LOS ANGELES -- At age 21, LeAnn Rimes has gone through more triumph and turmoil than artists twice her age.
She had a No. 1 song at 13, won her first two Grammys at 14 and was a multiplatinum country superstar before her 16th birthday. But she had her share of problems as well: She sued her record label to get out of her contract and her father for alleged mismanagement. And her attempt to cross over to pop with her last album, 2002's "Twisted Angel," faltered in record stores.
Rimes looks back at her successes - and missteps - as part of the lessons of life. Now a married woman, Rimes is ready to put the past behind her and move on to the next phase of her life and career - but not before promoting her latest project, "Greatest Hits."
AP: How does it feel to be 21 and already releasing a greatest hits album?
Rimes: Twenty-one seems like the perfect age to look back on everything and then move forward, close the door to the childhood thing and move forward into the adult career and the new stuff. I'm very proud of everything I've done and I'm very fortunate that I've had so many hits to have a greatest hits album at 21.
AP: Did you help write the new single?
Rimes: I did help write "This Love." The song is a lot about my life and things I've gone through. To have gone through bad stuff and to come out really happy and married and in love. It talks about no matter what life throws you to never lose the love that you have with whomever that is.
AP: What's it like growing up in the public eye?
Rimes: It's interesting. I've been in it for almost a decade. It will be going on 9 years in January. It's crazy. I grew up in a fishbowl basically. People have had every part of my life to know. I don't think that there's anything else that you can know about me at the moment that you don't know. People know so much about my life and think they know me. I've been in their house on their TV every 5 minutes ever since I was thirteen. I think now as I get older, my private life is a lot more private then when I was a kid.
AP: How has being married changed you?
Rimes: It's changed me for the better. I'm very, very happy. I know I have such a secure part of my life there. When everything else in this business and life can just be a pain, that's a very secure feeling to have and it's great. He's somebody who's fun to be around and I'm happy. All the turmoil and different things I've been through in the past have just kind if faded away.
AP: Has everything been reconciled with your family?
Rimes: My dad and I have a wonderful relationship. He's great. I love spending time with him. He has a ranch in Nashville. I think that was one of the main reasons I moved to Nashville.
AP: Any children in the near future?
Rimes: We will one day. Absolutely.
AP: If you were going to write a song (other than your new single) about your life right now, what would it be about?
Rimes: That's a hard question. Stress is what it would be right now. No, I'm kidding. You ask me at different points in the day and I'll tell you the different songs with a different title. I think this (last) album for me, "Twisted Angel," was so dark and moody, it was where I was in my life. It was very obvious. Now I'm very happy and very in love, I think a lot of my songs about my life will take on that tone. ... Obviously I can't make an album without putting the occasional heartbreak love song. That's been my biggest hit. I have to put those in there somewhere.
AP: Would you let your child enter entertainment at a young age?
Rimes: Probably not. I've gone through a lot of pain and different things that I would never wish on a family or on a child. At 13 I had no clue except that I wanted to sing.
AP: Do you consider yourself a pop star, or country, or is there even a line?
Rimes: It's hard to say where the line is drawn anymore. For me, I've always considered myself an artist that could sing everything. That's what I grew up doing. I never knew a line. I listened to all different types of music. It seemed very natural for me to include that in my style. People won't let me forget that I was 13 starting out in this business. People also forget being 13 and with that comes the freedom to change your mind and do different things. ... I think I'm just finding my own personal style and wherever that lies it lies. Country music has always been such a huge part of my life and it will continue to be. I'm not straying away from that at all.
AP: Do you feel pressure to compete with the sexed up Brittany Spears and Christina Aguileras of the music business?
Rimes: I feel the complete opposite, like put some clothes on me because God knows people are seeing way too much butt these days and boobs.
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