Reba McEntire might have one of the longest careers in country music, but she is still learning from the younger generation of artists. The 64-year-old is taking plenty of notes from the female rising stars of today, who continue to inspire McEntire.
"I always learn stuff from the younger females," McEntire told Woman's Day. "It’s a lot of fun. We just did a thing for Spotify with RaeLynn, Maddie and Tae, Abby Anderson, and Lauren Jenkins. I would say, 'Who are you listening to in the country music business now?' And they’d tell me. And then I’d say, 'Well, who do you think is really working hard and isn’t getting the attention?' And oh my gosh!
"They were jumping up on the soapbox to talk about this person who was not getting the recognition they should," she recalled. "It was so inspiring to see them say that instead of 'I have no idea what anybody else is doing.'"
McEntire is still motivated by female artists, of all ages, as she continues to hone her craft, more than 40 years after she began.
"I love to work with other women because it gives me strength; it gives me inspiration," said the Country Music Hall of Fame member. "And I say to myself, 'Wow, they’re doing this, and I can do that, and I’m going to put more work into it and I’m going to be this, because they inspire me.' They show me better ways of doing things."
McEntire might not have the career she still has if not for the resurgence of female artists, which began 30 years ago.
"The ’90s were great," McEntire boasted. "We had a blast — Wynonna [Judd], Trisha [Yearwood], Lee Ann Womack, Martina [McBride], myself. We were having fun rocking, and then here comes Shania. It was just like, 'Wow, man, this is so wonderful.' It was an explosion."
McEntire has had more success than almost any other female artist in country music history, even though that success came with a price.
"You have to stay away from home a lot," McEntire told PBS News Hour. "You have to leave your kids home with a nanny. You have to say no to a lot of great things that you would get to do at home and with family. Like missing your kid's championship hockey game. You can't be there because you're shooting a movie in L.A.
"A lot of that stuff, I wish — if I could go back, what would I do?" she continued. "How would I do it again now, knowing what I know now? But you can't look back. You can't live on regrets."
Photo Credit: Getty / Jeff Kravitz