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Jamie O'Neal's Brave New World
By Crystal Caviness

The name and the voice are the same, but most everything else about Jamie O'Neal has changed since No. 1 hits "There Is No Arizona" and "When I Think About Angels" were standard radio fare in 2001.

"It kind of feels like I'm starting over, in a way. It all feels really new and exciting," O'Neal said about the activity surrounding her new album, Brave, released March 1 on Capitol Records Nashville.

The album's first single "Trying To Find Atlantis," written by Zach Turner and Chris Waters, made its way to the Top 15 of the Country charts and you can watch her perform it live on the "Emeril Live" show on May 22 on the Food Network.  Her second single, "Somebody's Hero," written by O'Neal, Ed Hill and Shaye Smith, is on the airwaves now and the video is set to world premiere on CMT on April 28. O'Neal is also featured on the May covers of Woman's World magazine and Nashville Lifestyles. Also, O'Neal and her mom will be featured in the May 9 issue of Country Weekly and the May/June issue of CMT Country Music Today.

O'Neal was indeed a new Country Music artist when Mercury Nashville released her debut project Shiver in 2001. The Australian-born singer who had been singing professionally with her parents since she was 8 - including a stint singing back up with Australian singer Kylie Minogue - quickly carved out a niche with cleverly written songs and an ever-growing fan base.

sold more than 500,000 copies and "There Is No Arizona" and "When I Think About Angels" garnered GRAMMY nominations for O'Neal in 2002 and 2001 CMA Music Video of the Year and Horizon Award nominations.

Accolades and awards ensued as O'Neal found her career building with a momentum enviable to any new artist. Life was good and about to get better.

O'Neal, who had married singer-songwriter Rodney Good in 2000 while recording Shiver, gave birth to the couple's first child, daughter Aliyah, in 2003.

O'Neal stepped away from her full-tilt music career to focus on motherhood for the remainder of 2003 and into 2004. During this period, she also changed record labels.

"We jumped at the opportunity to bring Jamie into the Capitol family," said Mike Dungan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Capitol Records Nashville. "It's obvious that she is a world class vocalist and performer, but what's sometimes forgotten about Jamie is that she's a great songwriter. And since she has become a wife and a mother, her writing has taken on a whole new twist - she loves her life and it comes through in the songs and performances on Brave. Think of it - we have an adult woman singing songs about the life of an adult woman.  And our listening audience and buying consumer are to the largest extent adult women - what a concept." 

Immersed in motherhood while writing for the new project, Brave, produced by Keith Stegall and co-produced by Rivers Rutherford and O'Neal, reflects the singer's new passion.

"The last album had a lot of love songs. This album is more about real life - songs about motherhood and life and my girlfriends. I write about women and I think about women when I write my songs," O'Neal said.

O'Neal wrote the second single, "Somebody's Hero," with some specific women in mind.

"I had been saying to all my co-writers, 'I really want to write about family. I really want to write about my little girl.' And the thing for me was, when you have a baby you start thinking about your own relationship with your mother. And when you were little, how much you looked up to them and then you move to, 'Gosh, my baby looks up to me so much. I don't want to let her down. I want to be a hero to her.' That's probably the most important song on the album to me," she said.

O'Neal said the title track also has significance for her.

"'Brave' really signifies a time in my life when I was really happy personally but really unhappy professionally," O'Neal said. "I went through a really dark time and had a lot of personal time to reflect and really find out who I was and what I wanted to do and what my priorities were. I feel like a lot of people in the world need to have faith and feel like they aren't alone in the struggles we're having."

O'Neal definitely is not alone these days while out on the road promoting Brave.

The entertainer travels with her husband, who is also her bandleader and acoustic guitar player, her daughter and the family's Maltese, Griffin.

"It's a challenge being on the road with a baby," she said. "Kids love their routine. She loves being home. We try to bring as much of her things with us as we can. She has more luggage than we do."

O'Neal is doing a full scale promotional tour, visiting Country radio stations throughout the nation and also playing to select industry and media audiences in New York and Los Angeles, activities the singer bypassed when Shiver was released. She also has a full calendar of performances lined up through the spring and summer including appearing at CMA Music Festival.

O'Neal is scheduled to appear at 2005 CMA Music Festival that takes place in Downtown Nashville, Thursday - Sunday, June 9-12.

Four-day ticket packages for CMA Music Festival are on sale now. Packages are divided into four categories, based on the level of reserved seating at The Coliseum. Ticket packages include the Nightly Concerts at The Coliseum; Daily Concerts at Greased Lightning® Daytime Stages; daily admittance to the Wrangler® Fan Fair (Exhibit Hall) featuring the Acoustic Corner; Bush's® Baked Beans Family Zone; Fun Zone; Sports Zone and performance stage; CMA Music Festival After HoursT; free in-town shuttles; the CMA Music Festival Program Book; CMA Music Festival pin; and more.

Four-day ticket packages are easy to purchase. Order over the phone by calling toll-free, 1-800-CMA-FEST (262-3378); visit www.CMAfest.com to download an order form to fax or mail; visit www.Ticketmaster.com to buy online or charge-by-phone at (615) 255-9600. Prices do not include applicable handling fees. Ticket prices are subject to change without notice. Order early for the best available reserved seat at The Coliseum. All sales are final and non-refundable.
For up-to-the-minute information about tickets, travel information, schedules, artists appearing and more, visit www.CMAfest.com and sign up for e-news or purchase official CMA Music Festival merchandise.

2005 CMA Music Festival is organized and produced by the Country Music Association. CMA Board member Tony Conway is the Executive Producer of CMA Music Festival. MJI Programming, a division of Premiere Radio Networks, is the official radio broadcaster. Promotional partners include Bush's® Baked Beans, Crisco®, Greased Lightning®, NBC Daytime and Wrangler®. Fan Fair is a registered trademark of CMA.

O'Neal, thankful for the fan base she already has established, wants to reach even more people with the new album.

"Hopefully, we will get a wider audience this time and make an impact with the songs," she said. "I want to make a difference."                   

On the Web: www.jamieoneal.com

© 2005 CMA Close Up News Service / Country Music Association, Inc.


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