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Star-Bulletin Features

Thursday, June 29, 2000


Country music superstar
Trisha Yearwood's just trying
to be a regular gal

By Tim Ryan


YOU would think a country music superstar would have parties to go to and costume designers, fellow musicians and producers to meet.

Not Trisha Yearwood, who performs Monday at Pearl Harbor's Richardson Field. In the middle of a grueling four-month, 80 performance tour, the singing superstar is at her Memphis home for the first time in a month and talking about how much laundry she has to do, and how she has to take her beloved 12-year-old German Shepherd-Chow dog to the vet.

"I'm enjoying every minute of this," says Yearwood, 35. "I'm looking forward to folding my clothes too."

Yearwood is the country phenom who struck platinum on her first album a decade ago, the first time a debut country record had done that. But Yearwood dismisses the feat.

"These days if you don't sell a million records the first time out they cancel your contract," she said. "I was just very lucky."

Nine albums later, Yearwood still hasn't had to worry about her contract being nixed. Her latest release, "Real Live Woman," continues to partner sterling vocals with honest and challenging material. The album features country, folk, rock and pop.

"This album is more organic, earthy, may not be as slick or polished as much of what I've done in the past," she said.

But not repeating herself artistically is a code Yearwood strictly follows.

"After the success of the first album there was this incredible pressure over No. 2, 'Hearts In Armor,' " Yearwood said. "But I knew you can never top yourself.

"So we took a very big left turn; didn't try to make an album like the first. And it was accepted by the public, getting us over the hump."

Growing up in rural Monticello, Ga., a love of music and the dream of performing led Yearwood to Nashville where she studied at Belmont College, worked as a record label receptionist, and later a tour guide at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Working at the radio station was a way for Yearwood to learn the music business.

There was no big break but "a series of small things." In college Yearwood met a songwriter who needed a singer to record a tape. That gave her something she could take around to Nashville producers which led to more session work.

"My voice began being heard all over town," she said.

In 1990, Yearwood signed with MCA Nashville which shortly thereafter released her debut single "She's in Love With the Boy" which quickly hit No. 1

Since then, Yearwood has had seven albums, three Grammy Awards, multiple Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music Awards and an American Music Award.

In her little spare time, Yearwood loves to cook -- her best recipes are spaghetti sauce and Southern potato salad -- watch old films and just hang out at home.

Her dreams include performing in a Broadway play, singing a duet with Linda Ronstadt, and recording a big band album, and working toward those goals hasn't left any time for love.

"The longest relationship I've ever had is with my dog, who's sleeping on my bed right now," she said. "But I'm at that age where I'm evaluating my whole life and really need to be alone for a while."

Professional success hasn't changed Yearwood's performing style.

"I love interacting with the audience," she said. "It's like a night of hanging out talking, with some songs thrown in.

"I've learned that audiences really aren't much different," she said. "You do what you do and people accept it or they don't. We don't know what it's like to play in Hawaii but we'll do our show and just hope the people enjoy it."

In concert

Bullet Who: Trisha Yearwood
Bullet Where: Richardson Field, Pearl Harbor
Bullet When: 5 p.m. Monday; gates open at 3 p.m.
Bullet Tickets: $25-$30 in advance; $30-$35 day of concert; free for children under 6
Bullet Call: 473-2434

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