Miranda sat down with W Magazine for an interview and a new (stunning, gorgeous, breath-taking) photoshoot. I’ve added part of the interview below, but be sure to head to wmagazine.com to finish reading and show support!
It’s four hours before Miranda Lambert is due onstage at the BOK Arena in Tulsa, and she’s running late. She’s on her tour bus stuck in traffic, driving the two and a half hours from her farm in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, where she lives when she’s not crisscrossing America headlining sold-out shows. Five years ago, Lambert bought the 750-acre property because it was 10 miles away from the 1,200-acre spread of country superstar Blake Shelton, her then boyfriend. Although Shelton and Lambert got married a year ago, making them country music’s reigning power couple, Lambert didn’t sell her farm. “Hell no,” she tells me later. “We mostly live at Blake’s, but, if you’re pissed, 10 miles away is far enough. If we have a fight, I can say, ‘Go home’ or ‘I’m going home.’?”
That tough-chick-in-a-soft-package persona is Lambert’s particular brand of girl power. From the beginning of her career, playing bars in her native Texas, Lambert, now 28, advocated an aggressive sort of female empowerment in her songs. She didn’t write the usual break-up-and-shed-a-few-tears tunes—instead, the woman in Lambert’s songs got her dignity back by torching his house and packing a gun. The message in her music has always been consistent: Be strong, be true to yourself, and don’t be afraid to take on a man. “I ain’t the kind you take home to mama,” Lambert sings in “Heart Like Mine,” her hit from 2011. “I ain’t the kind to wear no ring.”
And yet, while she stomps and rages, Lambert is an appealing contradiction. In the great tradition of country women like Loretta Lynn, Lambert is curvy and could look like the cheerleader she was in high school, but she resists the stereotype. “The tough-girl thing comes naturally to me,” she says. “When I started out, I’d only wear jeans and tank tops. No dresses. I didn’t want these dudes in the bars that I was playing to look me up and down because I’m a blonde girl with blue eyes. I wanted to be heard, not seen. That’s how it all started.”
When Lambert first appeared on the scene, country music, which, unlike any other genre, exists in an old-school, pre-Napster, radio-rules-and-fans-buy-records time warp, did not know what to think of her. She didn’t fit any of the usual molds: Her singing and stance were a little too rock ’n’ roll for conventional country radio. If anything, country was going in a softer, more pop direction. Female artists like Shania Twain, who was really a mainstream Top 40 singer masquerading as a country artist, had opened the door for new superstars like Carrie Underwood, who in 2005 won season four’s American Idol, and Taylor Swift, who pushed a much friendlier form of self-acceptance than Lambert did. It is nearly impossible to imagine Swift, who grew up wealthy on a Christmas tree farm in Pennsylvania, aiming a gun at an errant lover. Still, Swift and her catchy, almost anthemic songs about teenage angst transformed country music. Her 2008 album, Fearless, was a multiplatinum, award-winning crossover hit. “Taylor Swift is a pop singer,” Lambert tells me. “But she really helped country music. When she hit, I was thinking, Thank God Taylor’s out there to show people we’re not cheesy. Some people still think that country music is twangy and cheesy, and they pigeonhole us. But I thought if they’re looking for Taylor’s videos or songs, they might see or hear other people they like. If her fans are watching for her, they might like me too.”