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McBride happy just singing

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Martina McBride loves singing, but she's ambivalent about fame.

Although she's had numerous hits, the 35-year-old singer seems downright relieved she's not a superstar like Garth Brooks or Reba McEntire.

"I tell my husband, 'I want to be Reba, but I don't want to work that hard,' " she says with a laugh.

McBride has earned a comfortable niche in country music with her powerful voice and savvy choice of songs.

McBride's new "Greatest Hits" album includes the songs "Blessed" and "Concrete Angel," which is about child abuse.

1: Besides your new song about child abuse, you've had a number of hits about domestic violence. Are you drawn to the topic by personal experience?

McBride: No. I think it's born out of a sense of compassion. I have two daughters, and nieces and nephews. I just see those things and it infuriates me and makes me really sad, and it makes me feel frustrated. . . . It's a piece of real life — unfortunately. And that to me is what country music has always been about. It's songs about real life, and it's not always pretty and it's not always sweet.

2: Is having a "Greatest Hits" album significant to you?

McBride: It's a milestone, definitely. One thing I've realized is that for all the hits we've had, we've had a lot of singles that weren't hits. A lot — probably more than one should get away with and still have a career. . . . But it also has allowed me to have this longevity and have people still interested in new music from me.

3: Were you a show-biz kid?

McBride: It wasn't a show-biz family. My dad was a farmer. I grew up in a town of 200 people. I grew up on a farm. It's so podunk. But he had a band. He played guitar and sang, and he put together this little local band, and we'd go and play everybody's wedding parties and VFWs. We never really played bars. We'd play supper clubs and dances.

I was lucky, because I was raised in a musical family, and my parents really recognized a natural talent at a really early age, and they really encouraged it. . . . Every kid has something. Recognizing that gift and encouraging it is what makes the difference. Unfortunately, so many kids never have anyone to point that out to them.

4: Do you like being famous?

McBride: Not really. It's weird, because it's such a Catch-22, because I want a lot of people to buy my records, because I want a lot of people to hear this music that I created and I'm proud of. Of course, you have to be famous in order for people to show up for concerts and buy your record.

5: Is your daughter Delaney a fan?

McBride: I think she's realizing that what I do and what Britney Spears does is kind of the same thing. She loves Britney Spears.