She has been one of country music’s most revered artists for over four decades, but for Reba McEntire, her best days are still ahead.

“I’m having more fun now than I’ve ever had,” she says. At 64, she’s busier than ever, too, with projects in the pipeline spanning the worlds of TV, film, Broadway and fashion in addition to music. In 2018, McEntire became the third female country artist to receive a Kennedy Center Honor, following in the footsteps of fellow icons Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn. (KFC also named her its first and only female Colonel Sanders.) In April, she hosted the Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards for the 16th time and released Stronger Than the Truth, an album paying tribute to her Oklahoma roots that became her 25th top five entry on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart. At a time when an increasing number of Nashville stars are embracing pop and hip-hop, McEntire is standing her ground and releasing the music that she wants to make -- and that plenty of country fans clearly want to hear.

Because of her boundless creative spirit, overwhelming success and outspoken support for other women in the genre, McEntire is this year’s recipient of Billboard’s Trailblazer Award. Calling from her Nashville office, the superstar talked about the values that have shaped her career.