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Kellie Pickler Discusses Her Inspirations

Kellie Pickler
Christopher Polk, Getty Images

Kellie Pickler‘s love of country music extends past her time in the industry. The singer says that many country stars have shaped who she has become as an artist.

Among the female legends who inspired Pickler is Tammy Wynette.

“She is one of the reasons I fell in love with country music,” she tells Rolling Stone. “I have sat on my bus and YouTubed videos of her singing. I just close my eyes and I feel like she’s right there with me, singing. I’m hanging on to every word. And I love that she just stood there and sang her songs.”

Pickler loves Loretta Lynn for similar reasons as Wynette — the ability to captivate an audience without having to put on an elaborate show.

“We did a show a few years ago with Loretta Lynn in Canada … She stood there, behind that microphone, and just sang hit after hit, and everyone was hanging on every note, every lyric,” she says. “She didn’t need people swinging from the rafters to get their attention. She had the power of a great country song.”

Pickler says she also finds musical inspiration from Dolly Parton, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline and fellow ‘American Idol‘ alumni Katharine McPhee and Mandisa, but her family has had the biggest impact on her personal life.

“My husband Kyle changed my life,” she says. “He is my sanctuary and my safe place to come to. We write together and we work together some and he brings out the best in me … He makes me a better person and a better artist.”

Next: The Top 10 'American Idol' Country Singers

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