When Dr. Angelou wants to listen to music that tells a story, she turns to what might seem like an unlikely genre: country. Good music is good music, she says, and today she talks to some of her favorite women performing that good music.
Backstage at the November 2006 groundbreaking for the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial in Washington, D.C., Dr. Angelou sat down with Naomi and Wynonna Judd. They spoke about the responsibility they feel as artists to be "sheroes" to younger generations, and how music has the power to bring people together. The Judds marveled that they could come from their poor background in Appalachia, Virginia, to hugging the King family at the groundbreaking, and that it was music that linked their spirits.
Another of Dr. Angelou's favorite country singers is Reba McEntire, who she says could "sing the birds out of the trees." Reba says country music has always been dear to her because there's a lot of heart and soul in the songs. Songs that tell a story with a message are important, she says, because if someone's going to listen to you, you might as well say something.
Dr. Angelou says that her final guest, Martina McBride, never sings anything that doesn't come from the heart. Martina says she tries to find songs that speak to her, and will speak to other people as well. She says she's turned down songs that could have been radio hits because they didn't speak to her. Her best advice for young singers is to listen to their inner voice: the songs that feel right and move you are the ones worth holding out for.