Country Music News - September/October 2004 - Page 4
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John Berry Interview

This interview is reprinted here with permission from CountryInterviewsOnline.
Interview took place during August, 2004.

By: Estella Pan

John Berry lets us in on the making of his latest album and shares a recent almost-fatal on-stage incident!

CIO (Estella): You latest album is called I Give My Heart. Was it your intention to do Country music singer, John Berryan album of all love songs?
John: Yes. Willie Nelson’s Stardust record, which came out in the early 70’s, is a great collection of songs from the 30’s and 40’s. I’ve always wanted to do a similar record. But, the closer we looked into it and started to materialize it, I realized a lot of these songs have been recorded over and over, plus they were really from another generation. I decided that I wanted to do songs from my generation, from when I was a kid growing up listening to the radio – so, just songs from the 70’s and early 80’s. I tried to stay pretty true to how they were originally done; I wanted to make them my own without messing with them too much.

CIO (Estella): You also included your hit single “Your Love Amazes Me.”
John: Yes, that and “I Give My Heart,” the new single “Will You Marry Me?” We also redid “Faithfully,” which was a song on one of my earlier records.

CIO (Estella): Speaking of “Will You Marry Me?” who came up with the video concept?
John: I don’t really remember; I remember us talking about shooting a live video. I’m not an actor – I have a hard enough time singing with a camera on, much less acting with a camera on me. We just wanted to shoot footage of live show-type and then slide in the wedding pictures of friends and fans. People who have seen it seem to really enjoy it! [NOTE: John has his fan club members submit wedding photos for inclusion into his video.]

CIO (Estella): What was the best part about working on I Give My Heart?
John: I think just watching the songs come to life while tracking them. We go in the studio and start working on a song – one in particular that took a few takes was “I Just Want to Stop.” It just wasn’t happening at first, so I was like, “Let’s just take a break and listen to the original track one more time.” Then, we went back and laid the track one more time and it was like “Wow!” Because we were about to quit and pass on that song. But, we went back to listen to version one more time, came back, and kind of created our own little thing. And, it just came alive! It was really fun to see that happen – to see songs that I had grown up listening to and loved forever all of a sudden being my songs – it was really cool to see that transformation.

CIO (Estella): Was there anything difficult of making the album?
John: Most difficult thing is getting the background vocals; the rest of it was easy! Background vocals are hard!

CIO (Estella): You’ve said before that you’re just out there singing “John Berry music,” not necessarily fitting into any one genre. How do you feel about radio trying to pigeonhole every artist who breaks into the business?
John: It’s a shame that it has to happen, but I know that it has to be that way, because radio stations and the public have to categorize. That’s just the way our brains work. It’s a natural thing. The things on your computer hard drive are categorized – you’ve got to be able to put it all somewhere, so you have to figure out exactly what format you want to be in, and if you’re going to be in that format, do stuff in that format, which of course I refuse to do! And as a result, I have a hard time being played on the radio. But, I do my thing and panhandle on the weekends to pay the mortgage – it’s all good!

CIO (Estella): You’ve been in the music business for several years. Is there anything you’d like to do, but haven’t gotten the chance to, yet?
John: I want to have a string of ten #1 hit records! I want to sell out all the shows I do in the next five years.

CIO (Estella): What is your favorite part of what you do?
John: Live performance! Recording is fun; it’s a little tedious. But, going out to do shows, that’s the best!

CIO (Estella): What’s the craziest thing a fan has ever given you or done for you?
John: I don’t think I’ve got too many wackos! I got tackled on stage last night! It was at Linda Davis’ benefit concert and this girl comes up on stage. I wasn’t quite sure how legitimate it was, but she said, “We’ve got $60 if you’ll sing such-and-such a song and dance with me.” I said, “Well, $60 for the cause? Sure, I’ll do that!” So then, I realized that she was drunk as a skunk! Well, I’m dancing with this girl and all of a sudden she is dead weight; she is almost passing out, falling over. I knew if I let her go, she was going to land on some gear or hit her head on the monitors. So, I fell to break her fall – it hurt, that’s all I know! It really hurt! But, it was funny – cameras were just a’going! I can see it now: Country Weekly cover shot: “John Berry: Rednecks on Parade.”

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Your Love Amazes Me  /  Will You Marry Me

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Lila McCann Interview

This interview is reprinted here with permission from CountryInterviewsOnline.
Interview took place during August, 2004.

By: Estella Pan

Lila McCann recently signed a new record deal and has a new album in the works. In this interview, she updates fans on the latest happenings in her career.

CIO (Estella): Have you always wanted to be a country singer?
Female country singer, Lila McCannLila: Yes, as far as music goes, I don't remember ever wanting to sing any other kind of music. I went through my phase of wanting to be a Marine Biologist when I was thirteen, but that didn't last too long after I got my record deal [NOTE: Lila got her first record deal when she was fifteen].

CIO (Estella): Who were some of the artists you looked up to when you were young?
Lila: I think then and now still, my biggest influence has always been Reba McEntire because she's a great singer and she's done just about anything you can do as an entertainer - she sings, she's an actress, she's done Broadway. She's not only done those things well, but also she's done everything with a ton of class. I respect that about her.

CIO (Estella): Do you try to emulate some of those things?
Lila: Just as far as her classy-ness, yes. I think it's great that she's been around for over twenty years and she's still that down-to-earth, sweet woman - none of that's an act; that's the way she really is and I think that's awesome, because so many people tend to lose that.

CIO (Estella): So, you've gotten to meet her?
Lila: Yes, I've met her a couple times. For once I was speechless the first time I met her and I talk a lot!

CIO (Estella): For people who have not heard your music before, how would you describe your sound and style to them?
Lila: I would just say that it definitely has traditional country influences but it's more contemporary country edged.

CIO (Estella): You have another album in the works. What types of songs were you looking to include on the new project?
Lila: All kinds of stuff! This record is pretty neat for me, because I'm finally cutting the kind of record I've really, really wanted to make. I've spent the last three years writing songs just beginning to learn who I am as a person and as an artist. I write pretty regularly and I'll probably just have one or two of my songs on the new record, but I enjoy writing just to have another creative outlet. It's been a lot of fun!

CIO (Estella): What kinds of things inspire the music you write?
Lila: Everyday life. Whether it be love or friendship, songwriting is about anything and everything. So, everything that you experience can end up in a song.

CIO (Estella): Do you have a favorite place to write?
Lila: In my backyard - I have a big backyard, about an acre, and it's all fenced in. So, I just sit on my hammock and write.

CIO (Estella): You're back in Nashville, correct?
Lila: Yes, I was in California for a while, but I've been back in Nashville for two and a half years now.

CIO (Estella): What prompted the move here?
Lila: Well, I'd actually never lived here. Living in [Los Angeles], I was still kind of close to Seattle, which is where I'm originally from. I was traveling and spending so much time here, it just didn't make sense for me to be out there. And, I love Nashville, so I was happy to get back here and be around friend and people I work with. It's been really good.

CIO (Estella): You're now signed with Broken Bow Records. What attracted you to check out that label?
Lila: I think everything! Benny Brown, who owns and runs Broken Bow, is just a very intelligent person and passionate for music. The promotion staff, as far as radio goes, I don't think I've ever worked with so many people who, as a team, want to accomplish so much. It's just a really cool thing to be a part of. They're very excited, and it's nice to work with people who are driven like that. We're all on the same boat; it's fun!

CIO (Estella): In terms of the new album coming out, what do you hope to achieve - both short and long-term?
Lila: Short-term obviously for it to be successful. But, long-term, for people to be able to look back in ten or fifteen years and still really, really love the record and the music that's on it. Also, for them to kind of know me as an adult, because I'm not fifteen anymore. I mean, and by the time the record is released, I'll be twenty-three. Just an opportunity for people to get to know me as a person, because with the music I've done before, I don't think it's been this personal. I'm looking forward to that opportunity.

CIO (Estella): Will you be touring for the new album?
Lila: Hopefully! My single should be out towards the end of August, so I'll be on the road at some point.

CIO (Estella): What do you hope fans take with them after hearing your music and/or seeing your live shows?
Lila: To feel personal and being able to relate to it. But, being at a live show is all about having a good time! I love it when people walk away and they've been entertained; they're happy and they leave with something more than just having fun - that the music moved them as well.

CIO (Estella): What's your new single called?
Female country singer, Lila McCann and friendsLila: I don't know yet; we haven't picked one. We've actually only cut four sides [for the new album], so we're going in to finish in like three weeks. After that, we'll probably pick a single then.

CIO (Estella): You've worked with the likes of Vince Gill, Steve Wariner and Bryan White. Are there other artists you'd like to work with, in terms of recording a duet?
Lila: I'd love to work with Kenny Chesney!! I'd like to look at his body while I sing - JUST KIDDING!! No, he's really talented, I've known him for a long time, and that would be a lot of fun!

CIO (Estella): Is there anyone you'd like to share the stage with or perform with?
Lila: Reba - no doubt about it!

CIO (Estella): Do you have a website fans can visit?
Lila: Yes. There's and is the sister site.

CIO (Estella): What do you like to do in your spare time?
Lila: Nothing! Play with my dogs, hang out with my friends, and go to the gym.

CIO (Estella): Do you still have Shugar?
Lila: Yes, she'll actually be four next month - she's getting old! She was "legal" last year, so she's getting wild! She hates when I'm on the phone or doing something else and she's not getting any attention. But, I got another dog about a year and a half ago, a Bassett Hound, so they keep each other busy. They're an odd pair, but it works!

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