Tell me something about your background. Who were your early musical heroes?
"I grew up listening to an AM radio station in my hometown in Missouri and they played a lot of classic country music. So that was really all I knew that existed for a long time. Some of my influences are Ray Price, definitely he's #1, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Merle Haggard, the list goes on and on. All the greats, that's really who my influences are."
You came to Nashville in 2002. How did you make a living the first few years?
"The first few years I actually worked for Verizon Wireless and I sold cell phones!" (laughs) "That's what I did for the first couple of years and then my husband one day came home and said 'you didn't move to Nashville to sell cell phones, so let's figure this out so you don't have to do that anymore.' So I started doing music fulltime and then, I guess it was back in 2005, I've always been a big fan of WSM and the Grand Ole Opry, and they were doing a live remote at a fair here and I went to go talk to and meet the DJ's that were there, Keith Billbruce, one of the DJ's and I wanted to meet him. We went to the fair and I got to talk to one of the girls that worked at the WSM and I said 'if you guys ever need help with anything, I would be glad to volunteer and do whatever'. A couple of months later she called and said 'we've got a promotions position open if you would like to do that' and I said 'oh my gosh, to work at WSM, that would be so cool'. So I took that job and I did a lot of radio promotions and passing out bumper stickers and things like that, you know, what you do in radio. It's not glamorous at all. The very first thing I worked was a Ray Price show at the Ryman Auditorium. I was selling WSM t-shirts there. It was such a fun job. I ended up doing that for about 5 years. I produced the Grand Ole Opry warm-up show and got to be backstage at the Opry every weekend, which was an incredible experience and to meet some of my heroes and get to know them really, become friends with them. And I also hosted a show on WSM called 'Inside the Opry Circle' for a couple of years. I had no radio experience at all, they threw me in."
I heard that the first interviews you did were with Garth Brooks and Vince Gill...
"Garth Brooks and Vince Gill were the first two interviews that I ever did. It was terrifying!"
Did you have butterflies?
"I did! I was scared to death. I remember actually going, Vince Gill was in the dressing room #1, which was Mr Accuff's dressing room. I remember walking up to the door and then walking away and then walking up again and I was trying to get my courage up to knock on the door and do the interview. I was so scared because I didn't know what I was doing and I'm sure if I went back and listened to it, I would just be so embarassed. Because literally they wanted the fans' perspective and that's what I was. I was a fan. I was star-strucked to say the least. It was a good way to get thrown into the radio world. It was a good time and I'm so thankful I had that time there."
Did you stutter when you talked to Garth?
"I'm sure I did, because I had a list of questions and I was so bad at interviewing. I was reading 'question #1, this and this', I was so scared. I don't really remember much of it. Someone who was with me took a couple of pictures and I'm glad they did, because I don't remember much, I was really nervous. It was the night that Carrie Underwood was inducted as a member and Garth was there to make her member, so we talked a little bit about that and you know 'what does the Opry mean to you?' and things like that. It was pretty basic questions, but a little scary for somebody who doesn't know what they're doing. It got easier as time went on, that first was definitely scary. But it was something I'll never forget."
What was it like to perform on the Opry for the first time?
"The first time I was on the Opry it's kind of a funny story. I had never sung on the Opry before and it was in January, 2010 and it was a big snow storm here in Nashville. We don't get snow very often, so it was like a big deal when we get a snow storm. I was at home and my husband came over from work and we were just gonna be in for the night as it was gonna snow us in, I was in my pyjamas, didn't have any make up on, I was like ready to be in, and I got a phone call. It was about 4 in the afternoon from a phone number that I didn't recognize. So I just let it go to voice mail. I thought 'I'm not gonna answer it' and I checked the voice mail and it was Steve Gibson, who is the music director at the Grand Ole Opry and he said 'we've had a cancellation tonight. Would you like to come in and do the Opry?' And I really don't remember much after that. I just freaked out, and screaming and jumping around and I ran in and got ready as quickly as I could. I grabbed the first thing out of my closet that I found to wear and we got in the truck and we drove to the Ryman, it was at the Ryman. I didn't have time to really get nervous, because it all happened so fast, which was probably good. If I had two or three weeks to prepare, I would have been really nervous. But a few of the guys who played on my record, were sitting there and playing in the Opry band that night. So they already kind of knew my stuff and we did a quick rehearsal in the bandroom. Jean Sheppard was the one that introduced me for the first time, which was pretty amazing. She's kind of the first woman of country music, she really is, so it was great to have her there and just walking on that stage at the Ryman for the first time. Something I had dreamed of my entire life. It was quite an experience. I was just trying to say 'don't break down, don't break down and cry', this is what you've wanted to do as you're just going 'I've worked my entire life to do this and now it's happening'. And I didn't cry till afterwards, so I held it together during the performance. It was amazing and I was really happy that my first time was at the Ryman. It was a full circle not only for me."
When you got in the music business, you got to meet many of your heroes. Do you have any special experiences of meeting someone in particular?
"I would say Ray Price. As I mentioned earlier, he's my absolute #1 hero guy. I had met him a couple of times that was just real quick meeting at shows and backstage. He did an interview with Eddie Stubbs. This was in October, 2011. He was in town and he just sort of stopped by in the studio and surprised Eddie and was sitting in and doing an interview. I was coming home. I had been on road with the Gatlin Brothers. I was listening to the interview and I thought 'I'm just gonna drive out to the studio and watch it through the window, because the WSM is in a hotel and you can see everything happening. So I got there and there was no one else there. And I was just kind of looking to the window and Eddie motioned me to come inside and Eddie let me come in and sit in on the interview. And to just sit there and literally listen to my hero tell the stories, hear his thoughts on the music business and hear his ideas. We had so many things in common. As he was talking, I thought 'oh my gosh, I go the same way about that'. It was kind of a religious experience for me. I would say that's probably my #1, being in a room with my hero and getting to know him and really hear those stories. It was pretty neat."
What kind of reponses did you get for your second CD?
"For the second CD we've actually got some really good response. The first CD went over, The Way I Remember It, it went over so well and everyone loves the traditional music and I'm so happy that there are people out there that love it like I do. The second CD came out and we didn't promote the single or anything like that yet. It's really been great, because this CD, I feel like it's a good follow up to the first one, because it's still traditional. We found a few songs that most people are probably familiar with, then we also got a lot more new songs that people hadn't heard before, they all got that traditional feel. And then there's a little bit of a maybe some jazz and kind of blues feel on some of the stuff, because I love that kind of music as well. I'm a lyric person, the lyrics mean so much, and a great song is a great song no matter what the genre is. And I feel like when I'm singing it, it's gonna come out country, just because it's the way I sing it. And the instrumentation that we used and things like that, we can create a country feel for any kind of song. I feel like we really accomplished that with this record and I'm really proud of it. There's a lot of songs on there that I just love."
You tour with the Gatlin Brothers a lot. How did the Larry Gatlin cover song on the album come about?
"Yes, 'I've Done Enough Dying Today', the Larry Gatlin song that's on there. That's always been my favorite Gatlin Brothers song. And I was a little afraid to even record it, because their recording of it is perfect, really. I mean it is. Steve Smith, who plays guitar for the Gatlins, he also plays guitar for me. We kind of worked that song up, we were thinking about doing it and one night we were doing a show with the Gatlins, we're all backstage and Steve goes 'you should sing that for Larry' and I was like 'oh no!' and Larry's like 'do it! sing it right now!' So I sang it and when I finished, Larry said 'you have to record that'. And once I got his blessing on it, I felt like 'ok, let's do this'. We put our spin on it. That song is Larry's and he did it perfectly, so we put our spin on it. I love that song, probably my favorite on the album. There's a lot of favorites on there. A lot of different stuff, there's a variety and to me an album should tell a story, it should sort of take you on a journey. And I feel like this album really does that. There's ups and there's downs and there's lots of different feelings throughout this whole thing and it's something that you can listen to it from beginning to end and you don't have to skip around to find a different song. Everything has its place. I prefer an album I can just put on and walk away from and listen to it. That's what we really tried hard to accomplish that."
You also recorded 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow'. Are you a big fan of The Wizard of Oz?
"Well, actually it's a funny story of how the song got on a record. Back in 2011 I was asked to sing as a part of the Honor Flight Program in Abilene, Texas. And in Honor Flight they take World War II veterans and they fly them to Washington D.C. to see the World War II Memorial at no cost. There was a group of about 250 veterans who were gonna go on this flight and they had a dinner before they left and I was gonna be the entertainment. So Steve Smith and I had worked up some songs from that era. We did 'Sentimental Journey' and 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' and some songs like that. And after the show was over, a man and his wife came up to me and they said 'we love that song Somewhere Over The Rainbow', because that was the song that was playing on the dock when he left to go off to war. And when they told me that story, my perspective of that song completely changed, because I thought that song, if you think about it from the perspective of a soldier being far away and then looking somewhere over the rainbow. You know I wanna go back home and it just totally changed what that song meant. And that's why we put it on that record. Most people when they hear that song, they think of the Wizard of Oz, but when I hear that song now, that's what I hear. And whenever we do it at shows, I always tell that story and people come up to me and they say 'I've never thought of it like that and you know it does'. It completely changes what that song means and that's why we ended up putting it on the record."
Have you ever played in Europe?
"I have been to Sweden. I was in Sweden a few years back and I did some shows over there with Billy Yates. I'm dying to come back and see more of Europe. I had such a great time. Everyone was so kind and they love the music. And that's so heartwarming to a person like me, because in Nashville, let's be honest, the traditional country stuff, people hear it, they don't get it. You guys get it. I'm grateful and I'm definitely ready to come back."
You seem to be very active on social networks. Is it important for you to be in personal touch with your fans?
"Yes, I love Facebook and I love Twitter. Anyone out there, just find me on Facebook and like my page, I will respond to everything. I maintain it all and I do everything myself. And I absolutely respond to everything. I love being in touch with people. I'm kind of addicted to it to be honest!" (laughs) "I have it on my phone, so I literally respond almost instantly to everything, 'cause I just really enjoy that. I think that's probably the thing that I love the most about what I do. It's just getting to meet people and getting to know people. I've met people through Facebook that I've never met them in real life. A couple of years ago at Fan Fair I was singing and I spotted a lady in the audience and I knew who she was, I knew her name and I knew where she was from, because she's my friend on Facebook, so it's kind of crazy, but I'm like that. So, get on my page and leave me a message and say hello, because I love that stuff."
Thank you for the interview.
(Teea Goans & Petr Mecir - Nashville, TN 07/12/2013)
Teea Goans - "Pour A Little Love On It"
Teea Goans - "I've Done Enough Dying Today"
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