Carrie Underwood may be a veteran on stage now, but back when she was getting her start on American Idol, the country crooner was anything but confident.
“Idol was probably the most horrifying thing, because I had never been away from my hometown like that before,” she told Parade magazine in a new interview. “I was in L.A., of all places, by myself, putting myself out there, which is a scary thing for anybody to do. My first plane ride was when I was going out to L.A. alone.”
Underwood, 32, was just 22 years old when she won the singing competition’s fourth season in 2005 (Bo Bice was the runner-up that season).
And even though the Storyteller singer now has seven Grammys under her belt and album sales of 56 million worldwide — making her one of the most successful and enduring Idol winners, alongside season one champ Kelly Clarkson — she admitted that she was bracing to walk away from the competition with a good experience and little else.
“I always kept in my head, ‘If nothing else ever comes of this, I got to do the coolest thing ever and I won American Idol,’” she told the mag. “I was like, ‘Okay, I will just have fun with this and save up as much money as I can and finish school and get a real job.’ Because I am always a practical thinker and would never allow myself to think it would turn out okay all the time.”
The “Before He Cheats” singer, who is mom to Isaiah, 7 months, with husband Mike Fisher, added that despite her superstardom, she still gets nervous during performances.
“I still haven’t figured out how to talk to the audience,” she said. “I just want to sing. I am a little awkward when it comes to speaking, because I am a shy person.”
One thing that does help calm her nerves, she explained, is to have a conversation with herself.
“Talking yourself up is a big thing,” she said. “People might think you are nuts talking to yourself and telling yourself how awesome you are, but it helps to say, ‘I am strong.’”
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