Show business is a fickle industry full of short-term careers, but all-rounder Reba McEntire is a shining example of longevity in a precarious career.
The 61-year old country singer has just released a new album Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope, following a career that has spanned more than four decades, with 35 number one singles and more than 56 million albums sold worldwide.
If that isn’t enough of an achievement, Reba is also an accomplished actor in both film and television, with many film credits and six seasons of her own Reba television series.
And she was no slouch on Broadway either, playing the lead role of Annie Oakley in the 2001 Broadway revival of the musical Annie Get Your Gun. The New York Times described her Annie as ‘the best performance by an actress in a musical comedy this season’, though Reba told Country Music Television that playing Annie was ‘some of the hardest work I’ve ever done in my life’.
Hard work has never been something Reba has shied away from. She began her singing career at the age of five, and her formative years were spent singing with two of her siblings, brother Pake and Gospel singer Susie McEntire, firstly in the Kiowa High School Cowboy Band and later as The Singing McEntires.
Due to her talent and longevity in the industry, Reba is one of the most successful female recording artists in history, and a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. Her awards tally includes 15 American Music Awards and two Grammy Awards, and she is one of only four entertainers to receive the National Artistic Achievement Award from the US Congress.
But life hasn’t been a bowl of cherries, with Reba having to cope with her entire band being killed in a 1991 plane crash, and a painful divorce process from her former manager and husband of 26 years, Narvel Blackstock, in 2015.
Reba’s strong Christian faith provided the lifeline she needed.
‘I prayed every day to have the strength to move one foot in front of the other to continue on with what I’m supposed to be doing,’ she told christianpost.com.
‘Going on with life is what’s really important, and my faith helped me with that. I think about what God wants me to do. I focus on that,’ she said. ‘Faith is really important. It keeps me sane and it keeps me hopeful.’
Sing It Now is an important project for this queen of country music. It includes the first tune she ever sang in public, ‘Jesus Loves Me’ and the joyful ‘O Happy Day’.
The album also includes ‘Softly and Tenderly’, in collaboration with Trisha Yearwood and Kelly Clarkson—who happens to be Reba’s much-loved daughter-in-law.
Reba told FoxNews.com. that her faith was the secret to her success.
‘I ask the Lord to give me wisdom when I speak, when I think, and I always try to be positive and say nice things. It gives me strength through every minute and every day.’