Portraits of Country Music's Top Stars

My Country: Portraits of Country Music's Top Stars
© My Country by Melanie Dunea / CPi / Rodale Books

Carrie Underwood
Was there a moment when you knew you had to be a country musician?
Being a country music singer has been in my mind ever since I was a little girl singing in my mom's car. There was never a defining moment when I decided that this was the life I would lead ... I'm much too practical for that kind of thinking. But I'm so grateful that I'm here now.

Do you have any special thing you do before you perform?
My band members and I get together about 15 minutes before showtime to hang out. We always say a prayer before we walk onstage.

Favorite songs:
"When I Get Where I'm Going," Brad Paisley
"The World I Know," Collective Soul
"Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" Creedence Clearwater Revival
"Welcome Home," Dolly Parton
"Beautiful Day," U2

Get the Latest Photos from Time.com
Get TIME photos and pictures of the week delivered directly to your inbox.