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Kellie Pickler Q&A

Country star calls Diablo for a chat about her show at the Peppermill on July 3—enter to win tickets and a two night package

Looking for a great getaway for the 4th of July weekend? Our friends at the Peppermill Resort in Reno are offering a terrific prize package: a lucky Diablo reader will win a Peppermill Prize Package: Two nights in the resort's Tuscany Tower, a $100 dining credit, a $75 credit towards Spa Toscana, and two reserved tickets to see country-pop star Kellie Pickler's concert on July 3.

Fill out the form at the end of this story to be entered in our random drawing. Meanwhile, Pickler checked in with Diablo from her tour—here's what we talked about:

Kellie, nice to speak to you—where are you today?

I’m in Colorado at Grand Junction. We’re at the big country music festival, Country Jam USA. We are performing with Lady Antebellum tonight, I go on in a couple of hours.

We're giving away a couple of tickets to your concert in Reno on July 3—wondered if you could let our readers know a bit about your live show?

Sure! We’ll be doing songs from the first three albums, but I have a new album out now, so we are throwing in a bunch of new songs also. We’re excited for everyone to hear the new music.

You’ve had such success with these reality TV competition shows—American Idol and Dancing With the Stars—what kind of response do you get from people who recognize you from those shows?

It’s interesting, I love country music, and American Idol introduced me to the country music world. It was the rocket that launched my career in Nashville. But being a part of Dancing With the Stars opened me up and introduced me to completely different demographic. Its been interesting to have the new fans who watched me compete on Dancing meet all the country music lovers.

Your live shows let audiences see you in person, and connect on a more intimate level than the way people see you on television.

I love when we are able to break things down, make things more simple and do our own concert. It’s a longer set, obviously, so we can do 75-90 minutes, which is a lot different. I love the intimate setting, I love being able to tell stories in between songs, explain how songs came about. It makes it more personal, and people get me to know me better as a person.

I’m a big Dolly Parton fan, and read that you had an opportunity to meet her at a young stage in your career.
I was so blessed to be able to meet her earluy on in my career. She's a very intelligent woman, very wise. She’s the sharpest knife in the drawer. The influence she had on me growing up was huge; she’s a big reason why I fell in love with country music.

I always thought it was fascinating to put her life in the form of a song, and sing about it every night. And help people, she’s helped so many people through her music. We all have those songs that we run to in our life, whether we are celebrating the good times or trying to get through the bad times.

I’ve always loved her, and admired her work ethic and just the person that she is. She is just an amazing asset to music.

What was the album or song that made you fell in love with music?
My grand parents had a big part in raising me and that’s kind of why I grew up on that tradition. The first song I ever learned was Hank Sr., “My Bucket’s Got a Hole In It”. I love Hank and Waylon and Merle and Johnny and June. Tammy Wynette is another woman in country music that has just influenced me. I hate that I never had the opportunity to meet her, she passed away long before I moved to Nashville and started my country life. I’ve always been fascinated by that era of music, and that’s all I listened to growing up.

Did you grow up with vinyl records?
Oh yeah, my grandmother, when she passed away, I was given her record player and her record collection—all of her vinyl. I started collecting them

One thing that I am really excited about, is that my new album, The Woman I Am, we just put that on vinyl. It was really exciting to have a vinyl record with my name on it that I can put in my record collection, with all of my favorite albums.

There is something so tangible about holding a vinyl record, or flipping it over to hear the B-side.
Uh huh. And the quality is different. Of course, being able to download your favorite songs whenever you want is convenient, but the sound is not the same. The thing about vinyl records, they almost create this live sound, like the artists are in your home.

I like having the music tangible. I like reading all the lyrics and reading who wrote each song and who played on each song. I feel like you get more for your money.

Country music has let you travel all over the country. Can you talk about touring a little?
It has been wonderful. I grew up in a small town in North Carolina—I had never been on an airplane, I had never really been anywhere before American Idol. So, when I got in line for American Idol at 19th and Green in Greensboro, NC, I was just chasing a dream like everyone else. I’m just blessed to have my dreams become a reality. And in the midst of all of that, wonderful things have happened

One of my biggest passions was traveling. I always wanted to get out of my small town and see as much of the world as I can. There is so much about being alive and living, while I’m alive, I want to meet as many people as I can. I want to embrace every culture and religion and grow as a person. We need to step out of our comfort zones, we all have our own little fishbowl, but I want to swim in the ocean.

I’ve been blessed to get to work with the USO and visit our servicemen and women overseas. I spent this past Christmas in Afghanistan. It was life changing and eye opening. I have a much greater understanding about what sacrifices these people are making when you get to see it first hand.

I was just having lunch with a hunch of travel writers and having a very interesting conversation about coral reefs in remote parts of Micronesia. What’s the furthest you’ve ever been from your hometown, a place you woke up and thought, “I can’t believe I’m here.”

I definitely had that feeling doing the USO tours in the Middle East. You wake up in a bunker and it's like "Wow!"

I never thought when I got in line for American Idol that I’d be in the Middle East. I was just in Australia in March, we went there on tour. It was just amazing. They were big country music fans, wonderful people. I’ve been blessed to travel to so many places, but there’s so much more to see. I can’t slow down!