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Ciara questions her future and shares the secret to keeping romance alive amid the pandemic

Ciara questions her future and shares the secret to keeping romance alive amid the pandemic

ABC Ciara kicked off 2021 on the cover of SELF magazine's January issue. After a year of uncertainty, the "Rooted" singer, wife and mother of three is putting everything into perspective and moving with intention.

Pondering the future, Ciara says she often asks herself, "How am I being the best mom? How can I engage more? How can I be aware of certain things so I’m really dialed in with my babies? As a wife, what can I do to make sure I keep the sexy? What can I make sure that I’m doing to be on my stuff, take care of myself? How am I loving on myself so I still keep feeling young?"

"And when I get there, what’s the next five years? How am I living my life? How am I maximizing my life?" she continues. "I ask myself these questions, and I’m just dedicated to it."

Ciara is also dedicated to keeping the fire burning in her marriage to NFL quarterback Russell Wilson amid the pandemic. She said date nights are essential in helping the couple's communication, which has been a "game changer" in their four-year marriage.

"We're able to get back to ground zero pretty easily because we’re aligned in the ways that we think about things and approach things," Ciara explains. "We do have to put ourselves first as husband and wife, and that’s a hard thing to really understand, I think, especially for women, moms. We love our babies so much. But we got to make sure our love is feeling good too, our husbands are feeling good, too."

The couple share 3-year-old daughter Sienna and five-month-old son Win, while Ciara has a 6-year-old son, Future Zahir, from her previous relationship.

By Rachel George
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Watch now: From the Nut House to Nashville's Nissan Stadium, Luke Bryan watches the

Watch now: From the Nut House to Nashville's Nissan Stadium, Luke Bryan watches the "Sunset" on CMA Fest 2018

CMADuring CMA Fest 2018, Luke Bryan celebrated the tenth anniversary of his fan club "The Nut House," named for the fact that the Georgia native grew up on a peanut farm.

As he told ABC Radio backstage at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium, “It's been a few years since I've had the opportunity to do a fan club party. So just being there with my guitar and it not being very formal, just me playing songs that I wrote five years ago that I don't even remember [and] the fans interacting with me....I mean, it was a fun moment.”

He adds, “But any time I have a guitar and it's kinda that intimate environment, I always relish those opportunities just to stand up there and kinda go off the cuff.”

These days, Luke is busy promoting his new release, “Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset.”

“Anytime you have a new single out, it's always such an exciting moment,” he says. “And you know, the fans will start hearing it more on the radio and it'll just gradually get bigger and bigger, which is always fun, to watch kinda the evolution of a song.”

After his fan club party, Luke traveled to the Carolinas for a Saturday show, before returning to Nashville to close out CMA Fest Sunday night.

“It was amazing," he gushes. "There was like 30,000 people at the Carolina Country Music Festival and I played 'Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset.' And we're on the beach, and I'm playing a summer beach song, and I turned to my band afterwards and I was like, 'Oh my God -- that just felt huge!'”  

Tune in to see Luke’s closing CMA Fest performance Wednesday, August 8, when the annual three-hour special premieres at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Watch now: Why Brett Eldredge's fans are throwing dog toys onstage

Watch now: Why Brett Eldredge's fans are throwing dog toys onstage

CMABrett Eldredge hosted one of the most unusual gatherings during CMA Fest year: a meet-up with his fans at a dog park. The Illinois native was surprised how many people showed up, though perhaps he shouldn’t be, given the popularity of his 2-year-old Weimaraner/Vizsla mix, Edgar.

So, at this point, Edgar's the most popular dog in country music, right?

“He might be,” Brett tells ABC Radio. “I was trying to think about that the other day. I mean, it's weird that a dog can be famous, but he definitely is…He hasn't got a big head about it -- yet."

As you might expect, the “Long Way Home” hitmaker’s fans love to shower his pooch with presents.

“Oh, god! Insane amounts,” Brett admits. “Like, literally, we've got boxes of toys that he gets from the fans. But the thing is, he tears up so many dog toys, that we always end up using 'em.”

“Yeah, [toys] get thrown up onstage a lot," he laughs. "Sometimes you see bras thrown onstage. I see dog toys. Rock and roll!”

You can tune in to see Brett perform his latest single, “Love Someone,” on ABC’s annual CMA Fest special, which airs August 8 starting at 8 p.m. ET.

“I'm so excited to play that song, just in time for summertime,” Brett says. “I get to sing a fun song that fits this time of year perfect and just makes you want to dance and feel good.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Watch now: Cole Swindell explains why

Watch now: Cole Swindell explains why "Break Up in the End" is really a "pretty powerful" love story

CMACMA Fest is all about the fans, and for Cole Swindell, one of the highlights of the week was his fan club party.

“You know, it's always one of my favorite times,” he told ABC Radio backstage at Nissan Stadium over the weekend. “Because you get to meet new fans you haven't met. But then there's also those familiar faces that you see. You know where they're from, but they still make [it to] shows all over the country."

“You know, this is what they look forward to all year,” Cole said of CMA Fest, “and they've got a lot of favorite artists, and they get to see all of 'em.”

Cole’s latest hit, “Break Up in the End,” just broke into the top 25, and he told ABC Radio, "It is a breakup song, but it's a love story, I think. Any kind of love that you would go back and do all over again, no matter how it ends, is pretty powerful.”

For the Georgia native, one of the best parts of meeting his fans is finding out how songs like "Break Up in the End" affects them.

“To hear the fan's stories, that's the beauty of getting to release songs,” he says. “In your meet-and-greets, the more the song moves [up the chart], you start hearing more and more stories about how people relate to it.”

It’s a phenomenon Cole first experienced as a fan himself.

“I've always been a country music fan, and that's the reason I fell in love with it, is because I could relate to it, and it helped me through times,” he reveals. “And now, being on the other side of that, getting to record songs, write songs, whatever it may be, that relate to other people, help them...that's why I moved to Nashville.”  

You can watch for Cole’s performance  of “Break Up in the End” on Wednesday, August 8, as this year’s CMA Fest special premieres at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Watch now: Tyler Hubbard's daughter Olivia steals the show at FGL's #1 party with Backstreet Boys and Bebe Rexha

Watch now: Tyler Hubbard's daughter Olivia steals the show at FGL's #1 party with Backstreet Boys and Bebe Rexha

CMAFlorida Georgia Line celebrated the #1 success of both “Meant to Be” and “God, Your Mama and Me” this weekend with a party at FGL House in downtown Nashville.

Both Bebe Rexha and Backstreet Boys were on hand for the festivities, but even the world-famous pop stars couldn’t compete with the most popular girl at the party: Tyler Hubbard’s nearly six-month-old daughter Olivia.

Liv, as her dad calls her, smiled, cooed and demonstrated her standing-up skills as the superstars did interviews before the party.

“Yeah, she seems to be pretty outgoing, likes to be around people, but she always has been,” Tyler says of his daughter’s personality. “So hopefully that doesn't change. And she's kinda like me and [my wife] Hayley in a way. We're social people, you know.”

Next up for Tyler and Brian Kelley? The retro video for their new single, “Simple.”

“A little 1930's little timepiece there,” BK says of the song’s feel. “So we're super excited. It's really cool to see the song and the lyrics really come to life in this video.”

“I think our guy, Justin Clough, our director, he crushed it, wrote an amazing treatment,” Brian continues. “And all the actors, everybody in the band, we got everybody in there, and it looks beautiful, really true to the time. And we'll see what everybody thinks.”  

Look for FGL’s video for “Simple” to be released soon.

You can also catch their collaborations with Bebe and BSB on the 2018 edition of the annual CMA Fest special, which premieres August 8 at 8 p.m. ET. on ABC.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Watch Now: Dierks Bentley says summer tour with LANCO and Brothers O is so much fun,

Watch Now: Dierks Bentley says summer tour with LANCO and Brothers O is so much fun, "it shouldn't be allowed"

CMA

Dierks Bentley's current Mountain High tour features LANCO and Brothers Osborne, and backstage at CMA Fest this weekend, Dierks told ABC Radio that choosing those acts are all a part of his philosophy of creating the most fun summer tour experience possible.

"You know I've learned a lot from my kids. They get to go to camp every summer," Dierks explained. "I'm like, 'I wanna go to camp, too!  So how do I go to camp?' And you go to camp by surrounding yourself with great people." 

"Y'know, in years past, I had Cole Swindell and Jon Pardi on a tour," he continued., "Before that, Randy Houser out on a tour. This year, to have Brothers Osborne and LANCO, it's just...it shouldn't be allowed!"

Dierks says on and off the stage, Brothers O and LANCO are ensuring that everyone has a fun summer.

"The LANCO guys have so much energy, they're ready to party every night -- we have a little backstage bar called Whiskey Row and they're always there, ready and able," raves Dierks. "And then the Brothers, y'know, [they're] two of the nicest guys, and  so it's really fun throughout their day, and after the show."

But, Dierks notes, "Most importantly for the show, these guys hit the stage hungry, ready to make new fans, ready to bring it, and that's what makes it fun for the fans, fun for me...a fun kinda camp-like experience all summer." 

In fact, fresh from their performance at Bonnaroo, Brothers O joined Dierks during his show at Nissan Stadium this past weekend to perform “Burnin’ Man.” 

 Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Watch now: Brett Young admits he's

Watch now: Brett Young admits he's "kinda freaking out" about singing at his upcoming wedding

CMA

You might think playing the main stage this weekend at CMA Fest would be Brett Young’s most pressure-packed performance of the year. But you’d be wrong, because the California native recently found out his fiancée, Taylor Mills, expects him to sing at their wedding.

“If we get the venue we want on the date we want, it's gonna be [at the] end of the year,” he revealed to ABC Radio backstage. “So it's getting close.”

“And I didn't think she would want me to sing,” he continues. “She's at five shows of mine a week, and I thought, 'There's no way she's gonna want me to.'”

“And she overheard me saying that, and she goes, 'Babe, you have to sing at our wedding.' And I went, 'What do I do?'”

The issue is that Brett doesn't necessarily want to dip into his own catalogue for this particular occasion.

“I don't know what song to do, and I'm not gonna sing one of my own, unless I write it between now and then," he clarifies. “I don't get that nervous about singing very often, but at my own wedding, I'm kinda freaking out!” 

While we may not be lucky enough to see Brett’s upcoming wedding performance, you’ll definitely be able to catch part of his CMA Fest set. The annual three-hour special airs Wednesday, August 8 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Watch now: How a then-unknown Jake Owen managed to make it onstage at CMA Fest with Hank Jr.

Watch now: How a then-unknown Jake Owen managed to make it onstage at CMA Fest with Hank Jr.

CMAJake Owen’s come a long way since the first time he attended the country festival formerly known as Fan Fair.  This weekend, he played his top-ten tribute to John Mellencamp, “I Was Jack (You Were Diane),” on the main stage at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium.  Back then, he was just starting out.

“The first year I was here, [after] I moved to town, I hadn't even gotten a record deal yet,” he recalls. “So I just went over to the fairgrounds with some friends and drank some beers and watch Hank [Williams] Junior.”

“And then, the cool part was, the first year that I got a record deal, Hank Jr. played the stadium, and I was backstage,” he continues. “There was a [radio] guy [backstage]....and he said, 'Do you want to introduce Hank Jr. with me?' And I couldn't believe it, because the year before I'd seen Hank play, and then I got to introduce him. And I was a nobody.”

Jake’s latest hit -- and update on the classic “Jack & Diane -- has the Mellencamp seal of approval. And Jake admits it’s also the perfect set-up to potentially get to sing with his hero one day.

“Shoot, I sure hope so,” he says of the possibility. “I mean, I love John Mellencamp, I always have.”

“I never have and never will ever pressure or try to get him to do anything,” he adds. “He's done enough in his career and life that he definitely doesn't need me to do anything. So if he ever wanted to do something, I'd be happy to do it, but as of now, I'm just happy that I can shine a light on something like that.” 

You can check out Jake’s CMA Fest version of “I Was Jack (You Were Diane)” when ABC’s annual three-hour special airs Wednesday, August 8, starting at 8 p.m. ET.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Watch Now:

Watch Now: "Where are the girls?" Bebe Rexha admits to country confusion before writing "Meant to Be"

CMABebe Rexha spent CMA Fest week in Nashville hanging out with Florida Georgia Line, attending their number one party for their collaboration "Meant to Be" and joining the guys onstage at Nashville's Nissan Stadium.  She even got her first-ever cowboy hat...from Dolly Parton's hatmaker, no less.  But while Bebe may be well-versed in country music now, things were quite different for her last year.

Bebe admits that when she walked into the studio the day "Meant to Be" was created, she didn't know much about country music at all.  How clueless was she? She thought she was about to write with a totally different act.

"I don't know why, but I thought I was getting into the studio with Little Big Town," she told ABC Radio backstage at CMA Fest. "And then I showed up and Tyler [Hubbard] was in the studio. And then I was like, 'Um, wait, where are the girls?'" And he's like, 'What girls? It's only me and BK!'"

"And I'm like, 'Wait, this is not Little Big Town?'" Bebe continues. "He's like, 'No, honey, we're FGL!'"

She laughs, "And I've told that story and now I really regret 'cause I sound so silly but it was true!" 

Bebe's debut album Expectations, including "Meant to Be," comes out June 22.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Watch Now: Jon Pardi reveals the connection between Maren Morris' puppy and his mother

Watch Now: Jon Pardi reveals the connection between Maren Morris' puppy and his mother

CMAMaren Morris' bulldog puppy Pancake came to her from, of all places, Jon Pardi's mom, who's a dog breeder. According to Jon, it started out as a little fun project for her, but now it's taken over her life.

"Yes, my mom is obsessed with English bulldogs," he told ABC Radio backstage at CMA Fan Fest this past weekend. "It started off like, 'I'm gonna breed some bulldogs! It's gonna be fun!'  And it's turned into that now, she has six bulldogs...it's crazy!"

Jon laughs, "They're like miniature cows running around that slobber and fart and snore. But they're cute!"

Unfortunately, Jon says that it's not so easy for fans to purchase puppies from his mother.

"Those things are expensive! And her latest batch was, like, really expensive!" Jon admits. "Everybody likes Pancake-style puppies: affordable, the traditional brown and white bulldog. So she's learned."

When he's not trying to avoid his mom's dog pack, Jon's been working on a new album, the follow-up to his hit 2016 project California Sunrise

"We are gonna record one more session, we're not done yet, we're taking our time -- but it will be next year, new music," Jon says. 

Until then, he plans to release one more single from California Sunrise to tide fans over.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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