Carrie Underwood may be most famous for her country classics like “Jesus, Take The Wheel” and “Before He Cheats,” but the country star took a little departure from her staple sound on her Super Bowl track “The Champion” to collaborate with rapper Ludacris, and now she’s revealing what inspired her unexpected team-up with the hip-hop legend.
Marking the first time Underwood had ever hit the studio with a rapper for one of her songs, Carrie explained in a new interview that she wanted “The Champion” to have that little extra edge after being asked to write the promotional song for the upcoming Super Bowl 52 on February 4 by NBC executives.
“Ludacris came into the picture when we were writing this song,” she explained of the unexpected collaboration per Universal Music Group Nashville, revealing that she and her co-writers purposefully left a space in the song while they were writing it so that it could have a guest feature.
As for why she eventually asked Ludacris to be a part of the track, the mom of one noted that she wanted “somebody that had his own thing” and “kind of legend status” in the hip-hop world.
“I wanted something big. I wanted an artist that matched the song, and Ludacris, everything about him just seemed to scream ‘Champion’ to me, and he was just so great,” Carrie then continued of her first full pop anthem.
And it sounds like Underwood was pretty impressed with what she heard after Ludacris wrote and rapped his own verse.
“We sent him everything and he put his part on it, and when we got it back, I thought, ‘Holy Cow! This took it to a whole new level,'” the “Good Girl” singer said, adding that having a rapper do his thing on “The Champion” “was just that piece of the puzzle that was missing.”
“I could never imagine anybody else being a part of this, and he just, again, took it to another level,” she added of working with the actor and rapper, who previously called their team-up “unexpected.”
Underwood and Ludacris officially released their anthemic collaboration on January 12, after which the song shot straight to the top of the U.S. iTunes chart where it still remains three days later.
Carrie celebrated the song rocketing to the top of the digital chart on social media, as it surprisingly marks her first time hitting the No. 1 spot on the iTunes all-genre chart since she released her American Idol winning single, “Inside Your Heaven,” way back in 2005.
Sharing a peek at the song sitting at the top spot on her Instagram page, Carrie wrote, “Wow, so grateful!! Thank you.”
Underwood’s been staying away from the spotlight recently and hasn’t been photographed out and about since she confirmed with her fans in an emotional blog post on New Year’s Eve that she’d had 40 to 50 stitches in her face after falling on some hard steps outside her house in November.
She was, however, spotted at the gym by former Below Deck star Adrienne Gang in mid-December where she could be seen smiling at the camera with the left side of her face slightly turned away.
Underwood was also sporting a wrist brace on her right arm after confirming last year that the fall also caused her to suffer a nasty break to her wrist.
As for when Carrie will fully step back into the spotlight is yet to be revealed, though it’s been announced that the Sunday Night Football theme singer will be appearing in a special video ahead of NBC’s coverage of Super Bowl LII on February 4, which will showcase “The Champion.”
Despite speculation the Super Bowl could be the first time Carrie officially steps out at a public event after injuring her face and wrist, the network confirmed that the seven-time Grammy winner actually shot the video last year prior to her fall.