By Holly A. Phillips
It’s difficult to fathom the numerous accomplishments country music star Reba McEntire has behind her, with no signs of stopping.
Known strictly as “Reba” to her fans, she’s a music powerhouse, but has also gained success in film, TV, and on Broadway.
She was inducted into the Country Music Hall of fame in 2011, a nod to the 40 million records she’s sold, 60 Top Ten singles she’s created, and two Grammy awards she’s earned — among many other accolades.
On May 13, 2014, Reba returned to the Country Music Hall of Fame for a question-and-answer session with 700 grade school students, where she expressed how important education was to her.
“I learned so much at college,” she said. “And not just what was in the books.”
During her years at Southeastern Oklahoma State University is where she got noticed for her voice, while performing the national anthem —something she did after her dad told her to get a job.
“I think singing the national anthem, you really can’t copy anybody on that,” she said. “You just sing it the way you sing it.”
She said her favorite song of her own, is “Is There Life Out There,” which is about a woman returning to college much later in life.
It was released in 1992, as a track on For My Broken Heart, a record Reba released after suffering a personal tragedy.
In March 1991, seven members from her band, plus her tour manager, were killed in a plane crash on the way to Reba’s concert.
“They will never be forgotten,” Reba tweeted this March, on the 23rd anniversary.
But her career never slowed, as she continued to climb the charts in the 90s, before performing in the Broadway musical, “Annie Get Your Gun.”
She also starred in the hit comedy series, “Reba,” and was the lead role in “Malibu Country.”
Although Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn are both influential to Reba, she said if she had to pick her favorite, it would be Parton.
“Dolly has influenced me,” she said. “I’ve watched her, I’ve studied her, we’re friends, she was the one who inducted me into the hall of fame. I really respect her.”
Currently, the Country Music Hall of Fame is hosting a cameo exhibition, Reba: All the Woman I Am, through June 8, 2014.
“I didn’t even have the knowledge to dream this big, when I got started,” she said. “All I thought was that to get into the music business and to be famous, you needed to have a song on the radio.”
As she told the students, if her music career didn’t work out, she was planning on teaching second grade.
On Friday, May 23, Reba will perform at the Bayou Country Superfest, along with George Strait and Chris Young. Although this is the fifth year for the Superfest, it’s been said to have the biggest schedule yet.
Though Reba has plenty of tracks to choose from when it comes to Friday’s set list, she does have one song she loves to perform, “Fancy.”
Originally written and performed by Bobbie Gentry in 1969, Reba said she enjoyed covering it during her early career.
“When I would sing in clubs, and honkey-tonks, and rodeos, it’s not a good dance number,” Reba said. “People would say, ‘That’s not a dance song,’ and I’d say, ‘Sit down, I want to sing it.’”
Follow Reba on Twitter and Instagram @Reba.