ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Kellie Pickler is running late. Not just a little, but almost miss-the-flight late.
“I’m heading out to Las Vegas for the (Academy of Country Music Awards),” she says while scurrying around her house. “I always do this to myself, but I always end up getting there somehow.”
Pickler has been busy with shows promoting her album “100 Proof,” which was released on Jan. 24. The album debuted in the upper echelon of the Billboard Top 200 Album charts and has spawned two hit singles for the country star.
Despite all of her success, Pickler remains an easy and relaxed country girl.
“I don’t feel like anything is really that different from six years ago,” she says. “I still surround myself with the people I grew up with. I travel a lot more for my job, but I’m still trying to make the best music that I can make.”
Since appearing on “American Idol” in 2005, Pickler has become part of country music’s newest generation of singers. She placed sixth during that season, which featured contestants Chris Daughtry, Katharine McPhee, Ace Young and Elliott Yamin.
WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday, April 12
WHERE: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Albuquerque, 11000 Broadway SE
HOW MUCH: $25-$40 at www.holdmyticket.com or 886-1251
Since then, she’s released three albums – her previous albums “Small Town Girl” and “Kellie Pickler” were certified platinum – and has worked on a couple projects in TV and film. But music is what she loves most.
“I don’t think I understood the impact that my music would have on others,” she says. “I can listen to someone else’s song and have an impact, but I never realized that my songs could do that until I wrote ‘I Wonder.’ That song touched so many of my fans that I was overwhelmed when I would sing it.”
“I Wonder” was Pickler’s first try at writing from personal experience and she now often draws from those experiences for her new music. On her current album, she co-wrote more than half of the 11 tracks. She even shared writing credit on “Mother’s Day” with her husband, Kyle Jacobs.
“My husband and I wrote that song on Mother’s Day in 2010,” she says. “I didn’t write it for anyone else and it just found its way on the album. Writing the song gave me closure on that day.”
Pickler says she started writing songs for “100 Proof” nearly two years ago and that the process was a long one. There plenty of songs that were cut because they didn’t complete the book of songs that she was looking to record.
“Not many people understand how difficult it is to get a group of songs that go together well,” she explains. “It’s a process that is thought out. You have to realize that once an album is put out, it’s out for everyone to pick apart. You have to be OK with the fact that not everyone is going to like it, but remember that the ones that do will support you.”