Reba McEntire Nearly Quit Music After Her Mom Died

“I realized, I’m still doing it because I love it. It’s my God-given gift that I cherish,” McEntire shared.

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Melinda Lorge

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Posted on May 23, 2023

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Reba McEntire; Photo Courtesy of UMG Nashville

Reba McEntire has enjoyed a lengthy career as a country music superstar. Over the span of five decades, she has achieved plenty of success, winning numerous awards and accolades, scoring more than two dozen No. 1 hits, and selling over 75 million records worldwide.

But, it may come as a surprise to find out that the “Is There Life Out There” singer had once thought about quitting music altogether.

Reba McEntire’s Mom Died In 2020

That brief moment, where she questioned her career and considered dropping everything, happened when McEntire lost her mother, Jacqueline McEntire, who passed away after a battle with cancer on March 14, 2020.

“She had a wonderful, full, healthy life and was absolutely ready to go,” McEntire wrote on Twitter at the time of her mother’s death. “The cancer might think it won the battle, but we’re giving God all the credit for selecting the time for her to go home to him.”

“Mama Was Living Her Dreams Through Me”

Growing up, McEntire was raised on a ranch with a father who was a steel roper. Her mother, meanwhile, an aspiring singer herself, helped nurture McEntire’s gifted talent as a vocalist. So when McEntire lost her mom, she wasn’t sure where she stood in the music world without the one person who pushed her in that direction early on.

She told ET Canada that the feeling of departing from her career had lasted “Probably about a month, maybe two.”

“Mama was living her dreams through me. So when she left, I was like, ‘Why am I doing this?’” The 68-year-old icon explained her thought process and time of grievance during the exclusive One-On-One With Reba McEntire. “We were home after Mama passed, and [my sister] Susie and I were working in Mom and Daddy’s house, you know, straightening everything out and cleaning it out and separating things. I told Susie that I don’t have a want to because mama was my want to….”

Reba McEntire And Her Mom Jacqueline; Photo Courtesy of YouTube
Reba McEntire And Her Mom Jacqueline; Photo Courtesy of YouTube

But throughout the challenging time, Reba McEntire had a realization. 

“I realized, I’m still doing it because I love it. It’s my God-given gift that I cherish. I absolutely love to sing songs to make people feel something, whether it’s sad, happy, whatever it is,” she said. “So that’s what Mama, that’s the gift she gave me, and so, you’ve got to keep on going. I feel she’s still with me.”

Reba Is Joining The Voice As A Coach

And it’s a good thing that McEntire decided to continue to push forward, as she has been busier than ever. The Oklahoma native has signed on to coach the next season of The Voice. She will be stepping into Blake Shelton’s role after he previously announced he will be retiring from the program after 12 years. 

Reba McEntire; Photo Courtesy of The Voice
Reba McEntire; Photo Courtesy of The Voice

Interestingly, McEntire was initially sought out by producers for the show before the reality TV sing-off series launched. Although she declined to coach at the time, she helped mentor Team Blake for Season 1. McEntire returned again during Season 23 to take on the role of Mega Mentor. 

Of her initial hesitation to join the cast of The Voice for the inaugural season, McEntire said, “I couldn’t tell anybody that they couldn’t sing. I couldn’t say that. Sometimes [coaches] just have to give their opinion, but I don’t know if I could sugarcoat it enough.” 

Speaking with PEOPLE about her change of heart on joining the cast to coach, McEntire said, “I’m taking over for Blake, so I’m gonna represent country music. [He’s got] big boots. I don’t know what size those boots are, but they’re big, so I’m gonna really work hard to make him proud.”

Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton; Photo Courtesy of The Voice/NBC
Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton; Photo Courtesy of The Voice/NBC

When McEntire begins her coaching duties for Season 24 of The Voice, she will go up against fellow castmates: Niall Horan, Gwen Stefani, and John Legend. The Voice Season 24 premieres in the fall of 2023.

Meanwhile, the current season is days away from wrapping up. Fans can tune into the Season 23 The Voice finale, which will air live on Monday, May 22 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

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