Janie Frickie Interview

She loves to sing.

Does she ever!!

She’s released 23 albums and enjoyed 36 hit singles.

She’s won the Country Music Association’s Female Vocalist of the Year, Music City News Female Vocalist of the Year, Billboard Magazine’s Top Country Female Vocalist, Cashbox Magazine’s Top Country Female Vocalist, Academy of Country Music Female Vocalist of the Year, British-based Country Music Round-Up Most Popular International Female Solo Act, and she was chosen to the Country Music Hall of Fame Walkway of Stars.

She’s worked on studio sessions for such artists as Loretta Lynn, Eddie Rabbitt, Crystal Gayle, Ronnie Milsap, Barbara Mandrell, and Mel Tillis, not to mention Charlie Rich and Elvis Presley.

She-----is Janie Frickie.

Q – Janie, are you in control of all aspects of your career? Do you have the final say in your song selections, your bookings, and your band personnel?
A – Yes, I do. I have full control of it. My husband also makes a lot of decisions and helps me, especially as far as the band goes, and the tour schedules. But, we work together on that, yes.

Q – Is your husband your personal manager?
A – Well, we manage me together, you might say. There’s no ‘official’ manager. We just handle everything ourselves. He plays drums in the band and he also drives the tour bus. So, he’s multi-tasking. (Laughs).

Q – I guess so. The money you’re saving!
A – That’s exactly what we’re doing. We’re just making it work business-wise so we can kind of keep it in control in our hands. You know, after all those years of touring and doing concerts it works out real well.

Q – Back in 1991, you were doing something like 300 gigs a year. Do you still maintain that kind of schedule?
A – We have a very easy schedule now where we only do one or two concerts a month. We just did a tour the last 2 months in Alaska and Montana as we were out for almost 2 months straight. It was a lot of hard work. But now the rest of the year we can relax a little bit and just make it easier.

Q - Back in 1991, why were you working 300 dates a year?
A – Oh, I think that was an exaggerated figure actually. We toured with the group Alabama but, that was way back in the 80’s, so, I don’t know what happened in ’91. Every schedule is different from year to year, so, I don’t know what happened that year. Evidently we were very busy. (Laughs).

Q – I have heard Country acts especially have to really tour in order to sell their product. Is that true?
A – Oh, sure, yeah. You definitely do. It’s a necessity to tour in this business. You have to be on the road.

Q – Now that you’ve cut back substantially on touring, how do you get the word out about Janie Frickie?
A – Well, actually we have a web page. With computers now you can do anything. People can find you anywhere. It makes it pretty handy to sell our product either over Janiefrickie.com, right over the webpage; people can order our newest and latest. Then when we play our concerts we also tell the folks in the audience to check with this for our schedule. It’s pretty well handled now. The news is out there and accessible to anybody who really wants to find it.

Q – You started in Nashville in 1975 by doing jingles. Correct?
A – Right.

Q – Then 3 years later, you were named the Top Female Vocalist. That’s a pretty fast climb to the Top isn’t it? Is that considered normal?
A – I don’t know how normal that is or not. But, I became known with the studio people in Nashville because of doing a lot of studio work and back-up singing and commercials. I became acquainted with all the major producers, which I had a plus in that field. So then when I was ready to start recording and the record label came after me and persuaded me to sign a contract and start recording, everybody already knew my name ‘cause they had used me on sessions to back up their artists. So, I already knew the major producers and I was right in the center of everything happening in Nashville at that time.

Q – You actually sang back-up on Elvis Presley sessions?
A – Yes. We sang back-up on his last session right before he died. Then he died the next week and we had to go back in and complete the project after he had passed away and it was very traumatic on all of us studio singers. So, it was quite a time.

Q – You sang back-up on all the songs on that last album?
A – You know there is a CD out there called ‘Essential Elvis’ I believe. It was his last ‘live’ concert in Rapid City, South Dakota. So, they brought that tape at that time to Nashville and asked us to enhance the vocal parts on it. So, we worked with his producer Felton Jarvis in the studio. That was the project and it is out there now. Someone just came up to me recently and said, ‘Hey, I bought this CD and your name is on it and you’re singing back-up on it’! (Laughs).

Q – But, you don’t have a copy of it?
A – No, I don’t. So, I’ve got to get that.

Q – What was it like working with Elvis? Did he come into the studio?
A – Oh, no. Elvis did not come into the studio. We did not get to work directly with him. But, it was great working with his producer Felton Jarvis. It was wonderful in his own right with all his abilities and right after that happened Felton Jarvis passed away. I don’t know if it was the shock of losing Elvis or what but I thought that was interesting the way it all happened. It was very sad because both of ‘em passed away at a young age.

Q – What would you say to someone who says Elvis faked his death?
A – (Laughs). I just can’t imagine people thinking that. I’m sure they want to think that ‘cause they want to think he’s still out there. So, I think you call that a reality check. People need to face the reality of it. I really doubt that that could have possibly happened ‘cause I think he had way too many people around him that would have come and surfaced before now and said something. So, I kind of doubt that happened.

Q – You also performed for President Reagan. Was that at The White House or somewhere else?
A – That was at Camp David, Maryland and our band went in and did our concert and they flew us in, in the Presidential Helicopter. That was quite a thrill to do that. We were scheduled to do our concert and set up in front of the swimming pool there at Camp David where all the officials were meeting and the PA system quit working. On our very first song it did not work at all and we were just horrified. What are we going to do now? Then it started working immediately so we finished the show. (Laughs).

Q – To perform at Camp David. That’s a place most people just hear about, but you actually were there!!
A – I know!

Q – You saw it!
A – Yes, we saw it and it was beautiful. It looked just like you would think it would look, like a camp. Of course they whisked us in and out of there very quickly. We did not have time to take a tour or anything like that. They just wanted us in there to do our show and then they wanted us out of there. Of course that’s the way it works when you have the Secret Service men and everyone around you. You don’t dilly dally around. You’re not tourists in any way shape or form.

Q – Did you get to meet President Reagan?
A – Oh, absolutely. Yes. He came up and presented a jacket to me which I have that has the emblem of, he was entertaining the President of Mexico at the time, so the jacket has the emblem of the United States and Mexico government meeting there at Camp David. That’s a great keepsake.

Q – Was he a fan of yours? Is that why he requested you for the show?
A – Evidently he decided to bring us in. I was having good records at the time so I would say maybe he was. I don’t know.

Q – Do you still live in that farm house that belonged to Marshal Pat Garrett?
A – Yes, yes. We’re in the farm house. We are.

Q – Is that place haunted?
A – (Laughs). They say it is. Now I’m not one to much get into the haunted business you know. But, there have been some very strange, eerie things. Things move and you hear noises and that sort of thing. I think my husband is starting to believe it. But, that’s another story. That’s another long story. So, I don’t know. (Laughs).

Official Website janiefricke.com

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