After a 15-minute conversation with Nashville singer Mica Roberts, there's no doubt she fits in with the raucous, fun-loving persona of country star Toby Keith.
The petite redhead is sassy and quick to respond to questions with a few spicy phrases and matter-of-fact descriptions. She's been singing backup for Keith the past five years and says working a show with him is like a massive party.
It's easy to stay energized.
"There's not anything about the show that's not great big fun," Roberts said during a recent telephone interview from Virginia Beach. "It's not possible to look across the audience and not be pumped up."
This Saturday, Roberts and Keith will be at the USANA Amphitheatre in West Valley City as part of Keith's "Biggest & Baddest Tour," along with openers Carter's Chord, Trailer Choir and Montgomery Gentry. Roberts will also sing a few songs at the start of the show.
For her, the path to a career in country music has been long but fun. She grew up in Locust Grove, Okla., and her father was a Baptist deacon.
"I had a whole lot of church," Roberts said, laughing as she talked about attending meetings on Sunday mornings, Wednesday nights and every night of a revival.
At age 13, she began traveling and playing music at various clubs and shows. She listened to country singers such as Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton, but rock was forbidden by her mother.
"There was no AC/DC in my house because that was of the devil," Roberts said. "I was lucky to sneak in a Journey record or, (heaven) forbid, Air Supply."
When she turned 17, Roberts bought a trailer and wandered the country before moving to Nashville 20 years ago. She waited tables and sang with various artists, including Faith Hill, Jody Messina and Martina McBride. All of them came to Nashville around the same time.
Singing was what she wanted to do with her life, Roberts says,who turned down a few college music scholarships when she left home at age 17. She believes singing backup for such a variety of artists has taught her to be a vocal "chameleon" and change her style in order to keep work.
But she loves it."When I get to go to work and do what I love, it's a beautiful day for me," Roberts said.
If you go ...
What: Toby Keith's Biggest & Baddest Tour, featuring Montgomery Gentry, Carter's Chord, Mica Roberts, Trailer Choir
Where: USANA Amphitheatre, 5150 S. 6200 West
When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
How much: $33-$63
E-mail: [email protected]