Carrie Underwood Wows The Crowd With Martina McBride’s “A Broken Wing” As A High School Freshman

Born to be a star…

Carrie Underwood’s career in country music speaks for itself.

Nearly 10 #1 albums, over 20#1 singles, over 15 ACM Awards, over 10 CMA Awards, 7 Grammys, countless other nominations, massive tours, a fantastic live show… she’s a premiere entertainer in the world of country music.

But way back in 1998, Carrie was only a freshman in high school competing in the Miss Westark Pageant in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Even back then, you knew you were watching greatness and an all-time country vocalist. It was just a matter of time…

In the video, Carrie crushes a cover of Martina McBride’s “A Broken Wing,” a few years go by and she goes to college, winds up on some show called American Idol, and the rest is history.

Martina McBride Shares Her Interpretation Of “A Broken Wing”

Martina McBride recently celebrated a pretty big career milestone: The 30 year anniversary since she signed her first recording contract with RCA Nashville.

Sony Nashville released a double-vinyl to commemorate it called Greatest Hits: The RCA Years, which of course includes songs like “Independence Day” and “Concrete Angel.”

In an interview with Billboard, she talked about some of those hits and the reasons that she never shied away from tackling big subjects, especially when it came to women and the struggles we face both day-to-day, as well as huge issues like physical and emotional abuse.

Specifically, she spoke about her massive 1997 #1 hit, “A Broken Wing,” and what it means to her as far as how she’s always interpreted the meaning of the song.

Lyrically, it focuses on a woman who feels trapped in an abusive relationship. She has big dreams, but her current circumstances are a living hell she can’t seem to get out of. Eventually, she does escape.

But, both the words in the song and the music video are ambiguous as to whether or not the woman actually committed suicide by jumping out the window, or if the window was just a representation of the openness to her newfound freedom.

Specifically, the bridge in the song does leave much of what happened up to the listener to decide for themselves:

“One Sunday morning
She didn’t go to church
He wondered why she didn’t leave
He went up to the bedroom
Found a note by the window
With the curtains blowin’ in the breeze”

Martina says she took it all as a metaphor for the woman leaving and claiming her freedom, and she knew she needed to record it herself the first time she heard it because of how honest it was:

“This song just felt really special the first time I heard it. I felt like it would empower someone who needed to hear it.

I still haven’t heard a song about emotional abuse that is quite this direct. So many people ask if the woman jumped out the window in the second verse.

I never interpreted it that way, but I can see now how it could be. I prefer to think of it as a metaphor for her leaving and claiming her freedom.”

Written by James House, Sam Hogin and Phil Barnhart, the song was the the second single from her 1997 album Evolution.

With a powerful message backed by Martina’s equally powerful vocals, as well as a beautiful arrangement and melody, it’s as real and timeless of a song as they come.

“A Broken Wing”


A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock