Hey guys! Happy Monday! I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is this Thursday! Man, how the days and months have just flown by this year! Today I’m going to change it up a little bit for this series and not post a cover or talk about one certain song for a whole post because although that’s what this series is about, it also happens to be my only music themed series. So occasionally I will break away from that pattern and talk more about music in general along with certain aspects of the music world that I happen to adore. Today’s topic is the band/musician that is most important to me, and that person happens to be Reba McEntire. But why Reba McEntire? Don’t you have another artist that’s more current than Reba that’s important to you like Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato, or Adele? Well, yes, I do have a lot of other artists that I consider to be my favorite go-to artists that I like keeping up with, but I’d have to say that Reba holds a special place in my heart. She is probably the most important artist that I can think of, aside from Taylor Swift, and I’m very thankful for her and her music. By the end of this post you’ll know how I became a Reba fan, why she’s important to me, and why I’m thankful for her. (Since it is the week of Thanksgiving… I might as well throw that in there as well. ;))
First, let me tell you the fuzzy, scatterbrained timeline of how I became a Reba fan because I tend to have a bad memory when it comes to the earlier years of my life before middle school. Why? I have no clue… But I have three vivid memories that helped spark my interest in learning more about Reba McEntire before I became a true fan of her. The first memory I have is a cassette tape that my late grandmother had in the glove box of her red minivan of her album “What If It’s You”. The second memory I have, also from my grandmother, is catching a couple minutes of the Reba TV show when my grandma was watching it on TV; I remember it was Season 1 Episode 19 “Labor of Love”. But after trying to find it on the TV guide I wasn’t sure if I could watch it because sometimes my grandma watched a lot of interesting shows. LOL. The third memory I have is watching a live concert version of the song “Fancy” on one of the country music video channels in my old house.
It was in eighth grade that I really got into the Reba TV show and watched it nightly for hours on YouTube after everyone had gone to bed. I still don’t know how I did that night after night with that much sleep loss; I probably got six hours of sleep at most. I think it was then that I began to listen to Reba’s music, and although I don’t remember what I started with, I do remember tuning in for her occasional live streams that she held right before her albums Keep on Lovin’ You (2009) and All the Women I Am (2010). I was hooked on her music and her television show but for some reason it was more of a secret love/obsession almost. I guess it was because it wasn’t “cool” to listen to Reba at the time or I thought they siblings would tease me for it because as siblings go we were the type who sadly enough could pick on each other better than we could lift each other up. Regardless of the reason why I was basically a “closeted” Reba fan for a good year or so before I really let on that I was a huge Reba fan.
It was in 2011 when I found the Reba app, and at first there weren’t many people on the app, then in early fall that same year the app suddenly came to life with fans from all over the world. I was part of the younger demographic represented on the app along with a few other younger teens on the app, and one out of two that were from Missouri. For a good while there were about 5-10 (possibly more) of us that used the app daily, and we became a close-knit little group that basically claimed the app as our own. Occasionally, there would be a couple new people who would pop up, join our little circle, or leave soon after, and around Christmas time there was a girl named Morgan from Canada, who had just gotten an iPod touch for Christmas that got onto the app and was my age. Morgan and I became good friends through the app, and is the same Morgan who writes with me on this blog! It’s been about five years since then, and I am so thankful for her friendship through the Reba app!
Morgan fit right into our little group, and one of the most notable people that I became friends with, along with a lady name Jessie from Missouri, Jacqui from Australia, a woman from somewhere in Asia, and a few more I’ve probably forgotten came from the app. Morgan, Jacqui, and I soon became some of the most active on the app, and used to have “all-nighters” on the app and get a little crazy from time to time which was a blast and hysterical. Soon we were sharing our own projects that we were working on: I started a YouTube channel with the support of my friends on the app, Morgan started sharing her Reba fan-fiction on the app, and I think Jacqui may have shared a cover or two that she had up on YouTube as well. We were our own little family, friends, support group and more, and a big part of my high school years although none of them I knew from my life in Missouri. Who would’ve thought that an iPhone app for a country superstar would have that much impact on a person’s life? I sure didn’t, but I’m thankful it did.
During the later time of the Reba app, the talk was to move to Twitter, how I don’t remember, but all I knew was I didn’t have a Twitter account and I wanted one. So, I asked my mom if I could create an account for my YouTube Channel but more so that I could connect with all my Reba app friends and stay up to date with all of them better. Twitter was a whole other world that I quickly knew like the back of my hand and my favorite social media app along with the Reba app. Our group would quickly move from the app to Twitter at any given time, and sometimes would carry on multiple conversations between the two. I loved my little group and there was a lot of freedom on the internet that came from that group; maybe a little bit too much at times. It also opened the doors to connect with more people from all over the world since Twitter was a public social media unless you made your account private. I connected with other YouTube artists, beginning country artists, Christian artists, and other Reba fans through Twitter.
It was on Twitter that I met Fallon from California, Amber from Louisiana, and Chanelle who was also from Canada. There were also more girls that were a part of the larger group but I gravitated towards Morgan, Chanelle, Jacqui, and Fallon. We were a crazy, loving bunch of teenagers and young adults who spent much of our time on social media connecting from all over the world. Some of my favorite people from my high school years, most of whom I still have never met yet, and an important part of my life. I’m very thankful to have gotten to know so many people from around the world.
Morgan became one of my best friends since I met her the last half of December of 2011, and Chanelle became another one of my best friends since I met her in the fall of 2012. The three of us became an inseparable group who shared our good times and bad times; all of us being able to make one another smile or laugh, and someone you can confide in when you needed to. Over the years, we exchanged email addresses, phone numbers (I downloaded a free texting app instead of sharing my real phone number), and even downloaded free texting apps so that we could communicate with each other outside of the Reba app or Twitter. In the past, I have used Pinger and Voxer – two text free apps, and now have them on my Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Viber (free texting app). We’ve had our ups and downs as friends do from time to time, and have had distance and other things between us but we’re still connected to this day and I’m very grateful for them both.
Now in 2016 it’s crazy to think that all those friendships have come about from being a fan of just one person: Reba McEntire. These days some of us aren’t as vocal about our love for the queen of country like in the past and we don’t interact as much with each other as we used to but we’re all still connected somehow. For me, I talk to Morgan and Chanelle the most out of anyone else, and we’re currently working on a special Winter series for the blog about our social media built friendships. It’s funny how life has changed since then and we’ve all done a lot of growing up in the five years since most of us connected for the first time. Most of us have graduated high school, moved to one place or another, gotten jobs and learned how to “adult”, and found our place in the world where we each live.
For me, Reba McEntire is the most important music artist in my life because I have learned so much from her as a person, and from watching her career of 40+ years in the music industry as an aspiring music artist who has dreamt and still dreams of a career in the music business one way or another. I’m thankful for her because I’ve gotten to know so many amazing people whom I wouldn’t have known if it had not been for her. Two of the people I consider to be some of my best friends I would’ve never met if it not been for her, and they’ve been the people I’ve leaned on during a lot of rough times throughout my high school years. We’ve done a lot of life together just by being connected through social media, and it’s taught me that sometimes the people who are thousands of miles away can feel a lot closer than the people that live ten miles away from you. Reba may be just a singer for some, maybe not even a good singer in some people’s opinion, but for me she is more than just a singer. Reba is the connecting factor that has brought some important people into my life, and has opened my eyes to the bigger world around me. Everyone is thankful for different things in their life, and maybe it sounds silly to be thankful for a singer, but that is someone I am thankful for this Thanksgiving and every Thanksgiving that has passed since I became a fan of Reba McEntire.