A smile and a kittenish giggle said much more about what Carrie Underwood might have in store for 2021 than she actually did.
Talking to Taste of Country and select media about her holiday album, My Gift, Underwood was asked about her plans for 2021. She responded with sentences like, “There’s always things to do” and “I always have things going on” (cue pause and coy laughter).
OK, more specifically, Carrie, are you working on new country music — either writing or recording?
“I’m always working on something, you know,” she teases. “I feel like that’s just part of what we do, even when I’m in the middle of making an album someone is sending me demos or something that I’m like, ‘Ooh, that sounds nice.’ I’m always writing down ideas and just always looking for ways to be creative. So, I’m always working on something or thinking ahead.”
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Okay, fine: What about tour plans for 2021? You’ve got a few dates on the calendar, including one in Minnesota in July. Do you think you’ll be rusty?
“I’m lucky I’ve had some moments on stage — even sans audience. I got to play the Opry, I got to do the ACMs and even though there was no one in the audience, in my head there was,” Underwood says.
“In my head, I was envisioning the faces I saw all last year and hopefully that’s exactly what it will be like … So we cross our fingers and hope that we’ll all be able to get back out and do what we love.”
Underwood last toured in 2019 and had planned a year largely away from the stage in 2020, aside from a few one-off dates. The pandemic changed that a little bit, of course, but she has stayed busy with a new book, her Calia brand of fitness clothing and the My Gift album. Since releasing Play On in 2009, the 37-year-old has pretty consistently dropped new studio albums every three years. Her last, Cry Pretty, came in September 2018, so anticipation for another next year isn’t unreasonable.
The last radio single Underwood delivered was “Drinking Alone” in November 2019, but it’s not unusual for her to go a full calendar year without releasing another, as she did it in both 2011 and 2017.
While answering new music questions, her non-verbals suggested she either has no clue what the new year will bring, or isn’t ready to drop any clues. Given her history of planning and attention to detail, the former seems highly unlikely.