Q: While recording the current season of “I Love Kellie Pickler,” you returned for – and are making a part of your own series – CMA Fest 2017, performing among many other country-music artists. How was that event for you?
A: We had the 101st Airborne Division there and were honoring them that night, and a lot of those soldiers, I’ve met overseas on USO tours. Not only were we performing for the country-music fans that traveled from all over the place to Nashville, we also got to perform for the soldiers. I just felt like we were singing among friends and family. It was really nice.
Q: You introduced a very personal song titled “If It Wasn’t for a Woman” at the festival. What is the story behind it?
A: My grandmother Faye was the woman who raised me, the woman I called “Mom”… and it was so special to be able to honor her in this song. We all have those women who were strong in our lives, where it’s your mom or your grandma or an aunt or a friend or a neighbor.
You pull strength from them, and words of wisdom, and they guide you and give you the tools you need to build a good life that you’re proud of. I’m happy that I get to shine a light on her love and all that she meant to me. And all that she still means to me. That’s what country music is about; you put life in the form of a song, and that’s what people connect with.
Q: How does arranging live-performance dates work while you’re also making “I Love Kellie Pickler”?
A: For the past three years that we’ve been filming the show, we’ve tried to squeeze in tour dates around the shooting schedule … but filming a show, Kyle (Jacobs, Pickler’s songwriter husband) and I never realized how much time it takes, how many hours and days it takes for just one episode. It definitely takes me off the road a good bit of the year, but when I’m free to tour, we tour, because I love being on the road.