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Some Rimes and reasons

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Country star relishes career despite bumps along the way

By Ramsey Scott

It’s been more than 17 years since LeAnn Rimes first made a name for herself as a 13-year-old singer with a voice that sounded like it was channeling country great Patsy Cline. 

Since then, Rimes has grown up in the spotlight, her private life finding its way to the front pages of gossip magazines and as fodder for late-night comics. It’s the inevitable side effect of becoming a star before she could drive a car.

Rimes, who is performing at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11, at the Rocky Mountain Music Festival in Clement Park, has had to endure being in the public eye while dealing with everything from her settled lawsuit against her father in 2000 to a very public divorce from her first husband.

“Somehow I’ve figured it out, at least enough to do what I love. It’s definitely not been easy,” Rimes said. “I guess being here for so long can either make you or break you. And for me, I’ve ridden the wave of it up and down many times. I guess I have a really thick skin, and I know how to handle it, probably more than the ‘normal side.’ This is what I know; this is what I do. I love music, and I love to sing, and I think that’s what kept me wanting to be around in it.”

Rimes said the public perception of her life, especially regarding her relationship to her new husband Eddie Cibrian, is 180-degrees opposite of her actual life. Cibrian and Rimes met in 2009 during the filming of a made-for-TV movie while both were married to other people. 

Rimes and Cibian’s affair, divorce and eventual marriage in 2011 were well publicized. Rimes said the entire relationship and aftermath is what she tapped into to make her new album, Spitfire. The album changed how she viewed the entire process of making music.

“It’s definitely an emotional ride for anyone listening, and for me, who made what I think is the most personal record since I’ve started. This is the most personal in the last 20 years. It’s very transparent; there’s a lot of humanity in the album. There’s nothing hidden in it,” Rimes said. “This album completely changed how I view it, even though I think every album is a cathartic experience because I get to create and that’s what I love to do. I really truly appreciate my gift to write into a song what I am feeling more so now than ever. There’s a lot of things I was holding in I didn’t know how to get out until I was able to write it. This is, I think, even more cathartic than any of the records I’ve made.”

Rimes said performing her music has changed for her as well. She describes her show now as being in her living room. When she first started, Rimes said she strictly stuck to a set list at shows. Now, Rimes said she and the band take the show where the audience wants to go. 

Despite the negative aspects of being in the spotlight, Rimes said she has no regrets that she’s spent almost her entire life making music. 

“I don’t think I was supposed to do anything else,” Rimes said. “I told my dad the first things I wanted to be was a singer or be the first professional female baseball player. My bar was very low at an early age.”

After more than 20 years, Rimes said the connection to her audience still moves her. It still hits her when a fan tells her about how one of her songs connected with him or her.

“It’s the ultimate compliment. I get very emotional when people start talking about my music and talking about the way they’ve related it to their life. It means a lot to me, it really does,” Rimes said. “I think it’s probably one of my biggest accomplishments of my life to be able to still have this career after 20 years.” 

 

Email Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.com

 LeAnn Rimes at the Rocky Mountain Music Festival

When: 11 a.m. (Rimes performs at 6:30 p.m.) Sunday, Aug. 11

Where: Clement Park

Details: Tickets are available at www.therockymountain
musicfestival.com/Tickets.asp