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An Interview with... 
Buddy Jewell

Interview with Buddy Jewell

Nashville Star winner Buddy Jewell came from obscurity to prominence seemingly overnight.

CL: Buddy, Nashville Star lies a year behind you. Was winning a blessing and pleasure or did it throw into a whirlwind ride hanging on for all youíre worth?

BJ: Itís definitely been a blessing to me. I spent ten years in Nashville prior to Nashville Star trying to get a record deal. I just couldnít convince anyone to take a chance on me so when Nashville Star came along I saw the opportunity to win a record deal. I was fortunate that the American viewers thought I deserved it and itís been an enormous blessing for me. Itís been great.

CL: It must have been pretty intense being in a competition like Nashville Star, did you find it nerve-wracking and how did you handle the stress as it got closer to the end?

BJ: I did find it nerve wracking, it is a competition. It was almost a combination of Big Brother, American Idol and Survivor. All the contestants got to be pretty good friends. In the house we kinda leaned on each other and supported each other win or lose. That helped a lot as far as the stress but honestly every week every show I thought I was going to be the one voted off. There was no one more surprised than me that I won. Iíve been a Christian since I was sixteen years old and had to rely on God to get me through it all and He did.

CL: In Germany, itís an open secret that if you start your career through a show like Nashville Star, you arenít allowed much creative control over your music. How much creative control do you have over your songs?

BJ: Actually I had a lot of creative control over the first album. We were in a hurry to get the first album done because the first single was doing so well. Sony and Columbia Records kind of left me alone and let Clint Black, Tracy Gershon and I put the record together. It was probably one of the fastest recordings on record. We spent one week picking songs for the album. The next week we recorded it so they gave me a lot of lead way there. Iím going into the studio next week to start recording my second album and they have had a lot more input but I feel as if I have the final say so as to what we record and what we donít.

CL: Howís your current album doing?

BJ: Itís great. It was certified gold back in late January early February. From what I understand itís selling really well. We just released our third single to the radio, a song called "One Step at a Time." Iím sure your aware that the first two were both top five singles in the US and I couldnít be happier with it.

CL: Buddy, tell us about the long, hard road and the dues you paid to become such an overnight success.

BJ: I started playing in clubs when I was twenty one. I pretty much played on the weekends and then when I was about twenty five I started working with a road band .Week to week in different parts of the country all over the US and Canada. I did that for about four years. I then moved to Nashville and spent a lot of time doing studio work. I was a demo singer for about eight or nine years before Nashville Star. I've recorded over four thousand demo recordings for writers and publishing companies. I kind of honed my skills as a performer on stage when I was touring with the band. I then learned a lot about recording and how to handle myself in a recording studio. As for those eight or nine years that I was a demo singer, that is in short just part of what I did as far as paying my dues.

CL: Did "Help Pour Out The Rain (Lacey's Song)" tell all of the story or is there more to it than you had space to write about?

BJ: No it pretty much covered the whole story. My daughter actually asked me if she could help pour out the rain when she got to heaven. I just know I was really taken at how sweet and innocent that question was. It made me think about how when you become a grown up you tend to lose the ability to look at the world through innocent eyes like a child and thatís what I was trying to portray when I wrote this song. I'm happy that it came off the way it did and that it means so much to so many people.

CL: Youíve had so many good things happen in the last year tell us about some of the highlights that stand out in your memory.

BJ: Well obviously winning the show was a big moment for me. Then when the album debuted at number one on the country charts. Then number thirteen on the pop charts that was amazing for me. With "Help Pour Out The Rain (Lacey's Song)" making it into the top five was obviously a big thing. I think one of the most enjoyable moments for me was the time I got to play the Grand Ole Opry. According to the folks there they couldnít remember the last time an artist got a standing ovation on their debut. That was a wonderful thing for me, I love the Opry and play there as much as I can. Honestly getting to meet a lot of the stars Iíve been a fan of for so long like Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. I got to spend a little time with each of them. One of the neatest things for me as the fan, was to be given the key to the kingdom and getting to meet those folks. Then to top all that off ACM and CMA nominations for my video "Sweet Southern Comfort." I was nominated for the award so Iím real proud of all that Iíd like to take one of those awards home with me sometime.

CL: You said before you are producing a new album can you share the title and tell us the difference between the current album and your upcoming album and what is the scheduled release date?

BJ: We actually donít have a title for the album because we donít know what songs we are going to record. We will probably choose one of the song titles for the title of the album. You know since we are going to have more than two weeks to make this album were taking our time and trying to make sure we get it right. We want to make sure the second album is as good or better than the first one. The first was done so well we set the bar kind of high but we are hoping to have it finished and in stores sometime before Valentines Day.

CL: Of all the things youíve accomplished, what are you the most proud of?

BJ: Honestly I am the proudest about and honored( not necessarily the commercial success) of "Help Pour Out The Rain (Lacey's Song)." To know that something that I wrote has come to mean so much to so many people. Iíve gotten hundreds of letters and e-mails and cards from people who unfortunately, that that song became a part of their life because they have lost someone really close to them in the recent past and a lot of them are children that have died to a catastrophic illness, an accident or something like that. To know that my song has become part of the healing process, is really the greatest thing to come out of this for me. Something I did effected other people's lives in a positive way.

CL: Will your European fans be able to see you in concert at any time in the near future?

BJ: You know I would love to go over to Europe and do a tour. I hear the audiences are great. Fans are just as wonderful as they are here in the States. Give me another year or two and we should be able to make it over there I am still trying to conquer America, you know.

CL: Do you have any message youíd like to send to your European fans and could you tell them the latest news about you?

BJ: First I want to tell my European fans thanks for their support. I want you to know that I wouldnít be able to do what I do for a living to live out my dreams if it wasnít for wonderful people like you all. Probably the best source of information on me is I have a web site itís www.buddyjewell.com and thatís updated probably once or twice a week. It has my tour schedule, my bio, different pictures from when I play around the country itís a great source of information.

Christian Lamitschka ( Ch.Lamitschka@t-online.de )
CSO European Contributing Journalist

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