Carrie Underwood scored a smash No. 1 hit -- and also raised a few eyebrows -- when she recorded 'Before He Cheats,' a song about taking revenge on an unfaithful boyfriend by vandalizing his vehicle. Ironically, Carrie also recalls raising a few eyebrows when she released her first single, 'Jesus Take the Wheel,' a song about a woman asking Jesus to take control of her life.

"People started saying, 'Oh, it's kind of risky. You're coming out with a religious song," Carrie tells Esquire magazine. "I was thinking, 'Really?' I grew up in Oklahoma. I always had a close relationship with God. I never thought it was risky in the least! If anything, I thought it was the safest thing I could do!"

When she was preparing to record her debut album, Carrie also remembers feeling safer choosing songs from a fan's perspective, and not from a new artist's.

"I know what I like to listen to on the radio," she says. "I know what I like to sing along to in the car. So anytime I heard a song for the first album, I'd put it in the context of, 'OK, would I turn the channel? Would I listen to the whole song, or would I skip to the next one? It was really important to me, because all I knew was how to be a consumer. I didn't know how to be an artist."

There's still one thing Carrie confesses she can't seem to do as an artist: let herself cry when singing an emotional song.

"I've seen people that get onstage and sing while they have tears running down their face," she says. "I can't do that. When I cry, it starts in my throat, so when I have something that's really emotional, sometimes if I access that too much, I can't finish the song!"

Carrie recently announced the dates for her 2010 'Play On' tour.