Cindy Watts Larson (USA)

Gaby: 

Who inspires you in music and how deep are your musical roots?   

 

Cindy:

Even though I was born and raised in Michigan in the U.S.A. My family comes from the South. My Dad from Kentucky and my Mom's side of the family from Tennessee,  I grew up visiting my Grandma's house weekly where she would play the piano by ear and sing.  If I wasn't sitting next to her singing along then her poodle would be :)  On Sundays I would stand by here and sing in church and also sang in a musical we did in our youth group, Jesus Christ Superstar.  I will always cherish those memories.  So, I would have to say the Grandma was my inspiration for my love to sing. However, an interesting fact has come to light and it is funny how you can find out about your family history when things in your life take a turn. Recently one of my Dad's cousins brought it to my attention that I'm am related to the, Song Bird of the South, Kate Smith and, I think, 4th cousin to Rock-A-Billy artist, Ray Smith.  So, it appears that I get my inspiration from my Dad's side of the family too :)  You might say I was born to sing!  LOL  

 

Gaby:  

What was your big break that brought you into music business?

 

Cindy:

Well, I just LOVE to sing! Be it in the car or at work, I often find myself singing while I'm doing whatever or at least the music is going through my mind. So, I was just thrilled to be asked to go to Nashville and record at KLP Records.  

   

Gaby: 

How has been the last year for you? What are the highlights?  

 

Cindy:

The last year has been just AMAZING!  Recording in Nashville was an experience of a lifetime and I have been blessed to record 5 songs and do two videos.  My songs are Wish you Were Here, In the Pines, and Deeper (Which has not been released yet).  Get my Boots Wet and Elvis is Alive both have videos that can be found on YouTube.  One of the coolest things that happened when recording the video for Get My Boots Wet was that the actors for the video weren't able to make the shoot so I had to act in my own video!  I had never acted before so it was a fly by the seat of my pants kind of experience and I loved it! I have been asked to send my music to radio stations and one of them wants my C/D.  I was also asked to send an autographed picture for the Wall of Fame and I have met SO many wonderful people and artists that have made my life just bloom!  I have been truly blessed :)

 

Gaby: 

What was the most enjoyable compliment, a fan has ever given to you?

 

Cindy:

Most recently, over Spring Break, I had an opportunity to sing and a gentleman walked up to me afterwards and said my singing gave him chicken skin.  I said thank you very much and his friend said that I was his new star.  Then his lady friend looked at me and said she didn't think chicken skin was right (as they were from Holland).  I said it was goose bumps and we all had a great laugh!  Bringing happiness to someone through my songs is such a blessing and it really brings me joy to make people happy and smile.

 

Gaby: 

What inspired you to become a songwriter?    

Cindy:

In the back of my mind I have always wanted to write, either a book or songs.  Time has always seemed to get in the way but I have met an inspiring friend and she writes music. So, between singing and the inspiration I get from friends and other artists I hope to be able to polish up some of the songs I have started and be able to share them in the future. 

 

Gaby: 

What is the motor that keeps you going?    

 

Cindy:

Singing for me is like healing for the soul.  Whether I am singing or listening to others, I seem to need music to keep me going.The possibilities are endless.  You never know who you might meet or what's around the next corner.  Even at church, there are always new hymns to sing.  So, I guess it's the unexpected that keeps me going, just like a new day, you never know what to expect.

 

Gaby: 

What has been your greatest challenge in the music business?   

 

Cindy:

My biggest challenge was, I wanted to sing but not being heard! Crazy, right!  I'm shy.  A lot of people who know me say there is no way I'm shy so I guess I cover it up REALLY well :)  Singing live has given me new confidence and, I can't lie, the adrenaline rush helps bit!  As I get more new songs I hope to be able to sing more.

 

Gaby: 

Many music fans today get their information about artists online. Do you have your own website and what would your fans see there?

 

Cindy:

The World Wide Web has just been a HUGE asset!  What did we do before?!?  I have friends all over the world and probably would have never known them otherwise.  My songs and information can be found on, 

http://www.reverbnation.com/cindylarson

https://www.facebook.com/cindylarsonsmusic

 

Gaby: 

Is there anything in your life that you would change if you could?    

 

Cindy:

If I could change one thing in my life it would have to be to have per sued a musical career before now!  I guess The Lord felt I was never going to go for it on my own so He set things in motion for me and laid this in my lap and I am so grateful!

 

Gaby: 

Any thought of retirement ahead?

 

Cindy:

I would love to be able to retire from my day job and just sing!  Who doesn't want to retire?  I am probably considered a work-a-holic.  If I'm not working, I feel lost.  If and when I do get the opportunity to retire I have my quilting hobby that I know will keep me busy and you can bet I'll be singing everyday that I am able :)

Barbara Portland (GER)

 

Gaby: 

Music has many new fans throughout Europe, they may hear about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you make, to someone who has never seen, or heard about you?

 

Barbara: 

Absolutely authentic, and straight from the bottom of my heart. I live a country girl’s life, with my husband, my kids and a lot of western horses. It is a real deal!

 

Gaby: 

How has the last year been for you? What are the highlights?

 

Barbara: 

The next big highlight is right in front of me!!! :D Stay tuned, it will knock your socks off!

 

Gaby: 

What is the name of your latest CD and how does it sell?

 

Barbara: 

 “Sweetest Gift From God”, it is a maxi CD and it is selling quite well.

 

Gaby: 

What made you choose that title for the CD?  Is there a story behind this?

 

Barbara: 

It’s a song for my wonderful daughters and the first time I sang it was during the baptism of my little one!

 

Gaby: 

Do you write the songs by yourself? If not, how do you manage to find the perfect songs for your CD?

 

Barbara: 

Well, I am not much into songwriting myself, but I have one of the best songwriters and composers in Germany working with me and he is just perfect, in putting my ideas and feelings, about what I want to say, in a song. If you wonder who that person is, it is Ron Gardner!

 

Gaby: 

Your current single is played on the radio. What made it so special, that people wanna hear that song?

 

Barbara: 

“Sweetest Gift From God” was even played on one of the biggest stations here in Germany and I am very proud of it. They played the song for a person working for that station and they played it for several times! (WDR4)

 

 

Gaby: 

How does your next single look like?

 

Barbara: 

Don’t know yet.

 

Gaby: 

What kind of songs, you like to record?

 

Barbara: 

Honest, authentic songs, which somehow touch me, whereby I can identify myself.

Gaby: 

You did a duet with Dave Gibson. How did you get together? 

 

Barbara: 

I did duets with a lot of colleagues. I love to have fun with others and I am always open to trying new stuff and jamming on stage!

But my most famous duet partner – so far – was DAVE GIBSON!! Singer and Songwriter in Nashville! He wrote a couple of number one hits and he is an awesome musician!! It was on Broadway in Nashville!! I am still blown away by that experience!

 

Gaby: 

As an artist, you have so many tasks such as recording, touring, interviews. What do you like most, what is your favorite activity?

 

Barbara: 

Touring and interacting with the audience, being close and feeling the vibration! And then, all the other tasks.

 

Gaby: 

Are you doing anything to take music beyond his current borders or are you happy how it is?

 

Barbara: 

I am happy how it is, but trying to work a bit more!

  

Gaby: 

What moments in your career, stay in your memory as highlights and achievements which you are proud of?

 

Barbara: 

That Raymond Michael „Rea“ Garvey former front man of the band Reamonn said in a radio interview, that my voice was the one he liked best form the participants of “Star Search”! And every time someone who listened to me performing, comes to me afterwards and says: “Country music was never “my” music, but what you do and how you do it, I like it a lot!”

 

Gaby: 

Any thought of retirement ahead?

 

Barbara: 

No!

 

Gaby: 

Who is your castigator/ slasher/ hypercritic, you or somebody else?

 

Barbara: 

ME!

 

Gaby: 

When you get time off, how do you like to relax?

 

Barbara: 

Training my Quarter Horse, help and teach others to have a better, more gentle way, of communication with their horses.

 

Gaby: 

Is there anything in your life that you would change if you could?

 

Barbara:

NO! Everything is perfect the way it is and it is getting even better every day!

 

Gaby: 

What kind of hopes and desires do you have?

Barbara: 

Oh, I’ve launched a lot of desire-rockets and I know they are on their way to be fulfilled. It will be a pleasure to keep you updated.

 

Gaby: 

Many European fans travel to the United States to attend several music festivals for the opportunity to see as many of their favorite artists, bands and celebrities as they can. If you would be one of these favorite artists, where in the United States could the fans find you?

 

Barbara: 

In Nashville. ;)

 

Gaby: 

Is there any place on earth, you haven't played yet, that you would like capture?

 

Barbara: 

Well, my biggest dreams came true, I have been on THE Opry Stage (Ryman Auditorium), and I was on stage of the New Grand Old Opry in Opry Land and on the stage of Tootsies Orchid Lounge, what more can I possibly dream of?! ;) Hmmmm, but if I think about that question long enough, I will find a whole list of places and stages I’d love to get up on and perform! *lol*

 

Gaby: 

What would your fans expect to see, when they come to your concert?

 

Barbara: 

A person having a lot of fun on stage, entertaining them the best I can.

 

Gaby: 

When you are on tour, do you have time to behave as a tourist?

 

Barbara: 

As I always try to take my family with me, I set up the schedule to have time!

 

Gaby: 

Do fans harass you everywhere you go, or do they respect your privacy?

 

Barbara: 

How can fans ever be harassment?!

 

Gaby: 

Many music fans today get their information about artists online. Do you have your own website and what would your fans see there?

 

Barbara: 

My regular website is off line at the moment, but you can find me at  https://myspace.com/barbaraportland, go and have a look!

 

Gaby: 

Do you have a fan club and if, tell us how people can join, if not, would you like to have one?

Barbara: 

No, I don’t have a fan club, yet! Any volunteers??? ;)

 

Gaby: 

What was the most enjoyable compliment, a fan has ever given to you?

 

Barbara: 

There are just so many and they are all so enjoyable and sweet and they mean so much to me!!

 

Gaby: 

What kind of message would you like to give to your European fans?

 

Barbara: 

Keep it country and be proud of it, no matter what other people say! You cannot please everybody, so the best thing you can do, is to please yourself!

 

Gaby: 

Most careers don't last as long as yours.  What gives you the power of endurance?

 

Barbara: 

Simply because I am authentic! Being authentic doesn’t need any power to go on! It is natural and it feels so good and easy to go on!

J. K Coltrain  (USA)

 

 

Gaby: 

Music has many new fans throughout Europe, they may hear about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you make, to someone who has never seen, or heard about you?

 

J. K.:  

Well I am known as a traditional country music singer & songwriter. I still like songs that tell a story and have real meaning.

 

Gaby: 

How has been the last year for you? What are the highlights?

 

 

J. K.:  

Well a very good year from me as well as many of the other Colt Records artists. I have had a Number 1 on The European Chart with my duet partner Nikki Nelson with 'You Never Know' and my song “Two Cigarettes Out of Memphis” remained on a number of charts for over 28 weeks.

 

Gaby: 

What is the name of your latest CD and how does it sell?

 

J. K.:  

The latest one is called Outlaws, “Heroes & Friends” and it is available on my website at; www.jkcoltrain.com as well as the labels site at; www.coltrecords.com and all of the online stores such as iTunes, Amazon, Google, Pandora & etc.

 

Gaby: 

What made you choose that title for the CD?  Is there a story behind it?

 

J. K.:  

Yes the reason for the title is, it is dedicated to my friends, who are gone now that influenced and helped me throughout my career, like Conway Twitty, Waylon Jennings, Ernest Tubb & George Jones.

 

Gaby: 

Do you write the songs by yourself? If not, how do you manage to find the perfect songs for your CD?

 

J. K.:  

Both actually, I write a large part of my songs, but every once in a while I will get a great song from another writer that I just have to record.

 

Gaby: 

How much creative control do you have about your music?

 

J. K.:

The nice part about owning a record label and also being a producer is that I have complete control over everything :)

 

 

Gaby: 

Who inspires you in music and how deep are your musical roots?

 

J. K.:  

Real deep I grew up in a very musical family. My folks sang gospel and had me singing by the time I was about 10 or 11 and I was on the road with a gospel quartet by the time I was 14.

 

Gaby: 

As an artist, you so many tasks such as recording, touring, interviews. What do you like most, what is your favorite activity?

 

J. K.:  

That's a tough question because I love the recording process and being in the studio. However, nothing beats performing to a crowd.

 

Gaby: 

What was your big break that brought you into music business?

 

J. K.:  

My big break was when I went on “The Midnite Jamboree” and Ernest Tubb took a liking to me and my music. He allowed me to perform on the show on a regular basis and also made some phone calls to help me get my first record deal.

 

Gaby: 

Before you became a star, did your friends and family support you or was it a never ending struggle?

 

J. K.:  

The answer is yes and no lol. My family loved for me to sing but they always wanted me to have a regular job and sing as a hobby. Of course when I did have some success they were happy for me.

 

Gaby: 

What moments in your career, stay in your memory as highlights and achievements which you are proud of?

 

 

J. K.:  

There have been quite a few but I have been around since a teenager. I won The “Star of Tomorrow Award” in 1991 and that was very nice and then I was inducted into “The Country Legends Association” by none other than Willie Nelson in 2004 and “The Traditional Country Hall of Fame” in 2007. I am also proud of receiving “The Texas CMA Entertainer” as well as “Album of the Year” back in 2009.

 

Gaby: 

Any thought of retirement ahead?

 

J. K.:  

Not really, I might someday no longer be able to perform but if I am still kicking I will still be writing songs & producing.

 

Gaby: 

Many European fans travel to the United States to attend several music festivals for the opportunity, to see as many of their favorite artists, bands and celebrities as they can. If you would be one of these favorite artists, where in the United States could the fans find you?

 

 

J. K.:  

I don't usually stray too far from Nashville and when I do it's usually out and back the next day.

 

 

Gaby: 

Many music fans today get their information about artists online. Do you have your own website and what would your fans see there?

 

 

J. K.:  

Yes as mentioned my personal site is at; http://www.jkcoltrain.com and for non-English speaking fans go to: http://www.jkcoltrain.net and you will find out all about me as well as lots of pictures, music & videos.

 

 

Gaby: 

Most careers don't last as long as yours.  What gives you the power of endurance?

 

J. K.:

My answer quite simply is my love of music. It has never been about the fame or money as fame is fleeting and I could have found better ways to make money :) So it is my love of music that has kept me going.

 

Gaby:

I thank you very much for the time you spend to answer this question. Good Luck for the future!

 

 

You can find some of his music under you tube

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkTDfcPYUGo

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUnrJ2lEpf8

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ld3c5IHKHWo

 

And also his friends

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4xWhI0c2hY

 

And the official web site

 

http://www.jkcoltrain.com/

 

 

Jan Seides (USA)

 

Gaby: 

Music has many new fans throughout Europe, they may hear about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you make, to someone who has never seen, or heard about you?

 

Jan: 

“Lyrics-driven, eclectic, down-home truths told with uptown flair. Heartfelt soulful stories and snapshots, but with a touch of humor and wit.” 

Some of that is from actual reviews…..

 

Gaby: 

What is the name of your latest CD and how does it sell?

 

Jan: 

The CD is titled Siren Song. It’s at a local record store, on my website and at CD Baby.  And, of course, I sell it at gigs. That’s the way it sells the best. At the end of a show, when people are still enjoying the musical experience.

 

Gaby: 

What made you choose that title for the CD?  Is there a story behind this?

 

Jan: 

One of the songs is titled “Femme Fatale”, and right up to the meeting with the graphic designer, the CD was going to be called by that title. But I was trying to describe to her what a femme fatale was, and I said, “You know. Like in a 40s or 50s movie, like Lauren Bacall or Jayne Mansfield. Like a siren song. Oh wait! I like that better! There’s plenty of reference to the other kind of siren in the songs too. Let’s call it that instead.”

Really, It was that quick of a decision.

 

Gaby: 

Do you write the songs by yourself? If not, how do you manage to find the perfect songs for your CD?

 

Jan: 

Yes. All the material is original, hard-won in the middle of the night most of ‘em.

 

Gaby: 

Please tell us about the songs on your last album (influences, etc).

 

Jan: 

I’m very eclectic. There’s folk-influenced material (Joni, Nanci Griffith, Judy Collins), Broadway influenced (mostly Rodgers and Hammerstein, a little Sondheim), soft jazz, soft rock (Beatles, Moody Blues), pop (mostly girl groups from the 60s) and the oddball stuff (Yiddish and Hebrew songs my family sang). A lot depends on what I’ve been listening to lately when I’m writing.

 

 

Gaby: 

What is the difference between your last and your current CD?

 

Jan:  

My last CD before this was songs that were inspired by members of my family, especially my kids. It was very simply produced, often just me and an instrument. This one was fully produced, and a bit more hard-edged. Not too much, but harder than the previous one.

 

Gaby: 

What do you think about today's music industry?

 

Jan: 

It’s in such a state of flux; it’s hard to know how to answer this question. The old model, Record companies holding the reins, is clearly moribund. Radio is certainly not the driver of sales the way it used to be. And the new model is changing so fast that assessing it is difficult to impossible.

I knew as soon as I knew anything about it, that the internet would be the major vehicle for getting one’s music out or selling it. I didn’t foresee that it would be so crammed, or that so much of what’s on offer would be of such high quality. Yes, there’s a lot of junk too, but it’s almost scary how much really good music there is, and how many wonderfully talented musicians there are. No one hears about a fairly large percentage of them, except for their local community unless they are working really hard at marketing – which, of course, takes time that most of them would rather spend making music.

Some vehicles for getting attention for your music strike me as more viable than others: webcasting, crowd-funding, and a few support sites like Patronize (started by my friend, John Pointer) which is designed to work the way patrons worked in Mozart’s time.

My hope is that this time of major change will settle into something where the cream will rise to the top and all the really good music will have all the support it needs. But we’re not there yet, and we’ve got plenty of roads to travel before we are.

 

 

Gaby: 

As an artist, you so many tasks such as recording, touring, interviews. What do you like most, what is your favorite activity?

 

Jan: 

Writing and performing. I like touring too, because I love traveling. Mostly, I love communicating. My favorite moments playing are when I can see the audience responding to what I’m doing on change. Taking the hand of the person beside them, or visibly agreeing with the song’s idea. Or leaning forward and taking in the details of the story. That’s so nourishing to me. It makes me smile to think of it.

 

Gaby: 

What inspired you to become a songwriter?

 

Jan: 

I don’t recall ever having a choice, or rather, every choice I made seemed to lead me to being one, regardless of what I might have intended.

For example, I have what they call “perfect pitch”, and before I settled into being a songwriter, I used to write down other people’s songs so they could get them copyrighted (You used to need a written copy.) I didn’t realize right away that I was getting a crash course in songwriting, until one night my first song was born, and I knew exactly what not to do with it, having heard so many good and bad songs.

Or … my parents bought a piano when I was 4, for my older sister to have lessons. (I was considered too young.) That’s when I found out about the pitch thing – although it was years before I understood that not everyone could do what I could do. My sister’s teacher agreed, after much persuasion, to take me on as a student.

Or finally, I’m standing in a line at University of Texas, where I had planned to register as an undecided major. The line was to major in music. My friend asked if I was going to do that, and I replied casually, “Sure. Why not?” I pretty much bumbled my way to a career in music, I guess.

Gaby: 

What is the motor that keeps you going?

 

Jan: 

What’s the next song going to be like?

I can’t wait to find out!!!

 

Gaby: 

Any thought of retirement ahead?

 

Jan: 

<Guffaw> Me?????

  

Gaby: 

Is there any place on earth, you haven't played yet, that you would like capture?

 

Jan: 

Israel - For a variety of reasons. I’ve wanted to see Israel since I was a teenager, and I want to play my music there. I really like the kind of music that David Broza is doing and the reasons he’s doing it. I would like to help work for the kind of change he promotes.

 

Gaby: 

What was the most enjoyable compliment, a fan has ever given to you?

 

Jan: 

“I think you just changed my mind.”

 

Gaby: 

What was your favorite song, which you wished you had recorded?

 

Jan: 

From a Distance

 

Gaby:

Thank you very much Jan Seides, that you shared a few of your thoughts with us. And if People want to see more about Jan Seides, here is the place, where they can find her.

http://www.janseides.com

http://facebook.com/janseidesmusic
http://www.sonicbids.com/JanSeides

http://www.reverbnation.com/janseides

Marcel Elisen (NL)

 

Gaby: 

Music has many new fans throughout Europe, they may hear about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you make, to someone who has never seen, or heard about you?

 

Marcel:

My name is Marcel Elisen, born and still living in the Netherlands (Europe)

I am a singer, who sometimes writes and records lyrics of his own, but mostly I sing songs from other artists. Like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Dean Martin, Alan Jackson and many others. My repertoire is a mix of Rock and Roll, Country and Golden Oldies.

 

Gaby: 

How much creative control do you have about your music?

 

Marcel: 

I have 100% creative control about my music at all times. This keeps me away from the bigger labels but I like to decide myself which song I am going to record and what the Cd will look like in the end. I select my own photographers and record every single album in the studio of my dear friend Ron, R.V. Studio. I like to be independent; it’s passion, not work. So the ‘control’ is covered..Lol.

 

Gaby: 

Who inspires you in music and how deep are your musical roots?

 

Marcel: 

I like all kinds of music from the 50’s and up, but my personal idol was and is Elvis Presley. He influenced me with my love for colorful clothes and jewelry. Even my style & sound of singing is partly based on his. I don’t hear it myself by the way, but many people mention it to me. I’m no imitator and no impersonator, just a sincere fan.

 

Gaby: 

As an artist, you have so many tasks such as recording, touring, interviews. What do you like most, what is your favorite activity?

 

Marcel: 

There are two things I like & love the most and that’s recording and performing.

 

Gaby: 

Before you became a star, did your friends and family support you or was it a never ending struggle?

 

Marcel: 

It’s always a struggle to get somewhere, but easy come, easy go, right? I had a very supportive mum and supporting grandparents and friends. Even my dad thought it was fun until performing got in the way of my daily job back then. For the past 11 years I am making a living as a singer and a painter (on canvas) and enjoyed every adventure so far. I have a wife, who supports me all the way and I can be creative as I please, I’m a rich man.

 

Gaby: 

What is the motor that keeps you going?

 

 Marcel: 

I could give the short answer; passion for music and people. It’s a combination of singing songs you really like, performing, talking and listening to fans. Have a satisfied feeling after doing a recording take in the studio. The things along the way, make new friends, visiting the States twice a year to meet up and sing. No lack of motivation ever!

 

Gaby: 

Any thought of retirement ahead?

 

Marcel: 

Sometimes I think I’ll stop recording and performing after reaching the age of 50, almost 4 years from now. Return to making paintings full time ……………..time will tell.

 

Gaby: 

When you get time off, how do you like to relax?

 

Marcel: 

I like to watch movies and listen to music. I like cooking and spending time with our 3 dogs. I have a fan group on Facebook called; I am a Marcel Elisen fan, and this takes a ‘few’ hours a week as well. But when people comment or place/share a music video of you, the least thing you can do is like/or respond. It’s an honor.

 

Gaby: 

When you are on tour, do you have time to behave as a tourist?

 

Marcel: 

I’ll be touring & performing in North Carolina for 8 weeks in June & July. Mostly in the Charlotte, Matthews, Gastonia, Kings Mountain area. The singing is for 90% in the late afternoon or evening. So during the day I have time to ‘play the tourist’. But this time my schedule also includes shooting material for 2 or 3 music video clips, and some kind of festivity concerning my Cd single” Kings Mountain”, for which I will probably meet the mayor of Kings Mountain.

 

Gaby: 

What was the most enjoyable compliment, a fan has ever given to you?

 

Marcel: 

“Only one other person could make the hair on my arms stand up, and that was Elvis Presley, Thanks for bringing it back”

 

Gaby: 

Most careers don't last as long as yours.  What gives you the power of endurance?

 

Marcel:

Next year in 2015, I’ll celebrate my 30th anniversary as a singer, 1985 - 2015. It took a while to get picked up and get my name out there somehow, but it’s all based on doing what I like to do. It never chanced in 30 years, still a guy recording songs he personally likes. The power of endurance in my case is love for music, and for me that’s not a hard job.

 

Gaby: 

What kind of hopes and desires do you have?

 

Marcel: 

Hope to grow old with my wife in good health of body and mind, and knowing that I learn every day. I want to stay open for improvement on a daily basis to stay & become a better man. Desires I have none, I have a watch, I have a car, a ring, a house, a wife I love and trust. Food in the fridge and friends and family that I love. I have everything that really matters and more.

 

Gaby: 

Who is your castigator/ slasher/ hypercritic, you or somebody else?

 

Marcel:

I’m a perfectionist when it comes to performing or recording, so I’m a self critic in the first place. Beside myself I listen to the advice of only two people; Ron from R.V. Studio and my wife. Ron, a singer as well, knows what is off-key; he has a very fine tuned feeling when it comes to sound. My wife has a real good “feeling” when she hears a take for the first time. That’s the way I come to final studio takes.

Stephanie Lough Spinks (USA)

 

Gaby: 

Music has many new fans throughout Europe, they may hear about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you make, to someone who has never seen, or heard about you?

Stephanie: 

I have been singing & writing songs since I was eight years old. I was performing as a traditional country singer by age 14. Moved to Nashville in 1985 and worked as a songwriter for several publishing companies including Glaser Brothers Music & Mel Tillis’ Publishing Company. I returned to West Virginia in 1995. I formed the band ‘Country Fried ‘in 2013. We play original music along with the hits of all the traditional country music legends… George Jones, Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline…. & many, many more.

 

Gaby: 

How has been the last year for you? What are the highlights?

Stephanie:

This past year we have been keeping busy, playing venues all over West Virginia here in The United States. With the popularity of the Pop Country sound of today, traditional country fans are starved for the old country sound. We have developed a fairly large fan base in a very short period of time. We are having a great time entertaining!  

 

Gaby: 

What is the name of your latest CD and how does it sell?

Stephanie: 

The only CD I have right now is from 1994 and was recorded during my years in Nashville. The title is ‘There’s me ‘I went by ‘Stephanie Hunter ‘then.  At the moment it is only available at our shows. I have since married and am performing as Stephane Spinks Hoping to have another CD in the next year.  

 

Gaby: 

What made you choose that title for the CD?  Is there a story behind this?

Stephanie: 

From the title cut that I wrote ‘There’s Me ‘.... It was released worldwide in 1993, received much airplay over in the UK.

 

Gaby: 

Do you write the songs by yourself? If not, how do you manage to find the perfect songs for your CD?

Stephanie: 

I write all my songs… The next CD may have a couple of songs that are not my originals, due to them being fan favorites at our shows.

 

Gaby: 

Please tell us about the songs on your last album (influences, etc).

Stephanie: 

My music heroes are George Jones, Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Roger Miller and Tommy Collins. Writing songs just comes naturally for me. It’s the best way for me to get my feelings out and pour them into song, whether it’s happy, sad, or spiritual. I love creating & playing music. It has always been my passion.

 

Gaby: 

What is the difference between your last and your current CD?

Stephanie: 

The songs I have written in the most recent years have been leaning more toward my spiritual side. As you get older, you find there are much more important things in life, such as Faith in God and our Savior Jesus Christ … This old world is getting crazier by the day, and without The Lord, well…. I’d go CRAZY! … He is my Rock. 

 

Gaby: 

What is your favorite song among all the songs you have recorded and what is the story behind?

 

Stephanie:   

“Pure Bred “was the last song I wrote & recorded in Nashville. It’s a tribute to the TRADITIONAL Country Legends & the music I love. I was fed up with the modern sounds of today’s country and sadly that’s all Music Row wanted to hear.. I had some of my legendary friends join me on the song. Bobby Bare, John Hartford, Johnny Duncan, Melba Montgomery, George Hamilton IV, Bobby Osborne, Merle Kilgore …. On that note, I left Nashville behind.

 

Gaby: 

How much creative control do you have about your music?

Stephanie: 

100 % of what I have done since 1995 is mine, and I enjoy the freedom of creating & performing as me. If you have to change your style to suit someone else, there is no point. You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl.

 

Gaby: 

Do you have any interesting stories about how fans have been affected by your music?

Stephanie:

I have had folks come up crying over songs I have written, one particular “As Soon As the Lord Opens the Door “George Hamilton IV recorded it. I do it on my shows. It’s about looking forward to leaving this world. I had a lady tearfully thank me for freeing her from the fear of death… She was afraid to die, but my song comforted her. It was overwhelming for me to hear that and extremely humbling… That’s when I say, “Those words came from God, I just held the pencil.” Sometimes I get moved to tears while seeing folks singing along to one of my songs at a show. It means more than any fortune or fame, bringing joy to someone through music. If I can touch one soul in a positive way.. I’m doing what God put me here to do. 

 

Gaby: 

Who inspires you in music and how deep are your musical roots?

 

Stephanie: 

God is my main inspiration now days …My husband Henry... Growing up my country music heroes.  My Dad worked as a DJ in radio, he also played the piano like Jerry Lee Lewis. I learned harmony by listening to my Mom singing in Church … Had a great grandmother who wrote poetry on my Dad’s side as did my grandfather on my Mom’s side…. So I guess you could say, it was in my blood.

 

Gaby: 

What do you think about today's music scene versus the past and where do you see it in the future?

Stephanie:

When I arrived in Nashville in 85, someone told me that eventually there would be no country music, that one day it would all just be music ….I laughed …… Ten years later …. I left. Ha! ……  

 

Gaby: 

What do you think about today's music industry?

Stephanie: 

Actually I enjoy something in all styles of music… I just LOVE MUSIC, but my heart is traditional country all the way. I am happy the internet came along though. It really has been a miracle as far as getting to share your music with the world. One no longer HAS to go to Nashville or LA or New York here in the U.S. The world is right at your own finger tips today.

 

Gaby: 

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

Stephanie: 

As far as Country Music, I miss the old days. Music Row was like a small community of musicians, writers, singers ...Everybody knew everybody. I miss the HEART of country music…. I would take away the greed, and the sex symbol image. Country Music use to be about life …. Now it’s geared at what’s HOT at the moment. 

 

Gaby: 

What was your big break that brought you into music business?

Stephanie: 

Meeting George Jones when I was 12, something told me “This is what I want to do when I grow up. “ Buddy Starcher was a cousin of mine and got my foot in the door of Nashville, signed with my first manager Chuck Glaser a year before moving there. 

 

Gaby: 

What inspired you to become a songwriter?

Stephanie: 

A boy I had a crush on in the 3rd grade ...It started out as a poem, which my teacher intercepted …That  may have been a good thing, I might have married that little boy and never persuade a music dream ... I don’t know, songwriting  has just always been a part of me.

 

Gaby: 

What moments in your career, stay in your memory as highlights and achievements which you are proud of?

Stephanie: 

Getting to know & work around my music hero’s ...Especially George Jones. I’m just thankful I got to Nashville during a time when they all were still with us …. Those memories mean more to me than anything I ever done or could ever achieve.

 

Gaby: 

Any thought of retirement ahead?

Stephanie: 

I was retired, but that need to pick & grin kicked in along with some persuasion of family & friends ….. Here I am again nearly 20 years since I left Music Row. 

 

Gaby: 

When you get time off, how do you like to relax?

Stephanie: 

Home on the farm with my Punk in Poop (husband) and my dogs. Just enjoy life.

 

Gaby: 

Is there anything in your life that you would change if you could?

Stephanie:

Nope … You live & learn, that’s what makes you grow as a person.

 

Gaby: 

What kind of hopes and desires do you have?

Stephanie:

I hope enough people enjoy my music enough to pass it down the generations, particularly the spiritual songs.

 

Gaby: 

Is there any place on earth, you haven't played yet, and that you would like to capture?

Stephanie: 

As many times as I hung out backstage, I never got to play The Grand Ole Opry… That is still a dream… Dreams don’t have a deadline though.

 

Gaby: 

Many music fans today get their information about artists online. Do you have your own website and what would your fans see there?

Stephanie:

My website is www.countryfried.webstarts.com  there is a reverbnation and YouTube link there also.

 

Gaby:  What kind of message would you like to give to your European fans?

Stephanie: 

Keep on playing that Good Ole Country Music - God Bless & have a GOODEN!

Shane Morkin (DK)

 

Gaby: 

Music has many new fans throughout Europe, they may hear about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you make, to someone who has never seen, or heard about you?

Shane:

I am basically a sing-song writer who has a story to tell. Depending of which feelings will suit the story I write a melody which often have a catchy tune. Some melodies turns out to be country, some to pop, some to ballads and some as jazz etc. In common I try to 'dress' my music with a touch of retro and with the song as the central part and the instruments for the support of the song.  

 

Gaby: 

How has been the last year for you? What are the highlights?

Shane:

I ended up as No 4 in the Hard Rock rising competition in Copenhagen, two years ago, where I realized that maybe I should let my friends convince me to start recording my music. 

 

Gaby: 

What is the name of your latest CD and how does it sell?

Shane:

It was a single with the title 'Shane Morkin' with 2 tracks on it, which only was used for promotion. It contained an early recording of the song Crazy 'bout You (can only be found on Reverbnation) and the song Jealousy. On my new album I have made a brand new recording of the song Crazy 'bout You, which in my opinion is better than the old one. 

 

Gaby: 

What made you choose that title for the CD?  Is there a story behind this?

Shane:

Crazy 'bout You is a story about some friends who fall in love with each other and one month later they did separate. One week later they were together again. That's not unusual, but in their case this pattern continued for almost 10 years before they realized that they was like a dog and a cat – attracted by each other, but to be united was impossible. In the same way I have been dancing around the decision of recording my music the last 10 years and finally after a lot of pushing from some friends, I made the decision to record the CD.  

 

Gaby: 

Do you write the songs by yourself? If not, how do you manage to find the perfect songs for your CD?

Shane:

All my songs are based on a true story I have been a part of somehow either by being involved or because some friends have share a personal story. So I write approximately 2 new songs by myself every month and has been doing this for several years, and do have a big box just waiting for what should happen. So for me, the perfect song has a true story and a tune which supports the story and is able to touch your senses. 

 

Gaby: 

How does your next single look like?

Shane:

About October this year I will release a brand new Christmas single, which will be followed up by a new CD at the end of the year. 

 

 

Gaby: 

What is your favorite song among all the songs you have recorded and what is the story behind?

Shane:

They are heart blood, so that is a difficult question. But a candidate could be 'One More Time' which are based on a story from a friend of mine, who is born in Denmark, but went to US with is parents when he has 6 years old. 40 years later he decided that he wanted to go back to his birth country. His father who was turned 80 years and still living in San Francisco came to visit him one day. The last day before returning home he said; 'Come here boy and give me a big hug, because this is maybe the last time we see are together' – knowing he was too old to travel again and his son couldn't afford to come and visit his parents. So a song about saying goodbye, and wishing that they could stay together.  

 

Gaby: 

How much creative control do you have about your music?

Shane:

100% 

 

Gaby: 

Do you have any interesting stories about how fans have been affected by your music?

Shane:

When I tell the story behind 'Waiting for You', I have seen several who had started crying. The story is based on a young man I know, who was one of the first soldiers in Denmark send to the war in the former republic Yugoslavia. When he returned nobody had ever heard about post traumatic stress, so for that young man, his life turned out to be very difficult and the only thing which helped him was those real friends who had been there all the time just waiting him.   

 

Gaby: 

As an artist, you so many tasks such as recording, touring, interviews. What do you like most, what is your favorite activity?

Shane:

My favorite task is when I'm in direct contact with an audience and to get a feedback to my music. 

 

Gaby: 

Are you doing anything to take music beyond his current borders or are you happy how it is?

Shane:

For me I'm still trying to make the perfect song without knowing how it looks like. So in that way I'm trying to push my own borders without knowing what it will lead to.    

 

Gaby:  What inspired you to become a songwriter?

Shane:

I my childhood my parent always told me when I told that I was bored, that if I didn't know what to do, then make your own story, make a song, do something. So in an age of 7-8 years I wrote my first song – very childish, but still it was my first song and I have been writing since then. 

 

Gaby: 

What is the motor that keeps you going?

 

Shane:

I believe in positive thinking. For me a no mean that I have to find another way. And if you can't change a thing, then either leave it behind or learn to live with it. I believe that if you start to focus on the negative things then it can easily attract other negative things and in that way keep your focus in the wrong direction. 

 

Gaby: 

Any thought of retirement ahead?

Shane:

I have a cowboy hidden in my heart. As long as I can ride on a horse, I will ride. 

 

Gaby: 

Many music fans today get their information about artists online. Do you have your own website and what would your fans see there?

 

Shane:

Right now I have decided only to have a FB fan site. And on a social media like FB everybody can contact you, which are good, but time consuming. Yesterday I receive a private message from a young man in Uganda, who told me that he admired that music I had made and he would pray to god to let people know about my music and of course wanted to know a little bit more about me. I really don't know how he did find me, but a direct contact with fans requires a feedback which they can expect to get. 

 

Gaby: 

What was your favorite song, that you wished you had recorded?

 

Shane:

When I warm up my voice I sing the song 'Unchained Melody' (from Ghost) which is one of those songs I wish I had written.  

 

Gaby:

Thank you very much for the time you spared to answer these questions.

If anybody want to know more about Shane Morkin look at


http://www.facebook.com/ShaneMorkinBand and 

http://www.reverbnation.com/ShaneMorkin

 

And listen to his album at 

 

https://itunes.apple.com/en/album/crazy-bout-you/id756798105?l=en or https://play.spotify.com/album/2SUQtHFtlcPXkmq6MMptOB