The recording of Carrie Underwood's 2018 Cry Pretty album marked a first for the country superstar: She co-produced the project. However, the singer says, her co-producer, David Garcia, served as an "amazing teacher and partner," helping Underwood her develop her skill set.

"Before, I would always go in and do my job. You wanna be a good storyteller, but this was more about creating that story from the very beginning," Underwood explained to The Boot and other outlets backstage at the 2018 CMA Awards. "Producing was definitely a way to ... hear the songs in a different way, instead of doing my job and letting other people do theirs."

Having so much control over an unfamiliar aspect of the project could be intimidating at times, Underwood admits. Still, she says, "It was just more freedom to make it my own."

"Looking back on everything, it was scary, and I was probably jumping into things where I wasn't 100-percent sure of what I wanted or what I wanted to do with it. But it was such an incredible experience," Underwood continues. "It was a wonderful opportunity, and definitely one I don't take lightly and would love to do again."

In the meantime, however, Underwood has a tour to plan. She'll be hitting the road in May for her Cry Pretty Tour 360, and though there's still quite a bit of work to be done, Underwood says the endless possibilities are exciting.

"I mean, it's a blank slate," she shares. "You take all these songs that you've been cooped up in the studio with, and you get to bring 'em to life in front of people. It's always fun when you get to have a couple out, because then you take them on the road and people know them and can sing along and are looking forward to them.

"It's gonna be a great year, for sure," she adds.

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