Reba McEntire Almost Quit Singing After Losing Her Mother

Reba McEntire‘s career could have ended in 2020. The 68-year-old reveals that, after losing her mother, Jacqueline, three years ago, she considered that she might be done singing, for good.

“We were cleaning out the house, and I was going through pictures. I said, ‘I don’t think I want to do this anymore,'” McEntire said on the Today Show, recalling a conversation with her sister, Susie. “She said, ‘What?’ I said, ‘Sing … I always did it for Mama.'”

McEntire is very open about her grief in her new single, “Seven Minutes in Heaven,” out now. The song is the only new track on McEntire’s Not That Fancy album, which was just released, with the video a touching tribute to her late mother.

“When you find a song that really touches your heart, and chokes you up, I gotta sing it,” the Grand Ole Opry member says. “I gotta record it. And that’s what you’re always looking for, a song that touches your heart. That way, when I sing it, hopefully it will touch your heart too.”

McEntire has become one of the biggest success stories of all time in country music. While it might seem likely that it was because her mother was pushing and prodding her towards stardom, McEntire insists she treated her and her siblings — and their talents — equally.

“She was really encouraging, for all of us kids, whatever we wanted to do,” McEntire maintains. “Pake, Susie and I, we sang, and she was always the one — she taught us harmony. She encouraged us. We were The Singing McEntires when we were in high school and junior high, and she pretty much instigated that. Anytime anybody needed an opinion of who’s off … Mama would come in with her spatula, as she was frying potatoes, and she’d say, ‘Okay, you’re on Suzy’s part. Sing it again.'”

In the audio version of McEntire’s Not That Fancy: Simple Lessons on Living, Loving, Eating, and Dusting Off Your Boots, also out now, McEntire shares how much her mother influenced her career, and still influences her today.

“Singing will always remind me of Mama, and I feel like she’s right there with me when I’m singing, but I’m also doing it for fun again,” the Oklahoma native acknowledges. “Everything I’m doing in my life from here on out – personal or professional, doesn’t matter – I’m gonna have fun. Enjoying what we’ve been given is one of the best ways I know to honor the Lord.

“I’ve been blessed beyond measure, and I want to make sure to never stop letting God know just how thankful I am for the life he’s given me, especially those Not That Fancy things, because as I found, that’s where my heart is,” she adds.

Find all of McEntire’s music and upcoming shows, and purchase McEntire’s new album and book, at