Everything We Know About Carrie Underwood’s New Album, ‘Storyteller’
After spending much of the last year adjusting to life with a child -- first during her pregnancy, which was announced on Labor Day 2014, then as a new mom -- Carrie Underwood is ready to go full steam ahead in her career.
In a Facebook chat on Aug. 20, the singer revealed not only a brand-new single, "Smoke Break," but some of the details of a new album, Storyteller. The project will be Underwood's first since December 2014's Greatest Hits: Decade #1, and her first album of completely new material since 2012's Blown Away.
Below, The Boot rounds up all of the information we know so far about Underwood's new record.
Underwood's new album will be called Storyteller.
The Release Date
Storyteller is set for release on Oct. 23, 2015. It is available for pre-order on Amazon. A special edition featuring two bonus tracks is available through Target. Fans who purchase Storyteller through CarrieUnderwood.fm will receive exclusive pre-sale access to Underwood's 2016 tour, which will be announced soon.
The Record Label
Storyteller will be released via Arista Nashville.
The Storyteller album cover is quite dreamy. Underwood sits on a white-ish floor, with a similarly colored background behind her, and the cover has a haze over it. She's wearing red bejeweled cowboy boots and a flowing, ivory-colored shirt with red embroidery; her hair is slightly messy, and her makeup is simple.
“Each album so far has had its own look, its own feel, its own sound," Underwood tells Entertainment Weekly, “and this upcoming album is definitely no exception.”
In her Aug. 20 Facebook chat, Underwood revealed that her new album's first single will be a song called "Smoke Break."
“The song itself is one of those story songs I feel like everybody can relate to, about how life is so hectic,” Underwood explains. “And it’s so nice when — if and when — you actually get to step away for a second. We all need that, and we all need that time to ourselves and to get to take a break.”
"Smoke Break" was written by Underwood with Hillary Lindsey and Chris DeStefano, and it was produced by Jay Joyce (Eric Church, Little Big Town, Emmylou Harris). A preview of the song is available on Underwood's website, and it dropped to country radio during her Facebook chat.
The singer responded to a fan's question about "Smoke Break" during her chat, writing, "We were writing and kept taking breaks to go outside because we were getting a little stuck on a song we were already working on. It was so beautiful outside that we had a hard time focusing, so we decided to write a song about taking breaks! "Smoke Break" seemed like a great title, so we ran with it!"
On Aug. 24, Underwood debuted the "Smoke Break" music video on Entertainment Tonight.
Underwood shared Storyteller's track listing on Sept. 9 via Instagram videos.
“I’ll cut anything,” Underwood says. “I have no loyalties to any song, even if it’s one I wrote. But I think it’ll make it on there.”
Underwood co-wrote six of the album's 13 tunes and has been "taking things in sections," working on a small group of songs, then moving on to another group once she's satisfied.
"It’s like, with these three songs, we know we’re good, so let’s do those," she explains. "We’ll do those, I’ll vocal them, then we’ll pick another group of songs.
While the album will have some new ideas represented, it won’t be a huge departure for her stylistically.
“There are some things on there that are definitely familiar, but there’s a lot of growth that has happened, as well," Underwood says. "It’s going to sound a little bit different — still the things that fans will obviously know is me. I’m not going crazy or anything, but it’s a little bit of a shift.”
She also told a fan during her Facebook chat that though there are no duets, "I have a few very talented people who helped out with their beautiful voices in a background kind of way!"
One of those "very talented people" is none other than Sam Hunt, who provides backing vocals on "Heartbeat."
Carrie Underwood, Storyteller Track Listing:
1. “Renegade Runaway”
2. “Dirty Laundry”
3. “Church Bells”
5. “Smoke Break”
6. “Choctaw County Affair”
7. “Like I’ll Never Love You Again”
10. “Clock Don’t Stop”
11. “The Girl You Think I Am”
13. “What I Never Knew I Always Wanted”
Target Exclusive Edition Bonus Songs:
14. "Heartbeat" (stripped)
15. "Little Girl, Don't Grow Up Too Fast"
Underwood's new single was produced by Joyce, who produced six of Storyteller‘s tracks. Longtime producer Mark Bright produced five tracks, and Zach Crowell produced two.
She spoke about Storyteller's multiple producers previously, saying, "So I’ve been working with another producer, as well as with Mark Bright, who I’m always gonna love, but getting things a little different, and it’s been fun."
So what, exactly, does "a little bit different ... [but] not going crazy or anything" mean to Underwood?
“I want everything to have its own space and look different, sound different, feel different ... I feel things have a different sort of twang to them, kind of a rock twang," she reveals. "So there should be some things that [fans] hopefully have liked about the music we’ve done, but also a little growth, a little bit of shift, so still things they’ve liked but new things to see, hear and feel.”
She added more insight during her Facebook chat, saying, "I feel like a lot of the songs that I wrote and gravitated to ended up being more traditional and 'twangy' than anything I have ever done before. I just went with it! I love the storytelling aspect of country music ... it's one of the reasons I always wanted to be a part of it."
Motherhood has been good to Underwood. Although she says that she "kind of tried to stay away from it," the singer's baby son, Isaiah, served as inspiration for some of her new music.
"I didn’t want to force anything or have anything be cheesy or weird, like, ‘Oh, she had a baby, so she’s singing about her baby,’" Underwood explains. "It just kind of happened one day.”
As the singer says, "It’s impossible to not let your life affect things."
She adds, "It’s really sweet, and I’m happy to have that life magic happening in the room, and he’ll be able to look back at it and say, ‘That’s about me!’”
Christina Vinson contributed to this story.
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