With 50 years in the music business under her belt, country icon Tanya Tucker is beloved for her powerful raspy vocals, electric on-stage energy, and fervor for life. But after enduring heartbreak and a devastating illness, she struggled to keep her spark. Here, Tanya shares how greeting each day with positivity and grace inspired her new album, While I’m Livin’, and renews her strength, joy, and peace—no matter what!
Few entertainers have experienced more thrilling highs or more heart-wrenching lows than sassy country music star Tanya Tucker. But now, at 60 years old, she has emerged a survivor.
“I focus on being around good things and staying away from the bad,” she shares with Woman’s World. “Life is short. I don’t want to miss a day!” To be sure, the Texas native’s life has been full of incredible moments. Scoring her first hit with “Delta Dawn” at just 13 years old, her career took off in a blur of smash records. But with a series of tumultuous relationships, Tanya became known almost as much for her “outlaw” style as for her amazing talent.
These days, the mother of three focuses on family, making music and helping horses through the Tennessee-based nonprofit Redemption Road Rescue. And though she’s thankful for her many blessings, Tanya admits she still faces challenges —most notably the loss of her parents and grappling with a diagnosis of the Epstein-Barr virus two years ago.
“It’s difficult,” she shares. “I have no energy. There are good days and bad. I still struggle.”
Still, Tanya refuses to let her health issues bring her down, leaning on family and faith for support. “My kids are amazing, my son especially,” she says with a smile. “He gives me positive speeches—and it helps!”
Music is also a great healing force in Tanya’s life. “When I perform for the audience, the energy always comes back to me. I’m so grateful for that!”
Here, Tanya shares her tips for facing life with courage, grace, and good-old country grit.
Pick up Tanya’s New Album!
With 23 Top-40 albums and 56 Top-40 singles, Tanya’s newest album, While I’m Livin’— on sale now —is one of the most anticipated records in a decade. “I’m very, very proud of it,” says Tanya, who is slated to perform select shows in Nashville, New York City and other cities around the country for the album’s launch. “It’s my first album in 10 years, and it was so fun to get back in the saddle!”
Make Time to Care for Yourself
“Whenever I’m feeling blue, going out and getting a great facial is my favorite thing to do,” says Tanya. “And I want them to do extractions — I love the ones where they get all the stuff out of you…don’t give me a facial without taking the gunk out of my face! Seriously though, a little self-care like that never fails to relax me and makes me feel a lot cleaner, body, and soul!”
Lift Up Others
“When I help others, I’m really helping myself,” Tanya says. “My friend Shirley, for whom I dyed my hair pink because of her battle with breast cancer, helps others all the time, and I’ve been inspired and amazed at how healing it is. It’s hard to pick yourself up when you feel like you’re facing a challenge like that—it’s like you gotta climb a mountain and you ain’t got no shoes on! But helping others lifts you up and moves you forward a step at a time.”
Find Joy in Animals
“My dogs and horses are the two things that bring me the most happiness!” Tanya shares. “My friend Dennis Quaid gave me a beautiful little miniature English bulldog named Stella, and another one named Loretta, after Loretta Lynn, and I just enjoy them so much. But besides my dogs, I love my horses. Being with them or riding them makes me feel free, and a lot better. They’re just these endless gifts of joy!”
You Are Special
“Whenever I’m feeling down or in need of confidence, a little book called Jesus Calling never fails to lift my spirits,” Tanya shares. “It’s a beautiful and positive spiritual reminder that you truly are one of a kind! And you are the only one that can dictate what you do and what your dreams are. And you have the power to make them come true!”
Overcome Grief with Hope and Faith
“A lot of my strength came from my dad and mom,” Tanya explains. “My dad was a strong person: He was always there. Losing them was difficult. When you’re faced with loss, it’s important to keep busy. Developing a relationship with God is my number-one thing. Try to be around positive people and things that give you hope. Whatever you’re facing, that will help you through.”
Heal with Music
“Music is the key to life,” Tanya reveals. “In fact, I can’t imagine a world without it. I think music is one of the greatest healers of all. It can move mountains and soothe your soul by taking you to places that you’ve never been and making you feel like you’ve been there. Whether it’s hurting, sorrow, happiness or love, music helps to heal, restore and bring hope!”
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.