Doing Things Her Way

Sara Evans has had a storied career: No. 1 singles, millions of records sold, Academy of Country Music’s top female vocalist award—and that’s just the beginning. She’s released her eighth studio album, “Words,” on her own record label, Born To Fly Records, appropriately named after the CMA-winning signature song, which celebrated risk and adventure.

“I have an amazing team of people around me, but the biggest challenge is knowing that I don’t have the comfort of a big record label behind me. Everything falls on me,” she says. “Every decision is that much more important because if it’s the wrong decision, it’s only me to blame. But at the same time, I love that—that challenge, responsibility and knowing that anything we have success with also falls back on me and my team.”  

In addition to running her own record label, Evans is the author of a trio of fiction books and a lifestyle blog of fashion and whimsy, A Real Fine Place. 

But she says, “Being on stage is where I’m the most comfortable in the whole wide world. I love being on the road and the live shows. My band is so great.”

Evans is currently on the road headlining “CMT’s Next Women of Country Tour” with RaeLynn and Kalie Shoor. CMT first launched its Next Women of Country campaign in 2013 to emphasize undiscovered female artists in the male-dominated format. 

“I’m super proud to be a part of it,” Evans, always the champion of women, says.

Evans is such a signpost for women in country that when the producers of the “Nashville” TV series wanted to ensure its realism, they sought out Evans as a consultant to help them understand firsthand the dynamics of operating as a touring country singer and a mom, specifically for Connie Britton’s character, Rayna Jaymes.

“We had the best time,” she says. “It was like a counseling session for me! I loved her character.”

And ironically, with the formation of Born To Fly Records, Evans had a life-meets-art moment, with her real life embodying the label owner role that Jaymes took on with the fictional Highway 65 Records. 

Perhaps Evans’ most important role, however, is a mom. She has three of her own children and husband Jay Barker has four, making them a perfect blended family. She says there’s no one you love more in this world than your kids and takes them on tour with her whenever she can.

“Your heart is walking around,” she says. “Being a mom has taught me about putting others first and total and utter selflessness. It’s my calling.” 

As a big believer in communication, Evans says, “The most important thing is being honest.” 

Evans now lives in Alabama with Barker, but previously resided in Franklin for about five years.

“Some of the best friends I have for life still live there,” she says. “Franklin is like a storybook.”