Trisha Yearwood admits that the world is a little bit different than it was when she first hit the country scene in 1991 with “She’s In Love With The Boy.” Now that political season is underway, she feels that difference more than ever.
“It’s interesting that everything is so social media-driven now,” Yearwood tells Billboard. “You get asked to comment on things that you never would comment on. But in your circle at home, having a glass of wine, you talk about those things. My statement is that everyone seems angry, and we’re basing so many things on fear. If we don’t understand it, we’re scared, and we slam it. Everything is so polarizing. The answer to me lies somewhere in the middle.”
Yearwood prefers to keep focused on what she does best, and she’s doing that quite well these days, in a way that she never has before. This week, the singer moves to No. 20 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary charts with “Broken,” a track from the FOX presentation of The Passion, that aired in March. The ballad is a remake of Lifehouse‘s No. 7 Adult Pop Songs hit in 2008. It’s her highest appearance on the charts ever — and her first time on the AC charts since 2006’s Trying to Love You.
She says that the success of the track has been an amazing feat because it wasn’t planned.
“When I originally signed on to do it, there wasn’t even a soundtrack yet. Then it went from that to ‘Let’s make a soundtrack and it will make sense to have all of these different artists represented. But there was no talk of anything being a single,” Yearwood says. “Then ‘Broken’ emerged as this song that people were responding to, so they asked if they could make it a focus track. I was happy for that, then I got a call that it was on the Christian charts, and they wanted to send it to AC radio. I thought ‘Really?’ Then, I found out this week that it had made the top 20.”
Taking on the role of Mary in the show proved to be a challenge, but Yearwood said that she feels that the entire team rose to the occasion. “Anytime you tackle a religious story, you are going to be criticized from one side or another, if not both. I was worried about how it was going to be presented, and I was so happy that they stayed true to the scripture. I grew up in the church and thought it was well done. At the same time, it gave the story a modern take for young people, especially, so they could relate.”
Yearwood stated that doing The Passion enabled her to give fans a look at her spiritual side, which she is proud of. “For me, it was the fact that I was raised in the church. I’m a Christian. Even though I’m pretty private about my faith, and don’t wear it on my sleeve, it’s there. I’ve been going to church every Sunday since I was a little kid. I sat and listened to the Easter story a million times and I don’t remember as a young person getting emotional. But playing the role of Mary and seeing a physical person go through the physical things that you’ve read about in the Bible, for me singing ‘Broken at the foot of the cross’ after my son has been crucified, you can’t even begin to describe the emotion.”
Though TV shows and specials with a spiritual tone might not be considered hip or trendy, Yearwood said she feels there is still a market for events such as The Passion among today’s viewers. “No matter what people say, I think that everyone is looking for searching for something. My whole premise in doing it was that it wasn’t religious propaganda to try to get you to think a certain way. This was about believing in something bigger than yourself and loving one another, and those are themes that everyone needs to hear right now.”
Emotions are also running high on the road for Yearwood, as she says she is having the time of her life out on tour with husband Garth Brooks. “It’s definitely different, especially when you start a show and you’re 26 years old, but now you’re 51. We wake up a little slower the next day. I think that’s the flip side of getting older — you just appreciate the opportunity. On this tour, Garth has basically destroyed all the records when he toured in 1998. I was telling him last night, ‘Do you realize that nobody in any genre of music is doing what you’re doing right now?’ Everybody that is on the tour feels so lucky because we’re part of something that we’re probably never going to see again.”
That’s not the only project that the couple is working on. It appears that long-awaited Christmas album that has been rumored between the two is going to be a reality this year. “We’re just finishing that up, with wrapping up vocals and mixing at the same time, so it will be turned in to be out in time for this Christmas. It’s the first official duet album for us, so we thought Christmas made the best sense.”