Reba McEntire

Reba Gives Herself Advice: “if I Could Get My 21-Year-Old Self to Listen…”

By C. Murph | Monday Monday Staff -    2016-10-04

Reba McEntire
photo from

Imagine if you could go back in time to talk to your younger self. What would you say? Would you be stern and reprimand yourself, or maybe say some encouraging words?

When Reb McEntire stepped onstage recently at the Nashville Business Journal’s Women in Music City Awards, she had some advice for herself. 

“If I could get my 21-year-old self to listen,” she said, “the No. 1 thing I would say is, ‘You are going to meet the most special people. Enjoy every second that you get to be in this beautiful city of Nashville, and this wonderful business called the music business.’”

The collaborations she has done are too numerous, but she did win a Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for her work with Linda Davis on “Does He Love You.”

I’d say she’s gotten along pretty well with the music business. When people know you just by your first name, that’s when you know you’ve made it. She joins Prince, Cher, Beyonce, Madonna, P!nk, Elvis, Sting, Jewel, and so many others in the Club of One-Namers. Her website is literally just

She won Artist of the Year this year, and she was completely comfortable in that room of uber-powerful women. In addition to giving herself advice, she offered some words for every newcomer to the industry world.

“If there was one thing I could say to young people coming up: know the history of country music,” she said. “You’ve let me be a part of this business for 40 years. Please don’t run me off now.”

Reba McEntire
Reba and her family (photo from

Reba must have learned from her mother, Jacqueline Smith McEntire. The McEntire family lived on an 8,000-acre ranch in Chockie, Oklahoma. Jacqueline once had dreams of being a country music singer, but instead, she devoted herself to her family — four children and her husband — and made sure to teach them how to sing and harmonize with each other.

And it paid off. Reba, her older brother, Pake, and her younger sister, Susie, started a trio called The Singing McEntires, recording “The Ballad of John McEntire” for Boss Records in 1971.

Reba McEntire
Reba McEntire singing at the rodeo (photo from

From there, Reba sang the National Anthem at the National Rodeo Finals in Oklahoma City in 1974. Red Steagall was there as one of the other performers at the event, and he was captivated by Reba’s voice. He invited her to Nashville to record demos at his publishing company. He recorded Reba in 1975, pushed her music around Music City, and finally got her a deal with Polygram Mercury Records later that year. 

Now, here are just a few of her accomplishments:

  • Sold over 56 million albums worldwide
  • Member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame
  • 15 American Music Awards
  • 13 ACM Awards
  • 9 People’s Choice Awards
  • 7 CMA Awards
  • 2 GRAMMY Awards
  • ACM Career Achievement Honor
  • One of only four entertainers in history to receive the National Artistic Achievement Award from the U.S. Congress

Dang, Reba. Slow down and give the other country musicians a chance.

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C. Murph

C. Murph is a freelance writer who lives in Pennsylvania.

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