Nightline Playlist: Trisha Yearwood

At the age of 5, Trisha Yearwood set a personal goal to have a music career.

Today Yearwood is a two-time winner of the Country Music Association's female vocalist award. She says that listening to her parent's records while growing up helped her understand music better. There were a variety of records in her home from the '50s, and once she heard Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" she was never the same.

"Even at 5 or 6 years old, when I heard that, I was mesmerized," Yearwood said. "I just thought that it was something magical."

Presley was not the only musician that caught Yearwood's attention at an impressionable age. A 13-year-old Yearwood was excited when she heard Linda Ronstadt's "When Will I Be Loved" for the first time.


"It was rock 'n' roll, but it sounded like country music to me, which is what I grew up listening to," Yearwood said. "When I heard her sing, that's when I said, that's what I want to do, that's who I want to be, that's the sound I want to have."

After discovering artists like Ronstadt, Yearwood says it was not long until she began listening to others from that era.

Different artists continued to inspire her as she moved toward her goal of becoming a musician, and her parents continued to assist by providing the records.

"My parents had a record that they had bought when I was a kid, and it was like 21 golden country hits," Yearwood said. "My standout memory of this album is that there were only two women on this album of 20-something artists."

Now looking back, Yearwood has gone beyond her childhood goal. She has won three Grammy Awards, the Academy of Country Music's top female vocalist honor, has been inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, and the list continues.

"I've been making records for 16 years, and it feels great to make a record that you can be excited about as you were for the first one," said Yearwood. "There's just a real excitement around the whole thing, and when I hear the album, the word that comes to mind is energy."

Yearwood admires artists from many different genres -- she's a big fan of Tammy Wynette, and also of Prince.

With her Mississippi roots, Wynette wrote "Till I Get it Right," a song on her 1973 'My Man' album. She is known for her gripping, tear-drop-in-every-note vocal style that brings emotion to her songs.

"I actually covered years later on one of my albums," Yearwood said. "One of these beautiful ballads that you just believed every word she said."

"Most of my fans wouldn't know that I'm a huge Prince fan and I have every song he ever recorded on my iPod," Yearwood said.

'Heartbreak Hotel'

Presley's music became popular because of his unique combination of pop and country music with a small tint of gospel. Recorded in 1956, this song was Presley's first No. 1 record as well as the best selling single of 1956.

Presley's voice was the first of a musician that Yearwood remembers hearing.

"Mesmerized me and always did," Yearwood said. "Just to hear his voice, there was something magical about him."

'When Will I Be Loved'

Yearwood remembers hearing Ronstadt at the age of 13 on the radio.

"It had harmonies and acoustic guitar and a lot of her stuff had fiddle and steel guitar," Yearwood said. "It sounded like the stuff I really liked except it had this edge to it."

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