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Martina McBride Exhibit at Country Music Hall of Fame Opens Soon

Items featured in Martina McBride: The Power of Her Voice include awards, stage wear, handwritten lyrics and personal artifacts.

Martina McBride is getting her own dedicated exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum 30 years after she signed her first record deal. The exhibition, dubbed Martina McBride: The Power of Her Voice,  is set to explore the music and legacy of the influential vocalist.

Opening July 30, 2021, and running through Aug. 7, 2022, the exhibit will feature everything Martina McBride — who is known for hits including “Independence Day” and “A Broken Wing.” Along with famed artifacts fans will immediately recognize, the collection stretches back to the pre-Nashville beginnings of the country star's career.  

Born July 29, 1966, Martina Mariea Schiff was raised on a dairy and wheat farm in Sharon, Kansas, population of 200. By age seven, she began performing with her family’s band, the Schiffters. After moving to Wichita, Kansas, she performed in rock bands in area clubs and met recording engineer John McBride, whom she married in 1988. After returning home to sing with the Schiffters at a battle of the bands, she decided to move to Nashville and sing country music.

The McBrides moved to Nashville in January 1990, as country music exploded in popularity. John started working as a sound engineer on concert tours and, in 1991, became production manager for Garth Brooks. So that the newlyweds could spend more time together, Martina took a job on Brooks’ tour selling T-shirts. She made a demo recording of five songs to pitch to record labels. To get the demo to the talent scouts at RCA Records, she got past the company’s strict rules about submitting new material by writing, in large letters, “REQUESTED MATERIAL” on a bright purple package, even though RCA had not asked for the tape. The strategy worked. RCA signed McBride to a recording contract in 1991.

Martina McBride, who will mark her thirtieth year as a recording artist in 2022, epitomizes how country artists can find success as they reflect their changing times and address social issues in songs.

Some highlights:

  • Shirt, vest and pants ensemble worn on stage by McBride, when she performed at age seven with her family’s band, the Schiffters
  • McBride’s 1984 Sharon High School yearbook
  • The beaded headband and tulle veil worn by Martina at her wedding to John McBride, May 15, 1988
  • Songwriter Gretchen Peters’ original handwritten manuscript for “Independence Day”
  • Letter from Dolly Parton to McBride, congratulating her on being named the Country Music Association’s Female Vocalist of the Year in 2003
  • Jenny Packham dress—embellished with rhinestones, beads and sequins—worn by McBride on the cover of her 2007 album Wake Up Laughing
  • CMA Female Vocalist of the Year awards presented to McBride in 1999, 2002-2004
  • ACM Female Vocalist of the Year awards presented to McBride in 2001-2003

In support of the exhibition’s opening, McBride will participate in a conversation and performance in the museum’s CMA Theater on Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021, at 2:00 p.m., discussing her career and sharing personal stories and memories associated with the artifacts included in Martina McBride: The Power of Her Voice. Tickets will be available at CountryMusicHallofFame.org on Friday, July 2.

More information about this exhibit can be found at CountryMusicHallofFame.org.

About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing and Entertainment Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 18-month-old Ezra.