Sunday, April 13, 2014

Interview with Stephanie Spinks

Interview with Stephanie Spinks


The Country singer Stephanie Spinks is COUNTRY FRIED. She is a long time veteran of Traditional Country Music. Music and entertaining has been a part of her life as far back as she can remember. Born in Lapeer, Michigan, Stephanie at an early age would often go to work with her Daddy who worked in Radio Broadcasting. She would sit quietly in the floor of the control room of the radio station and watch her Dad do his Radio Show, taking in all the music from the records he played. By the time Steph was eight years old, she was making up songs and singing them into her tape recorder, that she always carried with her.
In 1979 she met the legendary George Jones at a country show in Pontiac, Michigan where she fell in love with Country Music. She started playing the guitar at 12 years of age and performing with local bands all over the state of Michigan. She was discovered by a talent promoter in Detroit, and by the time she was 14 years old, she was performing on the stage of the world famous SAHARA in Las Vegas.


Stephanie moved to West Virginia in 1982, where she continued writing songs & performing. Her cousin Buddy Starcher, a pioneer in Radio, TV, and Country Music, encouraged her to pursue her music dream in Nashville. Buddy introduced Steph to Chuck Glaser of Tompall & The Glaser Brothers where he signed her to his management & production company shortly after her graduating from High School. Stephanie moved to Nashville, TN in 1985 where she spent a decade working in the Country Music Industry alongside her music heroes on Music Row. Stephanie worked as a songwriter for many music publishing companies including Mel Tillis' Tillis Tunes Publishing.

After getting tired of trying compete against the growing trend of the more " Pop " sounding country music as opposed to the traditional sound that Stephanie knew & loved, she left the music business of Music Row and moved back to the hills of West Virginia in 1995. 
 
In 2013 she formed the band COUNTRY FRIED, and word spread quickly among the traditional country music fans of West Virginia. Stephanie Spinks & Country Fried is staying busy playing venues all over the state of West Virginia nearly every weekend. After over 30 years of playing Country Music, Stephanie is finally living out her lifelong dream .... Entertaining true country fans and singing her songs.... COUNTRY FRIED style!

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!

Gaby Agrikola for Country Music News International

Country Music News International April 13. 2014

Country Music News International April 13. 2014

Here is your Country Music News of the day from Country Music News International Magazine http://www.CountryMusicNewsInternational.blogspot.com . Your Country Music News is supported by, Courtyard Nashville Downtown http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/bnadt-courtyard-nashville-downtown , Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau www.visitmusiccity.com , Tennessee Tourism, http://www.Tennessee.de , Lucy Malheur http://www.lucy-malheur.info/

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