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LeAnn Rimes' Heartfelt Rhymes

Jennifer Pfaff

   America has seen country star LeAnn Rimes grow up quite a bit since she was crowned an 8-year-old singing champion on an episode of Star Search in the early ’90s. As a teenager, she became the youngest-ever artist to win a Grammy, and now, at age 30, she has 11 albums under her belt.

   Yet Rimes, like all celebrities at some point, has experienced missteps in the spotlight.

   In 2009, she had an affair with actor Eddie Cibrian; the two left their spouses to marry each other in 2011. In the past four years, the scandal has made bigger headlines than Rimes’ music, but it has also led to her biggest growth spurt, musically and emotionally.

   Pouring her feelings into songwriting, Rimes produced Spitfire, her newest album, which will be released April 9. The record conveys Rimes’ emotions of the past four years through songs like “Borrowed,” which begins with the line, “I know you’re not mine, only borrowed.” Described as her most truthful album yet, Spitfire reveals a deeper, more heartfelt side of Rimes than she has musically expressed before.

   “In this album, I’m speaking more honestly than I ever have, from the truth and pain and love in my life and hoping that people connect with those emotions,” she says in a statement.

   Rimes will perform April 7 at the Sunrise Theatre for the Performing Arts in Fort Pierce. She spoke with Palm Beach Illustrated about Spitfire and the emotional inspiration behind it. 


Spitfire is described as “the truth, in no particular order.” What truths do you reveal?

This record has taken shape over the last four years. It’s my story, my feelings. I took myself on an emotional roller coaster ride. It’s just honest. There was nothing to hide. I had nothing to hide.

   I think a lot of people had been writing my life for me as they would like to think that it happened. It was very cathartic to be able to come out through my music and use a crappy situation at times to turn it into something positive for me. I enjoyed—as much as that sounds strange—writing about it, because there was so much I’d gone through that I was able to share. I know I’m not the only person who’s ever gone through these situations. I know I’ve not only written my story but a lot of other people’s, too.

   The album is brutally honest. Like I said, there’s nothing hidden, for sure. …

   It was a fun record to make, and it was very liberating because, starting [in the music industry] so young, I’ve always had to watch what I say, what to do. Obviously, I always do things with respect, but I think it was quite liberating to be able to just completely be myself on an album.


Does that mean you’ve held back on past albums or you weren’t your true self?

I think they were appropriate at the time. I’ve grown every time that I’ve written a record. Family—which was over five years ago—was the last album I wrote. But for the first time, [with Spitfire] I feel like I started to write from an honest place.


What song on your new album is the most emotional or impactful one for you?

“Borrowed” was probably the hardest song to write. To be that brutally honest in a situation that most people are afraid to even discuss—I wrote it through a lot of tears, and I carried that title around for years before even thinking about writing it, because I knew how honest I had to be with myself and with the song. So I was so afraid to even bring it up. But once I wrote it, I was incredibly proud of that song and for being able to go to that place.


What do you hope fans will get out of Spitfire?

I hope they find themselves within the record because, like I said, I didn’t write just my story. It’s real life; this is what happened. Hopefully, they can find something that  they relate to.

   When you listen to the record, it is truth. You really do get a better sense of, through music—not just through an interview—my situation and how I felt in these last few years.


You’re not the only person who’s made mistakes or has regrets. We all find different ways to move on and live happy lives. What works for you?

Therapy [laughs]. Lots of it.

   No, for me, it’s about trying to find peace within my life on a daily basis. I’ve always been one to plan ahead and always looking to the future. With my job, it’s what I do. Dredging up the past constantly, seeing that in my face at all times—it’s hard. I have a hard time sometimes living in the present.

   I’ve kind of come to terms with what will be will be and what is done is done, and so now I’m living in it and understanding that emotions are like a roller coaster ride: They change moment to moment. For me, it was understanding and letting go.

   The biggest thing for me in the last six months is educating myself on myself [laughs]. I’m learning more about myself and then trying to find every day what brings me peace. … I’m making myself more a priority these days


What do you like to do to get away from it all?

My husband has a Harley[-Davidson], so I love to get on the back of the bike and ride. I would never drive one at all; I don’t trust myself, but he’s great. That’s what we do when we have a Sunday to ourselves without the kiddos.


You started in the music industry at such a young age. What did you learn growing up in the spotlight?

You’ll never, ever please everyone. Ever. You’re wasting your time if you try.

   Trying to live the best life that I can and being true to myself is probably the biggest lesson I’ve been learning as of recent. That’s a lesson that I will constantly relearn over and over again.

   This is a business where we want people to like us. They buy your music if they like you. They come to your shows. So especially growing up the way I did, so early on in this business, it kind of messes with your head a little bit that way. I’ve really had to take a step back as an adult and go, “Okay, there are boundaries and I have to do certain things for myself as a human being, not as a celebrity, because I need to do them for myself. I deserve this."


Do you have a random favorite song you like to sing?

[laughs] I sing along to the radio a lot. I think I sing more than I realize. … When I was little, my mom used to make fun of me because I used to sing all the time. Her big line is, “You used to sit on the toilet and sing.” [laughs] So I think I did not grow out of that as I got older. I probably still do that and I don’t even realize it.


Besides music, what are some of your other interests or passions?

I love taking care of my body. I really have gotten into that in the last several years—nutrition and health. I have to keep my stamina up to be able to do what I do. I love doing that.

   I’ve gotten into photography recently. I have a natural eye for it. I don’t know much about it, but my husband is a great photographer. He just got me a new camera, and I’m still learning how to use it. I’m one of those people that doesn’t read the owner’s manual [laughs].


What’s your most recent favorite purchase?

Anything with a red sole from Christian Louboutin is always good [laughs]. I did buy a pair of boots the other day from him that I’ve been wearing a lot. They’re these black ankle booties that have spikes all over them. I can use them as a weapon—they double, so I can justify spending the money [laughs].


If you could trade places with anybody, who would it be?

Miranda Kerr. I think she’s beautiful and I love her style, so maybe I can just go trade closets, not really trade lives.

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January 2017