The Evolution of Martina McBride: From Country Superstar to Food Network Chef - Jen Hatmaker

The Evolution of Martina McBride: From Country Superstar to Food Network Chef

Episode 03

We have country music royalty in our midst today, we’re fangirling and we don’t even care—because Martina McBride is our queen! Since she came on the scene in the early ’90s, Martina has been a vocal powerhouse ranked among the all-time greatest female performers in country music with hits like “This One’s for the Girls,” “In My Daughter’s Eyes,” “Concrete Angel,” and so many more. Today Martina tells us how she went from singing in her dad’s band in Kansas and selling T-shirts at Garth Brooks concerts to nailing a recording contract and rising to the top of the charts. She shares the stories behind those amazing and empowering songs she chose to record, and reflects on the current music scene and why it’s important for women to be represented more equally. We find out what she is doing musically these days, and how she gives back with her charitable organization Team Music Is Love. We also get to hear about Martina’s new second career: Food Network chef at Martina’s Table and cookbook author of Martina’s Kitchen Mix!

Episode Transcript

Narrator:  Hi everybody, my name is Remy. Welcome to the For the Love Podcast, with your host Jen Hatmaker, my mom. She writes books and speaks to crowds. But she mostly loves talking to amazing people every week on this podcast. Thanks for listening! We hope you enjoy the show.

Jen:  Hey everybody. Jen Hatmaker here. Your very, very delighted host of the For the Love Podcast. So glad you’re here. Welcome to the show.

You probably know that we’re in the middle of a phenomenal series called For the Love of Music. About time, right? I can’t believe it actually took us this long to do this one. We are talking to artists of all stripes who have meant so much to us over the years. So, we’re getting to hear stories behind some of our favorite songs and what inspires them and about their family and road life. It’s all just super, super interesting. This was actually your idea, and I’m so glad that you suggested this because we are loving it.

So, you guys. This is a big moment for us here at the podcast. We have country music royalty in our midst. I am just beside myself. I am. I’m beside myself.

I have been such a huge, huge fan of our guest today since the early 90s. She’s sung me through college and young adulthood and young marriage and young motherhood. And to this day, her music is so meaningful to me. Her songs just tell stories that hit a bullseye on my heart and on your heart and your experiences and mine as women, as wives, as moms. I am so pleased to tell you that Martina McBride is our guest for today’s show. So, like I said, if you were anywhere near country radio in the 90s, you remember when she hit the scene and joined the ranks for honestly the most powerful female vocalists of her era. It was just a glorious time for women in country music.

Martina added absolute timeless songs like “My Baby Loves Me” and “Independence Day” and “When God-Fearin’ Women Get the Blues,” “Wild Angels,” of course, “A Broken Wing.” They go on and on. I could literally sit here and rattle these off for the next hour. These were like “crank up the radio in the car, sing at the top of your lungs” hits.

As I’ll tell her in just a minute, I actually shaped the whole intro to my last book, Of Mess and Moxie, after one of her songs. “This One’s for the Girls.” That song was so meaningful to me. I remember where I was. I was on the back of my husband’s Harley. We were having a long day ride with our friends, and I always listen to 90s country in my headphones when we’re on the motorcycle. It’s just the thing that I do. And Martina’s song “This One’s for the Girls” came on. And I was in the writing process at the time and I have heard that song a million times, but I sat on the back of Brandon’s motorcycle and I had tears leak out of the side of my eyes underneath my helmet and went home. I literally went home the next day and wrote the intro for Of Mess and Moxie, and I modeled it after that song. I of course gave her credit. So, anyway I’ll tell her about that night. I managed to not sing when I did and I feel like I deserve a prize for that.

Also, you’ll be so happy to know that Martina has a heart of gold. In fact, the list of organizations she has helped is as long as my arm. So, we’re going to talk a little bit about giving and why that matters to her and her own organization, Team Music Is Love.

Then as if it’s not enough, Martina has been sharing more and more about her life in the kitchen. So, you know this is everything that I love now. She’s just released her second cookbook called Martina’s Kitchen Mix, and now she has a cooking show on the Food Network. So, I guess there’s nothing she can’t do, and she does everything that I love.

This was one of those days where I just pinch myself. That I can not believe this is my job, and I get to do it. So I am so pleased to share with you my conversation with the amazing Martina McBride.

View MoreJen: So, I am just beyond excited to welcome Martina McBride to the show. Thanks for being on today.

Martina: Of course. My pleasure.

Jen: Listen. I had to give myself a little pep talk about five minutes okay, like, Jen, just be cool. Be cool. Because I have loved you and your work for just years. I’m so happy to meet you. I’m so thankful for what you have put out into the world over the course of your career and just thrilled to get to talk to you.

You and I are both Kansas girls. You grew up in Sharon, and I grew up in Haysville. Do you know where that is?

Martina: Yes. Yeah. Wow.

Jen: I know right? That’s right. Wow! That’s what we’re going to say. Wow. I’m down in Austin now, of course.

Obviously I’ve told our listeners a little bit about you and your impact on my life and so many others with your music and your story, but I wonder if you can for my community just roll it back to your days running around Kansas. Can you tell us just a little bit about how you came into music and when your realized you had these crazy pipes and you better do something with them?

Martina: Well, I grew up on a farm as you said by a little tiny town called Sharon, Kansas, which at the time had about 200 people. It’s about 102 now or something. But my dad was a farmer, but he was also a musician. He had a band that played on the weekends. So, there was always music around our house. The band rehearsing in the living room and this and that. My brother and I just always played music, but it was kind of like when you’re on a farm and kind of isolated. It wasn’t like you could run … We just were there and so there were music instruments and so we just started picking the up and playing them.

And so I really started singing at about four or five years old and just always … I don’t know. It was just my thing. It was always just what I did. Started playing in my dad’s band when I was about seven, playing keyboards and singing. It was kind of our family thing to do. My mom ran the sound board. My little brother played guitar. My older brother played drums for a while.

Jen: Was it country music? Was that your dad’s style?

Martina: Yes.

Jen: Okay.

Martina: Yes it was country. Kind of a mix of hardcore country like Ernest Tubb and really super Hank Williams and then also some of the outlaw stuff like Waylon and Willie. Then some rock songs made it on into there too, like CCR and ZZ Top and things like that. So, yeah it was just always what I’ve done.

I graduated from high school. Went and sang in a rock band. I sang Pat Benatar and Journey and Heart and all that music. Then I sang in a pop band where I did Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin and Bonnie Raitt and Madonna, and whatever was popular on the radio at the time.

And met my husband. We got married in 1988 in Kansas. I had to take a little bit of time off from singing because I was starting to have a little bit of a vocal issue. A little nodule started, but the kind of thing if you just rest they’ll go away. So, I kind of took some time off to sing in the club and went back and sang with my dad’s band a little bit on a few weekends.

It just hit me. I feel like I’d always kind of been searching for the direction that I wanted to go musically because I love to sing everything and I love all kinds of music. I went back and sang with my dad’s band in this little battle of the bands contest, and I just all of a sudden I was like, “This is the kind of music I want to sing.”

Jen: Yeah.

 I want to move to Nashville. So, I went to my husband and I said, “I want to move to Nashville.” He was like, “Okay.” He had a sound company. A concert sound company that did sound for local concerts and toured a little bit. He just moved his whole company. We didn’t know a soul.

Jen: Wow. No way.

Martina: We just packed up on New Year’s day of 1990 and moved to Nashville. Obviously it was a great decision, but yeah. So, we came here and worked on getting a record deal. I was waiting tables and singing demos and got a job as production manager for Garth Brooks.

Jen: Yep.

Martina: Within about a year and a half, I had a record deal with RCA Records.

Jen: Wow.

Martina: Then here we are.

Jen: How old were you? How old were you when you moved to Nashville?

Martina: Let’s see. I think I was about 24.

Jen: Yeah. That’s what I thought.

Martina: 23, something like that, which is my oldest daughter’s age now and I’m just like, “That’s a trip. I just realized that.”

Jen: Isn’t that bananas to look at her? Because she’s a baby of course. So, you look at her and just think, “I was out here hustling. I was singing for my supper, chasing a dream.” I love that your husband picked up his company and moved it to Nashville. That’s no joke. That’s maybe my favorite piece of that story.

Your music has meant a lot to me over the years and I do want to tell you about … Well, it’s funny because I told my online community that you and I were going to be on the show together. And I just said, “Everybody, what’s your favorite Martina song?” After 3000 or some odd responses, I think the result is all of them. It’s a tie for all of them. But one of my absolutely favorite songs of yours is “This One’s for the Girls.”  I don’t know. That song captures all the versions of women out there doing the best they can. It makes me cry and it’s timeless.

In fact, I’m a writer. And my last book came out—and I write for women—and I modeled the whole opener, the whole introduction after your song, of course giving you credit, and just talking about how this one’s for you at about this age and this book is for you at about this age because your song had been so meaningful to me. I wish we had more music like this on the radio right now. I think that message is really strong and it really lasts.

So, if you don’t mind, I would just love to hear why you chose to cut that song. If you can just remember when you heard it and when you read it and what you were thinking at the time and if you’ve had any stories from fans that stick out to on that song in particular.

Martina: Well, yeah. The first time I heard that song, it was an immediate reaction. I just immediately said, “That’s my song. I want to cut that song.” Because I felt like as you said, so many women and girls would be able to relate to it and feel like somebody was singing for them, you know?

I remember the line in [“This One’s for the Girls”] that I still love so much is, “Every last line on your face made you who you are today.” That just hit me so strong, and the fact that we’re all the same inside, and we’re all just going through it, and we’re finding our way. No matter what age you are, there are challenges and discoveries, and it’s all part of a journey.

So yeah, and as far as fan stories, people do relate to that song. What I love about performing it live is I look out in the crowd and everybody singing along. And then inevitably, there’s one big burly guy that’s just standing up, singing it at the top of his lungs, and I love that every night.

Jen: Oh my God. That’s fabulous.

Martina: I look for that guy and they’re always out there, and they’re just so into it. And I just love that so much.

Jen: Oh my gosh. I love that you told us that.

Yeah. I’ve got a dad who’s got a whole bunch of daughters, and that would be his kind of song. He’s here for the anthem for his girls. I love that the men find you.

Jen:  I think one of the reasons that, among many, that your songs resonate with so many of us is because they are so resoundingly female and they talk about experiences with such a distinctly female point of view—and an empowering one at that, of course, like “Independence Day” and “A Broken Wing” in particular.

But I don’t know. I would love to hear your opinion on this because it feels like over the years, especially in your genre, that sometimes what we’re hearing on the radio is shifting a little bit. There’s not quite as many anthems like yours that speak into women’s power and into their agency. And specifically in country radio, we’re hearing fewer and fewer women than ever.

Your era when you and your compatriots hit the big stage was so wonderful for women, but now it just feels like an industry almost entirely dominated by men. Am I overreaching here? I’m curious your thoughts on this and how you would chart the changes and what you would attribute them to.

Martina: Yeah. No you’re not overreaching at all. That’s a fact. I saw something the other day where 13% of the country chart is women. So, it’s sad to me. It’s frustrating, and it’s very sad because women have a specific point of view, as you said. And I think it’s more important to ever—it’s always been important—but to hear that. And it feels like it’s just not a level playing field at all.

Jen: No, it’s not.

Martina: I don’t know what contributed to that. I’m not really sure how that shifted. Because when I was coming up, we had a lot of women in country music.

Jen: Yeah totally.

Martina: Some of the most iconic figures in any music, but especially in country music have been women. DollyLorettaReba. So, it’s frustrating for me because I feel like for me as a listener, I want to hear music that I relate to. Right?

Jen: Yes.

Martina: So, I want to hear things from a woman’s point of view. I just think it’s so necessary. Yeah. I don’t know what happened. I don’t know what happened and I don’t know how to fix it. People ask me, “Well, what would you do?” I’m like I don’t know. I don’t know how to fix it, but I see female artists like Kacey Musgraves and like Maren Morris, and this singer that I love Maggie Rose that are just out there doing it and they’re like not playing the chart game. They’re not playing the radio game. It’s a whole different way of from when I came up. It’s a whole different way of doing it.

I watch them, and I see that they’ve had success in different ways than a number-one song or whatever. Maybe it’s just maybe we don’t need to play that game anymore. Maybe we can have success in a bigger arena.

Jen: I like that.

Martina: And some ways I feel like while radio is still important to get hits and have people show up at your shows and get your name out there, it’s also it’s a pretty small arena really if you think about it if you just limit yourself to that. So, if you can get around it and kind of figure out these girls are foraging a new path.

Jen: They are.

Martina: I think it’s just really impressive, and I applaud that.

Jen: I agree. I think there’s just a new way to sort of go direct to your fan, direct to your consumer and route around the systems.

I did an event last fall with Cam, who’s also just a really interesting artist in that genre. And she’s foraging new and strong paths here too. And she posted something just a couple days ago. I just pulled up it on my phone to remember, but she said 98% of music industry producers are men and 97% of music industry engineers and mixers are men. We don’t have enough women in charge. Not enough women producing and directing and organizing. So, I would love to see this next generation not just secure their own success, but I’d like to see them at the head of the table.

I can only imagine what sort of music we could be experiencing if we had more women leading the charge in terms of what’s going out, what’s making it.

Do you produce? Do you have your hand in that at all?

Martina: Yeah. Absolutely. I always have. It’s very important to me. It’s part of my creative process. I love it. I love having a blank canvas, being able to paint whatever picture I want to paint sonically and with the lyrics and just whatever it is. It’s my picture to paint. It’s not somebody else’s picture to paint.

Jen: That’s exactly right. Then—

Martina: I also think that what you said—

Jen: Go ahead.

Martina: Oh, I was just going to say I thought what you said about women mixers and engineers and producers is important, but also women record executives.

Jen: Absolutely.

Martina: Women in radio that make those decisions. Programmers and people like that. That’s important to get … The percentage of women in those positions is so small as well.

Jen: So small. It’s a man’s game. Women tend to hire other women too, so that ball really rolls down hill. Which it’ll just be exciting to watch. I feel the tremors of change in a lot of industries. I’m hopeful for this one as well.

So, one thing that I’ve always admired about you is how visibly important motherhood has always been to you. Not just in your music of course. You’ve given us just sob songs like “In My Daughter’s Eyes” but also in your schedule. I read that when your girls were growing up, you toured less so you could raise them with a little bit more normalcy in their lives. And of course, they are young women now. They’re gorgeous. They’re so tall! You have tall daughters.

Martina: I know, right?

Jen: What have you grown to admire about them? You are just one click ahead of me. I have five kids, which is ridiculous, but the oldest is 20. So, I’m just a hair behind you, and it’s really fun watching them grow up and start to flourish. What have you loved about watching your girls hit young adulthood and spread their own wings? What are you learning as a mom in this stage?

Martina: Yeah. It’s amazing because I see their passion. I see their compassion. They’re very, very, very compassionate, loving people. They’re very supportive of each other, which is my favorite thing. They lift each other up. There’s not that sister rivalry or whatever. They really lift each other up in the smallest ways and the biggest ways, which is so beautiful to see as a parent, right?

They’re just finding their way. I love that they come to me and talk to me about stuff. I think that we’ve always had this relationship where I’m not naïve enough to think they tell me everything, but we’ve always had this really open, nonjudgmental kind of place where they can come and talk to me about big stuff and little stuff. It’s all important. So, I love that we talk about what they’re going through and they’re not secretive about it. And I can therefore have some teachable moments and be able to pass on some wisdom.

And they teach me stuff. They teach me about I think sometimes our generation, my generation has a smaller view of the world.

Jen: True.

Martina: A little bit of status quo, or just kind of making our way without making too many waves or whatever. I feel like this generation is really waking up and waking us all up to the fact that it can be different and you have to fight for what you believe in. Not that I haven’t in the past, but you know what I mean. It’s just more palpable now in our world.

Jen: Oh I couldn’t agree more.

Yeah. So, it’s beautiful to see them grow.

Jen: Their age group gets a lot of crap, and my experience with young adults in their 20s right now is that they are incredibly vibrant and courageous. They care about the world. I love what I see in them. I’m not sure where they’re getting this reputation. It’s just kind of an easy trope actually to sell, but that is not my experience of them. I have a great deal of hope riding on the next generation. I love what I see. I think they’re going to go farther than we even thought to dream of. They’re thinking thoughts that I did not think until I was in my late 30s. I can’t believe how much they understand about the world and about systems and how prepared they are to jump in. So, I agree with you completely. I love young adults. I mean, frankly, give me a young adult 1000 times over kindergartner. I’ve done my time. I have done my time.

I think one of the hardest things for my community—I lead a lot of women—to cope with and I know you get this question because I do too and it’s always just a big question mark, but it’s balance. People ask me all the time how I keep a balanced like. I’m like, “Why do you think I am? What’s giving you that impression that my life is balanced?”

But your life is so interesting. So, when you’re on the road and you’re really needing to fill your well and restore some energy and find a quiet moment in such a crazy world, what does that look like for you? I’m curious how you take care of yourself and of your people, your team, your folks in the middle of what is, it feels a little crazy. It’s a lot of people. It’s a lot of energy. How do you keep the scales a little bit more in balance  for your own well-being?

Martina: Yeah. Well, first of all I worked really hard and long to surround myself with people that are positive and care about each other. So, on the road I have a family. That’s my family, my chosen family. And a lot of us have been together a long time. My tour manager has been with me for 25 years.

Jen: That’s amazing.

Martina: My musical director, 24 on so on. So, it is a family and they all look out for each other. They all have families too, so we’re kind of past the “sowing our wild oats” phase, you know?

Jen: Sure.

Martina: It’s lovely. It’s lovely. We get to go out and play music and we get to hang out together and we care about each other. We have history together. We know about each other’s kids, and my guitar player just became a grandpa. He’s the first one of us to have a grandchild. So, it’s like, that helps me balance. That is very balanced. I know they have my back. I know they care about me personally. So yeah. There’s not that worry.

Jen: Yeah, that matters.

Martina: I’m not off balance at all. So, that kind of environment and creating that kind of environment for yourself, if you can, with the people that you surround yourself with is important, I think, for balance.

Jen: I think that’s so underrated that even just making the very concerted choice to have healthy people in your life, in your career, that alone is a balancing factor. That they’re not constantly capitalizing on you or exploiting your fame or throwing you to the wolves. And in your industry, that’s the case for a lot of people.

Martina: Yeah, and it hasn’t always been that way because I am the ultimate … I don’t know what I am, but I always hang on to those people for far too long. I’ve been so loyal and I give them so many chances and believe that they’re going to change. You know how it is. So, I am learning as I get older, I’m 52 now and I have finally started learning that you gotta believe who people are when they show you the first time, like Maya Angelou said. So, part of my process is really learning to let those people go.

Jen: That’s good.

Martina: And keep the good people and the positive people close to you.

Jen: That’s so good. Gosh, I hope our daughters learn that earlier than we did. I hope they can pick up on that much quicker, and I think they are. But yeah. I’m like you. I’m a people pleaser and I’m loyal. So, together that can be a real recipe for a toxic relationship that should have been jettisoned ages ago. I, too, I’m just learning that the older I get.

But I bet my middle daughter is super intuitive. And she’s the one that always tells me, “Mom, you don’t need to be around these people. You don’t need this person in your life.” Blah, blah, blah.

I’m like, “Oh, come on.”

She’s like, “No, I’m telling you,” and she’s always right. She’s always right. I’ve learned to listen to her.

 That’s so funny. My people that are listening to this are going to be laughing right now because I am kind of a “glass half full” type, and I tend to look at the world with real rosy eyes and I think everybody means well and I think we must have just misinterpreted what they were saying. I’m so naïve about that. So, I too have to surround myself with realists who are like, “Jen, get your head out of the clouds. You are crazy. They’re just a mean person.”

I’m like, “Oh okay. I was going to give them a seventh chance.”

By the way, let me just be the millionth person to say to your ears I’m sure and that you just mentioned that you are 52, and you are just fire-engine hot. So, I don’t know what your secret sauce is, but I wish you would bottle it and sell it.

Martina: If you could see me right now, I’m in my pajama bottoms and a t-shirt, no bra, no makeup. My hair, I definitely need a shower. So, yeah. It’s like a lot of glam and good lighting.

Jen: Sure. Look, that only endears you to us more, and you know it. I love that both sides of you, but your glam side, man, you are nailing it.

Jen:  Another thing that I’ve loved watching is the way you commit yourselves to organizations doing good in the world. This matters to me a lot too. This is a big piece of my value system. So, I’d love for you to talk for a minute about why you make the time and give the energy to the organizations that you love and sort of what that has meant to you.

Martina: Well, it’s about … I don’t know. I think it’s just the way I was raised or something. It’s just been interesting to me. I just feel like it’s important to … I have a way and the means and the sort of public platform to say something and people listen. So, that just comes with responsibility. I don’t judge anybody else for not using it. I’m just saying for me personally, it’s important to leave the world a better place and to make a positive difference with that. Because it’s such a gift.


Martina: I was gifted this life and whatever talent I have. So, I don’t know. It just feels like the right thing to do.

Jen: It does. I completely agree and it’s such a good example for everybody watching you too that there’s room. I think sometimes we … It’s just easy to slip into this mental space of scarcity, that there’s just so much to give of you. You kind of gotta be grabbing on to everything super tight to just increase your platform and your visibility and your success, but really there is just enough to go around. In my experience, sharing and giving it away and elevating other people, it just multiplies it all. To me, it’s that rising tide that was every boat in the harbor, and I just can’t think of another way to live.

Speaking of, I would love for you to tell my listeners a little bit more about your own organization, Team Music Is Love. Can you tell everybody what it is and how it got started with the t-shirt and how they can get involved?

Yeah. Team Music Is Love was really started by a group of fans who contacted me and said, “Can we wear a T-shirt and walk in your honor in a breast cancer walk?”

I was like, “Sure.”

They were like, “It should be called ‘Team Martina’,” and I was like, “We need a better name for sure.”

But it just started. This woman named Sheila Jones is passionate about it, to be honest and these fans started organizing and my vision for it was to have instead of one big organization that does a fundraiser every year, my vision for it was to kind of enable people or empower people to do stuff in their own communities, and in the name of Team Music Is Love or whatever, to sort of give them something to hold on to, an organization. But really just to go out and I think it lifts people up. It makes them feel better if they’re doing something to help others. So, that was my original vision for it.

We just, you know, very grassroots started growing and growing. And it’s not a charity that does just one thing. We help wherever we see a need. So, we’ve done a lot of things for hunger relief. We’ve done things for, you know, women and children charities are super close to my heart. So, we’ve done a lot of things. We started a music school and a covenant house in Guatemala for girls that have been trafficked and rescued and abandoned, they come through covenant house and this music program just binds them together. It just is something they can do together. It’s obviously we know how uplifting music and making music and creating it.

So, just a lot of things that we’ve done. We go on tour. We try to do things locally as much as we can in each city. If there’s a food bank that needs some volunteering. If there’s a shelter that needs some volunteering. So, yeah it’s just really unique, I think, for a charity in that it has a lot of arms and tentacles. And it has a wide reach.

So, if people are interested go to Join us and help.

Jen: Love that. That’s so creative and innovative. And guys, we’ll have all that linked over on the transcript, for sure.

So, one other thing I want to talk to you about real quick before we go is this is one of my favorite things about you right now. Apparently, you can cook too, and this is very exciting for me. Food is my favorite thing. I love cooking as well. So, you’ve taken your talents to all the way to a cookbook. You’ve taken them to a show on the Food Network. This is happening. This is absolutely happening. In fact, it’s your second cookbook, right? Martina’s Kitchen Mix?

Martina: Yeah.

Jen: So much fun. I wonder if you could talk just a minute about cooking and recipes that you love. And this is just a whole interesting side of your life that is a whole new lane. Are you enjoying this? Is this fun for you?

Martina: Yeah, I love it! I feel so grateful that I’m able to have basically kind of two careers, and they’re both things I’m really passionate about. So, I love cooking and I’ve always loved to cook. People would just say, they seemed to enjoy my food and they would say, “You should have a cookbook. You should have a cooking show.” I was like, “Yeah. Yeah. That’s not going to happen. Cool, whatever.”

Then it happened. It’s so much fun to be able to share recipes and just ideas. And I would say it’s my love language. It’s like to take care of people. So, through food and cooking, and I don’t know. I’m just really lucky and blessed that I get to explore this in a really cool way.

Jen: What’s it like having a show on the Food Network? Because it’s just such a different skillset. You’re obviously a performer, you’re no stranger to a camera, but it’s so different. It’s just so different than being an artist and a musician in front of everybody.

Was there a learning curve? I’m sure there was.

Martina: Oh yeah! Oh yeah. It is very different. Trying to remember . . . for me cooking is kind of a solitary activity. It’s kind of meditative for me. So, if I’m in the kitchen it’s usually alone. And so now all of a sudden, you’re in front of a camera and about 20 people, by the way, who are … It’s like I’m also one of these cooks that kind of always refers to the recipe. I don’t memorize the whole thing. So, I’m always checking it. And you can’t do that on TV, so if I’m making a dish, I have to kind of remember “half a cup of this and two teaspoons of that and a tablespoon of this” and it’s a lot to remember. And also be entertaining. And also not cut your finger off. And also it’s just a lot.

Jen: It is.

Martina: So, yeah. Luckily I have a great team that is very patient with me and has had a lot of experience and yeah. So, you just do it. I think as I watched back the first season, I can see it getting better and better. So, it’s just experience.

Jen: Oh my gosh. The world of cookbooks and cooking shows is just so fascinating and fun. I love that you’re enjoying it.

Okay. So, as we wrap it up here these are just three quick questions that we’re asking everybody in the music series.

So, here is the first question. When you need a pick-me-up, who do you put on the radio? Who do you put on the record player?

Martina: I usually reach for my Amy Winehouse—Back to Black, that album. Yeah I reach for that. “Rehab” and that whole record. It just lifts me up. It’s so interesting, and I love her voice. So that’s kind of my go to.

Jen: She was an amazing talent. I can’t think of anybody I’ve ever known like her. I know every word to that album.


Jen: Question. Is there a musical bucket item on your list? Either a venue you haven’t sung at or somebody you’d love to partner with or collaborate with. Just anything at all. Is there anything you’ve yet to do that you want to do?

Martina: I want to make a gospel album.

Jen: Do you?

Martina: Yeah, I grew up in that little tiny town, like I said. And we had this little church and my dad and I sang those old classic country gospel songs like “This World Is Not My Home,” “Precious Memories.” All of those from the hymnal, and I really want to do that. I got started on it, and I’ve recorded two songs but I need to get back in and finish that. I think that would be a nice thing to leave behind. You know?

Jen: I think your fans would go bananas for that. Universe, you’ve heard it. Let’s make it happen. That’s kind of been your wheelhouse a little bit too, those kind of power gospel ballads. I literally can chart it in my head right now. That’s a great answer.

Here’s the last question. We actually ask every guest every series this question and your answer can be serious, it can be silly, it can be big, it can be small. So really just whatever. It’s a question I borrowed from a favorite author and it’s this. What is saving your life right now?

Martina: Oh my gosh. That’s such a good question. Probably the fact that I get to go on a vacation in a couple of weeks.

Jen: Yay! Woo!

Martina: Last year, starting at about August, it was nonstop. I was finishing my Christmas album, so I was in the studio every day. I was doing the television show for Food Network, Martina’s Table. I was finishing up the cookbook and reviewing and proofreading and testing and all that stuff. And I was also traveling a lot, touring. And then when everything came out at once, we had the Christmas album and the book all kind of come out and the TV show. We were like all over LA, New York, traveling, doing book signings, doing television. It was so much fun, but it was a lot.

So, I kept saying, “When I get done with this year, I’m going to go on a tropical vacation.” So, my husband and I are going last week of February. So, in a couple weeks we’re going to go, and I can not wait. I’m just looking forward to it so much.

Jen: Oh my goodness. A good vacation can get me through any season. If I know I have it to look forward to, I can put my head down and power through any mountain of work, just knowing that that’s coming. That’s great and right in winter. The perfect time to leave. That’s fabulous.

So, just tell us what you’re working on right now, what we can expect from you, where we can be looking for you, all of that.

Martina: Well, I am starting to wrap my head around making a new album, which is right now I don’t have anybody that’s breathing down my neck or demanding it. So, it’s fun because I can really take my time and wrap my head around what direction I want to go, what do I want it to sound like. I’m starting to write for it. So, that’s fun. So, I don’t know when that’s going to come out or when I’m going to start working on it but hopefully by the end of the year or early next year.

Then we’re just touring. And I’m working on the next book and just more of the same, really, but it’s all so much fun and I’m excited.

Jen: I know. What a life, right? Who could have ever imagine? It’s so fabulous.

I want to just tell you thank you from my whole generation, for just walking us through every stage of growing up, of becoming women, of becoming wives and moms and career professionals. It feels like you’ve been a companion to us all this time. And we used your words, we borrowed your lyrics when we didn’t know how to explain what else was going on in our heads and in our lives, and it’s just mattered to us. Your work has really really mattered to us.

So, I want to thank you for the endless hours you’ve poured into your work. All the creativity. All the blood, sweat and tears. There’s a high cost to what you do. And I just really want you to know that it has mattered to us, and we’re grateful, and never, ever stop. If you’ll put out an album once a year, we’ll all buy it.

Thank you for all you do, and thanks for being on the show today.

Martina: Thank you for saying that. You’re going to make me cry. That’s just amazing, and I really appreciate that so much.

Jen: I mean absolutely every word. Great to meet you. Thanks, Martina.

Great talking to you, Jen. Take care.

Jen: Fabulous. You guys. When I hung up the call with Martina just now, I just laughed. I just sat at my desk and I laughed because I just love her so much and I can’t believe I just got to have a conversation with Martina McBride. Just such a hero to me.

I hope you loved that. I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did. As you know everything we talked about, we’re going to have over at under the Podcast tab. All of her stuff: her links to her socials and her books and her music and her schedule and her Food Network show. If we talked about it or if we didn’t talk about it, it’s going to be over there. We’ll pull up some pictures too and make sure we load that up. Amanda does a great job of building out our podcast page every single week, and I hope that you are using it because it’s an amazing resource, including of course the entire transcript, if you’d like to read it again.

So, thanks for listening. Thanks for suggesting this great series. I’m enjoying it so very much. I have just so many exciting things to come in it still, and you are not going to want to miss any of it. When I say music royalty, that’s kind of what we have in this series. So, come back, next week you’re going to be glad you did.

If you liked this one, give it a share. We appreciate those of you who do that. A lot of you share our podcast on your socials and you link them over to your friends. That’s so great. Thank you for bringing us new listeners. Thank you for bringing our show to the people that you love. We take that so seriously. So, on behalf of Amanda and of our producer Laura and her entire team, it’s just we’re a grateful little podcast community here.

So, you guys have a fabulous week and see you next time.

Narrator: That’s it for today’s show. Hope you enjoyed this chat. Be sure to subscribe to my mom’s podcast and give it a “thumbs up” rating if you like it. From the whole Hatmaker family, hope you have a great week and see you next time!


connect with martina mcbride: 


connect with team music is love:


51cqzkcenjl-_sx405_bo1204203200_    51-xdrmfajl-_sx398_bo1204203200_

  • If you’re needing a little help, go to and use the code FORTHELOVE to get 10% off your first month.
  • Go to to start your free two months right now.
Shop Jen's Faves

From exclusive, limited-edition items to my must-haves, check out all my latest faves.


Take a peek around

If you’re not sure where to begin, I got you, friend. I’m always bringing you something new to enjoy.

Read More About Jen