Jump Ropes. The metal ends of seatbelts. Hairbrushes. All microphones to me. Pre-internet in small town Kentucky, the biggest dream I had was to be in a show at Opryland in Nashville. I got a big NO three times. Then - by fluke - I got hired as a last minute replacement.
I was in HEAVEN. Rip-away costumes, four shows a day - yes please. I was Mae West. I was Edith Bunker. I was HOOKED.
I had no idea people got paid to write songs. I mean, I had performed at my high school’s Mardi Gras night with an original song to get my boyfriend back, (it worked by the way - but the date I was with wasn’t too pleased), but people can do this for a JOB? Yep. And before traditional publishing deals went the way of the dinosaur, I was lucky enough to hold four of them. As I was writing I fell into session and background singing, got courted for a record deal, and sat in the room with the likes of Eric Church, Chris Stapleton, sang the demo for “Before He Cheats," and was even a backup singer for Gwenyth Paltrow in the movie “Country Strong.” Not bad for a girl who just wanted a rip-away sequin costume at Opryland.
Pre-music row, I had been a camp counselor, a full-time nanny, and prided myself on being SuperAunt. (I had also been a wedding consultant, a census worker for 2000, a ‘coat specialist’ at Dillards, but that’s not the point) The point is I LOVE kids. I AM a kid. But I had no kids of my own. I lost my dad to cancer when I was in college. In his honor I had written a children’s music program for elementary schools called, “Colors Say” - based off a song I’d written with my friend, Candy Cameron. That sparked something in my heart. One curiosity class at Lipscomb university led to my masters. That led to “just a year in the classroom for a change of pace.” Somehow eight years flew by and I got Teacher of the Year in 2020. Got whiplash?
I warned ya.
My pal, Nathan Meckel called me up one afternoon and asked if I had a second. I did. He launched into a persuasive monologue about his boutique record label thinking about adding artists to the roster for children's music.
“I know country music is your bread & butter…” (In my head I silently yelled, “YES, BUT....”)
“It might not work, but you could give it a ….” (Still in my head I cheered, “NO-BRAINER!”)
“Maybe you could think it over and just…” (About to erupt from my mouth, “SIGN ME UP.”)
We wrote, recorded and released, “Dare To Be Me” in August of 2020. It went to #1 on the Sirius XM Kids Place Live countdown! Say WHAT? In 2021 we had 2 more top 10 singles and a Christmas song.
Country Music Career + Kindergarten Teacher = THIS.
Whatever THIS is - It’s AWESOME.
2022 has me all two, to, too! As we forge ahead into the great unknown, I'd like to thank Paula Abdul, MC Hammer, and Shakespeare for the inspiration.
New singles ready to drop? CHECK
New videos in the works? CHECK
And something SO exciting to my kindergarten teacher heart. I won't let the cat out of the bag YET....but it rhymes with 'hook.' I can't wait to dig into this dream more. It's everything I never knew I always wanted!