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An Interview with Maggie Austin
By CSO European Contributing Journalist, Christian Lamitschka.

Maggie Austin is a Country Artist from the USA! She grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania as the youngest of five children. Country Music has always been where her heart is! Working outside with the horses on the farm enabled her to have so much exposure to country music growing up, she really can't imagine doing anything else.

CL: 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 who's never seen or heard you before?

MA: I would describe the style as country/pop or new country.

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

MA: The current CD is titled Time And Again, and it is doing very well right now, both in the USA and abroad.

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

MA: The CD is named for the title track "Time And Again"

CL: Do you write the songs yourself and if not, how do you go about finding songs for your albums?

MA: All of the tracks on Time And Again were self penned, with the exception of Breathe [originally sung by Faith Hill].

CL: What's your favorite song among all the songs you've recorded and what's the story behind it?

MA: Hmm ...thatís a tuff one. I would probably have to say "I Still Need", because of the vulnerability and the raw emotion it invokes.

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

MA: The "buck stops here" as they say in regard to control over the final decisions. However we do consult with a lot of professionals that are far more experienced and qualified than myself! I count on their guidance, truthfulness, and objectivity about the product.

CL: There's a lot of work that goes into a Number One hit ... what does it take to make it?

MA: It takes patience and genuine love when creating the product; however, at the same time, your vision for the project has to always be trained to look ahead, not at what is on the radio at the moment, or you will find yourself behind the wave!

CL: How much do your songs influence your audience?

MA: I think a great deal, at least I hope so. The highest praise that you can offer an artist is that the music has had an effect on their thoughts, good or bad.

CL: The internet is playing a bigger and bigger part in the world of music. Has the internet hurt or helped you and how would you like to see it evolve?

MA: Oh itís helped for sure! The internet brings so much more attention to artists then could ever be imagined before! I would like to see more major outlets open up and promote the internet artist. This would spur everyone to create better music.

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

MA: Faith Hill, Martina McBride, and Sara Evans...there are so many! My musical roots come from country living! Itís either part of your soul or not! You can't fake that!

CL: What do you think about today's Country Music versus its roots and where do you see it going in the future?

MA: Itís evolving music and that's a good thing as long as we never lose the roots that define who we are and why we are country artists! We can stretch the boundaries, of course, but also want to be careful not to break them!

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

MA: More diversity on the radio. So many times I have overheard the people use the phrase that "everything on radio sounds the same".

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

MA: Probably writing, recording, and interacting with the fans. I don't think you can separate any of them. Fans are very smart people, and they know what is real and what is not. So I think you have to really enjoy it all to be real!

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

MA: Country music was always something that I knew I would pursue when the time was right. I believe that there is a time for everything in your life. After college and showing and breeding horses I finally felt the time was right to go for it. So I made a recording in a small local studio much to the shock of my family! When I played it for them they had to be convinced it was me. My husband kept driving around listening to the recording on the cd player in the car and saying "no thatís not you", and I kept calmly repeating "well... actually yes it is"! After the shock wore off (only kidding), we had some industry people take a listen and let us know what they thought from a professional point of view.

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

MA: I don't know how one defines a "star" I certainly do not think of myself as one. A star to me is someone like Elton John, Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson, George Jones...As far as my musical journey, friends and family were wonderful! Of course, a few people probably silently thought I was crazy, but they had the good sense to not mention it!

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

MA: Trying and very rewarding at the same time. I think that part of the joy of achieving something is gained in the trip. You go for periods of quietly working away day after day, and all of a sudden, all of that work comes to fruition. That is a wonderful feeling!

CL: What drives you? What inspired you to become an artist? I

MA: I would have to say a love music and writing. I find the creativity aspect very rewarding.

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

MA: A star can be anyone in whatever they do. You need to feel real enjoyment, and get up in the morning realizing that you are one of the luckiest people in the world to be able to have the opportunity to do what you really love to do whatever job you work at.

CL: What's unique about you that differentiates you from other artists?

MA: I just try to be myself and be honest with people; that way, you always know who you are and what you've said!

CL: What's the best thing about being a star and what's the hardest thing?

MA: The best thing would have to be the fans. They are truly wonderful people! The worst thing is trying to maintain quiet time that is necessary to write.

CL: Who's your biggest critic, yourself or others?

MA: Oh myself for sure! I can never look at a project months down the road and not find something I would do differently. You are always growing and having new experiences, so what may sound perfect today may not seem so perfect in a year or two. I think any artist will say the same thing; it shows that you continue to grow musically.

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

MA: With my family and friends...and of course my horses!

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

MA: Not a thing! I am so blessed! I would continue to wish for happiness and good health for my family, friends, and fans. I am very thankful for what I have!

CL: What has been the biggest disappointment in your life?

MA: The loss of loved ones; thatís always very hard.

CL: 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?

MA: At this time, I am not sure if the scheduling can be worked out; however my publicist, Laura Claffey, from Wildfire Publicity will be there representing me. Fans will also be able to find info on the Maggie Austin Fan Club and sign up for membership at the International Fan Club Organization booth.

CL: When you're on tour, do you have time to play tourist?

MA: Any chance I get!

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

MA: I hope so. I would really enjoy touring Europe; we have so many fantastic fans there. European DJ's have been amongst my most supportive people!

CL: What are your plans for the future?

MA: I will begin recording the next project in late spring 2005 and am really looking forward to it!

CL: What's the best compliment a fan has ever given you?

MA: That a parent thought I was a good role model for their child! Itís such a compliment to hear that!

CL: What's your favorite song that you didn't record and why?

MA: A song about "Pink Sheep"; I giggled all the way through it! It was a great song, but just sadly didn't fit the project.

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

MA: Thank you for your wonderful support. European fans have been so supportive; they are terrific!!

CL: Are you doing anything to take country music beyond its current borders or are you happy where it is?

MA: I'm happy at where country music has grown to today in terms of diversity. That was necessary growth. There is so much room to move around and to find your own style. I do worry that too much stretching of the edges would change it into just another form of diluted music.

CL: In your opinion, what is the biggest difference between "traditional" and "new" country music?

MA: Probably marketing, as they are both wonderful music! I think itís just personal taste.

CL: Please tell us about the songs on your album.

MA: There are six cuts on the album: five are self-written and the sixth is a remake of Faith Hill's mega hit "Breathe"

CL: Tell us about your fan club and how people can join it.

MA: The Maggie Austin Fan Club has grown in leaps and bounds this past year, and that is something that I am so thrilled with! You can join the fan club by going to the website at www.maggieaustin.com  and clicking the "Fan Club" tab. From there, you will see a "Join Maggie's Fan Club" link. Itís very easy to join! The club does e-mail newsletters three times a year, in addition to e-mail updates, members only contests, and surprises! We have a new "Interact" page where you can access the new Web-board for discussions on just about any topic. We also have a Yahoo discussion group available at groups.yahoo.com/group/MaggieAustin We try to keep it exciting and fun for members. All of the membership fees go directly back into the club so that we continue to add great new features and values to the membership!

CL: What is the latest news in your career?

MA: The new single "Taking Time" has just been released to radio in Europe, and debuted at #33 on the Hot Disc Chart, so don't forget to request it on your local radio!

CL: How was the last year for you? Where there any highlights?

MA: [2004] was a fantastic year! There were so many highlights, chart success, radio play all over the world, and a magazine cover, just to name a few things. Itís all been so wonderful!

CL: What can your fans expect to see when they see you in concert?

MA: The very best show that I can provide for their hard earned money! That is what I would want to see. They work hard for that money; it is an honor when someone spends their money to see you perform!

CL: Is there anything youíd like to say to your fans that we havenít covered?

MA: Simply said: thank you! Your support has been so heart-warming! Also, we have teamed up with Cell Phones for Soldiers. We will donate 25 cents any time someone downloads my song from www.mperia.com/artists/maggie_austin and $1 for every cd sold from www.cdbaby.com/cd/maggieaustin

CL: Whatís your website address and what will fans find there?

MA: www.maggieaustin.com ... Hopefully fans will find everything there that they need to enjoy the visit! We have interaction available in the form of a Guest Book, Web-board for posting and a fun discussion group, a great fan club store, photo gallery, sound clips, bio, news and reviews page, and also a Fan Club Photo Gallery where fan club members can send in their photo for possible posting on the website!

CL: Do you play an instrument?

MA: No

CL: Do fans mob you everywhere you go or do they allow you a private life?

MA: So far fans have been very respectful of my private life and I do appreciate that!

CL: What kind of songs do you like to record the most?

MA: Happy up-beat songs that make you smile and say yeah thatís me!

Christian Lamitschka ( Christian@CountryStarsOnline.com )

 

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