LeAnn Rimes has just returned from North Carolina where she was interviewed by Pulitzer Prize-nominated poet Maya Angelou. The intimate sit-down took place at Angelou's home.

The 83-year-old legend is filming the new show The Celebration Table ... premiering in January on the Hallmark Channel. The upcoming project will focus on celebrities that have inspired Ms. Angelou over the years.

Leann tells X17online exclusively:

    "We talked about forgiveness, marriage, children, poetry, music, food ... and drank great wine together. Her spirit is infectious. Meeting her changed my life. She's a walking angel and the wisest person I've ever met. She invited Eddie, the kids and me back to her home soon for a few days because she wants to cook for us."

The 29-year-old songstress also has a pelvic tattoo inspired by Ms. Angelou's famous poem about slavery that reads, "Still I Rise." LeAnn adds, "I'm happy to call her my friend and she calls me her daughter. What an honor."

A source close to the production says the poet believes the country singer has an "ancient soul":

    "Maya has loved LeAnn since she was thirteen and thought she was an older black woman the first time she heard the song Blue. It wasn't until she saw a photo of LeAnn that she realized she was a little white girl."

The source adds, "Before the show was even given the greenlight, Maya knew she wanted to interview Leann to get to know her better."