with spending time with her equally busy husband, Nashville Predators star Mike Fisher. So how on earth did NBC get her to sing their song? “Well, they asked,” she says dryly, noting that it was pretty much a no-brainer for her to sign on since she’s a lifelong football fan.

“I mean, I’m a football girl, totally,” she adds. “Grew up—every Sunday, every Monday, we were just all about football. So for me to be a part of Sunday Night Football is going to make it even more fun, make it even more special.”

And while these days Carrie roots for different teams based on the players or the matchup, it certainly wasn’t always that way. “I grew up a 100 percent [Dallas] Cowboys fan,” she recalls. “My room was blue and gray and I had Cowboys pillows and posters of Troy Aikman on my wall—he’s an Oklahoma boy! So they were my favorite.”

When it comes to the SNF opening theme, Carrie will be singing the same song—“Been Waiting All Day for Sunday Night,” set to the melody of Joan Jett’s “I Hate Myself for Loving You.” But it won’t be a straight remake of what Faith Hill previously did. “It’s the same general song and lyrics, but we definitely have been working on putting my spin on it,” she insists. “It’s gonna look different, it’s gonna sound different. It’s gonna be me.”

But before that happens, Carrie is wrapping up her yearlong, globe-spanning Blown Away Tour, which played an impressive 112 dates since it launched last summer. And for the first time in quite a while, Carrie will have a little free time to unwind and start preparing for all the exciting things she has in the works, including a trip back to the Opry (see sidebar). “We’ve spent so much time on the road, I feel like we’ve all forgotten about our families,” she says. “I’m sad it’s coming to an end but I’m excited, too, to be able to spend some time recharging the old batteries and getting to hang out with my family and getting to relax a little bit. [We have a] couple vacations planned. I haven’t taken a vacation in a couple years, so I’m excited.”

Carrie won’t say specifically where, but she does say that one trip is a girls’ getaway with her friends from college, and another (to somewhere “abroad,” she hints) is just for her and Mike. She points out that, when she does have a chance to travel, she prefers the beach to anything else. “There’s still a lot of places I’d love to see,” she says. “Beach and wine country are my two favorite types of vacations. Getting nice and golden brown on a sandy beach is really nice. Being able to hang out with friends and drink some good wine is also a favorite.”

At this point, Carrie has toured Europe enough that people tend to recognize her when she’s on vacation, particularly in tourist areas. But she does still like when she can get out and just blend in with the crowd. “I don’t expect people to recognize me, nor am I upset when they don’t,” she says. “It’s fun to just be a wife, traveling with her husband, and be able to go out to restaurants and nobody look at you twice.”

Once she’s had a chance to recharge, Carrie will start preparing for the iconic role of Maria von Trapp, whom she will portray in NBC’s upcoming live TV version of The Sound of Music. “As soon as I’m off the road, I really want to buckle down and start working on my script,” she notes. “There will be some different acting people that I really want to work with. Because I really want to do this role justice and I’m so excited about it. But it’s also really scary and I want to be really prepared, as much as possible.”

Carrie plans to work with a vocal coach to help her sing less like herself and actually become Maria. “As an artist I have ‘isms’ that will probably help, when I’m singing musical-style, to be able to turn those off and play a character,” she explains. “I’m excited to get that opportunity to learn more about music and switch gears for a second and give myself a challenge.” She predicts that when fall rolls around, she’ll be living in New York for a couple months and spending every day working on this project.

When the two of them can be home together, Carrie will spend her time with Mike. “We grill out with friends and have fun. Just kind of hanging around,” she relates. “If there’s some kind of sporting event on TV, we’re watching that.” The couple is also planning to begin work this summer on a new house. “Mike really enjoys doing stuff out at our property, which we will be hopefully starting building on,” Carrie says. “So that’s another thing that we have going on this year, is starting to build different parts of our future home. He enjoys getting on the tractor and doing stuff out there.”

Interestingly, when Carrie returns from a tour, she also likes to go wild—and handle all her household chores. “There’s always lots of stuff to do around the house when I get off the road,” she explains. “I feel like I spend a lot of time putting my life back in order. Hanging my clothes back up so I don’t have to live out of a suitcase. Fixing things around the house that need fixing.”

It’s a funny image, Carrie walking around with spackle or a drill and going into HGTV mode on her home. It also sounds surprisingly domestic and down-to-earth for such a big star. “‘Carrie does her own laundry!’” she says, acknowledging the strangeness of the visual with a laugh. “Yes! I like it. I feel like a person. It’d be really easy to forget and expect everyone to do everything for you, and that’s not the kind of person I want to be. When I come home, I enjoy my little spring-cleaning sessions.”

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