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Interview with Carrie Underwood

Aired March 31, 2010 - 16:49:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The winner of "American Idol" 2005 is Carrie Underwood.

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She was the American girl next door who captivated millions of TV viewers and went on to win the reality TV show, "American Idol".

Since then, Carrie Underwood has shot to fame. She's the first country artist ever to have 10 number one singles from her first two albums and has won a host of awards, including four Grammys.


FOSTER: With hits like "Jesus Take the Wheel" and "Just A Dream," Carrie Underwood has thousands of fans around the world.


FOSTER: But the star still likes to keep her feet firmly on the ground. This week, she's shining the spotlight on homeless dogs in America.

A big star committed to making a difference, country singer Carrie Underwood is your Connector of the Day.



FOSTER: And I caught up with Carrie while she was in New York.

And I began by asking her a bit more about that work she was doing with homeless dogs in the U.S.


CARRIE UNDERWOOD, SINGER: Well, I've teamed up with the Pedigree Adoption Drive program. And we are trying to raise awareness of how many dogs are in shelters right now. There are four million dogs sitting there waiting to be adopted. And there's a lot of simple things that people can do to help them out and find homes, one of which is becoming a fan on Facebook.

FOSTER: I want to get to the viewer questions. A lot of them about music, of course.

Matt asks: "If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?"

UNDERWOOD: I think everybody kind of grows up thinking, you know, people in the music industry or in the entertainment industry, you know, they don't really do much and they just have these lives of luxury and they just lie around and -- and then eat bon-bons and take trips everywhere...

FOSTER: It's not like that?

UNDERWOOD: I mean...

FOSTER: It's not like that?

UNDERWOOD: No, it is not like that at all. It is so much more, which is good, because, you know, to me, I don't ever just want anything for free. You -- you get so much pride out of it if you really work hard for it. So it -- it's a lot of fun and I do get to do a lot of things that, of course, I never ever would have been able to do. I get to go places I never would have seen or dreamt of before.

But it's a lot of work and it takes a lot of people to make it go around. So, you know, I've -- I've developed a huge respect for people in the entertainment industry.

FOSTER: You came to fame, of course, with "American Idol." That didn't exist before, not on the scale -- that sort of talent show scale -- that we've got right now.

What's it been like being involved in that?

UNDERWOOD: It was really hard to get used to everything. I mean your life just changes overnight. And, you know, I think "American Idol" is one of the -- the true forms of discovering people left in the world. Like now, you know, you've got to know somebody or your family has to have a lot of money for you to be able to, you know, hire people and -- and then, I don't know, I don't know what you do, because I've never been there.

But nobody gets discovered anymore. And I think that's one of the great things about "American Idol." They're people, you know, your next door neighbor or somebody you went to school with, you know, people that -- that you could know.

And they're just going for it, you know?

They -- they don't really know what they're doing, but they're -- they're trying anyway. And I think that's what people love about it.

FOSTER: And it's been a meteoric rise for you, hasn't it?

Camille asks: "What has been the most memorable moment, though, of these last five years for you?"

UNDERWOOD: Oh my gosh. I don't think I could pick one memorable moment that stood out above all else. I mean Entertainer of the Year, winning that last year, was amazing. Becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry two years ago was amazing. Of course, winning "American Idol" started it all, so that's a moment in my life I will never forget.

There's been so many wonderful moments and so many things I've been able to do with this like, you know, humanitarian trips to Africa for Idol Gives Back. Now we're helping shelter dogs. You know, I mean just being able to -- to do good things with it, I think, are the things that are really going to last. Out of all the awards and stuff, people are going to forget those in, you know, 10 years. But it's the -- it's the good stuff that you do for the world that -- that sticks around and that lives longer than you or your career.

FOSTER: You've had an amazing career over the last five years. And Aaron from Pennsylvania asks: "In that five year career, was there a moment where you had to take a step back and think, wow, I've really made it?

Was that "American Idol" or was it the awards that came after?

UNDERWOOD: I mean it would definitely be more recent, because, you know, I still hear names like Keith Urban and Kenny Chesney and Reba McEntire and I can't believe I know these people, let alone, you know, I'm -- I'm going to award shows with them and being nominated amongst them. You know, it's just -- it's an absolutely amazing thought, because I -- I consider them way up here and I'm still, you know, trying to -- trying to get there.

And then, you know, every once in a while, somebody will like put together a package that, you know, shows what I've done in the past five years and all the places I've been and shows that I've put on and awards and -- and all that stuff. And it's -- it's really -- I mean it just blows my mind. It's -- it's hard to believe that that has all happened in five years.

FOSTER: "Are there days when, Dennis asks, "you wish, actually, that stardom had eluded you?"

UNDERWOOD: I never wish that I didn't do this. I never -- I never think, oh, you know, man, I wished I'd never tried out for "American Idol" and all these wonderful things. I wish that hadn't have happened. There's -- there's not a second that goes by that I think that.

It is kind of hard to get used to sometimes, just because people want to know everything. And people are so excited and, you know, that's a really good thing, just learning how to -- how to keep some things for yourself and how to, you know, try to stay a human being first and foremost and, you know, separating yourself from -- from what you do.

You know, nobody wants to bring their work home with them. And -- and neither do I. So, you know, it's just getting used to all of that that has been the biggest challenge.


FOSTER: Carrie Underwood speaking to me a little earlier.

Now, tomorrow, we talk to a U.S. attorney who for years hid a secret from his parents' home -- parents, rather -- from everyone. In a new book, John West reveals he helped his terminally ill mother and father to commit suicide. It's a situation all of us hope we never have to face. Be sure to tune in tomorrow right here on CONNECT THE WORLD, where he -- he talks us through that thought process.

Now, you can send in your questions for any of our Connectors, remember. Just head to and remember to tell us where you're writing from.