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Reba McEntire Nearly Quit Music When Her Mom Died

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Reba McEntire was so grief-stricken by the loss of her mum, she considered turning her back on music. Three years on, the country legend is back in the saddle, back in the swing of things.

In an interview for Today With Hoda & Jenna, the 68-year-old artist recounted the pain of when her mom, Jacqueline Smith, died from cancer at the age of 93.

As the hosts walked viewers through some old family photos, McEntire recounted a chat with her sister Susie. “I said, ‘I just don’t think I’m going to do this anymore,” she remembers saying. “I always did it for Mama.”

Her sister’s response, “Oh, you’ll get it back.” She did. The pain, however, persists. To this day, McEntire is triggered if she sees photos of her mom. “I can’t talk if I see Mama.”

The matriarch gave music to the family, and always backed a young, admittedly naïve McEntire. “When I got started in the ’70s,” she says, “I thought back then when you got a record on the radio, you were rich.”

McEntire’s mom “was really encouraging for all of us kids,” which includes brother Pake and sister Alice, “in whatever we wanted to do. She taught us harmony. She encouraged us, we were The Singing McEntires when we were in high school, junior high.”

Today, McEntire has a lot on her plate. She’s a high-profile coach on NBC’s The Voice, she’s got a new book and album out (both called Not That Fancy) and she’s an advocate on stretching, an activity she does each day with her partner Rex Linn.

The Country Music Hall of Famer returns with “Seven Minutes in Heaven,” the new song from her new album, a collection of stripped-back, acoustic songs, helmed by Grammy Award-winning producer, Dave Cobb.

Songwriters Olivia Rudeen and Matt Wynn pitched “Seven Minutes” to Reba, and the emotional response was palpable. ”When you find a song that really touches your heart and chokes you up, I’ve gotta sing it, I’ve gotta record it,” she remarks.

Watch a live performance of “Seven Minutes in Heaven” below.

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