Carrie Underwood Hits Her Stride At CMA Music Festival

Carrie Underwood remembers when she first performed to thousands of country fans at the coveted Country Music Association’s Music Festival in Nashville.

It was June 2005, which is exactly 10 years ago this month.

Photo: Al Wagner/Invision/AP
At LP Field at the CMA Music Festival in Nashville, Tenn.

Fresh off an American Idol win, Underwood said her first big Nashville stage show was a madhouse. “It was a chaotic, with cameras flashing and a gazillion fans,” Underwood said.

But her main worry was remembering the words to the song she was performing on stage.

“I was singing with Phil Vassar a song I did not know,” Underwood said. “I was like, ‘Oh Lord, don’t let me screw up the words.’ We somehow pulled it off OK.”

Now a decade later, Underwood has seven Grammy awards and 20 No. 1 singles under her belt.

She’s a wife, a new mom, and a bona fide super star.

Underwood said her pregnancy allowed her to slow down and focus on new music instead of touring.

“I spent a lot of time writing and listening to new songs,” Underwood said. “I feel like now we’re on the right track and in a really good place.”

Before her sold-out performance at the 2015 CMA Music Festival Saturday night, Underwood admitted she was a bit nervous. It was her first big stadium show since giving birth to her son, Isaiah, back in February.

But when she hit the stage with her hit “Blown Away,” there was no sign of nerves. Strutting in her bejeweled hot-pants and matching vest, Underwood brought her fans to their feet, even asking them to get sassy before jumping into the song, “Undo it.”

Underwood slowed things down but still held the crowd’s attention with the emotional “Something in the Water,” off last year’s Greatest Hits: Decade #1 release. She ended her seven-song set by bringing down the house with a resounding, “Before He Cheats.”

In the crowd, and on their feet, were three-generations of Underwood fans. Jessica Gallegos, her mother and daughter drove to Nashville from Murphysboro, Illinois. Gallegos, who’s been to every CMA show for the past 10 years, met a very nervous Carrie Underwood back in 2005 at a fan function. “She was so nice and down to earth,” Gallegos said. “I knew she was going to grow and be fantastic when I first saw her on Idol.”

What’s next? Underwood said for this next chapter in her life anything is possible. “I don’t know what to expect for the next 10 years. As long as I enjoy what I’m doing, I call that winning,” Underwood said. “I will go where the road takes me.”