Saturday, June 18, 2011

Interview with Robin Meade

Interview with Robin Meade

Ch.L.: Country Music has many new fans in Europe, who may be hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you play to someone who's never seen or heard you before.

R.M.: in the states, im a national news anchor for HLN, anchoring the morning show  “Morning Express with Robin Meade” from 6am-noon Monday-through-Friday from the CNN Center in Atlanta.. But now I’m also a country music artist, coming out with my debut album available exclusively at a US based store (Target)  AND on itunes. My music has been called pop-tinged country. My voice is clear, alto, and strong.

Ch.L.: What's your latest CD and how's it doing?

R.M.: My debut CD is just now coming out! We’ve been getting great coverage because no on-air journalist has ever come out with a country cd in the states. I guess you could say it’s a novelty, in those terms. But I don’t intend it to be a one-off. There are plans already in the works for the next album.

Ch.L.: How did you choose the title for the CD?



R.M.: The show I do in the states is known for its optimistic tone, even though we have to do news stories that aren’t always joyful.  So I wanted the album  to match what I’m already known for: a positive, can-do, encouraging outlook. Therefore, the title of the album is “Brand New Day”.

Ch.L.: Do you write the songs yourself and if not, how do you go about finding the songs for the your CD?

R.M.: there are 12 songs on this album. I’ve cowritten six of them. In Nashville, a common way to write is to gather two or three people, and start working on an idea. Maybe I would bring a concept, someone else might start playing some chords, and another person might hum a line. Together, that’s called co-writing! I’d use my vacation days to drive from Atlanta Georgia to Nashville Tennessee for these “writing days”.

Ch.L.: Please tell us about the songs on your album.

R.M.:
1)     Put My High Heels On.” I wrote this about the start of nearly every woman’s day. You feel like crap, would rather go back to bed, can’t find anything to wear. But then you find your high heels put them on, you look better, feel better and you’re ready to kick some butt. Its an uptempo attitude song.
2)     Nice Bunch of Girls”    My husband says its not fair that on the weekends I wake up with bed head, greasy face, sheet marks across the face, when the rest of the nation gets “sexy newscaster” during the week. It got me thinking about all the various personalities that exist in each of us. That’s why I say “I’m a nice bunch of girls.” You never know who you’re going to get.
3)     Right Here Waiting” this is a cover of an old Richard Marx song that we’ve countrified and turned into a duet with American Idol’s Bo Bice. He sounds great on this.
4)     Never Alone”  I didn’t write this song. But I wish I did! It comes across as an irish blessing song that applies to anyone who feels like they are losing someone either to distance or to illness, whatever the case may be. Its so inspirational, reminding us through love, we are never alone.
5)     Letting It Go” This is a song for those momens when the steam is crawling up your neck and someone is being a complete moron in traffic: you gotta let it go, baby!
6)     Rain”  I get asked a lot how I can keep an upbeat attitude and positive outlook after having to talk about news, sometimes unpleasant, for hours and hours on end. My R.M. is…I can care about the things going on in the world, yet not let it be my own life story. And the big point is, there is something we can do to help.  That’s demonstrated in this song. Musically I love the bass guitar in this song. It’s a monster really moving about quickly adding gravitas to the song message.
7)     In Valentine” This “story song” addresses the issue of spousal abuse. But in this song, the woman comes out winning and refuses to be a victim. This song is one of my favorites because of the story-telling, and the haunting quality of the music. You’ll press rewind on this one I think.
8)     Morning Sunshine”  In the US I’m known for greeting our viewers every half hour with a rousing “Morning Sunshine!”. So this song matches that mantra and way of looking at the world: It may not be perfect, but lets work it and be grateful for what we have”.
9)     Because You Think I Can” On one of the many trips to Nashville for songwriting, I told my husband all my dreams for this album. Instead of saying “you’re crazy to do this!’, he said basically “Okay, lets go for it!”. It struck me how you can move mountains when someone thinks you can. This is my ode to my husband for that moment, and to everyone else’s support system that helps them achieve their dreams.
10)  Welcome  Home” This song applies to anybody waiting for a loved one to come home, whether its an anxious mom welcoming home a daughter from college, or a wife waiting at the door for a husband after a month long business trip. But when was in the recording studio, I was singing directly to our troops, many of whom are on deployments for months on end in Iraq and Aghganistan. I picture a wife in the kitchen looking up and seeing a warrior in the door way and saying “Welcome home!”.
11)  You Will”. I love the encouraging manner of this song. Its about the horrible pain you feel after someone breaks up with you. And you can’t imagine ever loving someone again. But I tell the listener “You will”!
12)  Dirty Laundry” is the cut getting attention in the states. It’s an remake of an old Don Henley classic from the 80’s that makes fun of the news. And here you have a news anchor now singing it. It’s a tongue and cheek look at what I do for living!

Ch.L.: What will your next single be?

R.M.: Dirty Laundry! I didn’t actually choose this song to be the single. Actually some big name DJs in the US basically chose it themselves after hearing the cuts. They liked the back story that I’m a news anchor, and like the vocals on this tune and that it’s a bluegrass-y take on a song most people recognize.

Ch.L.: What kind of songs do you like to record the most?

R.M.:I really love to record acoustic songs where you can really hear the guitar strings and the voice. Just beautiful. Kind of like “Never Alone” on this album.

Ch.L.: What's your favorite song among all the songs you've recorded and what's the story behind it?



R.M.: I really love never alone and inspirational message of the song, the acoustic quality of the music and the close harmonies on it. I’m proud to sing it for an audience.

Ch.L.: How much creative control do you have over your music?

R.M.: I have complete creative control. I got great guidance from the producer, Victoria Shaw (who produced Lady Antebellum and wrote songs for Garth Brooks, Christina Auilera and Ricky Martin among others). But in the end she’d say “It’s your album, and you have to happy with what we put on there”. I respect that.

Ch.L.: Who do you look up musically and how deep do your musical roots run?

R.M.: I look up to my producer Victoria Shaw. She’s a genius writer, fantastic vocalist and natural performer. In terms of my musical roots, my first memories are of singing at church as the child of a preacher. I can remember the first song I learned there, how proud I was to show my dad I had memorized it. I remember the first solo I had in grade school, even the first time the idea of having “stage fright” was introduced to me, right before I sang a solo in sixth grade. Music, singing, singing lessons, and performing has long been a part of my life.
The love of music was fostered through Sunday services, Saturday jam sessions in our living room (my father plays the guitar) and with a little piano my parents hauled home in their truck for me! Music has always been a great mood enhancer for me.likewise, I hope it is for the listeners of this album.

Ch.L.: If you had the chance to change something about the music industry, what would it be?

R.M.:I would change the way the radio game is played. It’s awfully difficult to get radio play in the states  if you’re not with a record label here, but there is so much great music out there! It takes big bucks to have a radio promotion team and convince radio stations that you’ll be around for years delivering new music. So if you’re an independent artist, that’s a tough bill.

Ch.L.: As an artist you have to do so many different things such as recording, touring, doing interviews etc. What do you like best, what's your favorite activity?

R.M.: I love the recording process! I think it can be magic in the studio as you lay down the vocals and music for a song. Its important to be “in the moment”.

Ch.L.: Are you doing anything to take country music beyond it's courrent borders or are you happy where it is?

R.M.: I’m tickled that I’ll be able to introduce country music to my viewers, some of whom may not be country fans but will try it out for the simple fact that they invite into their homes each day through the television.

Ch.L.: What inspired you to become an artist?

R.M.: For me its about being a story teller. I’ve been writing peoples life stories for years on the news. Then I wrote my own life story in a book that became a New York Times best seller. So now, with my love of music and passion for performance, it only seemed logical that I learn to be a songwriter. Much like in jourmalism, songwriting captures the loves, losses, drama and dreams of he human experience.
 Its almost like I couldn’t help myself. My passion kept bringing me back to Nashville!

Ch.L.: What drives you?

R.M.: I’m extrememly competitive with myself and am most happy when I’m giving 100 percent on a project!

Ch.L.: What's unique about you that differentiates you from other artists?



R.M.: I have a built in audience from my television show and am maintaining that career while pursuing music too.

Ch.L.: When you get time off, how do you like to relax?



R.M.: My hubby and I have a little lake cottage about 100 miles away from the cnn center where I work in Atlanta. So we drive out there and spend time on the water, basically doing nothing. The place is nothing fancy. The carpet is still an outdated pink from the previous owner. The power goes out occasionally, but I love the simplicit of it. I joke it’s the “no makeup zone” out there. It’s great place to hit the “reset” button when life gets too hectic

Ch.L.: Many European fans travel to Nashville for CMA Music Festival (Fan Fair), because of the opportunity to see so many of their favorite stars at the same time. Will you be participating and how will the fans be able to find you?



R.M.: I just took part in my first cma music fest as an artist. It was great to see the viewers and listeners face to face and perform for them. I love that with live concerts like those at cma fest, you get immediate feedback in the viewers faces, whereas tv the feedback is a delayed feedback, by way of the ratings!. I can’t wait to return to the music fest next year.



Ch.L.: Many music fans today get their information about artists via the internet. Do you have your own website and what will fans find there?



R.M.: my website is also the website for my show. It’s www.cnn.com/robin , our facebook page is www.facebook/morningexpresshln or you can tweet me directly @robinmeade on twitter!

Christian Lamitschka ( Ch.Lamitschka@t-online.de )

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