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Rimes looks for reason

The country-pop star, who will make her Segerstrom Center debut this month, delved into personal issues for her latest album.

December 09, 2013|By Rhea Mahbubani
  • Two-time Grammy Award winner LeAnn Rimes will perform with the Pacific Symphony at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall from Dec. 19 to 21.
Two-time Grammy Award winner LeAnn Rimes will perform… (Sara Hertel )

In LeAnn Rimes' opinion, she didn't have much of a childhood. It wasn't carefree or peppered with play dates.

Growing up, she was surrounded by tunes that her parents played at home, which triggered an early interest and understanding of the power of music. Rimes recounted that she always wanted people to clap for her — if they didn't, she'd stop midway through her performance and walk away.

But, as an 8-year-old champion on Ed McMahon's "Star Search," she found herself under the spotlight very young. While this did away with any fear of entertaining large crowds and gave her an outlet for self-expression, it came with a price.

"I felt like an alien child because I don't think people saw me as anything other than a voice," Rimes said. "They held me to such high standards and placed me on this pedestal for so long that you almost become your voice. It's weird to have to sift through all of that as you grow up and figure out who you are."

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And that's exactly what the country and pop singer has done with her latest album, "Spitfire." She plans to sing some numbers from the April release in Costa Mesa between Dec. 19 and 21.

The Los Angeles artist will debut at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts with her first performance with the Pacific Symphony. "Christmas with LeAnn Rimes" will also feature principal Pops Conductor Richard Kaufman, who will lead an orchestra armed with about 120 instruments.

Divided into two parts, the show will include traditional holiday songs with special guest Jay Johnson, who, as narrator, will tell the story of the night before Christmas. Rimes and her band will take the stage in the second half and play new and old hits to the accompaniment of the symphony.

"I believe the audience will be able to feel the true meaning of Christmas and its fun and excitement," Kaufman said.

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A humanity 'I've never had'

By her own admission, Rimes enjoys playing such intimate concerts, which are more relaxed than arena shows. She is also a fan of the way her songs sound after tweaking arrangements for a full orchestra.

This stop in Orange County is part of a larger tour in December that will include Dallas and Salt Lake City. Although she used to be strict about following a predetermined set list, the two-time Grammy-winner plans to play around a bit based on the night and audience. She will go in with a rough idea, but is open to switching things around if someone calls out a request.

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