LeAnn Rimes was only 13 years old when her song “Blue” turned her into a sensation 26 years ago. At 14, she became the youngest person to win a Grammy, taking home two awards.
As a rising star, Rimes displayed charm and confidence as she chased her dream.
“We can believe that we are great, like there’s no shame in that,” she told CBS News correspondent Jamie Yuccas.
“I know for so long, especially being in this business, it’s like you have to be humble,” Rimes said. “And I’m like, ‘I’m freakin humble.’ I’m humbled to everything that gets to come through me. And at the same time, I know what I can do.”
The singer-songwriter recently joined Yuccas in a Los Angeles recording studio to share memories of her remarkable career and what inspired her 18th studio album, “God’s Work,” due out in September. The interview is part of the new “CBS Mornings” series “Mornings Mixtape,” which will highlight iconic artists who have stood the test of time with songs we love and just can’t get out of our heads.
Born in Mississippi and raised in Texas, Rimes has been singing since she was a toddler, and she started performing at the age of 5. She was barely a teenager when she became the youngest and first country singer to win a Grammy award for best new artist back in 1997.
The dress Rimes wore that night is now part of “The Power of Women in Country Music” exhibit at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. Her memories of the night include being sick with a high fever.
“I remember my publicist and I walked outside. I was standing in the rain waiting for my car. I was like, ‘I bet Whitney Houston doesn’t wait for her car in the rain,'” she recalled during a tour of the museum.
But Rimes says success so early in life contributed to her struggles with anxiety and depression as an adult. She’s been open about it in an effort to end the shame surrounding mental health.
“The one thing about me is I have a lot of grit. And I have a lot of resilience. If I wasn’t resilient, I wouldn’t be here,” Rimes said.
“I mean, there’s been many times in my life that I could’ve easily chosen a different way out or just not come back from where I was. But I have such a fight. That rebellion that has gotten me into trouble many times has also saved my life,” she said, adding that her resilience “truly saved my life, many times.”
Rimes is sharing her spiritual journey on her upcoming album “God’s Work,” which she worked on with her longtime collaborator Darrell Brown and a diverse group of artists. One of the songs is a rallying cry to protect the environment.
“Music was an instant connection to all of creation,” she said. “I’ll cry talking about it because it is so powerful.”
Rimes said it was a conscious decision to bring in diverse voices into her music.
“I’ve always wanted to,” she said. “It takes everybody to raise a society that is well loved and well supported.”
Like so many during the pandemic, Rimes was feeling lonely and introspective — but she found solace in the studio. Reflecting on those times, she spoke about the importance of feeling vulnerable.
“We don’t use our heart enough. We don’t use our empathy enough. We’re too scared to be hurt,” Rimes said. “I know I’m speaking from my own experience here, but I feel like a lot of people can relate.
“I mean, vulnerability is such a superpower. It’s our greatest superpower, in my opinion,” she said.
Rimes’ current tour is aptly called “The Story, So Far.” And the award-winning singer-songwriter will hit another milestone later this month: she’s turning 40.
“I’m ready to mature,” she said. “Growing up in this business in front of everyone, people have literally wanted to keep me a certain age forever. It’s only in the past few years I feel like people have allowed me to grow into a woman. Also, I’ve allowed myself to grow into a woman.”
Happily married to actor Eddie Cibrian for the past 11 years, Rimes is finally comfortable sharing the song she wrote for their wedding and recorded for the album.
“When you talk about love, there’s no way to get around being sappy sometimes…” she said. “I’ve gone through a lot. I’ve lived a lot of life in 40 years. I’m ready for a calmer time.”