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Interview with: Lisa O'Kane
By Christian Lamitschka ( Ch.Lamitschka@t-online.de )
CSO European Contributing Journalist

Question: Would you please introduce yourself to the audience and tell us something about your history.

Answer: I am an Americana Roots Recording artist from Fish Camp, California. I studied music all my life and sang in various choirs and bands. My first love has always been country music.

Question: Country Music has many new fans in Europe who may be learning about you for the first time. How would you describe the music you play to someone whoís never seen or heard you before?

Answer: Americana Roots is music that goes back to the roots of Country music. Iíve been compared to Emmylou Harris, Gail Davies, Lucinda Williams, early Linda Ronstadt and Kathy Chiavola. I use simple, understated production on my albums and I love to write and sing songs that tell a story.

Question: What is your current CD and how is it doing?

Answer: My current CD ďPeace of MindĒ will be released internationally in April. I released the first song on the album ďNO TOMORROWĒ and has landed in the top 5 on the European Country Chart.

Question: How did you find the title for the CD and what inspired you?

Answer: My boyfriend Mark Fosson wrote the song and I discovered it on a cd in the garage in a box. He didnít want me to listen to it because he said it was older stuff, so when he left the house I of course listened. Iím sure now that heís glad I didnít listen to him.

Question: Do you write you own songs and if not, how do you go about finding songs for your albums?

Answer: I wrote five of the songs on this album and am very excited to see the response. The other songs were written by Mark Fosson and my producer Ed Tree as well as two from other friends and one Fred Rose cover.

Question: Whatís your favorite song among all the songs youíve recorded and whatís the story behind it?

Answer: I think my favorite song is ďLong GoneĒ. I was going through a divorce and the words just came.

Question: How much creative control do you have over your music?

Answer: Total control.

Question: Thereís a lot of work that goes into a number one hit ... whatís it take to make it?

Answer: A great song and a great producer!

Question: How much do your songs influence your audience?

Answer: In my travels through Europe, Iíve watched people cry as Iíve sung some of the ballads I sing. Thatís when I know Iím getting to their hearts. Iíve had young girls come up to me and tell me they want to do what Iím doing because Iíve touched their hearts. That is a very satisfying feeling and great compliment.

Question: Who do you look up to musically and where do your musical roots come from?

Answer: I would have to say my mentors are Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams and Allison Krauss.

Question: What do you think about todayís Country Music versus itís roots and where do you see it going in the future?

Answer: Iím not fond of this question because everyone has a different idea about what country music is. So I think Iíll just move on to the next question.

Question: If you had a chance to change something about the music industry, what would it be?

Answer: That people were in it for good music and not money. I know I am.

Question: As an artist you have so many different things you have to do such as recording, touring, doing interviews etc. What do you like doing the best, whatís your favorite activity?

Answer: I love everything about being an artist. I learn something new everyday. Iím surrounded by good, hard-working people that also believe in what Iím doing, so I have a lot of fun while Iím working. Touring as been an incredible experience. I never thought that my albums would take me overseas where I have met such wonderful people.

Question: How did you get into Country Music ... is there a story behind it?

Answer: Thereís not really a storyÖI grew up with it!

Question: Before you became a star, were your friends and family supportive or was it a struggle?

Answer: Itís funny, because I donít consider myself a star. At home I am a single mother of two girls, Kelly and Katy (11 and 6) and Iím just a regular mom who helps with homework, cleans house and makes sure that my kids are okay. My friends and family have always enjoyed my singing and I think that I am the only one who is surprised at my success.

Question: Has your journey to success been a hard or an easy road?

Answer: Itís been a journey that I wouldnít change a bit.

Question: What drives you? What inspired you to become an artist?

Answer: Iím driven by the music. I canít imagine not singing. I LOVE touring. When my children where little I didnít sing much because I was caring for them. Then I realized that something was missing from my life and I started by making my first album. I never dreamed that it would take me this far.

Question: What does it take to be a Country Star?

Answer: A lot of hard work and a great publicist (Martha Moore)!!

Question: Whatís unique about you that differentiates you from other artists?

Answer: I honestly donít consider myself unique in anyway. I love to sing and anybody thatís in this business should never consider themselves unique.

Question: Whatís the best thing about being a star and whatís the hardest thing?

Answer: The best thing is watching people smile when Iím singing. Itís watching them dance and have a great time to music that Iíve written. The hardest part is juggling home life and touring.

Question: Whatís your greatest challenge been in the music business?

Answer: Nashville!!!

Question: What moments in your career stand out in your memory as highlights and achievements which youíre proud of?

Answer: When I sang in Germany this year at the Country Music Messe, I am the only artist in the 9-year history to ever receive an encore. Last year, when I was in France, a woman came up to me and told me they were using ďLittle Black CloudĒ in the Czech Republic to teach the children English. That made me really proud.

Question: Whoís your biggest critic, yourself or others?

Answer: I am definitely my biggest critic.

Question: When you get time off, how do you like to relax?

Answer: I love to read and hang out with my girlfriends. My boyfriend Mark loves to cook and so do I, so we whip up a lot of dinners!!

Question: Is there anything in your life that you would change if you could?

Answer: I think thereís always something in oneís life that perhaps one would change. But if I did that, I might not have gotten to where I am now.

Question: What private hopes and desires do you have?

Answer: If I tell you, then itís not private!!

Question: Whatís the biggest disappointment in your life been?

Answer: I donít have any.

Question: Many European fans travel to Nashville for Fan Fair because of the opportunity to see so many of their favorite stars at the same time. Will you be participating and how will the fans be able to find you?

Answer: Iím not sure yet if Iíll be performing at Fan Fair so I canít answer that!

Question: When youíre on tour, do you have time to play tourist?

Answer: Oh yes. I try to get in as much tourism as I can.

Question: Can your European fans look forward to seeing you in concert in the future?

Answer: Absolutely. I will be performing at Interlaken August 7, 2004 in Switzerland. A tour is being arranged now based on that festival.

Question: Many music fans today get their information about artists via the internet. Do you have your own website and what information can the fans find out about you on the internet?

Answer: They can pretty much find out everything about me at www.lisaokane.com

Question: What are your plans for the future and how can new fans keep informed about you?

Answer: Once again, just check my website. I try to keep it updated as much as possible. They can also email me.

Question: Whatís the best compliment a fan has ever given you?

Answer: When I sang in Germany this year at the Country Music Messe, I am the only artist in the 9-year history to ever receive an encore. Last year, when I was in France, a woman came up to me and told me they were using ďLittle Black CloudĒ in the Czech Republic to teach the children English. That made me really proud.

Question: What message would you like to send to your European fans?

Answer: Thank you so much for appreciating my music and I in turn appreciate you. I always feel very welcome when I come to the different countries and am treated very well. I have received emails and gifts from all over the world and I am very grateful. I have made some wonderful friends.


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