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Interview with Stephanie Spinks

Interview
with Stephanie Spinks
The Country singer Stephanie
Spinks is COUNTRY FRIED. She is a long time veteran of Traditional
Country Music. Music and entertaining has been a part of her life as
far back as she can remember. Born in Lapeer, Michigan, Stephanie at
an early age would often go to work with her Daddy who worked in
Radio Broadcasting. She would sit quietly in the floor of the control
room of the radio station and watch her Dad do his Radio Show, taking
in all the music from the records he played. By the time Steph was
eight years old, she was making up songs and singing them into her
tape recorder, that she always carried with her.
In 1979 she met the legendary
George Jones at a country show in Pontiac, Michigan where she fell in
love with Country Music. She started playing the guitar at 12 years
of age and performing with local bands all over the state of
Michigan. She was discovered by a talent promoter in Detroit, and by
the time she was 14 years old, she was performing on the stage of the
world famous SAHARA in Las Vegas.

 

Stephanie moved to West
Virginia in 1982, where she continued writing songs & performing.
Her cousin Buddy Starcher, a pioneer in Radio, TV, and Country Music,
encouraged her to pursue her music dream in Nashville. Buddy
introduced Steph to Chuck Glaser of Tompall & The Glaser Brothers
where he signed her to his management & production company
shortly after her graduating from High School. Stephanie moved to
Nashville, TN in 1985 where she spent a decade working in the Country
Music Industry alongside her music heroes on Music Row. Stephanie
worked as a songwriter for many music publishing companies including
Mel Tillis’ Tillis Tunes Publishing.
After getting tired of trying
compete against the growing trend of the more ” Pop ”
sounding country music as opposed to the traditional sound that
Stephanie knew & loved, she left the music business of Music Row
and moved back to the hills of West Virginia in 1995. 
 
In 2013 she formed the band
COUNTRY FRIED, and word spread quickly among the traditional country
music fans of West Virginia. Stephanie Spinks & Country Fried is
staying busy playing venues all over the state of West Virginia
nearly every weekend. After over 30 years of playing Country Music,
Stephanie is finally living out her lifelong dream …. Entertaining
true country fans and singing her songs…. COUNTRY FRIED style!
Gaby:
Music
has many new fans throughout Europe, they may hear about you for the
first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you make,
to someone who has never seen, or heard about you?
Stephanie:
I
have been singing & writing songs since I was eight years old. I
was performing as a traditional country singer by age 14. Moved to
Nashville in 1985 and worked as a songwriter for several publishing
companies including Glaser Brothers Music & Mel Tillis’
Publishing Company. I returned to West Virginia in 1995. I formed the
band ‘Country Fried ‘in 2013. We play original music along with
the hits of all the traditional country music legends… George
Jones, Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline…. &
many, many more.
Gaby:
How
has been the last year for you? What are the highlights?
Stephanie:
This
past year we have been keeping busy, playing venues all over West
Virginia here in The United States. With the popularity of the Pop
Country sound of today, traditional country fans are starved for
the old country sound. We have developed a fairly large fan base in a
very short period of time. We are having a great time entertaining!  
Gaby:
What
is the name of your latest CD and how does it sell?
Stephanie: 
The
only CD I have right now is from 1994 and was recorded during my
years in Nashville. The title is ‘There’s me ‘I went by
‘Stephanie Hunter ‘then.  At the moment it is only available
at our shows. I have since married and am performing as Stephane
Spinks Hoping to have another CD in the next year.  
Gaby:
What
made you choose that title for the CD?  Is there a story behind
this?
Stephanie: 
From
the title cut that I wrote ‘There’s Me ‘…. It was released
worldwide in 1993, received much airplay over in the UK.
Gaby:
Do
you write the songs by yourself? If not, how do you manage to find
the perfect songs for your CD?
Stephanie: 
I
write all my songs… The next CD may have a couple of songs that are
not my originals, due to them being fan favorites at our shows.
Gaby:
Please
tell us about the songs on your last album (influences, etc).
Stephanie: 
My
music heroes are George Jones, Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Roger
Miller and Tommy Collins. Writing songs just comes naturally for me.
It’s the best way for me to get my feelings out and pour them into
song, whether it’s happy, sad, or spiritual. I love creating &
playing music. It has always been my passion.
Gaby:
What
is the difference between your last and your current CD?
Stephanie: 
The
songs I have written in the most recent years have been leaning more
toward my spiritual side. As you get older, you find there are much
more important things in life, such as Faith in God and our Savior
Jesus Christ … This old world is getting crazier by the day, and
without The Lord, well…. I’d go CRAZY! … He is my Rock. 
Gaby:
What
is your favorite song among all the songs you have recorded and what
is the story behind?
Stephanie:
Pure
Bred “was the last song I wrote & recorded in Nashville. It’s
a tribute to the TRADITIONAL Country Legends & the music I love.
I was fed up with the modern sounds of today’s country and sadly
that’s all Music Row wanted to hear.. I had some of my legendary
friends join me on the song. Bobby Bare, John Hartford, Johnny
Duncan, Melba Montgomery, George Hamilton IV, Bobby Osborne, Merle
Kilgore …. On that note, I left Nashville behind.
Gaby:
How
much creative control do you have about your music?
Stephanie:
100
% of what I have done since 1995 is mine, and I enjoy the freedom of
creating & performing as me. If you have to change your style to
suit someone else, there is no point. You can take the girl out of
the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl.
Gaby:
Do
you have any interesting stories about how fans have been affected by
your music?
Stephanie:
I
have had folks come up crying over songs I have written, one
particular “As Soon As the Lord Opens the Door “George Hamilton
IV recorded it. I do it on my shows. It’s about looking forward to
leaving this world. I had a lady tearfully thank me for freeing her
from the fear of death… She was afraid to die, but my song
comforted her. It was overwhelming for me to hear that and extremely
humbling… That’s when I say, “Those words came from God, I just
held the pencil.” Sometimes I get moved to tears while seeing folks
singing along to one of my songs at a show. It means more than any
fortune or fame, bringing joy to someone through music. If I can
touch one soul in a positive way.. I’m doing what God put me here
to do. 
Gaby:
Who
inspires you in music and how deep are your musical roots?
Stephanie:
God
is my main inspiration now days …My husband Henry… Growing up my
country music heroes.  My Dad worked as a DJ in radio, he also
played the piano like Jerry Lee Lewis. I learned harmony by listening
to my Mom singing in Church … Had a great grandmother who wrote
poetry on my Dad’s side as did my grandfather on my Mom’s side….
So I guess you could say, it was in my blood.
Gaby:
What
do you think about today’s music scene versus the past and where do
you see it in the future?
Stephanie:
When
I arrived in Nashville in 85, someone told me that eventually there
would be no country music, that one day it would all just be music
….I laughed …… Ten years later …. I left. Ha! ……  
Gaby:
What
do you think about today’s music industry?
Stephanie: 
Actually
I enjoy something in all styles of music… I just LOVE MUSIC, but my
heart is traditional country all the way. I am happy the internet
came along though. It really has been a miracle as far as getting to
share your music with the world. One no longer HAS to go to Nashville
or LA or New York here in the U.S. The world is right at your own
finger tips today.
Gaby:
If
you had the chance to change something about the music industry, what
would it be?
Stephanie:
As
far as Country Music, I miss the old days. Music Row was like a small
community of musicians, writers, singers …Everybody knew everybody.
I miss the HEART of country music…. I would take away the greed,
and the sex symbol image. Country Music use to be about life …. Now
it’s geared at what’s HOT at the moment. 
Gaby:
What
was your big break that brought you into music business?
Stephanie:
Meeting
George Jones when I was 12, something told me “This is what I want
to do when I grow up. “ Buddy Starcher was a cousin of mine and got
my foot in the door of Nashville, signed with my first manager Chuck
Glaser a year before moving there. 
Gaby:
What
inspired you to become a songwriter?
Stephanie:
A
boy I had a crush on in the 3rd grade …It started out as a poem,
which my teacher intercepted …That  may have been a good
thing, I might have married that little boy and never persuade a
music dream … I don’t know, songwriting  has just always
been a part of me.
Gaby:
What
moments in your career, stay in your memory as highlights and
achievements which you are proud of?
Stephanie:
Getting
to know & work around my music hero’s …Especially George
Jones. I’m just thankful I got to Nashville during a time when they
all were still with us …. Those memories mean more to me than
anything I ever done or could ever achieve.
Gaby:
Any
thought of retirement ahead?
Stephanie:
I
was retired, but that need to pick & grin kicked in along with
some persuasion of family & friends ….. Here I am again nearly
20 years since I left Music Row. 
Gaby:
When
you get time off, how do you like to relax?
Stephanie:
Home
on the farm with my Punk in Poop (husband) and my dogs. Just enjoy
life.
Gaby:
Is
there anything in your life that you would change if you could?
Stephanie:
Nope
… You live & learn, that’s what makes you grow as a person.
Gaby:
What
kind of hopes and desires do you have?
Stephanie:
I
hope enough people enjoy my music enough to pass it down the
generations, particularly the spiritual songs.
Gaby:
Is
there any place on earth, you haven’t played yet, and that you would
like to capture?
Stephanie:
As
many times as I hung out backstage, I never got to play The Grand Ole
Opry… That is still a dream… Dreams don’t have a deadline
though.
Gaby:
Many
music fans today get their information about artists online. Do you
have your own website and what would your fans see there?
Stephanie:
My
website is www.countryfried.webstarts.com  there
is a reverbnation and YouTube link there also.
Gaby:
What kind of message would you like to give to your European fans?
Stephanie:
Keep
on playing that Good Ole Country Music – God Bless & have a
GOODEN!
Gaby
Agrikola for Country Music News International

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