Four-time CMA Female Vocalist of the Year Martina McBride will release her latest album, "Everlasting," on April 8. The collection marks a definite departure from country music as the powerhouse singer covers soul and R&B classics, including "At Last," "What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted" and "(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman." Martina sat down recently for an interview with PBS late-night talk show host Tavis Smiley to talk about why soul and R&B music resonates with her and why some of the songs she recorded for the new project tackle a subject to which she can't necessarily relate. (Watch the interview below and a preview of the new album above.)
"For me it's about the emotion, about the lyric," Martina says of the tunes she chose for the album. "I've realized that these songs are so kind of in the moment. It's just conversational ... I'm expressing my feelings, and I think in a way that's a similar thing to country music, in that it has, just the lyrics have so much emotion."
Martina worked with legendary producer Don Was on the new album and explains that she endeavored to record songs that felt natural to her, even if she couldn't always completely relate to their themes.
"There's a couple songs that are about trust and lack of trust," she notes. "We covered 'If You Don't Know Me By Now' and 'Suspicious Minds.' I've been married for almost 26 years, and that’s not an issue that we deal with."
In terms of her career, the multi-platinum singer believes that with the success she's had since her 1992 debut album and hits such as "I Love You" and "Independence Day," her expectations have certainly been exceeded.
"If you can have 10 great years, that's really amazing," she says. "So to be having done this for twice that long is just ... I’m very blessed."
Martina adds, however, that it's a tough time for women in country music these days.
"There were some really great records that were made last year. Kacey Musgraves just won the Grammy for her album and Ashley Monroe made a great country record. I think there's a theme right now in country music, sort of a trend that is more about trucks," she says with a laugh. "I don’t know, just like a male-oriented subject matter that I think that we have a hard time as females sort of finding. I don't know what I'd do with that kind of trend. I couldn't really fit in and find music that fit in like that."
Martina will be touring with songs from the new album and notes that she'll be taking a horn section on the road with her. See a list of her tour dates here. "Everlasting" is available to pre-order here and will be in stores and at online retailers April 8.