What is one thing you make sure to do before every show?
I drink a lot of tea and I pray, probably a little bit obsessive compulsively. I’ll also talk to my daughter if it’s not too late. She normally goes to bed around 8 so I just tried calling her before I go on [tonight at Joe’s]. She makes me feel better.
Where is your daughter Maddie now?
She’s at home, she has school so she’s getting in bed right now.
Is it difficult leaving her at home while you’re on tour?
Oh my gosh, it’s horrible. I have a rule where I tell my team that I’m only willing to be away from her for three days at a time. That’s my limit and then I have to go home, even if it’s for a day. I don’t care what it is, I cannot go three days without her. It’s just too long. It’s really, really hard. It’s the hardest part of all of this.
Coming back into the spotlight as a country music artist has to be exciting.
It is. It’s very nerve-wracking of course, like anything you do that you really care about, but I’m excited. I feel like I’m finally at a place where I’ve worked hard, I’m proud and I’ve figured out and have a good grasp on who I am as an artist.
Are you becoming more at ease on stage?
I feel like sometimes the nerves get worse [from that first show] because you’re over-analyzing and over-thinking things, I don’t know when the nerves go away. Everyone says, “Oh that’s a good thing to still be nervous!” and I’m like, “No. It’s almost crippling nervousness, I don’t think you get it.” It’s not a healthy nervousness I don’t believe.
How do you go about calming yourself?
I literally say a bunch of Hail Marys and Our Fathers in order to be like, “Get this away from me, I cannot be this nervous.” Then once I start singin’ and once I get into it I start to feel better. It’s just that first [moment on stage].
Being around the music industry your whole life, did anything catch you off guard once you were in the thick of it yourself?
It takes a lot to surprise me but I definitely have been surprised by how sweet this community has been. I feel really supported, that was surprising to me.
You just walked the red carpet at the ACM Awards, what was it like to be at your first industry event as a new artist?
I was nervous because I was there as a fan, it was my first ACMs. I would have been excited just to be there as a guest so it was really nerve-wracking for me but everyone was so kind and so sweet. I couldn’t have asked for them to be nicer to me. I felt really good about my first time there. Since I was nervous I probably sat there and bit my nails and they probably thought I was weird but I felt that they were all very nice.
As a young girl, which artists do you remember listening to?
George Strait and Alan Jackson. I think my daddy was a big part of shaping my love for country music.
Who are some performers that stick out as ones you’d like to collaborate with?
I always say this but I’d really love to collaborate with Holly Williams. I really like her stuff.
Most memorable performance to date?
I did a show at the Texas Club, which is [near my hometown] in Baton Rouge, Louisiana so basically my whole town came out and that was really special. Just feeling the support and being able to have that opportunity was really special.
Has Maddie shown any signs that she’d like to get into the family business?
She shows signs of everything. Right now I’d be convinced that she is also going to go to the Olympics as a gymnast so I think she’s the best at everything [she does]. She definitely loves to sing and dance and do all of that.
Your single “How Could I Want More” reflects a vulnerable time in your life. Does it ever get hard reliving those emotions each time you sing the song?
Oh yeah. I cry, I’m sure I’ll cry at some point on stage tonight like I usually do. I’m such a crybaby! I’m so attached to these feelings that I can put myself right back there and I don’t know why. I think I cry now because I’m happy now and I look back and I’m like, “Wow, look how far I’ve come.” … I think that’s why everyone is connected to music. I think that’s why we all do it and that’s why we all love it. It’s a universal language.
Where did your husband Jamie Watson take you for your first date?
It was really cute. It was around Christmas time and we went and looked at the Christmas lights in New Orleans with another couple.
When did you know he was the one?
I think I maybe always knew but I had a lot of stuff to figure out myself before I could admit it to myself.
Were there any games in the beginning?
No, he was there from the beginning and it was just a matter of us working it out. We didn’t play games, we really didn’t.
How did finding your soulmate influence your career?
In your personal life when you have confidence I think that it comes across in your professional life as well and in every aspect of your life when everything comes together. So I feel like it’s definitely made me stronger and better and it makes me feel better when I get out there on stage knowing that at the end of the day I have what really matters.
Let’s talk about life at home, do you two share the chores evenly? Who cooks?
When I’m home I like to cook. And he would probably say differently but it’s only because I’ve been traveling so much.
You’re still fresh newlyweds, but if we were to ask him, what would he say is one thing that might get on his nerves?
He’s OCD when it comes to cleanliness and I’m not just talking about picking up clothes off the floor, it’s like he believes everything has dirt on it so I’m sure he assumes I’m dirty. But really I’m not! I’m just not OCD about certain things.
Has your dad given you any words of wisdom that he’s learned from working with your sister Britney?
He’s always given me advice, every day there is something new but his biggest thing is about having a healthy work ethic. If you’re going to do it then be responsible and be really dedicated to it because not only are you doing this but there are other people who are involved in this as well. So I think just really putting in the time and the work is what my daddy is very strict on. I think that has made me who I am and really helped me get to where I am.
What is one long-standing inside joke you have with your sister?
She thinks that I’m super strong and so does my husband. I really think that’s an inside joke. I’m really [physically] strong! I really am. If I were to wrestle anyone right now, I would win!
It’s nice to know that even famous siblings can still beat the heck out of each other.
Yeah, that’s basically it!
If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be?
Dead or alive? I would want to have a drink with my grandmother who I never really got to know. She was from England. I hear so much about her, I’d love to be able to just sit down with her.
Did you enjoy this feature? Subscribe to our newsletter and never miss a drink, we promise we’ll never spam you!