Carrie Underwood interview: "We don’t all wear cowboy hats and rhinestones… but I personally love rhinestones!"

The seven-time Grammy winner previews her Country 2 Country performance with us.

London's O2 Arena will welcome royalty later today when the Queen of Country Carrie Underwood takes the stage at C2C: Country 2 Country – Europe's biggest and best country music festival.

The three-day event kicked off on Friday, with the likes of Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Eric Church and Kacey Musgraves performing on three shows across the entire weekend.

Following our interview with Eurovision successes The Common Linnets, we continue our country season with Carrie Underwood, who tells why C2C is like nothing else in the world.

MORE: The official biggest country acts in the UK revealed

Country 2 Country 2016 marks your second time headlining the festival. What made you want to top the C2C bill again?

Well, the festival crowd are always so much fun because you never know who exactly they're there to see. I feel like it’s such a wonderful opportunity. You know, fans of somebody else might stay to see my show and say ‘Hey, I like her too’. It's definitely an opportunity for everyone to kinda swap fans, and of course, thank those who have been fans all along here.

So far the Country 2 Country festival has taken you to Stockholm, Oslo and Glasgow. Are you surprised by the positive reaction to country music across the world?

Yeah! I'm always nervous when we're going anywhere outside of my comfort zone which is the US [laughs] because country music is huge there. I always get nervous thinking 'Oh my gosh. Are people going to show up? Are people going to know my songs? Are people going to know me?' I’m always pleasantly surprised whenever I get to somewhere like London where there are indeed fans there. Some of them are like 'Oh my gosh. I’ve been waiting for years. I am so glad you’re here'. The truth is, they really have been waiting.

What do you think makes Country 2 Country such a unique experience for the fans?

I think it’s something they can’t get anywhere else. There’s not a lot of us that get the chance to come over and play in the UK. People can come and see a wide variety of artists so it's exciting for them to come out and make a whole weekend of it. I bet we’ll see quite a few cowboy hats in the audience! [laughs]

People outside the USA might have, shall we say, stereotypical ideas about country music and performers – how do you feel about that?

I definitely feel like there are a lot of stereotypes about what people think country music is… some of those are totally true! You know, I grew up on a farm in Oklahoma! There’s a lot about me that is stereotypical but I’m proud of that. [Country acts], we make great music. They're stories about life. I feel like we tell people’s stories, they relate to it and they can find pieces of themselves within the music, which is why I think it can be universally accepted. That's our main challenge, just making sure that the world knows that we don’t all wear cowboy hats and rhinestones… but I personally love rhinestones! [laughs]

Your album Storyteller went Top 20 on release last year. Do you reckon the appetite for country music is growing?

I think so. I’ve seen it myself as I’ve been able to come over more and more. That was always the hope that when we come to play that we would get to come back and we have!

MORE: See Carrie Underwood's UK hit singles and albums in her Official Chart archive

Now that you're bringing country music to us, it seems only fair we share some of our biggest stars with you!  Are there any British artists you admire?

There are several artists that are just incredible vocalists. You look at Sam Smith and, of course, Adele and those two have beautiful voices.

We’re sure if Adele heard you say that, she'd give you a big high five!

She is so sweet. We actually shared a dressing room at the Grammys and she didn’t come in with a huge entourage and she was just super laid-back and so nice.

You won Season 4 of American Idol, which is set to end for good next month. 😢 What do you think the show's legacy will be?

It will be the artists that still continue to make music because of that show. People like myself, Kelly Clarkson and a whole slew of others. People like Jennifer Hudson – she doesn’t just make music, as she is a really great actress too. So I think we’re American Idol’s legacy. I am still so appreciative of that show and everything that it did for me. I’m sad to see it go but 15 years on television is quite an accomplishment.

After Country 2 Country, do you have any further plans to do some more shows in the UK?

I definitely hope so. I hope to be able to come back and play my own shows and hopefully that’ll grow. I feel like we’re just at the beginning of me in the UK!

Fan of country music? You can check out the official best-selling country albums and country compilations every week on, plus the most recent addition to our stable, the all-new Official Americana Albums Chart – the first ever official weekly chart for Americana in the UK.

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