The name of this dynamo’s concert tour — ON FIRE — says it all, hands down.The recent accolades are proof positive the career of Miranda Lambert is red-hot — on fire, in fact, as the name of her current tour so aptly suggests. Most recently, she took home the Album of the Year for Four The Record and Female Vocalist of the Year (for the third year in a row) at the 47th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards (ACM). No doubt, the trophy case at the Shelton-Lambert household is heavy, as husband Blake Shelton took home the honor of Male Vocalist of the Year at the ACM and the couple were named Female Vocalist of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year at the last Country Music Association Awards (CMA) as well. Lambert was also awarded Album of the Year for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend in 2008 by ACM and for Revolution in 2010 by both the ACM and the CMA. The Grammys bestowed on her Top Country Female Vocal Performance for “The House That Built Me” in 2011. And if that’s not enough, People magazine named the petite blonde one of the Most Beautiful People of 2009. Quite a heady list of accomplishments for a 28-year-old.
Country music sensation Miranda Lambert got her lucky break at the age of 16 when she entered the True Value Country showdown contest in her hometown of Lindale, Texas (population 5,097). While the talented teenager didn’t win, she sang two of her father’s original songs and thought, “Okay, I like this. I’m pretty good at it, and I might want to pursue this.” And pursue she did.
Influenced by the music of her idols Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard, and Tammy Wynette, she auditioned for the Tammy Wynette musical at Nashville’s famed Ryman Auditorium, the original home of the Grand Ole Opry (the part went to someone with Broadway experience). Her exceptional vocal tone with its Texas twang rooted in Southern soul caught the attention of the judges on Nashville Star, USA Network’s reality show along the lines of American Idol, in 2003. Lambert finished as a third runner-up, and music executives at Epic Records took note and signed the feisty yet confident teen to a record deal. Her debut CD Kerosene sold 1.1 million copies, topped the country charts at No. 1, and her star keeps rising.
Currently Lambert’s On Fire tour is one of the hottest and most sought-after tickets of the year for country fans (many have already sold out). She has toured with country music legends Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, and Keith Urban, and clearly loves life on the road. “Country is different than pop as you tour all year as opposed to six months on and off,” she notes. “Every person on tour I learned something from. My first tour was with Keith Urban and it made me want to step up my game immediately. I learned so much about performance. Keith, Toby, and Kenny were all mentors without knowing. I hope to pass this on.” She occasionally performs with her all-girl band the Pistol Annies (with fellow singer/songwriters Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley) and has received rave reviews.
In a business where most singers rely on the words of others, the young songstress is also a songwriter. Lambert writes from the heart, and at times, about herself. “I try to be honest in my music. It’s more about writing about other people’s problems.” Often her music is culled from stories she heard as a child — both her parents were private investigators — as was the case with her hit Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. “As a songwriter, you can sometimes hide behind the lyrics,” she says. “In Revolution, I feel like I didn’t hold anything back from my fans. I let them in on every aspect of where I’m at in life right now.” Many of her songs hit close to home such as the poignant Over You. Co-written with her husband about his brother who died in a car accident, the song became one of the most popular singles of her career.