2011 album from the Country vocalist, her 11th album overall. The breadth of Martina's talents as recording artist, producer, songwriter, and concert entertainer has made her an in-demand performer and personality. Eleven features some of Martina's most personal songs to date, with the powerhouse vocalist penning six of the 11 tracks. While dabbling with songwriting in the past, Martina's newfound passion is evident in these songs, giving fans a deeper look into her reality.
After two decades in the music business, Martina McBride is starting over. Now signed to Republic Nashville, with new management (Clint Higham of Morris Artists Management), a new co-producer (Byron Gallimore), newly-spotlighted songwriting skills (she penned over half the songs on Eleven, her new CD), and a brand new spirit of accomplishment, Martina is swinging into high gear. And she couldn't be more thrilled. "It really feels like starting over for me -- but with a track record and with the success and experience I've had over the years," she explains. "I feel more mature and more confident, which comes with knowing yourself better. And there are a lot of opportunities now that I haven't had in a long time."
When her longtime contract with RCA Records expired in 2010, Martina revved up for new challenges ahead. "There comes a time when you have to step back and say, I need something different," she says. "It was a risk, but you have to do what feels right." After weighing her options, Martina decided to join two year-old Republic Nashville, part of the Big Machine Records family of labels. "We had a couple of offers that were really great," she notes, "but what really drew me in the end was Scott Borchetta and his reputation. When I met with him and his staff, their enthusiasm and passion for music were so evident -- not only for the business but for the music. I really got the feeling that they get up every day and say, `Wow! We get to be in the music business!" They have an innovative approach and such positive energy. It's contagious and something I wanted to be a part of."
It was Big Machine's CEO Borchetta who planted the seeds for another Martina first: recording outside Nashville. "When I'm at home, I wear a lot of hats," she says. "I get to be a musician part time, but I'm a mom first, and I only get to focus on music a few hours every day. I thought Scott showed a lot of insight when he suggested I go somewhere else to record the new CD. It was a respectful way to say, `You need to focus on the music if this album is really important to you."
With co-producer Byron Gallimore and a seasoned group of Nashville musicians in tow, Martina headed down to Atlanta's Southern Tracks studio in January of 2011 to begin work on Eleven. The start of the sessions coincided with an ice storm that shut the city down. "There was nothing to do there but make music," she laughs. "We couldn't go shopping, we couldn't go out to eat. Every day we'd slide across the parking lot from the hotel and work in the studio making music all day." The singer made sure to break the studio time up with trips back to Nashville to see her daughters, but being away from home for several days at a clip let her totally focus on the recording.
Perhaps the most significant aspect of Eleven is the fact that Martin herself co-wrote six of the 11 tracks on the album, something she's especially proud of..
"I love songwriters, and I'm not an artist who thinks I have to write everything I record. But people were encouraging me to write and songwriters seemed to want to write with me, so I just decided to really focus and see what came of it. And because of that, this record shows a lot of different sides of my personality. I think it peels back a layer and let's people see more of my personality, especially the playful and fun side."
As for the superstar herself, she's frankly exhilarated by the chance to experience what she calls first-time opportunities the second time around. In a career that's already taken her to breathtaking heights (four CMA Female Vocalist of the Year trophies, three ACM Female Vocalist awards, a GRAMMY win, numerous national magazine covers and features, and appearances on such shows as VH1's "Divas," "TODAY Show," "20/20," "American Idol" and "Dancing with the Stars"), Martina is ready to take it up a notch with the help of her new label.