Kellie Pickler feels honesty is best policy when it comes to songs |

Kellie Pickler feels honesty is best policy when it comes to songs

Singer will perform Big Stars concert

Country singer Kellie Pickler, who will perform at the St. Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights concerts at Deer Valley on Sunday, said nothing prepared her for the "American Idol" roller coaster when her audition for the fifth season of the show aired in January 2006.

"You can prepare for your audition, but the part you can't prepare for is how drastic your life changes and all that," Pickler said during an interview with The Park Record. "In fact, I don't think there was any way to prepare for everything that comes along with it all, because you really don't know what will happen."

Pickler placed sixth in the competition and signed with 19 Recordings and BNA Records. She also ranked No. 14 in best "American Idol" alumni and, in 2012, signed with Black River Entertainment.

A year later, the CMT Music Award- and Academy of Country Music Awards-winner found herself on "Dancing With the Stars," where she and dancing partner Derek Hough won the top prize.

"It was so wonderful, and you now, I really miss it," Picker said. "It was so good for me to challenge myself and step outside my comfort zone and try something new. I'm so happy I did the show and would do it again in a heartbeat."

"Dancing with the Stars" is only one of many opportunities that have come Pickler's way thanks to "American Idol."

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Not only did she become a hit-selling country artist, but she also has appeared on TV and has done 11 USO tours to date where she entertained U.S. troops stationed throughout the globe.

"I can take a little bit of home to the men and women in our armed forces who are serving around the world," Pickler said. "I think being able to use my job to get into places and do things that matter is the biggest gift, because it's not about me.

"We can all serve those who serve. I might not wear a uniform, but I can give back in other ways. We all need to come together and everybody needs to do their part. There's right and wrong, and its wrong not to do your part."

Whether she is performing USO tours or concerts such as the upcoming Deer Valley show, Picker said the most important thing for her is to be honest.

"I feel so blessed to be in the country-music format because it's all about putting lives in songs," she said. "As long as you're being honest and tell the truth, you can put your life into a form of a song."

Pickler said she her songwriting and performing philosophy from her idols: Tammy Wynette, Patsy Cline, Kitty Wells, Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton.

"Tammy had this way of telling a story, and you can hear the tears in her voice," Pickler said.

Pickler said she feels a kinship with the audience during each concert.

"It's great to look out into the audience and see people singing along to songs that have impacted their lives and helped them with whatever they have gone through," she said. "We all have songs that we run to when we need to celebrate the good times. We have the songs that we run to when we need to mourn the sad times and have our own pity party. That's all right, too. I think we have so much more in common than we realize and music brings everybody together."

Pickler is looking forward to the Deer Valley concert.

"We'll do songs from all of the albums, and we'll throw in some covers here and there," she said. "We just have a good time and celebrate country music."

Pickler also wanted to give some advice to people who want to become singers or entertainers.

"I will say some of the best advice I could give anyone — whether they're in the music business or an entertainer — is to surround yourself with good people," she said. "You need to be with good company and people who love you enough to be there for the good times and love you enough to tell you your wrong during the bad times.

"Don't surround yourself by yes-people because you'll never get anywhere."

Park City Institute will present Kellie Pickler at 7 p.m. on Sunday, July 16, at Deer Valley's Snow Park Amphitheater. Tickets range from $44 to $79 and can be purchased by visiting