|| - 02.20.2007
|Iím always being interviewed. Sometimes I wish I could just hand the interviewer a print-out of all the stock answers to the standard questions. Save us all some time. Iím not trying to be mean, Iím just setting up a contrast. A contrast between the typical interviewer, and Deborah Evans-Price.
I remember ten years ago meeting Deborah Evans-Price before my first record actually came out. She was different from all the other interviewers. It was always comfortable and easy to talk to her. I could tell she really loves music. I could tell she was genuinely interested in the person behind the songs. Not just stock questions. Authentic curiosity. Love for music. Over the years, my favorite interviews have been with her.
Deborahís interviews are always mostly like a conversation. I remember often sitting down to chat with her and wondering, ĎHave we started the interview part yet, or are we just talking like two good friends?í Her interview is always very professional, but Deborah peppers her conversation with just enough ďSweetyĒ and ďHoneyĒ to make you feel completely at ease. Like a good glass of sweet tea.
Iím turning the table now. Iím gonna ask the questions this time. I ask her if I can interview her for my website. She invites me over to her new home situated on a gorgeous ten-acre hill with a to-die-for view of the Tennessee hills to the west. I finally get to meet her husband Gary, and her son Trey who Iíve heard about for years, but had never met. I honestly canít wait.
She calls me with directions to her house. Sheís sorry she didnít e-mail them to me earlier in the day, because she had gotten home so late (3 a.m.) from the Brad Paisley concert she had gone to last night. She didn't go to the concert to interview anybody, but just because she loves music so much. Says a lot about Deborah. Then she had to take her son and nephew bowling very early the same morning, so she didn't get around to e-mailing directions to me.
Sheíd already interviewed Brad Paisley not too long ago. Sheís interviewed a lot of great people over the years: Don Henley, Jon Bon Jovi, Smokey Robinson, Ernest Tubb, Alan Jackson, Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Tim McGraw, Avril Lavigne, Brett Favre, Troy Aichman. Oh yeah, and Chris Rice (maybe you've heard of him?) Just a small sample of the music stars and sports figures who have sat with her and responded to the name ďHoneyĒ as they answered her friendly questions.
I arrive at her house, meet the little dog, meet Gary and Trey, and take the Ďtourí of the house, and itís a beauty! That takes a little while. Deborah and I finally settle out on the deck, facing west, with the sun only an hour-or-so away from setting. I am beside myself with the view.
While setting up, we joke about some of the other interviews Iíve done for this website. She has actually read them! She really likes Dave Barnes (in fact, she just wrote his bio) and she particularly thought my sweet tea issues were funny in the interview with pilot/skydiver Joel Wade.
I comment about the bottle of green tea she just offered me from the refrigerator, and notice a potential parallel problem. I hope I donít have to get up and interrupt the interview to empty my bladder. At least this time the bathroom won't be hours away!
The sweet tea humor leads us into our conversation:
D: I should have made you some sweet tea! Surprisingly, if youíre in New York, oh what is that place near Time Square? Oh, Virgilís! Virgilís has sweet tea! If Iím in New York for very long I HAVE to go there to get some sweet tea!
C: You canít ask for sweet tea anywhere north of Virginia.
D: Yeah, they look at you funny!
C: Itís a thing of the South! Speaking ofÖhave you been here long? Did you grow up in Tennessee?
D: I was an Air Force brat. I was born in Virginia. Dad was in the Air Force for 23 years, so I moved from Virginia to Savannah GA, from Savannah to Okinawa Japan, and we came back to the states and lived in Virginia, then Arkansas, and then New Jersey for four years. New Jersey was greatÖit had terrific schools. I loved it up there. But I went to four high schools in four years. Went from Jersey to Japan to Tennessee to LouisianaÖ
D: Öand I met Gary in Louisiana. Prom night!
C: Thatís awesome. Was he your prom date?
D: No, he was dating my friend Eva.
D: And I was dating this guy named Mark. We all ended up sitting at the same table and I had this big crush on him [Gary]. Oh honey, how could I not. Heís just a doll, you know. We ended up talking, and then we ended up running into each other at college. It was probably two or three years after high school, I was working as a disc jockey at a local radio station, and he called me one night and asked me out. And I thought, ďYes! Finally!Ē
He told me heíd always wanted to ask me out in high school, but those things just never lined up, you know.
C: Thatís a great story. I love hearing the progression, the set up.
D: I know. Iím blessed. It was all in Godís timing. If we had dated in high school, well, he was the class bad boy, and I was the editor of the newspaper. I mean, we were like night and day!
C: So you tamed him.
D: Yeah, I kind of perked up a little bit, and he calmed down, and we kind of met in the middle. He was great because, we had been dating for a year, and I had already planned on moving to Nashville. When that time came, if he had asked me to, I probably would have stayed in Shreveport. But I really wanted to move to Nashville, and I really thought Iíd come here and then move on to New York or L.A. But [Gary] told me, ďI donít want you to give up your dreams and stay here [in Shreveport] because of me, and then down the road resenting me because you didnít do what you wanted to do with your life. I want you to go ahead and go, and weíll go back and forth and do the long distance thing, and see what happens."
So I moved up, me and my best friend, and what we could fit in our cars. We had no furniture, we had no money, you knowÖ
C: Thatís how ALL of us got to Nashville!
D: So I was working two waitressing jobs, trying to get into the business, and after a month, Gary came up and decided he was going to move up here too. He came up for me.
C: Once you got to NashvilleÖwas that HERE that you were working in a radio station?
D: No, I worked my way through college at KRMD in Shreveport as a country disc jockey. Plus I had also started writing for the local newspaper, the Shreveport Times. And I did an internship with the local television station.
C: So I'm assuming Communication was your major?
D: Yep. Journalism. So I wanted to do everything I could do in that market [Shreveport]. I ran the cameras in the production department at channel 6, and then I did a news internship at Channel 3. My goal, before I got to a bigger market, was to get as much experience as I could. So I wanted people to hear me on the radio, read me in the newspaper, and see me on TV. Do all of it.
When I came to Nashville I originally wanted to work with The Nashville Network (TNN), the country music network at that time (which is now Spike TV). But the doors kept opening for me in print. I wrote for Radio and Records Magazine (R&R), that was the first industry job I got, and I worked on weekends at a radio station on Music Row.
C: So your college studies generally exposed you to all areas in media, but what developed as you went along in your career was the writing part?
D: Yeah, and I feel that even if I had stayed full-time in television, or full-time in radio, I would have ALWAYS been writing. Thatís my passion. I love writing. [As for] the TV thing, I tried hard news. And I got sent to a shooting. And I thought, ĎOh, I donít know if I can do this!í Then I got sent a couple of days later to a car accident, and I thought, ĎYou know, God made other people who can handle this better than me!í So I thought, ĎI want to go into entertainment. I want to do something fun. And I love music.í
C: Thatís obvious that you love music. Iíve noticed that over the ten years since we first met. Iíve met a lot of writers in that time period, and have been interviewed by so many people. I donít want to be mean, but there are two kinds of writers. There are those who love music, and thatís what drives them to help other people find out about it. And then there are people who seem to have a chip on their shoulder, and their whole point of writing is to make sure people know how smart they are about music. So itís always been refreshing to be interviewed by you, because I could tell your motivation was your love of music.
D: Oh, well thanks.
C Itís been good for meÖitís made the process of being interviewed good and fun and easy for me. I learned a lot from you in that process.
C Where does your love for music come from? Why do you love music so much?
D: I think probably because it was a constant, growing up, particularly coming from a military family where we moved every two or three years, we were never anywhere very long. I loved my grandparents, and my aunts and uncles. All my relatives are in east Tennessee and western Virginia. And every chance we got, weíd go home and see family. But our little family, my mom, my dad myself, and my two younger brothers, we were always traveling. But MUSIC was constant!
Itís funny, I was playing John Denver for Trey, my 15 year old son recently. (Just then Trey walks out, as if on cue!)
D: Do you need something, honey?
Trey: No, just came out for some fresh air.
D: Ok, honey.
C: You know, that was my first record I ever bought. John Denverís Greatest Hits. I can still see the cover, a big vinyl! I donít even remember how old I was, maybe ten or twelve.
D: I love that! I can remember living in New Jersey and ďCountry RoadsĒ was huge, when I was like twelve or thirteen.
C: There werenít too many country roads in NJ, were there?
D: No but that line ďminerís lady, stranger to blue water,Ē that was my Grandma! Iíd be missiní her, and Iíd just put that record on and cry, and drive my parents nuts! Itís funny, Ďcause nobody in my family plays music. Well my son plays violin and is learning guitar. But my parents didnít play or sing. So as far as where I learned to love music, I think itís just because it was always a constant. Listening to those great radio stations, like WFIL in Philadelphia, when we lived in New Jersey. And I can remember watching ďMidnight SpecialĒ with Wolfman Jack.
D: Did you ever watch that?
C: I DO remember Wolfman Jack!
D: Yeah, he did a TV show on Friday nights with all the top 40 stuff on it. I remember when we lived in Japan they would get American music in at the Air Force base, and my parents would buy Charlie Pride and Merle Haggard, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, that great country stuff! And I was buying the Osmonds and the Partridge Family! (laughs)
C: You werenít getting JUST the country music, but some other things too.
D: Yeah, Motown, Jackson Five, Smokey Robinson, I listened to all kinds of music.
C: Does that influence how you approach someone when you are interviewing them? First of all, do YOU choose who you want to interview and do a story about, or is that an assignment from the magazine?
D: Itís both. Most of the time itís me choosing who I want to write about, but a lot of times it will be an assignment. I did a P.O.D. story and my editor in L.A. called and asked if I was interested and I say ďYeah.Ē Mostly I do pursue things that Iím interested in.
C: And I guess that means you approach the story and the person from a positive standpoint. And thatís not always the case. Thatís a refreshing thing about how you do your work. And youíve written for so many different publications. Youíve freelanced, youíve written for Billboard, R&R,Ö
D: CCM, CMA Close-upÖ
C: Keep goinÖ
D: Singing News. I did the last two Singing News covers, and a magazine out of Washington called The World and I, a big scholarly thing. I used to write for the Washington Times in D.C., a little magazine called Grits, which is an Americana magazine, US Magazine, you know US Weekly. I used to do event coverage, I covered a bunch of Farm Aids, Lynard Skynard concerts. Itís fun.
C: That is fun. Youíve met some amazing people in that process Iím sure. Which makes me wonder, are you ever star struck? Are you so used to it that you just do your work, or is there anybody that gets your heart racing when you meet them?
D: Yeah, Loretta Lynn. And Loretta Lynn is the SWEETEST person on earth. So sheís not in any way imposing or threatening, but Iíve listened to her ever since I was a little kid, and I just love her. I mean Iím in awe of her. And she is just so real. She just is who she is. Thereís no pretense, and sheís accomplished so many great things.
She was a really strong voice for women during the Ď60ís, during a time when it was just very turbulent, and women were finding their voice in that generation. So yeah, I LOVE Loretta Lynn. Both my grandfathers were coal miners, and I just feel like her whole body of work and her lifeÖthereís just so much about what she does that means a lot to me.
C: I guess you can identify with her work. I think thatís what gives our art value, is that people relate to it.
D: Exactly. Probably somebody else that kind of gets me allÖícause really, mostly Iím in job mode. How can I talk to this person and find out whatís important to them and what theyíre passionate about, and then take that conversation and translate it to the page in a way that the reader feels like they sat there and had that same conversation. And I want to be true to the essence of who that person is and what they do. And I take that so seriously. I want to convey all their thoughts and feelings accurately. Essentially, a journalist is a conduit between the person theyíre talking to and their audience.
Another person I just love and get all excited about is Don Henley.
C: Me too.
D: And I have to tell you the first time I interviewed him, and this was about ten years ago, I was doing a cover for American Songwriter Magazine and it took a long time to secure the interview because heís a big artist, and not easy to get on the phone. But he was here doing a benefit concert at the Hard Rock. And I finally got my interview and I was so excited. And everybody told me heís not known to really love reporters, so I didnít know what to expect.
And he could have not been nicer! Nicest, most graciousÖhe even called me at home the next day to add something to the interview that he wanted to say. I thought it was my brother Brian playing a joke! I get this call, ďDeborah, this is Don Henley,Ē and Iím like, ďNo, Brian!Ē and he was like ďNo, we spoke at the Hard Rock last night!Ē (Deborah gasps!)
That just impressed me. I love his music and heís a great interview, but I thought, you know, the same passion and attention to detail that he puts into all those great songs, he seems to approach everything in his life the same way. He really cared about what he said to the readers of American Songwriter. He was looking to give them the best information possible. And I thought, I love this guy!
And then Iíve been very fortunate to interview him several times since. Heís brilliant. Heís a terrific writer. Like you Chris. You are a great lyricist, and I love a good melody and a great beat, but thatís what attracts me in music, is someone who knows how to write a great lyric.
C: Well, youíre a Ďword personí because thatís what you do, you write. You know the power of words.
I donít think that many writers that Iíve met are educated in journalism. It makes me appreciate your background, and the ten years of our interaction. Itís been very professional, and handled in a really amazing way. And at the same time I feel like weíre friends because of that. Thereís something about the way youíve done it, in your work that Iíve seen, (not just articles about me..Ha!...that I read to check up and make sure you quoted me properly!)
Having your position is not just about being a fan, although you are that too, but you have a great responsibility to really represent the artist and what they think. Itís not just your chance to inject your viewpoint into what they just said, but to help them communicate outside of their songs. Because we need to communicate as artists, not just in our music, but also in other ways as well.
In that, what makes a good experience for you interviewing someone? I guess Iím gonna ask you both: Whatís a good interview, and whatís a bad interview? You can give examples for both if you want.
D: To me when someone is really passionate about what they do, and they can verbalize the process. Because some people canít. Some people can be an amazing songwriter, and you just love their album but theyíre very quiet and guarded as a person, or maybe just bashful. But like, youíre shy! But youíre a great interview! You just communicate well.
So for me a bad interview is somebody who doesnít have much to say, or Iím like their tenth phoner (phone interview) for the day and theyíre just worn out! I really try to shy away from doing interviews during GMA week because theyíre all tired. Theyíre frazzled! Youíre not getting their best stuff! (laughs)
C: Iíll vouch for that.
D: I donít want to name names, but Iíve had to interview a country artist who had a multiple week #1 record, and when I interviewed her for the story, she was very nice, but she didnít have much to say. And sheís young, so that may be part of it. I asked her about the impact of her record company decisions on her career. She answered, ďI donít know, I just want them to take care of that.Ē And Iím like, ďSweetheart, this is YOUR career! You have to have a voice in this!Ē A lot of answers were just ďYesĒ and ďNo.Ē I was disappointed, although sheís a lovely person! Sweet, sweet girl.
Other people will surprise you. Alan Jackson is bashful. Heís on the shy side, and quiet. But heís a GREAT interview! The first time I interviewed him we got to talkiní about cars. I love cars and he has an old T-Bird that his wife bought him. He had sold it when he was struggling, and she found it and bought it back. And my grandfather had T-Birds, so [Alan and I] got to talking about cars, and then we got the music business stuff taken care of.
But you donít always have the luxury of finding common ground and then proceeding. A lot of times as an artist youíre on a schedule and you have to [get through quickly]. As a journalist, if youíre having trouble getting someone to open up and talk to you, if you hit on some common ground that makes them comfortable, then you can proceed from there.
C: Do you have any automatic or default questions that you use to push buttons, or to spur the conversation?
D: I generally will ask them about the songs on the record that affected me the most. Generally those are the songs that had the biggest impact on them when they were recording or writing them. Iíll ask very specific things about a line in the song. Number one it shows them that youíve done your homework and have actually listened to their music, and number two, youíre asking them about something that has meant something to YOU.
C: Thatís been a frustration for me in the past, when [a reporter] says, ďIím so unprepared, and I havenít heard your record yet, butÖtell me about it.Ē
D: Oh no! (laughs)
C: Itís too broad. And I donít take it personally as if they donít care, itís just such a hard kind of question. Theyíre not asking something from a point of knowing. Iíve always appreciated someone who has even just heard two or three songs, or has seen a bio and a little bit of background information. Instead of asking, ďWhere are you from?Ē theyíll say, ďI read that you grew up in Washington D.C. What was that like in elementary school?Ē Itís more specific, and it shows me that theyíve taken some interest too. From the artist side, it opens me up more. Rather than a broad question like, ďTell us about yourself.Ē Well, I have ten toenails. Show interest and narrow it down. When an interviewer shows interest, as a fan would show interest in reading, it makes the artist more alive to engage with them.
D: I donít know that artists like it when I ask this, but sometimes I ask them, ďIf youíre sitting on a plane, and somebody asks you what you do, what do you tell them?Ē I like for artists to define what they sound like, or what they would tell somebody whoís not familiar with them.
As journalists, part of our job is to define or categorize, and I know everybody hates labels. Iíve heard people say we need to get rid of all the bin cards in the music stores and just let it all be music. But categorization is a necessary evil. A journalist can slap a label on something, but I like the artist to define what they do. And itís funny, people trip on that question.
C: Yeah, itís a hard question from the artist side too. Iím not sure how to answer that exactly. If Iím on a plane, and someone asks me that, I immediately fall asleep (pretend), or open my magazine and give them the signal, ďI donít want to talk, I want to read!Ē (Laughs!) Thatís the shy part of me coming out!
D: One of my fall-back questions, actually the last question I ask in every interview is, ďIs there anything I didnít ask you that you want to make sure the readers know?Ē ĎCause they may want to promote an appearance on Letterman, or they may have pet cause, or a song, so I want people to get in something I may have missed.
A funny story, I interviewed Bon Jovi a couple of months ago, Ďcause I did the story on their new album ďHave A Nice DayĒ for Billboard, so that was my last question: ďSo Jon, is there anything I didnít ask you that you want Billboard readers to know?Ē He got real quiet for a minute on the phone, and then he said, ďYeah, Deborah, tell them I wear briefs, not boxers.Ē (Laughs) So I thought, 'not gonna put that in my Billboard story.' But I did e-mail a lot of my single girlfriends!
C: And itís gonna be on CHRISRICE.COM this month too!
C: For anyone who wants to know. Except IíM not going to answer that question!
D: Isnít that funny! That was unexpected because heís usually Mr. Business. I did not see that one coming.
C: I actually majored in Communication myself, and Psychology, and in my studying I took some journalism stuff, but I took more general classes about writing. I was always curious why, and maybe you can shed light on this, there was a huge deal made about ďscoop.Ē I get the concept, but what so important about that?
D: Itís getting the information first. Getting it out there first.
C: People notice?
D: Oh yeah, if youíre the first person to break a story, thatís huge because other journalists are quoting your work.
C: Oh, I got ya.
D: Other journalists are coming to you. Getting an exclusive, or getting the scoop means youíre the one digging and coming up with the story first.
C: Is there a sense where thatís more important in the industry than to the public? Or do you think itís as important to the public? I know when I see Ďexclusiveí on the cover of a magazine, I think, OK cool, theyíre the only one thatís gonna have that information. But does the industry pay attention to that, and keep a score card or ledger?
D: Yeah, if we do a big story and other publications start quoting us or referring to our story, thatís huge. The company will send out memos saying, so-and-so is quoting the story we broke last week. Billboard has been around for over 111 years and has always prided themselves as the ones who get everything first in the industry.
And of course nowadays, with the websites and everything being 24 hours, we not only want to get it first, but to also analyze and give a context to what that news is. This is important, this is WHY itís important. This is how it affects you, or this record company, or this artist.
C: Historically, ten years ago, print wasÖperiodicals, whether daily or weekly or monthly publications, that's when the public found about stuff. But now a lot of that has changed, for many reasons, but most of it has to do with the internet, and with bloggers, the whole blogishpereÖitís almost like you can find out things online before they ever happen!
D: Thatís true.
C: Iíve noticed that for a lot of publications, their forte has been print over the years, but now they ALL have a web presence as well. I guess to make sure theyíre not left behind.
D: Oh yeah, because the internet makes getting news immediate. Itís instant access 24 hours a day. Itís affected publications because, why pick up a magazine and read news thatís a week old when people have already hit the website. Thatís forced journalists to go even deeper, in not just reporting the news, but like I mentioned a minute ago, more analysis and context.
C: When you write a story are you thinking print, or web, or both?
D: Both. News things like the upcoming Dove Awards, they take place Wednesday night, and theyíll show up in the magazine on Friday. But, itíll go up that night on the website. Weíve recently [been told to change our mentality]. We're "Billboard Information Group." Think Big. Weíre a 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week news service for people. You feel like you can never sleep!
C: Youíre suddenly CNN, youíre always on, and I guess it's a whole different kind of thinking for you.
D: I love magazines, and I admit, Iíll log on to a news site and get the headlines. And maybe Iím a dinosaur, but I love carrying a magazine around with me. I keep some in the minivan. If Iím waiting on the kids to get out of school, Iím reading something. I like the physical touch of print. I like newspapers. I donít want to have to fire up a laptop if I want to read something.
C: There seems to be more of a permanence to the print thing. Until they archive everything on the web, I donít know if they do that or not, but when you go to the library twenty years from now to look up what happened, youíre probably still going to go to the print publications. In a way, [print publications] summarize everything thatís on the web--the most important things are there, not just millions of people blogging and giving opinions. There is a record in a Ďnewsí kind of way. So I will always love print as well, and I think itís an important thing.
D: I hope it doesnít go away. I donít want CDs to go away. I love a whole album. A whole collection of songs. That bothers me. Everyone talks about it being such a singles driven industry right now, and sure, teenagers can go on iTunes and just buy what singles they want, and make a CDÖ
C: Maybe itís a cyclical kind of thing. Because singles were big in the Ď50ís and Ď60ís.
D: Thatís true.
C: Then albums became big, and maybe for now singles are gonna get big. But thatís not new. Thatís what it was like 30, 40, 50 years ago. Maybe it will just go back and forth like this every few decades as technologies change and develop.
As artists we need to keep watching that as well. Weíre all in this business/influence arena, and we need to keep track of consumers and whatís going on.
D: How much do you let that impact when youíre sitting down to write songs for the next album?
C: Itís all changing for me too. I still want to keep doing albums. I donít want to just put out 6-song EPís every 6 months. I want to put together a whole package. But at the same time, I know how important it is to keep the new kind of consumer interested.
You need to offer a new mix or remix of a tune every now and then to keep people coming back for something new in between the albums or collections. People wantÖIím surprised and probably shouldnít be, but the public, my fans, some of them really want something EVERY DAY from me. The CD isnít enough. I havenít commented in my blog with enough frequency. When are you gonna doÖitís a constant desire to connect or know the latest. Itís a whole different kind of consumer nowadays, thanks to the web. They want a lot more out of me. Where was his last concert? What is he thinking today? When's he gonna give us another nugget?
D: Thatís so gratifying, but is that kind of scary too?
C: It is. ( I just noticed that Deborah is taking over and asking me the questions. And Iím answering them as if SHEíS the one interviewing me. Weíre just too used to our normal roles, itís hard not to slip back into them. But Iíll take over again shortly!)
Itís scary, that people want so much contact. Your work and mine are similar in some ways, because we communicate with people. But I donít know, do journalist have stalkers too?
D: Well, I was noticed in Walgreens the other day, because the guy had seen me as a judge on [a TV show] Iíve done for the past three years. I canít imagineÖI just think, poor Britney Spears. I canít imagine having to put on my makeup just to go to Walgreens. These guys see me at 7 oíclock in the morning after Iíve dropped Trey off at school. I canít imagine being an artist like yourselfÖthe scrutiny and stuff. Everybody having an opinion about what youíre doing.
C: Yeah, it can be unsettling, but in my most sane moments I realize, Iím here to do what Iím doing, whether someone has a strong opinion about that or not. This isnít THEIR calling, itís MY calling. And Iím not living by THEIR mission statement, Iím living by MY mission statement. And I can have confidence in that. Allowing them to have an opinion, they register their opinion, Iím glad they did. But it really doesnít affect me or change how I do what Iím doing. I can continue on with confidence. I love what I get to do.
And, YOU love what you get to do. Itís obvious. Are you gonna do it forever?
D: Yeah, Iíve been asking myself the last three months. Because for ten years Iíve been working for Billboard full-time. And now Iím independent. So Iím still doing the columns, reviews, and stories Iíve been doing for Billboard, but Iím working from home now and Iím working for some other clients. So Iím doing bios for record companies, and some liner notes, which I love doing.
I got to do the liner notes for the 10th Anniversary of ďJesus FreakĒ the DC Talk album. I had not listened to it in a while, and I pulled it back out, and it just moved me all over again! Then I just prayed so hard that God would give me the words to do justice to that assignment. Itís 10 years later, and look how relevant this still is! What do I say? That was one of the hardest assignments Iíve had in the last few months.
But back to your question, Iím kind of in a transition phase now. When the transition first happened I was so worried--am I gonna have enough freelance business in the future? But it turns out Iíve had to turn down projects that I just donít have time to do. Which I shouldnít say on recordÖbecause IíM OPEN FOR ALL BUSINESSÖ(laughs)
C: Donít worry, Iíll truncate a lot of this. Once Iím through editing all this, youíll say things you never even thought of!
D: (Laughs) I was on that bus trip to see Brad Paisley last night, and one of the journalists had a t-shirt on that said ďI make stuff up!Ē (Laughs)
Anyway, is this what I want to do the rest of my life? You know, it is. I love music and itís such a privilege to get to sit down and talk to you about, ďWhy did you write that song? What made you think of that? What moved you to do that?Ē I donít take that lightly!
I have relatives who would LOVE to have five minutes with someone who did their favorite album. Like the Oak Ridge Boys. I used one of their songs in mine and Garyís wedding. I listened to them, and they were one of the first interviews I ever did, and now Duane [Allen] emails me periodically, ďHow ya doiní kid?Ē This is amazing! I listened to them with my family when I was in high school and college, and now I know this person! 20 years later this is an e-mail buddy. The fact that thatís a privilege and blessing is not lost on me!
The new Bon Jovi album, thereís a song called ďWelcome To Wherever You Are.Ē
C: What a great title.
D: It is, and itís an amazing lyric. And I thought, where does this come from? Itís such an uplifting, life-affirming, God-has-got-a-plan-for-you kind of song. And it was great to get to talk to him about that song. He said heís a man of great faith. Thatís what I love about what I do.
Music moves me so much, and there are things Iíll sit and listen to, and Iíll just cry and cry and cry. There are other things Iíll listen to and just laugh my butt off. Itís a privilige to get to talk to people who create that, and ask them about the process.
C: On behalf of so many other people you get to ask those questions!
D: I feel very privileged and blessed to get to do that. So I always want to be writing about music. I want to get into writing books. Iíve talked to a couple of publishers, and there are some things that may come to be. And this is funny, I also want to start doing things that I maybe put on the back burner. I initially wanted to do some acting when I was younger. Years ago, remember that TV show, Rescue 911?
C: I do. You were on that?
D: I got to play the wife of an accident victim. It was the coolest thing. We got to meet the real people, and I got to do what that woman did when her husband was in that severe car wreck, she read the Bible to him in intensive care. How incredible to do that!
And Iíve done some plays and some extra work.
So I figure my son is in high school, and as Trey gets older, and once he goes off to college, I might pursue this. ĎCause you know, how many overweight women in their forties are trying to be an actress? I figure me and Kathy Bates and sheís probably tired of working, you know what I mean?
So yeah, Iím kind of at this point in my life where Iím looking atÖI definitely want to keep writing, thatís my passion, I want to write about music. There may be some other things I want to write about, and I may want to try acting.
C: And the set-up now, you have the freedom to continue what youíve been doing all these years, and the freedom to pursue some other things as well. Best of both worlds in a lot of ways.
D: And Iím getting to write from home!
C: Iím jealous, looking at where you get to sit to do your work. What a view!
D: Yeah, I tell Gary, when the deer come out in the yard, Iím worthless for a good 35 or 40 minutes! The first six months we were in this house, Gary would call everyday and describe that sunset to me, and I was at my desk at Billboard. And thankful to be there. And heíd take pictures. You know when youíre working full time in a high pressure job, you donít get to come home and see the sunset very often. And now I get to experience this with Gary and Trey everyday! Iím so blessed.
C: Well, it seems like right now professionally, and in your personal family world, and even where your house is perched (ha!) you seem to be in a really fun and exciting place. And you deserve it all!
D: Oh thanks honey, I donít know about that. I sure appreciate it and thank God everyday.
C: OK, Deborah, is there anything I didnít ask about that you would like CHRISRICE.COM readers to know?
D: I guess the only parting thoughts...I would encourage people to explore all kinds of other music. Something that you might not think youíd be interested in, pick it up and listen to it. Because thereís SO much great music out there.
C: Well thanks Deborah, for your part in helping connect so many people with this great music, by writing about it for us, and asking all the great questions weíd like to ask if we had the chance to have these conversations.