Kellie Pickler Dishes On Co-Hosting A Talk Show, Working With Faith Hill And Preparing For Her 12th USO Tour

The sweet country girl from Albemarle, North Carolina has come a long way since her debut on the fifth season of ‘American Idol’ back in 2005 when she was just 19 years old. Since then, Kellie Pickler has had a few impressive milestones in her career.

She co-wrote “Best Days of Your Life” with Taylor Swift, which was her first Top 10 hit, had an album named the No. 1 Country Album of The Year by Rolling Stone, appeared on ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ and launched her home goods line, “Selma Drye by Kellie Pickler” in cooperation with the Opry Stores. She even had a CMT docu-comedy series “I Love Kellie Pickler” co-starring her husband, songwriter/producer Kyle Jacobs.

Today, Kellie Pickler now hosts a syndicated talk show with journalist Ben Aaron, ‘Pickler & Ben,’ produced by Faith Hill and is readying for her 12th USO tour.

Kellie PicklerPhoto Credit: Kellie Pickler

We caught up recently with the Albemarle, NC native earlier this week to talk about working with Faith Hill, songwriting  with Taylor Swift and preparing for her 12th USO tour.

You have come such a long way since your debut on ‘American Idol.’ Did you ever dream you would host your own lifestyle and entertainment talk show, produced by Faith Hill nonetheless?

You know, I was so shocked when I first got the call to have a meeting about the show. The show is so positive and it’s such a feel-good atmosphere. Never in a million years did I think being on ‘American Idol ‘would ever lead to a project like this. To work with Faith Hill is just amazing.  She’s an incredible person.  I’m just so grateful.

What were some of your favorite memories from ‘American Idol?’

Gosh, that was so long ago when I was 19, but I do remember the camaraderie between the contestants. You really get to know one another because you are going through the same struggles together. You’re all in the same boat, so you build this little Idol family. It was a wonderful experience for me. There were a lot of first-time experiences for me being on the show like I had never been on a plane before.

Pickler & BenPhoto Credit: Pickler & Ben

Tell us about writing “The Best Days Of Your Life” with Taylor Swift.

That was probably around 2007, and we were both opening acts for Brad Paisley. That was my first country tour. Taylor is an incredible songwriter and artist. The song came about as I came off the stage one night and was venting about an ex-boyfriend.

What’s it like writing songs like “If It Wasn’t For A Woman” with your husband (songwriter/producer Kyle Jacobs) now?

He’s just my favorite person to write with because he knows me so well. He’s an incredible songwriter and writes the most beautiful melodies. He plays so many instruments as well. We love each other, but we really like each other and enjoy each other’s company, which is really important.

Kellie and KylePhoto Credit: Kellie Pickler

Who have been some of your musical inspirations?

I grew up with my grandmother and one of the first entertainers we watched was Shirley Temple. We watched all of her movies. I loved Tammy Wynette, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton and that classic country sound. It’s incredible now for me to be a part of that scene.

You have always been a big supporter of our US military and have even been honored with receiving the ‘2015 Operation Troop Aid Chris Kyle Patriot Award.’ Why is that so important for you?

I have been so fortunate to work with the USO and have been able to partake in 11 USO tours. I just feel like it’s so important to give back to people who make the ultimate sacrifice for us and am fortunate to be in a position to be able to do this. I love doing it and it’s something we all look forward to doing. I also just feel like it’s the right thing to do. We are getting ready to gear up for the 12th tour and we are all looking forward to it.

Kellie PicklerPhoto Credit: Kellie Pickler

Any plans to return to Boston soon?

I sure hope so! Every time we were there, it was a quick visit in and out, so I hope to get to spend some more time there next time we visit. I love y’all’s accent!

What’s up next for you?

I am gearing up for ‘Pickler & Ben’ taping seven or eight episodes this week and the taping will continue through April and May. We’ll hit the road this summer as well so hopefully, we’ll get up to Boston.

Pickler & BenPhoto Credit: Pickler & Ben

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