Member Since 1995
In the early 1990s, Martina McBride was working as a waitress, singing on demo tapes, and selling T-shirts for Garth Brooks’ tour. She has since sold more than 10 million albums, due in large part to her incendiary delivery and impeccable sense of song. In 2004, when she picked up her fourth CMA Female Vocalist of the Year trophy, she tied with fellow Opry member Reba McEntire for the most wins in that category. Yet for all of the accomplishments and accolades, Martina says that at the end of the day she’s “just Mom.”
Born Martina Schiff, she learned country music when her father, a Kansas farmer with his own part-time band, taught her such classics as Patsy Cline’s “I Fall to Pieces.” Martina started singing with him at age seven. “Dad played acoustic guitar and sang,” she recalls. “I sang with him. Mom ran the soundboard. It was a family thing to do.”
After high school Martina went to Hutchinson, Kansas, and sang with a band there. She soon decided to form her own band, renting a rehearsal studio from a sound-system operator named John McBride. Though the band didn’t work out, a romance bloomed and the couple married in 1988. In 1990 they moved to Nashville. The following year John toured with Garth Brooks as his production manager, and Martina went along and sold T-shirts.
Two years later, after signing with RCA, she became Garth’s opening act. In 1994, her second album, The Way That I Am, yielded two Top 10 hits, “My Baby Loves Me” and “Life # 9,” plus “Independence Day,” which won numerous video awards, and changed the subject matter female vocalists could address in country songs.
Martina became a member of the Grand Ole Opry during the taping of its 70th anniversary TV special in 1995. “It’s so incredible,” she said. “Whenever I do the Opry it still feels like the first time. I still get nervous. The Opry’s going to be here for hundreds of years, and I’m just proud my name is on that list. It’s a highlight of my life.”
Martina’s hits have included “A Broken Wing,” “I Love You,” “Blessed,” "Anyway," "Ride," and "I Just Call You Mine." Her most recent album, Eleven, was released in October 2011.