The country star spoke to Fox News about her most notable partnerships and inspirations in country music and in checking off the boxes in her professional success, one particular achievement is very special since the likelihood of it happening for anyone other than Alaina is slim to none.
Alaina, 25, has called Trisha Yearwood, 55, a friend and mentor in the business for years and the two have cultivated such a strong relationship that the “Road Less Traveled” performer can call on the three-time Grammy winner just about any time and Yearwood won’t hesitate to answer.
“I absolutely adore her. I look up to her so much,” Alaina gushed about the 27-time Grammy nominee. “She calls me Trisha Junior – I’m in her phone as Junior and it’s one of my finest accomplishments to date. So I’m very proud of that.”
The Rossville, Ga. native began developing her singing chops at just 3 years old and continued her ascent in middle school, where she and fellow country star Kane Brown sang in the same seventh-grade choir.
The friendly duo would go on to be nominated for a Billboard award in 2018 for their collaboration on “What Ifs.”
“The small area we’re from in northern Georgia is pretty much the kind of place where you grow up there and you may or may not go off to college. And if you do, you pretty much always come back and have babies and stay,” Alaina said of the hometown she shares with Brown, 26.
“That’s pretty much the story of our hometown area. And it’s like that in many parts of America, I sort of feel like. But for whatever reason, Kane and I both got out of there and it’s so crazy,” she said. “The fact that we took very different paths to get where we are, it’s such a random, crazy thing but it’s such a blessing. And we’ve had each other’s back and we’re in each other’s corners and we do a lot of stuff together.”
The “Georgia Peaches” songstress pressed that her relationships with Brown and Yearwood blossomed organically, which aided Alaina in collaborating with Yearwood on “Getting Good,” a duet the two released amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“She’s just really funny and really outgoing and she’s such a beautiful person inside and out,” raved Alaina, adding that Yearwood’s voice “was one of the most influential voices in [my] career by far.”
“I grew up listening to her sing on the radio, and she taught me how to sing. She’s one of those voices that really shaped my voice,” said the “Dancing with the Stars” alum. “We did a cooking show together and we had a blast. And she sang ‘Getting Good’ to me in her kitchen and then said if I ever wanted to do a song with her to let her know.”
Heeding to the common expression that a “closed mouth doesn’t get fed,” Alaina took Yearwood up on the offer.
“A few weeks later, I worked up the nerve to call her and asked her if she wanted to do a version of ‘Getting Good’ and she said yes. And that was literally the whole story — it was very natural, the way the whole thing happened,” Alaina explained. “I even got the idea because she sang my own song to me. And I was thinking to myself, ‘I’ve literally sung your songs my entire life, to hear you sing mine is breathtaking.'”
Alaina is gearing up to release her newest EP “Getting Over Him” on Sept. 4 and it was merely a coincidence that her breakup album came during a time where many are exercising their right to split from their significant other during COVID-19, given the extra time folks are spending with one another.
“There’s a lot of people out there needing a little bit of breakup music in their lives so I figured calling the EP ‘Getting Over Him’ would send a strong, clear message on what the content is going to be,” Alaina said.
“I recorded all of them during the quarantine. I wrote three of them during the quarantine, actually,” she explained of the process. “Three of them were done before and then three of them I wrote during. What an interesting project, I will say. It’s very different than any other music I’ve ever made, that is for sure. But everything that we’re doing now is a little different than we’ve been before. We’re all just trying to be creative on how we can still stay connected and get out there.”
Part of Alaina’s recipe to connecting with her fans and family is through her partnership with U.S. Cellular and their initiative to support the community and fans during these uncertain times. Alaina is set host a 30-minute livestream performance dedicated to those who need an escape from the perils of the real world.
“Their whole mission is to promote fairness and equality and love. And that is literally 90 percent of the songs that I write are all about being inclusive and loving others and loving yourself and being kind,” said Alaina. “And I think the world is in such a state of fear and there’s so much anxiety right now and our lives are literally all turned upside down and 2020 has just been kind of a crazy year.”
If the events of 2020 weren’t already enough for music fans to handle with the subsequent halt to any in-person live performances, when asked about the decision of Garth Brooks, 58, to remove himself from consideration for Country Music Association (CMA) Awards’ Entertainer of the Year, Alaina chalked it up to Garth being Garth and allowing others the opportunity to flourish in that space.
“I was in an interview and found that out in an interview,” she said of learning the seven-time winner had bowed out. “And I just think that from my experience, he and Trisha – they’re really lovely people and I think he’s just trying to give other people a shot, which I really admire.
“Because at the end of the day, we are all in this together and actually that kind of reminds me of what I’m doing with U.S. Cellular, they’re…all about fairness,” Alaina continued. “And I think that he wants things to be fair, you know, and we’re all a really big family in country music. I mean, he’s Garth – you don’t even have to say Brooks anymore. He’s just Garth. So for someone at that level to be that considerate, it’s just really amazing. And he’s super respectable.”
In recent years, many country music fans argued Carrie Underwood deserved to bear the moniker for her career success as well as her performing and hosting abilities.
An ACM winner in 2018 for new female vocalist, Alaina quipped that since Brooks is subbing himself out of the game, perhaps he could give her a nod at the big crown.
“Also, Miss Trisha Yearwood – that’s what he calls her – she told me that Garth is going around the living room singing my song, so can he nominate people for Entertainer of the Year?” Alaina inquired through bouts of laughter.
“Because that would be really great. He likes my song; can he submit who takes his place in that?”