Carrie Underwood Debuts First Album

Carrie Underwood
CBS
Growing up in rural Oklahoma, Carrie Underwood, "American Idol 2005" says she enjoyed things like playing on dirt roads, climbing trees, and, of course, singing. While her last hobby has taken her far beyond her country days, Underwood remains loyal to her roots.

"The country music community has really embraced me because America has voted in one of their own," Underwood tells CBSNews.com.

Singing the country tunes she was best known for on "American Idol," Underwood is currently debuting her first album, "Some Hearts." The first single is "Jesus, Take the Wheel," which struck a chord with Underwood because "it tells a great story." While Underwood doesn't believe her writing chops are good enough yet to write songs for the album, songwriting is something she is interested in.

Unlike former "American Idol" winner Kelly Clarkson, subject to a scolding from Simon Cowell for not letting her songs be used by new contestants on the show, Underwood says she would be "quite honored" if contestants chose to sing her songs.

"I don't know what Kelly Clarkson's reasons were, but I know what the process is like to get the songs cleared." 'American Idol' must obtain permission from owners of song licenses before the music can be used on the show."

While Clarkson said in an interview with The Associated Press last year that she doesn't want people to only focus on her "American Idol" status, Underwood is embracing it for now.

"I'm proud to carry the title of 'American Idol,'" Underwood says. "I'd like it to last as long as it can."

So, how does this former country girl spend her days now?

She's currently trying to figure out tour schedules, and plan for the rest of the year. "It's been a lot of work, getting people to know your album is out there."

She stays in touch with "American Idol" contestants Lindsey Cardinal and Anthony Federov, and, of course, still finds time to watch "American Idol."

"I watched the first episode! I'm looking forward to seeing when people get narrowed down. I know how nervous they all are. I think it's awesome a show can be on top for so long," Underwood says.

By MELISSA McNAMARA