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Lambert fueling career

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Miranda Lambert turned 22 on Thursday. On Friday, the blond country singer from Lindale, Texas, arrived in New York City.

The trip to the Big Apple is Lambert's third. "All three times have been a lot of work," she says, "so maybe next time I'll have a few days for shopping."

Lambert did find time to celebrate her birthday with family and friends Saturday, at a cowboys-and-Indians-themed party at Doc Holliday's Saloon in the East Village.

She has devoted the rest of the time to business, making the most of publicity opportunities leading up to her performance of her latest single, Kerosene, at tonight's Country Music Association awards show. There have been rehearsals and receptions, photo shoots and interviews, and a taping of Isaac Mizrahi's talk show on the Style Network.

Publicist Kathy Best set aside a three-hour block of time on Monday for "international interviews."

"That's so she can take a nap," Best says.

Lambert's album, Kerosene, made its debut atop the country charts in March. More than 30 weeks later, it has sold nearly 300,000 units, its sales increasing recently as overall sales of albums on the chart have declined. Lambert's previous singles, Me and Charlie Talking and Bring Me Down, both failed to crack the country top 20, but the album's title track, currently at No. 37 on Billboard after six weeks, is her fastest-rising single yet.

She should get another boost in January, when she starts touring with George Strait. Lambert, who opened a string of dates for Keith Urban in the fall, recalls attending Strait concerts four consecutive years as a teenager.

"The last year, I sat on the seventh row and saw LeAnn Rimes and Martina McBride," Lambert says. "Like, everybody I saw on the Strait tour the last time that I went has become huge stars. I'm hoping some of that rubs off on me."

In the coming weeks, Lambert will spend some time working on songs for her next album.

"It's hard to write on the road," she says. "I usually start songs and get ideas together, then I finish them when I get home."

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