New Times: Your two albums show a real dichotomy to your musical identity, even more so on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Songs like "Gunpowder and Lead" and the title track are mixed with sappier ballads like "More Like Me" and "Love Letters." Pistols and angel wings appear on the album art and are tattooed on your arm, too. Can you talk about those contrasts?
Miranda Lambert: I'm from Texas, so I guess I've got that attitude of "Don't mess with me. I don't take any crap," but I'm also just a 23-year-old girl and I go through the same things any other girl would go through. I get my heart broken. I guess, with the album, I'm just able to show both sides.
NT: "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" started off as "Favorite Ex-Girlfriend," but you nixed that take on the song because, according to you, you're not sweet.
Lambert: I'm the one who says, "Oh, no, you don't take my man. I'm going to get him back." Know what I mean? I just wanted to make sure I stayed true to who I really was.
NT: You've called not winning Nashville Star a blessing.
Lambert: I think if you win a show like that, you constantly have that stigma, whether it's Nashville Star or American Idol or whatever it is. I was writing songs all the way through Nashville Star, and I kind of knew I was going to get a record deal, but I didn't want to make the record in a month. I wasn't at all ready. I'm proud of the show. It got me where I am. I think getting third place got me all the exposure I needed, but I also got to do it my own way.
NT: You seem unique in that not many folks could've taken the opportunity you were given with Nashville Star and turned it into the career you have.
Lambert: People ask, "What happened to the other people on Nashville Star? Where'd they go?" And I think people assume that just because I was on TV, it's all going to fall in my lap, but it's sooo much work. I'm just reaching the point in my career where I don't feel like I have to prove myself to every person. I have a successful album and a few awards under my belt. I can relax a little bit. But I still have to compete. Somebody told me during Nashville Star and this stuck with me "You're not competing with yourselves. You're competing with Faith Hill and Martina McBride," and you know what? That's right. It's a constant competition, and Nashville Star just prepared me for the rest of my career.