20 Questions: Miranda Lambert

Miranda Lambert released the finest country record of 2007 — indeed one of the best of the aughties — and made the #2 spot on PopMatters’ 50 Best Albums of 2007 with Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Surprisingly, given the rather predictable winners of Academy of Country Music Awards, Lambert took home Album of the Year last night at the ACMs. It was an upset to be sure. Lambert’s brand of fiery, smart, hard Texas country is hardly in the ascendant these days in Nashville. One hopes her success will bring more “left of center” music, as she calls it, back into the hit-making studios on Music Row. Just in time to celebrate her string of successes over the past year, the singer-songwriter sits down to riff on PopMatters‘ 20 Questions.

1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?

I don’t know. I don’t watch a lot of movies. Maybe The Notebook.

2. The fictional character most like you?

Cinderella, but not because she gets it all. Because she knew a normal life before getting to be a princess, so I like to think maybe she hung on to her roots. I think if you remember where you came from you get a whole lot better perspective as you climb a ladder of success.

3. The greatest album, ever?

Excluding Greatest Hits records, I’d have to say maybe The Band’s Music From Big Pink. Ryan Adams’ Heartbreaker and John Mayer’s Continuum have been some of the best of the last few years, I’m still not tired of them.

4. Star Trek or Star Wars?

I’m not a fan of either, but my band/crew are into Star Wars so I’ll side with them.

5. Your ideal brain food?

New music. No doubt about it. I try and listen to anything new I can get my hands on. As an artist, hearing or seeing what others do can elevate you to try and out-do them. It’s creative inspiration.

6. You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?

I’m really proud of the way I look because I’ve worked hard at it. I’m not a size 2 and never will be, but I’m in shape and feel good about myself and hopefully that’s an inspiration to all other girls who are curvy and don’t want to eat celery and carrots every day. I work out almost every day, but if I want to have a piece of pizza I’m going to, and I’m not gonna feel bad about it the next day.

7. You want to be remembered for…?

Writing great songs, making great music and putting on the best live show I can. My ultimate goal would be to win entertainer of the year, that’s what I strive for with our live show every night. As long as I feel like I’ve held on to my artistic integrity throughout my career and others around me take notice, that’s all I can hope for.

8. Of those who’ve come before, the most inspirational are?

Merle Haggard has been my inspiration. Waylon Jennings, Emmylou Harris are close behind. Since I’ve been writing songs and performing, Allison Moorer and Jack Ingram have been big idols of mine. All of these artists have written about what’s true even if it’s not always a pretty picture.

9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?

There’re so many lines, so many songs and so many records I wish I wrote or had a part in. John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery” comes to mind. We play it live a lot and I tell the crowds that I wish I would’ve written it.

10. Your hidden talents…?

What you see is pretty much what you get. I am good with animals, they’re a love of mine. I think if I didn’t do music I would have worked in a vet clinic. For some reason, animals are drawn to me.

11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?

It wasn’t really advice, but I’ve lived my life by example. From the values my parents instilled in me and later watching my heroes like Waylon Jennings never compromise their artistic integrity.

12. The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?

The Last Waltz — I stole/borrowed from my tour manager and then have bought about four other copies since because I wear it out. We watch it almost every night before going on stage, it completely energizes you and inspires you to give it your all on stage.

13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or…?

True Religions. Worth every penny.

14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?

My mom. It’s corny, but she’s also my best friend. If I had to pick a celebrity it would probably either my boyfriend, Blake Shelton, or maybe the band Jet. I think it would be cool to hang with them, they seem like they always have a party going on.

15. Time travel: where, when and why?

Maybe the late ’60s to early ’70s, because of the amazing music. Aretha, Otis Redding, Janis Joplin, The Rolling Stones, Merle Haggard, etc. — they were all in their prime or getting there. I’d love to have been there for that.

16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation or Prozac?

Spa. We’ve started playing a lot of casinos recently and I always try and hit the spa for a massage, facial, pedicure…whatever I can get.

17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or…?

Bacardi and Sprite Zero is my drink of choice. I wouldn’t say it’s essential to life, but I don’t like it when it runs out!

18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the map?

My new ranch in Oklahoma. I just bought it a few months ago and now have pigs, donkeys, dogs and a baby chicken. It feels like heaven to me when I’m there.

19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?

Do the best you can everyday with everyone in your country in mind.

20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?

I’m writing a little for a new record, both on my own and with a couple co-writers that I’ve worked with in the past. We just got back into touring a couple weeks ago and have a very busy summer in front of us, so i’m really focused on how to tweak our live show in an attempt to blow everyone away night after night.