Credo: Carlene Carter

Musician and Johnny Cash's stepdaughter, 52
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The Independent Online

I believe...

We were raised as down-to-earth as possible. I'm grateful for it. I was 10 years old when John [Johnny Cash] came into my life. Of course, my mom [country singer June Carter] was already real famous, and I was aware of the hoo-ha that surrounded them together.

It's OK to take your time. It's taken me 13 years to get around to recording my new album and that's because I got busy with life. My last tour ran between 1998 and 1999. In that time, I was home 27 days. I fired my manager, my business manager and my agent, and my income increased by 30 per cent overnight. Then I rested awhile.

I was too young for my first marriage. I left home at 15 and started having babies at 16. I'd had three husbands by 23. The second was a songwriter who couldn't handle the fact the little lady was doing better than him. In my marriage to [British songwriter] Nick Lowe, there was no competitiveness. We lasted longer as a result.

You hang around the barbershop long enough, you're going to get a haircut. I never knew Howie [Epstein, bassist in Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Carter's partner for 16 years] was taking heroin until it was too late. I joined him but it didn't suit me, so I left my life and moved back home. I was 48. It did me the world of good.

I'm a bubbling brew of emotions, but mostly I'm an optimistic person. In 2003, Howie died, my mom died, John died, and so did my half-sister Rosey. I always expected it to be me next, but somehow it never was.

I love to be surrounded by nature. I live in a beautiful place in northern California, I wake up to sunshine and snowcapped mountains. I have the sweetest husband by my side, and when I see my grandchildren, I melt.

Carlene Carter's new album, 'Stronger', is out now on Yep Roc Records