Martina McBride naturally wears the word "approachable" so easily. I've been fortunate enough to knock back a cup of coffee with the country star at Mad Donna's, one of our mutual favorite Nashville eateries, and talk music and fashion with her at our own Us Weekly parties.
As I never like to go too long without speaking to her, I caught up with the married mother of three daughters earlier this month to discuss what inspired her most recent album, 2009's Shine, her charitable partnership with Cheerios, and our mutual friend, Kid Rock.
UsMagazine.com: I still love listening to Shine!
Martina McBride: You know, it is a creative vision and you have to come up with new stuff. Sometimes you run out of ideas, just like if you are a writer or whatever. Then you just have to wait around for something to inspire you or look for something to inspire you.
Us: Where do you usually find inspiration?
MM: It's different. It can be about someone else. It can be something with my kids, something I see on TV. There is really no one thing.
Us: You worked with Kid Rock and T.I. on a single recently. What are they like?
MM: I don't know T.I., we did not actually record together, but of course Kid Rock is quite the character. He's great; we've been friends for about three or four years. I got to work with him in studio on this project and it was great!
Us: You and your husband [sound engineer John McBride] have been married for 22 years. Most people cannot stay together for 22 months. Do you have any advice on relationships?
MM: I think it's important to find someone that you really like as well as love. When the infatuation runs out, the first phase of the relationship changes. You really have to be able to say 'I like to hang out with you. Let's keep hanging out.' And mutual respect, [you need] someone who is a good partner. It's really just got lucky.
Us: What do you like to do when you hang out?
MM: We love to read, go to movies or out to dinner — just boring stuff. We don't hang glide or parachute. [laughs]
Us: Well, spill on what you're reading lately!
MM: I am reading a book right now by Anna Quindlen called Every Last One, that's good. I read The Help which I really loved.
Us: Many people say you started the pop country genre. How do you feel about new artists in the genre, like Taylor Swift?
MM: Well, it's flattering. I think we definitely did a lot of music that is that pop county. It's funny because I was raised on the really traditional country. I did a record called Timeless that really paid tribute to that traditional country; but for the most part my albums are more pop country. It's always changing. And there have always been people who cross over, you know Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. There have been certain kinds of country music that have always crossed boundaries.
Us: So, what's this charity project you're doing with Cheerios?
MM: It's an initiative to raise awareness for heart health. Having three daughters, it is important for me to set a good example and teach them to make decisions that are healthy for your heart no matter what age you are. [Heart disease] is the number one killer in America. We started a contest called "Do What You Love" and you can go to cheerios.com/love and write about what you love to do, what moves you, what inspires you. What you put your heart into — your passion — and also what you are doing to take care of your heart, so you can take care of it for a long time. We choose a winner from there to come hang out with me in Nashville and go to the recording studio.
Us: If you were writing your own submission, what would you say?
MM: I obviously love to sing, it's my passion, as is being a mom. Those are the two things that pretty much consume my every day and so I want to keep doing that as long as I can. So what I do to take care of my heart is exercise and try to eat healthy.
Us: You are obviously in good shape. What is your diet and fitness plan?
MM: Really it's just trying to make healthy choices. Everything is moderation, really. I don't really deprive myself of anything. But I try to balance it with healthy food choices. I am not real fond of exercise, so I try to get away with as little as possible which is about thirty minutes three times a week and I do a little weight training and cardio.
Us: Do you have a diet plan?
MM: No. I just think it's about feeling good. I always tell my three daughters, it's not about the number on the scale, it's how you feel. You know you are going to feel better if you eat healthier. We don't eat a lot of fast food or fried food, but I do use a lot of cheese when I cook!
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