Country star Martina McBride to make stop at O.C. Fair

Contemporary country singer Martina McBride returns this month to the Orange County Fair in support of her latest album, "Eleven."

McBride's "One Night" tour has been making stops at arenas and intimate theaters since the album's release in October. On Aug. 10, it stops by the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa for an 8:15 p.m. show.


The set list is slated to run 75 minutes to two hours and will include a mixture of hits, covers and cuts from "Eleven," according to McBride.

She rose to stardom in the late 1990s with the release of her traditional and country-crossover staples, including "Independence Day," "Safe in the Arms of Love," "Happy Girl," "Broken Wing," "Wild Angels" and her later hit, "In My Daughter's Eyes."


The singer-songwriter and avid pianist boasts four Country Music Assn. Awards for Female Vocalist of the Year, three Academy of Country Music Female Vocalist awards, a Grammy win, and appearances on TV shows such as "Divas," "The Today Show,""20/20,""American Idol" and "Dancing with the Stars."

And to top it off, McBride has never had any formal vocal training.

But after two decades of widespread success in the music industry, she is starting fresh.

When her longtime contract with RCA Records expired in 2010, McBride signed a record deal with Republic Nashville, took on new management with Clint Higham of Morris Artists Management, and found a new co-producer, Byron Gallimore.


"It just felt like it was time after 18 years to really take out some people that maybe saw my career a little bit differently," McBride said in a phone interview. "Sometimes when you're with someone for a long time, it's nice to just shake it up a little bit and work with a new producer."

She added that she's very proud of "Eleven."

"It's a little bit of a different sound for me," McBride said. "It's the most personal record I've ever done."

The record gave McBride a chance to venture out of her comfort zone and hone her songwriting skills. In fact, McBride wrote six of the 11 songs — the most she's written on a single album, she said.

"Instead of turning down invitations to write, I started accepting invitations to write and really just started exploring what I had to say," she said. "It was really a great thing. I really enjoyed it and I plan on taking that approach more often."

McBride co-wrote her debut single "Teenage Daughters" with Brad and Brett Warren as a reflection on parenthood.

"[The song] was mostly about my 17-year-old," McBride said. "It's just really about the journey as a parent. It's not really about her so much as it is about the evolution of that relationship and how you go from telling them what they are going to wear and what they are going to eat.

"You kind of go from being the center of their universe. The role changes really to becoming more of an advisor. They're out doing their own thing and making their own decisions, and it really brings into focus your journey as a person, your mortality and all of that stuff.


"So it's just a trip. It's just really relatable to a lot of people, I think."

Her follow-up top 10 single, "I'm Gonna Love You Through It," which is an account of a mother's struggles after being diagnosed with breast cancer, wasn't written by McBride, but she handpicked the piece.

"I chose that song because I felt like there were a lot of people that would hear that song and it would bring them some inspiration or hope, maybe give them words to say that they didn't know how to say," she said. "When I sing it, I just focus on the hope of the song. The song was written from a real-life story, so I think it has a lot of truth and honesty, and I like that about it."

Aside from touring and promoting the new album, McBride is also involved with a number of outside projects, including E!'s "Opening Act," which premiered July 9. The show gives undiscovered talent a chance to open up this summer for the biggest names in music.

"Having been an opening act myself, I understand the importance of that and what it means and how exciting it is," McBride said.

She will also star in a PBS concert special hosted by Neil Patrick Harris: "From Dust To Dreams: Opening Night at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts," which airs at 9 p.m. Sept. 21.

"[During the special,] I got to sing with Carole King and Pat Monahan from Train," she said. "It was just a wonderful night of music."

But more than anything, McBride's foremost desire is to keep making records and continue touring.

"I've pretty much achieved my dream," she said. "My mission is to make people feel something, to make people happy, to make people think, let people escape from their problems for three and a half minutes, and make people focus on their life in a different way or inspire someone. It's just to make people feel something. I think that's what great music does."

Twitter: @TheDailyPilot

If You Go

What: Martina McBride

When: 8:15 p.m. Aug. 10

Where: Pacific Amphitheatre, 100 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa

Tickets: Start at $25, and include free fair admission