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Arts & Entertainment

Recording a Song Case Study: "There's No U in Oklahoma"

Reba McEntire

Lesson time 19:14 min

See the Master in action. Watch as Reba records a brand new song in the studio, working with her band, producers, and engineers.

Reba McEntire
Teaches Country Music
Reba teaches her approach to making great country music and navigating the business in 21 video lessons.
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The song "There's No U in Oklahoma and That's OK with Me" came from my good friend Donna McSpadden. Donna's husband, Clem McSpadden, was the one that gave me the job singing the national anthem at the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City in 1974. Then I met Red Steagall, and, 11 months later, I had a recording contract. So, friends are very important in your life. And so Donna, I think she emailed me this idea. She said, Reba, I've got an idea for you for a song. "There's No U in Oklahoma and That's OK with Me." And us both being from Oklahoma, I thought that was very clever. So I told Ronnie Dunn. I said, Ronnie, I want you to write this song for me. So I didn't hear anything from him. Blake, I got this idea, want you to write this song for me. Nothing. Kelly, see if you want-- Autumn! I was getting into everybody, and nothing happened. And so, I was in Palm Springs-- leaving Palm Springs, been to a wedding. And we were flying out, and I was looking over Palm Springs, the town, and it came to me. And I started writing it down, and I wrote it before we got to about 10,000 feet. [MUSIC - JENIFER WRINKLE, "THERE'S NO U IN OKLAHOMA"] (SINGING) It was either you or me that had to take that first big step in getting out of town. Well I thought that you would surely-- This song hits on a lot of the checkpoints we were talking about earlier, relatability. You know, if you're in a relationship, and the person you used to be madly in love with leaves, people can really relate to this. Yeah. And especially if they live in Oklahoma. So, melody. It's a catchy little melody. It's fun, it's danceable. It's got a little attitude to it, and it's a play on words, so it hits a lot of the points that we were talking about. Well, basically, what I did when I got through writing the song, I took a little keyboard and I turned my recorder on my phone. And I played it, and sang it, and wrote down the lyrics. And I sent it to Doug Sizemore. And then he and Jenifer Wrinkle, my guitar play-- fiddle player and backup singer, harmony singer, she did the demo. And so Doug got some of the guys, and they did the demo for me, and sent it to me, and I loved it. And I just hadn't had a chance to get to record it. So I'm really thrilled that we get to do it now, master class, to show you start to finish. OK, so, thank y'all very much for coming in today and doing this song. I appreciate y'all doing it very, very much. Everybody's heard it but you two, and we've got a few little changes of the chart that Doug gave you, that we need to fix. You'll hear it. We're not going to exactly like the demo. Right, we're just going to change the end. So where the tag starts, it'll be 55, 55, and 11, and those will be a diamond. A diamond is a whole note, basically, in this case. And then, Lon, you'll come back in with the drums, p...

For Love of Country

You know her songs. Her Oklahoma charm. Now learn directly from Reba in her first-ever online class. Join her as she records a never-before-heard song, creates a new acoustic version of Fancy, breaks down her hits, and delivers emotional performances on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. This is more than a music class. This is Reba's life, business, and country music MasterClass.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Controlling your breathe and I love you Reba you've been my favorite since I was litte. God bless you your family, friend s & fans .

I have new and positive habits every day from what I learned about being a singer from Reba. My voice and performance ability is forever improved!

I learned about the aspects of singing and I learned that Reba is not only talented but also very nice. Singing isn't my thing but I love music and love to know about the industry.

Reba is a real country artist, she has a lot of experience and talent! She gave us great advice and it was really interesting to know more about her own adventures in​ her career. I am thankful for everything that I've learned in this class.


Gretchen T.

I was wondering about voice recording; I notice when I do it in GarageBand for example my diction doesn't come out or if I over do it to be heard it is too classical, sometimes it picks up if your vocal folds separate or when you cough. I think I need better equipment but does anyone else have the same problems?


I enjoyed watching and listening to this video; it was insightful to see how a song is recorded. I didn't know the term vocal comp, so I'm glad I learned what that is!

Margaret M.

What a treat--being a fly on the wall here was great. I loved all the studio lore. First time I ever saw a steel guitar was on the Mandrell sisters' variety show. I was baffled--couldn't see how it was a guitar or how the sound came out.

A fellow student

Reba is just so down to earth. I love her. they kept repeating the song over and over and I never got tired of hearing it. The band is so good and so professional. dont know what to say without repeating others. I did learn in reading the feedback there is such a thing as getting a song book to learn. I need that. I just write prose. dont know anything about music.

Bob J.

I've been fortunate enough to do some very minor studio work locally and I really liked how she did not flinch at showing us what it all looks like without its makeup on. Most of the blemishes got smoothed over VERY nicely and, or course, being the artists that they are, they all want to really shine up their work until either they are satisfied with it or until the producer tells them it's golden. An artist always wants to keep on shining it up so having a producer that can draw the line and enforce it is a good person to have on board.

Janet F.

This was a great lesson. Thank you, Reba, for showing us the recording process of the true professionals! It helps me to know that I shouldn't feel pressured to get it perfect the first or second take in the studio. I need to do it until I'm satisfied it's the best it can be.


Reba, Love seeing a female musician for this song. Made it and even greater experience. Great, Great, Great! Am working on songs for a comedy. Even through I'm surrounded by musicians. I'm going straight to the library on Monday and get some songwriting books. You really wrote a great sounding song. I have a grand-parent from each side from Oklahoma. The melody and beat are awesome.

A fellow student

G M Thomas Washougal WA This is a great teaching chapter. I'll be sure to revisit down the line.


PS. I saw Reba in concert at Wolf Trap on July 1. The place was sold out and it was just her! No other band. She started at 8pm and sang for about 1 half. Told a few stories and made eye contact with the audience. She did one change at the end. Red dress for Fancy (last song). Outstanding concert!


Thanks Maria for your comment. When you collaborate with someone, almost always a better idea comes about.