Rhonda Vincent Interview
Everybody's talking about Rhonda Vincent! Billboard magazine has said Rhonda is "too good to be mortal." When Grand Ole Opry’s Jim Ed Brown saw her perform on the "You Can Be A Star" talent show he offered her a job on the spot. Music critic J.D. Kleinly wrote, "Depending on your mood when you hear her, you're either inspired to throw your head back and dare to try to sing along, or else you clamp your jaw shut out of shame, vowing never to pretend to sing again."
Nashville's Jack McFadden, one of country music's most respected managers, signed her to a personal management deal, and Giant Records was impressed enough to offer Rhonda a recording contract.
The result is "Written In The Stars," Rhonda Vincent's debut CD on Giant Records.
Q. Rhonda how has your life changed since you signed a major label deal?
A. Oh, it's just a lot busier I guess. I run to Nashville 2-3 times a week. I still live in Missouri. It makes it just a little more hectic for me. I have two small children and maintaining a household... People always say if you sign with a major label, how your life is gonna change, well it hasn't changed that much. It's just gotten a lot busier. I have a great husband who's Mr. Mom while I'm gone and maintains the household, and then when I get home, it's just a matter of blending back in. I'm very fortunate. I feel very lucky to get to do something that I love to do. Music is what I really enjoy.
Q. Your husband has no desire to go on the road with you.
A. No. He has his own interests. He's a salesman and a basketball referee, and a softball referee. He also golf’s and fishes bass tournaments too. He has lots of interests, so we're both lucky to do what we enjoy doing, and it just works that way.
Q. How did you hook up with Jack McFadden? He's a pretty big name in Nashville isn't he?
A. Yeah. I talked to him oh, 2 or 3 years ago through a mutual friend. Actually, he's the first manager I ever talked to. When I first went to Nashville I didn't even know what a manager did. He handed me a real thick contract and scared me to death. I met him then, and eventually when I got on Giant (Records) he was just the natural person to go to. I guess I got to know him more then, and learned what a manager does, and I learned that the contracts aren't that scary. (Laughs).
Q. what was the Sally Mountain Show all about? What kind of circuit were you on with them?
A. Mainly Bluegrass Festivals. That's my family is what it is. The Sally Mountain Show is my mom and dad and two brothers. I started out at three singing with the Sally Mountain Show with my grandfather, aunts, uncles, cousins and my parents plus friends. So we just couldn't be called The Vincent Family. There's a place locally called Sally's Mountain. We had a T.V. show when I was five, and the natural thing to call the show was The Sally Mountain Show. Instead of dropping that, it just became my immediate family. We have always carried that name, which confuses a lot of people.
Q. You must've run into quite a few managers and agents with that show.
A. Yeah. We were handled at one time by Lance Leroy who used to handle Lester Flatt. At that point Lance got us more nationally known in the Bluegrass circuit. It was very good for us. Well then, I went to work for Jim Ed Brown. That was in '85.1 lived in Nashville at that time. I learned from Lance and Jim Ed and from just living down there, more about the business. In leaving Missouri, Lance no longer booked us, so I took it over myself. I started doing the booking, opened a publishing company, a record label. I really loved the business part of things.
Q. Was Rebel Records your own label?
A. No. That's one of the top bluegrass labels out of Virginia.
Q. You were with Rebel for three years. Did they help promote your career?
A. Well, they really don't do so much promotion. I think they send 'em out to the bluegrass radio stations, which is something I hadn't done myself. They also have a distributing company that got us into Japan and other countries. They really did help a lot. It got my music further. It was just like a process that I feel I lived through over the years. It's just like steps leading up to hopefully bigger and better things.
Q. Was there ever a time in your life when you thought of doing something else besides music?
A. Yeah. I guess I always thought I would do music, but there's always the unknown, especially when you're 21. I went to college and majored in accounting, and data processing. But I still took Survey of the Music Industry classes, and photography classes. I had a lot of different interests. I ended up five classes short of graduating right, and I went to Nashville and recorded my first demo. So, my heart was always there. I think at that point when I quit college to go down and do that, that's when I said this is what I'm gonna go for.
Q. Where did the discipline come from to do a T.V. show at the age of five? Was it self-discipline or did it come from the family?
A. It was just a way of life. Our father was very strict. You just knew what was expected of you. And this was just the way it was. There wasn't any other way. I see my kids today and I say I don't know how my father did it. I think my brother and I probably had the love for the music. It was probably always there. So, we just did it. A friend of mine who's known me since I was three years old; she told me a few months ago that she thought I would grow up resenting my father for forcing us. I guess she saw the discipline or whatever was done for us to do this. She said she'd thought I'd always grow up to hate the music or resent my father, but instead you just grew to love it,
Q. Did you enjoy a childhood?
A. (Laughs). We didn't do anything. I saw the Jackson Five Story on T.V. and they didn't get to do anything. They were on a much larger scale. But, it was pretty much the same thing. That was what we did. Dad wouldn't let me play softball, 'cause he said you'll get your fingers jammed. Basketballs the same way. Music was our life. We played every night. When I got home from school, they were sitting there, we played, and played onto bed time. You get your homework done somewhere in there, and play music, and that was about it. I didn't have much of a social life. Music was it.
It wasn't until I started doing this thing for Giant and going and doing things on my own, that wasn't with my family, that I felt like a kid. Last March we went through Memphis, Tennessee on the way to New Orleans to do my first video and Dad wasn't with us. It was just by brother, my cousin and I. We drove through Memphis, and I said, 'Man, I'd love to see Elvis Presley's house,' and they said well if it's there we'll drive by it. Then all at once we see Elvis Presley Blvd. and I said, 'Let's go down here. Dad's not here. We can go in, man.' (Laughs). So, we went and saw the house, it's just my father, in his mind when we're out on the road doing a show, this is business. He didn't even like you to play a game on the bus. Even today, he doesn't like that. He wants you to be so focused in on the music. But, now we're enjoying it, enjoying the childhood, because we're doing more things.
Q. How at the age of eight, did you learn to play the mandolin almost immediately?
A. We were playing on a country music show on a weekly basis. The owner of the place decided whoever didn't play an instrument would not get paid. So my Dad said you're gonna play the mandolin. He showed me the G chord, and I played it. Eventually I guess I got bored with that chord. We were playing every night of the week, so dad would show me some extra chords, and then eventually I listened to a lot of records, but I never did take lessons. So, that's how I learned to play the mandolin. (Laughs).
Official Website: rhondavincent.com
© Gary James All Rights Reserved