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1. The narrator says she started to write songs
1) when she was ten.
2) because she could not talk.
3) because it was the best way to express her feelings.
2. According to the narrator,
1) she could afford to have a recording studio.
2) her family was not well off.
3) she bought Christmas presents for her friends.
3. The narrator returned to Texas because
1) her apartment burnt down.
2) she had got several college music scholarships.
3) a friend told her about the American Idol audition in Dallas.
4. Looking back on the show, the narrator says that
1) few people really believed she could win.
2) the members of the crew were not at all supportive.
3) everyone was supporting her.
5. The narrator thinks that
1) she ought to become thinner.
2) she could serve as a role model for young girls.
3) girls should not live up to their idols.
6. The narrator dreams of
1) touring the world.
2) having a permanent relationship.
3) staying single.
7. The narrator considers herself
1) to be a celebrity.
2) practical and sensible.
3) honest and sincere.
1 – 3
2 – 2
3 – 1
4 – 1
5 – 3
6 – 2
7 – 3
Well, I was either ten or eleven when I wrote my first song. I don’t remember. My mom was struggling financially and emotionally, so I didn’t talk a lot. Finally, she told me if I couldn’t talk about what was bothering me, I should write about it. So she gave me a notebook, and my poems turned into lyrics.
I grew up in a very hardworking family. But we didn’t have a lot of money. I was the kid friends’ parents bought Christmas presents for. One year, though, when I was in the sixth grade, my mom got a bonus at work, and instead of paying off bills, she bought me a CD player and four Reba McEntire CDs. I wore those CDs out. My mom also got me an old, beat-up recorder at a garage sale for 50 cents, and I would get blank tapes from my teachers at school. My friend Ashley put a sign on my closet door that said ‘Recording Studio: Please Do Not Disturb.’ Though those tapes have yet to surface, my perseverance has paid off.
I eventually got several college music scholarships but passed on them to move to Los Angeles in 2001. Everyone thought I was crazy to do it. Even my friends’ parents gave me the sit-down talk before I left: ‘What are you doing with your life?’ But I moved to California anyway and got work right off the bat singing backup. A friend and I lived in a house with some other people, and we finally saved enough money to get our own place. The day we moved into our apartment, the building burned down. I stayed in my car for a few days so I could get enough money to drive back to Texas. When I got home, a friend told me about the American Idol audition in Dallas.
Looking back on the show, I find it weird going back and performing on Idol last spring. I was singing my new single and I was wondering, ‘Okay, what are Simon and Randy really thinking?’ They’ve always been supportive and nice. But I think they were so nice because no one thought I was going to win. I was the dark horse. Members of the crew came up to me after the finale and told me they didn’t think I should have won. It wasn’t like everyone was rooting for me.
I have taken my share of lumps, especially around my weight. I recently gave a self-esteem workshop for Girl Scouts in Nashville, and I told the girls that I wasn’t a role model for my weight because I change. Sometimes I’m thicker when I’m around my family and I’m eating more. Sometimes I’m thinner because I’m on the road and that takes a lot out of me. But I do feel it’s important to talk to girls about weight. They see these images, and there’s no way they’ll ever live up to them. I want them to see someone who is real and know they don’t have to live up to anything.
I am not dating anyone as I’m a big fan of being single right now. I’m getting to do a lot of selfish things: travel, tour the world. But it is one of my dreams to find someone to settle down with and to adopt a kid. I grew up with a lot of other parental influences around me, so I don’t think you have to be blood-related to love and support a child.
Everyone says I’m down-to-earth. It would be very hard for me to keep up any sort of celebrity persona. It’s just not me. I’m comfortable in my skin. I’m outspoken. I don’t know any other way to be.