Interview: Sara Evans Opens Up About Her New Label, New Music and Family Life
Slow Me Down proved to be an appropriate title for Sara Evans' 2014 studio album: The record -- which she followed with At Christmas later that year -- spawned only one Top 20 single, its title track, before the singer parted ways with her longtime label, Sony Music Nashville. But Evans' departure from Sony, her label home since her freshman album, 1997's Three Chords and the Truth, gave the singer time to focus on every aspect of her life: her career, her marriage to former University of Alabama football star and current radio host Jay Barker, their blended family of seven children and her other dreams that remained dormant as she worked tirelessly on her music. The end result, Evans says, is a new album, with a new record company, which will show fans a new side of her as a singer, songwriter and performer.
"I will be signing with a new label, but I can’t say who it is yet," Evans reveals to The Boot. "That’s really exciting to me because it seems like a fresh start and a chance to work with new people who have different talents and who are creative in their own ways. I had a great, long run with Sony Records, and had great relationships and lots of success. But this is a new chapter for me, and I’m really excited about it."
Evans, who has earned several chart-topping singles, including "No Place That Far," "Born to Fly" and "Suds in the Bucket," hints that her upcoming project might not fit with what is currently on radio.
"I would like to do another big radio splash, big hits, big tour again; I’m just waiting for the 'bro-country' stuff to get on its way out," she shares. "I’ve been listening to a lot of roots-y music. The kids really want me to make a country record, especially my middle child; she’s like, ‘You need to make a country record' ...
"I'm not making a bluegrass record at all, but all of my albums have a part of me that’s really country and a part of me that does a pop cover," Evans adds. "I guess how I feel right now feels more in [the former] area."
Evans has also dabbled in TV, including a guest-starring role on Nashville and an appearance in the season finale of Chrisley Knows Best, as well as joining her family on a celebrity edition of Family Feud. While she is still pursuing her music career, Evans reveals that she is also interested in taking on more work in front of the camera in the future.
"I was so intimidated being on Nashville, and acting is so much harder than it seems. But I’m always open to any opportunity that someone brings me," she admits. "I love to try new things, and so I’m so glad that I did Nashville, and I’m so glad that I went on Family Feud. I love to never regret, or go, ‘I wish I would have tried that.'
"I probably would like to venture into television a little bit in some way, because I think it’s fun," Evans adds. "Every time I do anything with TV, I always go away going, ‘That was so fun.'"
Rather than making her home in Music City, Evans and her family live in Alabama, a choice that has afforded her some anonymity; in fact, she sometimes finds herself playing second fiddle to her famous husband!
"Football is everything; it’s unbelievable," Evans says of her home state. "I used to joke when I first moved to Birmingham, I would walk behind Jay and hum "Born to Fly" so people would notice me, because they’d whisper, ‘There’s Jay Barker!’
"When Jay Barker and Sara Evans got married and we moved to our little neighborhood, it was kind of crazy for a year or so. But now, they’re definitely over it, and my kids have grown up there, so we’re very embedded in the community," she continues. "But if we go anywhere outside of our neighborhood, like to do all-star softball or something, and we get out further into small towns, we get attacked."
Still, Evans insists that she's just like any other wife and mother -- most of the time.
"I don’t see myself as famous. I’ll go to the grocery store, and I swear to you, I don’t ever think I’m famous. I’m always surprised when people come up to me, because I feel anonymous," she notes. "Unless I’m working and I’m putting on a concert -- then I can’t leave my bus, because everyone’s there to see me. It’s weird; it’s hard to see myself in that way ... My kids were all born after I became famous, so they definitely don’t know any difference."
One of Evans' biggest musical dreams actually involves her children.
"My other dream is honestly to help my kids with music and work with them, maybe in production, because they’re all totally gifted," she gushes. "My son plays guitar and drums, my middle daughter is a phenomenal singer, just incredible, so I kind of picture myself getting into that. Maybe I’ll produce a record on her."
And when asked if she has any hesitation about starting over again after leaving Sony, Evans is nothing but positive and optimistic.
"My career is doing great. Everything feels great, and the shows are awesome," she says. "It still seems like we’re rolling right along."
Evans is spending much of the summer on the road. A list of all of her upcoming shows is available on her website.
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