BACKSTAGE AT THE GRAND OLE OPRY
On December 10th 1999, Compliments of one of our Hot Topics Music Team members, I was invited to go backstage at the Grand OLE Opry. Among many talented artists that were performing for the night were Garth brooks & Steve Wariner. I was able to meet and talk to most of the performers while I was backstage, do some interviews, and tell them about our group, give them the information to join & tell them what we do. I was also able to give some of our team member's CD's to them (after we were finished), take pictures & learn more about them on a personal basis.
Many of them were very impressed and interested in becoming part of our group, they also said they would join. I was also able to give them a demo with some of my original song's that are available for recording & to tell them about all the talented writers we have in our group that have original songs also.
Many of them actually sat down and did a personal interview (about 30 minute per artist. They told me about their careers, personal goals, achievements and advice for newcomers in the business of music. It was a great experience to be a part of. I learned a lot & had a really great time.
I was very surprised at how down to earth and how easy they were to talk to. They took the time to listen to me and answer my questions. They did not act like they were special or better than anyone else. They were just like you and me. I was very impressed with how easy going they were, and their willingness to take time and talk with me.
I just happened to be outside talking to someone, when Garth Brooks pulled up & started walking in. I recognized him and said "Hi Garth, you have a computer don't you? " He stopped and came over and shook my hand. I introduced myself to him, told him what I did and handed him a paper about our group. He was very interested.
I asked him if he thought he would have time to talk to me and do an interview with me. He said "sure....no problem, let's go on in." So I walked with him up to the door, which he graciously held it open for me as I walked in. As soon as we got in the door, the security guards were trying to get him into the dressing room. He said "Wait...I have to talk with these people and sign autographs first." He took his time and sat and talked to people and signed his autographs. The security guards kept saying."Come on Garth we gotta get you to your dressing room." As they were getting impatient. he just kept signing his name very patiently, and kept talking to everyone who wanted to meet him.
I was so impressed at how nice he was and so genuine. Very down to earth as he talked to the people. He cared more about the people than he did getting back to his dressing room. I stood there the whole time watching, and taking pictures for people who didn't have cameras while they were getting their picture taken with him.
He ran out of time so he told me after he got done singing he would sit down with me and talk to me.
He went out on stage with his guitar...no band, just him and his guitar. He sang 4 songs. I must say I was so impressed with his vocals and performance. When he was done, He said "Tamra, as soon as I take care of all these people, I will sit down and talk with you." He remembered my name.
He took about an hour and kept talking and signing autographs. I waited up in front for him. When he was done he came over, sat down and we began our interview. He said "Thank you so much for waiting for me." I asked him what his plans were for the near future? "My plans are to take a few months off and just let my band and myself take some time off and relax. The past 6 months on tour have really wiped us all out and we are all tired."
What is your favorite part of your career? "My favorite part is getting to sing and to meet such loyal fans. My fans mean everything to me. When I go out onstage, it is a whole new world. I just tune everything out and sing. It is a natural high to be onstage and perform to such loyal fans. I never forget who put me where I am & who I get my paycheck from."
What is the biggest drawback of being such a success in music? " The biggest drawback is the demand of the time it takes. When you have to work so hard, it loses being fun. Singing music should be fun...When it becomes more like work, it is not fun anymore. You have to take some time off and regroup, or it is easy to get burned out. Being away from my family is the part I dislike the most. It takes a lot of support & sacrifice from my family to do what I do."
What advice do you have for the new people trying to break into the music business? " To keep following your heart and your own style. Don't change who you are to fit in. Do the music the way it comes natural to you and keep having fun. Don't take it too serious or you lose the most important part...what is in your heart.
Don't ever forget who put you where you are. If you think you are better than anyone else, you have a serious problem. Remember that it takes time to accomplish success. Be patient, make as many contacts as you can, using groups and organizations set up to help and support music artists. Always be willing to help other people when you can. Part of giving and helping others, gives me more enjoyment than anything."
"What you are doing with your group is a great thing. By giving other artists a chance to meet other people in the music industry is the most important thing to have. He said "I have to admire you for wanting to help other artists and not charging money. You will go far in this business because you are willing to give...people don't forget that.
Are you planning on doing a new CD in the near future? " No, not for at least 8 months to a year. I am planning on taking some time off to regroup and relax. I have reached that burn out period and it is too much like work right now. When I start again I will be more into it because it will be more fun.
What did he think was the hardest part of success to deal with? "Too many people want to tell you what you should be doing. You start to lose touch with yourself and your true feelings. So many people have such high expectations of you. It is hard to be who everyone wants you to be. Sometimes you feel like an object and not a person with emotions & feelings. It is important to be yourself, stay in tune with who you are and most of all follow your own heart. When you start losing that, it's time to take a break.
I was so impressed with his personality, how real and genuine he was. No hype, no bull. Just true honesty and caring. He didn't act like he was better than anyone. He is just like us. Truly a star who has not let success go to his head in the slightest.
We took some pictures, he talked to my husband, asked about what he did for a living, then it was time to go. We were walking out the door at the same time. He told me that I really needed to focus on song writing and promotion. This is where the real money is and that I could do it without having to be away from my family for long periods of time & it was less demanding on you mentally and physically. That touring all the time, really takes its toll on the family and marriage. He said "My publisher is set for the rest of his life & he gets to stay at home." I told him "All I need is for you to cut one of my songs and then I could retire." We both laughed as he climbed into his truck. he yelled "See ya Dennis & Tamra it was nice talking with you." He took my demo tape of some songs I wrote and told me he would listen to them.
He got in his truck the same time we were leaving. We drove by the guard gate and there he was stopped again, signing autographs for the guards. He waved & we drove away.
Truly a man who cares about people. I think we sometimes forget that our heroes are real people with feelings and personal problems just like us. So many people watch every move they make and are quick to criticize what they do. But what would we do if we were in their shoes? When you lose all privacy in your life, It is hard to keep your identity. People don't want to hear that they have personal struggles. We tend to think they should be perfect.
Written By: Tamra Smith "Hot Topic Music News"