Trisha's Day In The Country

The radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, gestures while delivering a Friday sermon in Iraq in this 2006 file photo. AP Photo/Alaa Al-Marjani

This celebrity profile originally was broadcast Nov. 5, 2000, on CBS News Sunday Morning.
Trisha Yearwood hit fast and big 10 years ago with her hit "She's in Love With the Boy." It was just one of many hits to follow that made this young woman from the rural South one of country music's fastest rising stars. Correspondent Bill Lagattuta reports for CBS News Sunday Morning.
She grew up in Monicello, Ga., a town so small that she compares it to the fictional town of Mayberry on the old Andy Griffith Show.

"It was a small community of people who knew everybody, and I still know everybody when I go home," she says. "Growing up there was about getting your education, going to football games on Friday nights and going to church on Sunday. And that was about it."

So hers was definitely not the cliched background often associated with country music - no one-room house. She wasn't poor. She didn't suffer abuse or any real heartache.

But she loved to sing. And, interestingly enough, the pop icons of the '70s, were major influences, including the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor. But that's not to say that she didn't love country music, especially that of Patsy Kline.

When it came to choosing a profession, Yearwood was torn, because her practical side favored a career as a banker or an accountant, like her father's.

"I was good with numbers, and I liked details, and I thought, 'That's what I'll do,'" she recalls. "And I was miserable."

But Yearwood found a way to take care of the numbers and the music. She did study business, but she chose a small college in Nashville.

"I just knew that I had to get to Nashville," she explains. "I just...from about 14, 15 years old on, I thought, 'That's where the music I want to make is being made. I've got to find a way there.'"

In Nashville, she found work singing background sessions and became known for her voice and for her reliability.

Soon Yearwood provided the opening act for her friend, a rising young star named Garth Brooks. She got respect, and she got a good producer named Garth Fundis.

"She's a pretty remarkable lady," says Fundis. "There weren't that many people, or record labels, who believed females could sell records. Not very many booking agents believed females could sell tickets. It just wasn't the norm. And I think Trisha was kind of the front end of that. I always felt she would be the exception. She would make a difference."

Yearwood has sold more than 13 million albums and received all the major country music honors. She is a lot more than a one-hit wonder. She's an industry.

"There's still a lot of people (who) think that all country music songs...are sad and depressing drinking songs," she says. "You know, there's all those jokes about pickup trucks and dogs and mamas and trains...and that you can't listeto a country song unless you're sitting on a bale of hay, you know, and there are these requirements."

Not for Yearwood. At a recent photo shoot for a fashion magazine, her brand of country is more big style than big hair, and she offers no apologies.

"If you put down your list of 10 favorite fantasies, you know, most women would say, 'I'd love to have somebody...do my hair and makeup, and dress up in designer clothes, and have an Italian photographer take my picture.' You know, it's a fun element of what I do," she says.

Fun now, but not always easy. Yearwood has made no secret of her struggle with her weight. It is that "everywoman" quality that she projects in her album, Real Live Woman. In the title song, she tells women that they don't have to starve themselves to be accepted, and they don't have to let Hollywood tell them how they have to look.

Is that Yearwood's personal philosophy?

"Absolutely," says Yearwood. "Yeah I mean, I'm not sitting here, a size 2, saying, 'Accept yourself the way you are.' You know, I struggle with that, 'cause I'm in an industry that's very much about image. I mean, anything that's in the public eye is that way."

"Hollywood (has)...cornered the market on image," she says. "But country music has really latched onto that."

"And it's always been about image, and I understand the importance," she adds. "I want to look good on my album covers. I want people to find me visually appealing in videos. And I understand that you can look beautiful and not go to drastic measures to do it."

"Real Live Woman" was the first song she chose for the album. "I loved what it had to say about not only accepting yourself the way you are, but celebrating that and focusing on...things that are more important than what we look like, and what people think of us, and making everybody happy all the time," explains Yearwood. "And it was a real powerful statement, and it just seemed the perfect title for the album, because it's what I aspire to be...that..that song."

Now at the top of her game, Yearwood is enjoying her life and work. But it hasn't been without cost. She recently ended her second marriage to a bass guitarist from the Mavericks. Her marriages had trouble surviving her schedule.

"I was very stubborn 10 years ago, and I thought, 'Yeah, you can have it all.' And I'm not sure you can do it all," she explains. "I think that music was really...it...for me. And it still is."

"But I think now, if I'm ever in a relationship again, it will have a place that is more proper. You know...it can still be important, and it can still be who I am, because it defines who I am, for sure. But it can have its proper place."

As far as her fans are concerned, the proper place for her music is near the top of the charts.

"I love to sing. I love to find a song and make it mine," Yearwood says. "Ad it's really that simple," she says. "And that is what I remember when I'm tired, or when my voice is gone."

"I have those days where I just think, 'I don't want to get up today and do this.' But I do love the music. I do love what I do," she adds.


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