Country Music Artist

Country Music Artist

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Tell us about yourself and your music

Like many singers probably say, my parents told me I sang before I talked. I still remember TV commercial jingles that I used to sing back all the time when I was a kid. I attended K-12 grades at Paris R-II public school in the small rural town of Paris, MO. I graduated from University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders and then went to University of Central Missouri to get my Master’s degree in Speech Pathology in 2002. After working in the field of speech-language pathology for 17 years, I decided earlier this year to devote my efforts full-time on a career in music. I am married with children. :)

I didn’t start to seriously pursue a career in music until I was out of college. There was something stirring in me that I couldn’t stop thinking about—I had a strong urge to sing and perform—so I just started exploring all the different ways I could do both those things. I was a late bloomer, so to speak, especially in today’s music industry, but all the life experiences and people I’ve met and worked with over the years have shaped who I am and have helped me gain some different perspectives to support my own unique “artist development.” In school and college, I was active in things like band, choir, theatre, and cheerleading; all of those activities were building blocks to help me develop my talents. I took piano lessons when I was younger, and then I started taking voice lessons when I began high school. I picked up a guitar in college; I mostly taught myself some basic guitar skills with a book and video. I have taken guitar lessons here and there. When I got my first full-time SLP job, I traveled a lot in my car to therapy sites. At that time, I was mostly singing with (karaoke) tracks if I had a gig opportunity. I remember going over and over the lyrics to Garth Brooks’ “Ain’t Goin’ Down (’Til The Sun Comes Up),” with the CD in my car stereo, as I traveled throughout the day. I tried to read and learn as much as I could on the music business; I went to the local libraries to see if they had any books that could help me understand and learn more about the field. Developing my skills is and hopefully will always be a constant. I am always wanting to get better at singing and just like the music lessons given to me growing up, I have others to thank for helping me develop. When I first started performing out, for instance, I remember asking fellow musicians for guidance on things like forming a band, and I would often take in their thoughts on songs that I should sing.

The “firsts” in my career are very exciting and memorable to me. One of my first talent shows was held monthly on Sunday afternoons at Grandma’s Country Music in Stoutsville, MO; my whole family would often come. My first talent competition that I won was at the Meramec Music Theatre in Steelville, MO. One of my first county fair performances was at the Vandalia Area Fair in Vandalia, MO. I remember going to the fair board meeting and “auditioning” a cappella with a Sara Evans song. My first trip to Nashville was in 2005 during the CMA Fest. The first time I put a band together, I played the Relay for Life in Mexico, MO in 2006. My first openers w/ Nashville Country Music acts were with Little Texas and Shooter Jennings at the Montgomery County Fair in Montgomery City, MO. The first time I heard myself on the radio singing a song I had written was listening to KRES Radio in 2007. In 2010, my band opened up for the Nashville act, The Jane Dear Girls, at the Whiskey Wild Saloon in Columbia, MO. That is where my husband Will and I first met; he played drums with and tour managed the JDG.

People ask me if I’ve ever tried out for The Voice, and shows like that, and I have. I auditioned once for American Idol in Memphis, TN. My sister went with me. After standing in line outside for about 3 hours, we sat in a humongous arena all day. When it was finally my turn, my group of about 10 people proceeded down to the floor. I had about 10-15 seconds to sing. I remember being extremely nervous. I didn’t get called back. I think that was the same year Carrie Underwood won the Idol.

One year, I traveled to OKC to the Centennial Rodeo Opry; there was a songwriters workshop I went to, and Bryan White (“Someone Else’s Star,” “Rebecca Lynn”) was a guest writer/speaker. I was placed right next to Bryan in a writers round and was so nervous; my fingers could hardly move, and I was squeaking the notes out…but I thought that was pretty neat, getting to be in a round w/ Bryan White. Recently, Will and I had the opportunity to play a couple shows in Key West, FL, during a songwriters festival called Meeting of the Minds. We played right before Paul Overstreet, and he had to borrow my guitar tuner! He was a great performer, and hearing him sing some of the mega-songs he’s written (“When You Say Nothing at All,” “Forever and Ever, Amen,” “Diggin’ Up Bones”) was really cool. Karen Fairchild (Little Big Town) was really nice when I met her and asked for a picture after she finished a rehearsal at Marathon Music Works in Nashville; I just love her singing.

People have asked me how my songs have been heard in Australia. This is how it happened. A couple summers ago, Will and I were driving through Atlanta, GA, on the way to visit family. It was late at night; of course, we were trying to stay awake. So I suggested we try to tune in to WSM 650 AM and see if it would come in; sure enough, it did, and Bill Whyte, fellow friend, former Missourian, and my co-writer on “I Love Dolly” was DJ-ing! So I just texted him and told him how excited we were to hear his voice, and then he said he’d give us a shout out on the radio. I was like, “Oh, that’s AWESOME.” A couple minutes passed, and we heard a Dolly Parton song playing. I turned to Will and said, “Oh…he’s gonna play ‘I Love Dolly’!!!” Sure enough, he talked about us on the air and then spun “I Love Dolly.” The next morning, I got an email from an Australian radio promoter who happened to be listening online the night before. He told me he’d heard my song, “I Love Dolly” and wanted to know if I’d be interested in having him promote the song. I said yes, and later that fall, it went to #18 on the Country Songs Top 40 Australian Airplay Chart.

Talk to us more about your latest release

“Fire & Grace,” has taken some three years to complete. My husband, Will, and I kicked around the idea of an EP project at first, and then as time went on, the project evolved into an album. There are 10 songs on it that range from traditional country — “I Call It Love” & “I Love Dolly” — to a more upbeat, progressive sound — “A Dancin’ Song” & “Move.” There’s even a duet with a little R & B flair; it was Will’s idea to make the song a duet, and I thought Chris Hatfield, a fellow MO singer-songwriter would do a super job singing. I like that there are a few different styles all on one project. Bill Whyte (“I Love Dolly,” “Two Bags, One Beach,” “Take Me Back to Tybee”) gave me a review when he first heard the record and he told me, “It’s great…all over the map.” I (jokingly) told him that since it took so long to put together, I went through a lot of different styles. We’ve had several people tell us their favorite song, and they’re all different; I’m grateful for that, and I’d like to connect with as many people as I can.

What inspired you to write this release?

This is my first full-length album.  I’ve been working towards a career as an artist for over 15 years, but up until now, I have only released EPs or singles.  I felt like I finally garnered enough life experience as a person and musically speaking, as a singer-songwriter-entertainer, that I could confidently release an artist album.

I decided to name the album after the song, “Fire & Grace,” which I co-wrote w/ singer-songwriter, JoAnna Janét. We both have kids, and Jo brought the idea to our first writing session. The lyrics take you through several of life’s stages, and in each stage, fire & grace is shown. What do I want to pass on to my child? Fire & grace are great traits to help you get through each day, and my parents helped instill that in me. Having fire and grace inside can help you live life more fully. The more I thought about it, the more I felt like that song encapsulated what I wanted to express as an artist for my first album.

Describe the writing and recording process

My husband, Will, and I have put this album together piece by piece, recording in MO, TN, FL, GA, and CA, in different studios, using different musicians, for each song. We’ve co-produced 7 of the 10 songs together (Matt Erickson co-produced “Move,” with us), and fellow songwriter Brent Rader produced three songs on the album. I’ve co-written 9 tracks. For every task that was needed, if it was within our skill set, we’ve tried to do it ourselves. For example, Will is an excellent musician and also really skilled on the engineering and recording side of things as well; he’s a great photographer, too, so I used the photos he took to work on the design layout for the CD.

Any plans to release a video?

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCknBOii3vUb6Rr6NmhoCK_w/featured?view_as=subscriber

Any plans to hit the road?

As grueling as travel can often be, I think connecting with as many people as I can through live performances is really important in getting your music heard.  I’m really thankful I can now offer my music in tangible form for people to take home with them after a show.

I hope I can continue to share my music – live shows, streaming, placement, in all capacities – as much as possible.

Website:  beckydenton.com

Website link to upcoming show dates:  https://www.beckydenton.com/shows

Facebook/Instagram:  @beckydentonmusic on Facebook/Instagram

 

As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?

My whole life is a country music song.

Who have you been listening to lately?

650 AM WSM

Who are your biggest influences?

Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, Julie Andrews, Reba McEntire, Tina Turner, Anne Murray

Tell us about your passions

I’m passionate in trying to live out my faith.  I’m passionate about being a good wife and mom and raising my family.  I’m passionate about singing and performing, which give me great joy.

What else is happening next in your world?

My vision is to be able to share the joy I get through singing and performing and connecting with others through the songs that I choose to sing, write, and perform.

 

 

Thanks for an awesome interview, Becky Denton

 

 

Connect with Becky Denton

Website: https://www.beckydenton.comFacebook: https://facebook.com/beckydentonmusicInstagram: https://instagram.com/beckydentonmusicTwitter: https://twitter.com/beckysuemusicSoundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-366010163-868215605

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