Reba McEntire's Southern Accent

The country star remembers the woman who introduced her to music—her mom.

Reba and her mother Jacqueline
Photo: Courtesy Reba’s Business, Inc.

In this week's episode, Sid Evans, editor-in-chief of Southern Living Magazine, talks to country music legend Reba McEntire about growing up on her family's Oklahoma cattle ranch, her new career-spanning box set, and how she regained her passion for singing after the loss of her mother.

Season 2, Episode 26: November 30, 2021

Get to Know Reba McEntire

There's an elite few in country music who are recognizable just by their first name. And though this week's guest was named after her grandmother and came from humble beginnings on a cattle farm in Oklahoma, the name Reba is about as synonymous with country music as they come.

Approaching 45 years in music, television, film and now podcasting, Reba McEntire has done it all, selling more than 75 million records in the process. Inducted by her hero Dolly Parton into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2011, Reba comes from a family of world champion steer-ropers. Before seeing the world on a tour bus, she traveled with her mom, dad, and three siblings in one truck to rodeo competitions around the country. But Reba's singing career skyrocketed in the 1980s, and aside from holding the record for most CMA and ACM nominations by a female artist, she's also scored number one songs in each of the last four decades.

What Reba McEntire Talks About in this Episode

  • Growing up on her family's Oklahoma cattle ranch
  • Her new career-spanning box set
  • Her new duet with Dolly Parton
  • How she regained her passion for singing after the loss of her mother
  • Finding solace in her faith

Quotes from Reba McEntire

Reba McEntire

"When I went to L.A., and people had said, 'Oh, you kept your accent.' I said, 'Well, that's the way I talk.' "Yeah, but don't you want to change it?' And I said, 'Well, why? Then that wouldn't be Reba. That'd be somebody else.'"

—Reba McEntire

Reba mcentire

"I'm proud of my heritage. I'm proud of the state of Oklahoma, where I grew up. I'm proud of my parents. I love the Lord. And I think that's all the training and the things I learned and grew up with by being in the South. Some people might say Oklahoma is not the South, it's central or it's the center part of the United States. But I'm south of a lot of people. So I'll take it."

— Reba mcentire

Reba McEntire

"Because when we were rodeoing, we didn't have a radio. We didn't have an air conditioner. We barely had an armrest. So, Mama, to keep us kids out of trouble, we would sing. And Mama taught us four-part harmony. Mama was a great singer; until the day she died, she could sing."

—Reba McEntire

Reba McEntire

But when we were going to Nashville for the first time in '75, I didn't know anything about the music business. And I was really missing my rodeo family. And I was wondering if I was going to be torn away from them completely. I made a lot of excuses to stop. You know, 'I have to use the bathroom' or 'can we get something to drink?' And finally, she got fed up with it and she said, 'You know, Reba, if you don't want to do this, we don't have to do it. We can just turn around and go home.' She said, 'But if you go through with it, I just want you to know that I'll be living all my dreams through you.' I said, 'Well, shoot. Why didn't you say that in the first place? Let's go.'"

—Reba McEntire

About Biscuits & Jam

In the South, talking about food is personal. It's a way of sharing your history, your family, your culture, and yourself. Each week Sid Evans, editor in chief of Southern Living, sits down with celebrity musicians to hear stories of how they grew up, what inspired them, and how they've been shaped by Southern culture. Sid takes us back to some of their most cherished memories and traditions, the family meals they still think about, and their favorite places to eat on the road.

Listen to the full episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, and Stitcher.

Get a transcript of the full interview with Reba McEntire.

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