Brenda Cole Interview

Q. You sure don't look like a typical country singer, or any country singer I've ever seen.
A. I hope not to be, because I think that's the problem with country music. It's too predictable. I want to try and break all those molds.

Q. Why did you decide to sing country as opposed to rock or pop?
A. I was born in Biloxi, Mississippi and my Dad was in the Air Force and we traveled around a lot. My dad is like a country music fan but he loves good music. He would play a lot of other styles of music as well as country. I just grew up from a music loving family. Even though I sang country music as a young girl, you still get mocked, teased and mimicked in the south for singing country music. But, it didn't stop me. There's a certain pureness in country music. It's very real. There always telling real life stories. They'll talk about their divorce, deaths, their drunkeness. They tell it like it is. It's real honest. I like the genuine honesty of country music. It just seems to be kind of the all American music. I like being that all American kind of girl.

Q. Where do you base yourself out of - L.A. or Nashville?
A. Right now I live in Sunland, California and the record company is in Hollywood.

Q. Would you be better off living in Nashville?
A. They tell me that. I go back there a lot. So, I'm setting up a place for me to stay on a regular basis, and to have a permanent address for me. That seems to be the normal advice I get from just about everybody, from the guy in the liquor store to the publisher, to the producers I meet. They all say, 'Brenda, if you want to make it in country music, come to Nashville.' But, I think country music is a state of mind. That's what 'Country Lover’; my title cut is all about. I don't think you have to record in a certain town or use certain musicians to create the country music. It really comes from within. The musicians I work with on the album come from everywhere. They just all happened to be living in L.A. at the time when I found them. They all have that natural country music feeling that comes deep within their heart. It's not something that can be trained at a music institute in Los Angeles.

Q. When you watch the country award shows; see how the performers are dressed, and listen to the music, it almost seems like country has crossed over to rock. Is there such a thing as country music anymore?
A. My goals are to bring new listeners into country music. I think there are too many stigmas or the images, the sound, are too predictable. They're all easily imitated. I want country music to reach those people who thought they would never listen to country music before. I think it's great that country music has a lot of flexibility, that it can be a little country-gospel or country-pop, or country-rock. I think it's great that it crosses over. I think country music is one of the music’s that can reach in, in every other style and still stay country if you want it to. Country comes from the heart. It's the kind of feeling you put into music that makes the notes bend or cry, that makes country, country. It's not something technical that you can teach somebody.

Q. Melody Dawn Records - is that your own label?
A. My dad and I are partners, on that label. It started out as my own label. I was just borrowing money from my father, and then it got to the point where he was seeing the potential of the company.

Q. Weren't you with Epic records for awhile?
A. Two years I was with Epic records. I had a 4 side per year, 2 year contract, and they only gave 4 sides. So, technically they owed me 2 singles, and an album option, which I never got. It was just one of those kinds of contracts where even though we spent 6 months in court because I was a minor at the time to get everything just right, there was still that little in-between the lines that said that they didn't have to do anything they said they were going to do.

Q. Why did you decide to cover the 60"s hit for Nancy Sinatra, "These Boots Were Made For Walkin"?
A. Well, I was recording in Criterion Studio, they have a little demo studio, and I used their studio to record my album. The publisher was submitting tunes to me from his catalogue and nothing hit me. And everyday I came up those steps I saw the old sheet music of Nancy Sinatra on the wall. It just reminded me of when I was living in Germany and I first started singing in the NCO clubs, and that song was really huge then. I really liked Nancy Sinatra. She was a sweet girl. She had a sassy look about her. I just loved that song. I used to play it over and over along with a couple of Elvis tunes and Beatle tunes, and Let's Do The Twist, by Chubby Checker. I cut 'Boots' as country as I could. There were no horns, no real fancy arrangement. I just allowed the harmonica to take some loose riffs which replaced the trumpets. Instead of going out on that trumpet ending, we just kind of vamp out with some hot guitar licks and the harmonica. The banjo carries this neat rhythm through the whole song which gives it the country flavor all the way through. I wanted Boots to be country, but very contemporary, so I could get a teenage audience.

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