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Meet Erika Jo
By Gary Voorhies   
2006 CMA Close Up News Service / Country Music Association, Inc.

As the youngest contestant to compete in the USA Network television talent competition "Nashville Star," 18-year-old Erika Jo was a long shot to win - but on April 26, at the end of the telecast's third season, she did just that. She was awarded a prize package that included a recording contract with Universal South Records, an appearance on the Grand Ole Opry and an all-around express ticket to Country fame.

Mount Juliet, Tenn. native Erika Jo has been singing professionally with her father's band since childhood. That experience paid off as she won over the "Nashville Star" judges and viewers with soaring vocals and charismatic stage presence during performances of such varied material as "Here For The Party," "Broken Wing" and "Black Velvet."

"This entire experience has been an education for me," said Erika Jo, who graduated from high school on June 2.

Her debut single, "I Break Things," was written by Wade Kirby and Monty Criswell. The cut was made available for immediate radio airplay by digital download just after Erika Jo performed the song on the "Nashville Star" finale. Her self-titled Universal South debut album, produced by Tim DuBois, was released June 14.

IN HER OWN WORDS:
Who is your musical hero?
"Reba McEntire."

Which song would you secretly like to cover?
"'Every Rose Has Its Thorn.'"

What CD is on your stereo right now?
"Maroon 5's Songs About Jane."

What book is on your nightstand right now?
"Dr. Seuss' Oh,The Places You'll Go."

What do you sing in the shower?
"Anything that's on my mind."

What is your pet peeve?
"When people don't look at you when you're talking to them."

What actor would portray you in a biopic about your life?
"Carrot Top."

What moment in your life would you relive if you could?
"The moment I won 'Nashville Star!'"

What song do you wish you had written?
"'Time in a Bottle,' written and performed by Jim Croce."

What word or phrase do you find yourself saying over and over again?
"Absolutely!"

Do you have a lucky charm?
"I carry a leprechaun in my pocket.  But I haven't figured out what to do when I wear a dress."

Which mode of transportation do you prefer - planes, trains or automobiles?
"My new Chevy Silverado!"

Who is your dream duet partner?
"Julie Andrews."

If you wrote an autobiography, what would the title be?
"Life As A Blonde Stuck In A Natural Brunette's Body!"

When they look back on your life in 50 years, what do you hope people say about you?
"Of course I hope they liked my music, but more importantly, I hope they say I was a good person."

On the Web: www.erikajo.com

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