LeAnn Rimes released her debut single, "Blue," when she was just 13 years old, immediately impressing audiences with her expressive voice. The then-teenager's country sound was inspired by a number of artists, including the late Patsy Cline, an influence Rimes reflected on during a recent conversation with Kelleigh Bannen on an Essential Album special on Apple Music Country.
"[Patsy Cline] was such a huge part of how I created my sound," she said, explaining that she listened to "so many" different female artists growing up and "took something from each of them." "From [Cline], really it was about this true, honest, emotional connection and the way that she could just take you to a place that you don't normally go within yourself when you listened to her music," Rimes recalled. "We are all unique and special and one of a kind, and also we are the influences that we have grown up listening to when it comes to being an artist. We all pull pieces from each of them or something from each of them and then create us in our own selves and our own sound. Yeah, each of them were very influential in what you see and hear me do now."
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Despite her talent, Rimes received some criticism surrounding her age from some people who felt that she wouldn't be able to truly express the feelings she was singing about. "When I was younger, people would say, 'Oh, you're really going to be able to sing amazing when you get older, because you'll have this kind of life experience to connect with it,'" she said. "I was so offended as a kid, I'm like, 'That's such bulls—. What're you talking about?'… There was a lot of truth to that in so many ways, and I can totally appreciate both places that I was at. I was able to really dig into an emotion I didn't know where to place as a kid and act in a lot of ways. Then, as I grew, there was real truth to the power behind what I was singing."
One of Rimes' songs that garnered controversy was "My Baby," which features mature lyrics like "My baby is a full-time lover / My baby is a full-grown man / Makes me feel like a natural woman / I know he's the only one who can." "That was a topic of conversation back in the day. I'm like, 'What are you talking about?'" Rimes mused. "For me, it was just a song." The Grammy winner added that "as an adult, I can totally understand where some people were coming from. Like I said, it was never odd because I really hadn't experienced that. I really just was coming from a very innocent place."