Tag Archives: Music Interview

Kara DioGuardi: Grammy Nominated Songwriter (Kelly Clarkson, Celine Dion, Britney Spears) & former American Idol judge



I really want to help artists who want to help themselves. If you give me 100%, I’m gonna give you 100%. If you’re only in at 20, that’s all I can meet you at.  – Kara DioGuardi 
When you’ve got record sales of 160 million worldwide, the chances are pretty high that you know the words to the mega-hits Kara DioGuardi has written. Superstars like Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Miley Cyrus, Celine Dion, Pink, Christina Aquilera, Britney Spears, Hilary Duff, Katharine McPhee and so many more know that collaborating with Kara DioGuardi is like discovering buried treasure.  In this up-close and personal interview, you will learn exactly what makes Kara tick. Recorded in the living room of her craftsman-style home in Nashville, lovingly restored by she and her husband, Kara talks openly about everything from a childhood where she hated being asked to sing on the spot for family and friends, to her days fronting a garage band called “Grandma Trips”  to her first job at Billboard Magazine, and her realization that songwriting and producing hit records might be the strongest of her many talents. Her climb to the top was steady, but it has not been without roadblocks. In this interview, Kara shares some #metoo stories saying: “I don’t know if its about bravery or stupidity.  There were times when I was so determined, I may have ended up in situations that were not the best for me.”  Happily married and the mother of one son, Kara takes parenting seriously and speaks openly about the heartbreaking loss of her mother to cancer years ago.  These days, the former American Idol judge is using her wisdom as a music industry pro to help aspiring songwriters with BRIIDGE, the first music platform that matches music creators based on their skillset, location and personality. The app is exploding worldwide, forming a community of support, all under Kara’s watchful eye. Be sure to listen all the way through this podcast to hear Jacy’s chat with one of Kara’s BRIIDGE singer/songwriters, Christiana Alaire who makes her debut as this week’s emerging artist.   

H. Jack Williams: Singer / Songwriter – Kevin Coster, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Greg Allman, Peter Gabriel.



When I set my mind out to do something, I do it.  – H. Jack Williams 

For this episode, we’re at Anthem Entertainment in Nashville with singer/songwriter H. Jack Williams.  Anthem is one of the world’s leading independent music and entertainment content and services companies with publishing, production, the iconic Anthem Records, Film & Television, Music Licensing.  As we prepped for this interview, we couldn’t help but be amazing at his career:  nearly 50 years of writing songs and making music with icons like Richie Havens, The Who, Uriah Heep, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Greg Allman, Peter Gabriel, Montgomery Gentry and most recently, Kevin Costner for his band Modern West and for his hit series Yellowstone. But what is even more amazing is that Jack is still alive to tell his story, because he was so badly abused as a child.  Adopted at birth through an illegal adoption operation run by the infamous Dr. Catherine Cole in Miami, Florida, Jack was raised in Eureka, Florida.  His mother was a swimming teacher at the local YMCA. His father worked at the post office and was a card carrying member of the Ku Klux Klan.  In this podcast, Jack explains that his early childhood was idyllic, but as he approached his early teens, his skin darkened and his father began to beat him with a garden hose, especially after he was passed up for a promotion by a black man.   Jack ran away at 16 and at 17, joined the Marine Corp and became part of elite Force Recon.  Now 70, this wise renaissance man is experiencing an incredible 2nd act as a recording artist with the release  of his latest album Halfway to Hell which includes 10 songs he co-wrote, including two with Kevin Costner. In this episode, we learn that H. Jack Williams’ middle name should have been persistence, because he never, ever gave up on his dream to create music and relationships that pass the test of time.  


Glen Campbell Tribute: Part One – TK Kimbrell, Mike Borchetta & Julian Raymond



There was never a more wonderful human being on the planet than Glen Campbell. – Mike Borchetta 
Generations of artists count Glen Campbell as one of the greatest artists who ever lived. He was gifted with the kind of voice that connected to the lyric and the listener in a memorable way. Experts say that Glen Campbell was the greatest guitarist to ever play.  In fact, he was a member of the famous Wrecking Crew, an outstanding session guitarist who played on some of the greatest records ever made like Strangers in the Night by Frank Sinatra, Viva Las Vegas by Elvis Presley, and You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling by The Righteous Brothers, Bridge Over Troubled Waters by Simon & Garfunkel.  Willie Nelson once said:  “When the good Lord was passin’ out talent, Glen Campbell got on the line twice.”
 
This episode was recorded LIVE at the Glen Campbell Museum on April 21, 2022 as part of a week long tribute to the man and his music. Glen died of Alzheimer’s Disease in 2017 and the museum is a place where you can experience his talent and his legacy firsthand.  It’s a Nashville treasure where you’ll see his guitars, his awards, his costumes you can even sing along to Rhinestone Cowboy with Glen Campbell in a soundproof booth.  
 
As our audience took their seats, the goal was to uncover details about Glen Campbell from three of his lifelong friends:  manager TK Kimbrell, Grammy winning songwriter and producer Julian Raymond and recording industry giant, Mike Borchetta. From humble beginnings as the son of sharecropper in Delight, Arkansas, Glen Campbell made the kind of music that will never die.

Lindy Robbins – Multi-platinum selling & award-winning songwriter



Did I change somebody’s life, or change somebody’s day or help somebody to survive cancer because of this song that was a joy to write? That’s everything. – Lindy Robbins 
Our trip to Los Angeles was a blast.  We had lunch in Beverly Hills,  walked up and down Rodeo Drive like we were Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and then hopped in the car for this interview with Lindy Robbins.  She’s a multi-platinum selling and award-winning songwriter who has written hits for for the Backstreet Boys, Demi Lovato, and Jason Derulo, and you’ll hear hear the stories behind mega-hit songs in this interview.  But Lindy is no stranger to Nashville and country music, having written great big hits like Day Drunk, Morgan Evan’s top 20 smash that went platinum in his native Australia. Turns out, Lindy has been a mentor to many young songwriters from every genre and Jacy couldn’t wait to get her advice for her Music City Mentor segment, so don’t miss Lindy’s answers at the end of this interview. Lindy LOVES the creative process and her energy is like a billion watt nuclear reactor! By the time this interview is over, you’ll feel like you know her, she’s that open and friendly with lots of cool stories to tell. Aspiring songwriters, take notes!

Anthony Resta – Platinum Selling Producer, Composer & Musician



Being a producer is a lot like directing a film.  You want to have a look at the bigger picture.  You need to be able to zoom out and help the artist get a picture of where they’ve always wanted to go.
-Anthony Resta 
We’re back from our west coast swing where we were searching for interviews with iconic music industry pros.  One day in California we ended up high in the Hollywood Hills for an interview with Anthony Resta, award-winning producer, sound engineer, multi-talented musician, songwriter, and collector of vintage instruments.  Anthony has worked with just about every A-lister you can think of including Duran Duran, Collective Soul, Blondie, Sara Evans, Shaun Mullins and Sir Elton John. And if you are a fan of the Twilight series, Scream 2, Scream 3, or Varsity Blues, it was Anthony Resta who did the programming and production work on these soundtracks. Originally from Canada, Anthony spent a few years living in Australia as a child and then moved to Chelmsford, Massachusetts where he met Jacy and then Candy a few years later. A prolific artist who performed beat poetry with the stage name Ajax Ray-o-Vac, Anthony plays drums, guitar, bass, piano, flute, clarinet and harmonica.  His success story is filled with rich experiences, where he experimented with sounds, stayed ahead of the curve, learned how to guide artists to their greatest studio performances, and earned a name for himself as THE guy you want to work with in the studio. As we wound our way into Laurel Canyon, Anthony was waiting for us at the gate to his recording compound. Built in the 1920’s, it was once a hunting lodge and it is in this environment where Anthony feels most at home. As we pressed record, he poured us an espresso, sat back, and told us how he made his way in the music industry.

Jim Vest – Award-winning Steel Guitarist, Producer & Author



Somebody from an 11 dollar house in Alabama has cut some of the biggest records in the world and if that can happen for me, it can happen for you.  – Jim Vest 
 
We can hardly wait for you to hear this interview with Jim Vest:  musician, producer, songwriter, and leader of the legendary Nashville Cats.  Recorded in an easy chair from his cozy home just outside of Nashville, this is a first-hand story about a career that thrives to this day.  
 
The author of the new book Jim Vest & the Magic of a Steel Guitar, he is one of the greatest steel guitarists in the world. Jim has also been a teacher and mentor too many musicians along the way who have experienced a sideways glance and a dose of “Jim Vest schoolin.” He is also the recipient of the Super Picker Award, given only to musicians who have played on million selling records. In fact, Jim is so good, Paul McCartney showed up in a Nashville club wearing a fur coat, just to hear him play and an unknown artist named Kenny Chesney called him “Jimbo” and used to sing demos for him.  It’s safe to say that everyone in Nashville knows and respects the great Jim Vest, but in this interview, we get to know the genius and the heart of a legend. 

Pam Lewis – Nashville Publicist & Preservationist



There are a lot of parallels between the French wine industry and the country music industry. The vintners will cut back the vines to make them suffer in order to produce the best grapes.  There is a part of this town that wants you to suffer a little bit. You’ve got to pay your dues. – Pam Lewis 

Have you ever wondered about the role PR and marketing play in the development of a country music artist?  Easy answer: it’s huge. That’s why we sat down with Pam Lewis, one of the PR queens of Nashville with offices right on Music Row. Born and raised in upstate New York, she attended Wells College and studied abroad to attend a program associated with The Sorbonne University.  One of her very first jobs out of college took her to New York City where she was part of the original publicity and marketing team for MTV and sister channels Nickelodeon, the Movie Channel and A&E.  In this interview, she tells the story of her move to Nashville in 1984 where she made the transition to country music at RCA Records and helped to shape the careers of stars like Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, The Judds & Alabama.  Her partnership with Bob Doyle in 1987 formed Doyle/Lewis Management and their first client was an unknown artist named Garth Brooks.  In addition to her work with Garth, Pam helped Trisha Yearwood land her first record deal which yielded the artist her first record-breaking single, “She’s In Love With The Boy.”  The dissolution of her business relationship with Garth Brooks is well documented, and so is her determination and tenacity to get back on her feet through PLAMedia, Pam’s thriving PR and marketing agency.  In this interview, we learn a lot about the business of country music and what it takes to succeed.  For a birds-eye view into the life of a trailblazing powerhouse, hit that download button. 


Jim Messina of Loggins and Messina: up close & personal with an icon



I appreciate the moment. I learned many years ago that happiness is the appreciation of what is happening. – Jim Messina 
 
We were beside ourselves as we headed to the home of Jim Messina.  There we were 
in Jacy’s silver Toyota Corolla, winding our way down country roads just outside of Nashville, singing Your Mama Don’t Dance and your Daddy Don’t Rock n Roll at the top of our lungs. We may be interviewing country music icons on this series, but we’re FANS of the artists and music first. When you think about the career of Jim Messina, there is a lot to talk about and we couldn’t wait.  His legacy of musical genius spans 5 decades and includes groundbreaking work with Buffalo Springfield, Poco, Loggins & Messina and a stellar solo career that is thriving to this day.  Jim is also the creator and facilitator of The Songwriter’s Performance Workshop where he mentors songwriters and singers. www.songwritersperformanceworkshop.com. While most fans know him as a gifted guitarist, singer and songwriter, Jim Messina is a stellar producer and highly skilled sound engineer with an ear for talent. In fact he got his start in the music business at only 18 as a producer and audio engineer. Born and raised in California, Jim is now living in Tennessee where he has a recording studio in his home. As we made our way through the gates of the farm he shares with his wife, we saw Jim waving us in from his wrap around porch.  We settled into big leather couches on giant wooded frames in his living room and pressed record on an interview filled with the stories of his life, the music he loves, the behaviors he regrets, and the wisdom he has learned along the way. Our time with this generous icon is here for you to enjoy and we think it just might be one of our most authentic interviews to date.  Let us know what you think!

Their First Time on the Radio: Sara Evans, John Schneider, Crystal Gayle, Jamie O’Neal & more



For this episode, Jacy and I got to thinking about our favorite answers to the questions we always ask during our interviews with country music icons. We decided to put together a “best of” episode that featured singers and songwriters answering the question: tell me about the first time you ever heard yourself on the radio? It’s a big deal when you hear yourself coming out of the car speakers…or even an old-school kitchen radio. This very special episode is our gift to you for the holidays, featuring Sara Evans, John Schneider (aka Beau Duke), TG Sheppard, Aimee Mayo, Sonny LeMaire of Exile, Jamie O’Neal and more as they share the excitement of the thrill of hearing their song on the radio and realizing that their dreams of success in country music just might come true. Leave a review and let us know your favorite “firsttime on the radio” story! 


Jamie O’Neal : Grammy Nominee, ACM & Billboard award-winning artist



When I had the chicken pox, I went on stage. When I had a cracked rib, I went on stage. And that is the old Vaudeville saying “the show must go on.”   – Jamie O’Neal 
Music Row is pretty magical. The streets that make up this iconic area of Nashville are lined with old craftsman style houses that are now record labels, publishing houses, recording studios, music licensing companies, video productions houses, radio networks, and PR firms. It is safe to say that you can hear the heartbeat of country music on Music Row.  This is where we sat down with 3 time Grammy nominee, ACM & Billboard award-winning artist Jamie O’Neal. In this exclusive interview, Jamie describes what it was like to grow up singing with the Murphy Family Band, landing the gig of back-up singer for Kiley Minogue’s  worldwide tour, how motherhood blew her away, and the stories behind her smash hits  There Is No Arizona, When I Think About Angels, and Somebody’s Hero.   There are some cool stories about Jamie’s love of dogs, her daughter’s musical talents, her friendships with Reba, Dolly, Martina and Sara, and the work ethic she learned as a child performer.  Music City Mentor Jacy Dawn Valeras gets some great advice from Jamie about how to make it in the new Nashville, and as you listen, you’ll get a pretty clear picture of what it takes to make it in country music.  This is Jamie O’Neal, unfiltered.