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Posts Tagged ‘Grammy Award’

On Monday, April 5, 2010, I had the distinct privilege of interviewing Award winning country music artist Bryan White after seeing him perform with Victoria Shaw and Gary Burr at New York City’s legendary jazz club Birdland as part of Jim Caruso’s Broadway at Birdland series. Right before I interviewed him, Bryan took the time to meet with fans, take pictures, and sign cds. Gracious, personable, and down to earth, Bryan White is proud of his success, but hasn’t forgotten where he came from. Since the age of 14, he has been entertaining audiences. He’s won a Grammy award, CMA Horizon Award, ACM Top Male Vocalist Award, had six #1 singles, two platinum records, two gold records and joined forces with Shania Twain for “From This Moment on” which they took to #4 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart. Bryan just released his eighth studio album entitled “Dustbowl Dreams” and is currently touring the country. For tour dates and much more on Bryan, be sure to visit: http://www.bryanwhite.com.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? First, I’d have to say my parents because they were musicians and they were the first people I saw performing music. The guy that made me want to be a recording artist and make records and do all of this was a guy named Steve Wariner. Steve is just a tremendous artist, singer, and songwriter. I heard his voice and I said to myself that’s exactly what I want to do. If it weren’t for Steve’s music and talent, I wouldn’t be here.

2. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? I’ve been so fortunate to work with so many people already over my career, but I’d love to work with Bonnie Raitt sometime. I think she’s an tremendous talent. I’d love to sit in the same room with Dolly and write a song with her. I’d also love to work with Michael McDonald, Carrie Underwood or James Taylor.

3. What’s your proudest moment? When I saw my children being born, that was my proudest moment. That’s when I realized life is so much bigger than me and us. Being a dad is about as good as it gets.

4. What’s the best advice you’ve given someone, but not taken for yourself? That’s a great question, ’cause it makes me think.  I tell a lot of singers that they need to warm up and don’t drink a lot of caffine and try to drink a lot of water. I try to stay adamant with staying hydrated and warm up a 1/2 hour before a show, but I’m not always real diligent about it.

5. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? My granddad. My granddad was my hero. He passed away about 5 years ago and that was very difficult for me. Sometimes he’s in my dream and I wake up and I realize it was just a dream and I think man what a bummer cause it was cool to see him. It was like we were hanging. I would also like to dream that I was in heaven hanging with God.

6. Favorite ride at an amusement park? I love wooden roller coasters because their fun, their fast, and their scary, but they give the impression like their gonna fall apart at anytime because you hear the wood and the clacking and all the noise and it sort of adds to the illusion of the fear.

7. Favorite way to stay in shape? Walking definitely not running. I hate running. I like basketball too because it’s faking you out by thinking you are not working out, but really you are.

8. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs most of the time, but I have two pairs of boxers and on occasion when it’s really hot outside, I’ll wear boxers.

9. Favorite website? I tend to go to Twitter almost every time I go online. I like Twitter from my phone, but I really like it from my laptop better because it’s faster. Sometimes I’ll get into a conversation with a fan and that is really fun for me. I love going to Wikipedia because if I think of some big celebrity that I’ve always wondered about and wanted to know where they are from, I’ll go to Wikipedia to find out. I’m big into where people are from. That’s typically how all my conversations with people start because I’ve been so many places I can usually bring up something about their hometown and engage them in conversation.

10. “Transformers” or “Gobots”? Transformers. I don’t remember buying Gobots.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite way to spend your day off? I love to laugh and hang with friends or have a bbq in the backyard with all my favorite people. I also love recreational stuff outside, especially on a boat. I’m an avid fisherman and I don’t get to do it as much because of my schedule, but I’m getting ready to go Wyoming and I’m really excited because there might be an opportunity for me to go fly fishing. There is just something about being outside where I can see a long ways and think and reflect. I’m a song writer so I typically think better and most of my ideas come when I’m out in the wilderness.

12. Out of everyone you’ve worked with, who did you learn the most from? That’s a tough one because I took something from everyone, but I would have to go back to Steve Wariner. He’s been not only a mentor in respect to the artistry but also in respect to the business side of the industry. He’s given me some of the most priceless advice in terms of staying in there and fighting through. I’ve learned a lot from being on the road with Vince Gill and Mark Miller from Sawyer Brown. There are a lot of real people in the industry and you just hope that you are directed to those people. When you find them, you just try to hang on to them because they’re really blessings.

13. Who do you consider to be your hero? My granddad. Like many of our grandparents, he comes from a whole different generation. It’s a generation where people really worked for their living and they didn’t know what sitting around meant or they didn’t know what it meant to surf the web and kind of veg out. Veg out was not a term back then and I respect that about him. He got up every morning and he was a hard worker and he enjoyed his work and he enjoyed his family even more. I know now, looking back, why he worked so hard because every ounce of energy he put into his work was for all for his kids and all for his family and he loved people. So I think everyday when I do things or when I meet people or working, I try to think about how he approached life and I try to apply what I learned from him to my life as well. I want to leave that same kind of legacy one day.

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Billy StritchBilly Stritch is an award-winning composer, arranger, vocalist, and jazz pianist. He’s worked with the greatest in both music and theatre including Liza Minnelli, Reba McEntire, Linda Davis, and Christine Ebersole. Since the age of 12, Billy has been delighting audiences with his skill, humor, and showmanship. During his time at the University of Houston, Billy created the musical group Montgomery, Plant, and Stritch. This jazz vocal group started out playing in local saloons, but before they knew it, they were crooning in some of the best supper clubs around the country. These gigs led the group to the JVC Jazz Festival where they got paired up with Mel Torme at Carnegie Hall which took them to becoming regulars at the Newport Jazz festival and toured Italy for four years with the North Sea Jazz Festival. The group did eventually disband and Billy made the leap to New York City. One night he was playing in a piano bar, when Liza Minnelli walked in, heard him play, and instantly hired him to arrange for her “Steppin’ Out At Radio City” extravaganza. This amazing pairing took Billy all around the world and continued with Liza asking him to associate produce her CD “Gently,” which earned two Grammy Award Nominations. He was also co-arranger with the great Marvin Hamlisch for “Minnelli on Minnelli” at the Palace Theatre in New York City. In 1994, Billy and Nashville writer Sandy Knox, wrote the Grammy Award-winning country song “Does He Love You?,” which was recorded by country superstar Reba McEntire and Linda Davis and has sold over four million copies nationwide. “Does He Love You?” has also appeared on Patti LaBelle’s CD “Flame” and most recently was performed on “American Idol” by Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson. A new path opened for Billy in 2001 when he was cast in the Broadway revival of “42nd Street” as “Oscar,” the piano-playing crooner. This is where he met the one and only Christine Ebersole and eight nights a week, they got to perform their show-stopping number “I Only Have Eyes For You.” Their enjoyment of one another led to many future collaborations together including their nightclub act “In Your Dreams” which they performed in 2004 at Feinstein’s in New York, The Cinegrill in Hollywood, and Manhattan’s famed jazz club Birdland. Their act led them to releasing a CD of the same name in November 2004. Their latest release together, “Sunday In New York”, also stemmed from their nightclub act at The Metropolitan Room in New York City. From solo CDs to guest appearances on many others, Billy is your go-to guy for a defining sound that will rock your soul. Billy can currently be seen in Las Vegas at the MGM with Liza Minnelli  in “Liza at the Palace” until October 1 and then they go down under for Liza’s Australian tour through November 3. Be sure to catch these two legends together…and you certainly catch more of Billy at http://www.billystritch.com.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? My Grandmother used to take me to see all the shows that came through Houston (my hometown) when I was between the ages of nine and 12. Those experiences greatly influenced my desire to be onstage; seeing Ginger Rogers in “Mame”, Barbara Eden (!) in “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” and my favorite Debbie Reynolds doing her nightclub/concert act. So it really wasn’t one particular person who inspired me, but rather all of those childhood experiences that worked together to ignite my desire to be a performer.

2. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? Hard to name just one, so I’ll name a few: Cher (duh), Patti Austin, Streisand, Sting, Trisha Yearwod and Martina McBride.

3. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? I can’t think of one, but if I did I would probably keep it a secret!

4. What has been your most embarrassing on-stage moment? Luckily, because I am usually seated at the piano, there haven’t been many. But when I was in the revival of “42nd Street” on Broadway (in the small but pivotal role of Oscar the pianist) I was talking to a few of the dancers offstage, just chatting away, until I realized that I had totally missed my entrance in the “Lullaby Of Broadway” number. I was supposed to enter onto an elevated platfrom via an offstage staircase and instead had to just sneak on from stage left with a clump of people. Since I was just one person in a cast of 54, I don’t think anyone noticed – except the Stage Manager, who gave me a note after the show!

5. Is there ever a time you thought about quitting? Quit and do what? I’ve always felt that my talent was a God given gift and that I was meant to develop it and share it. I can’t imagine doing anything else – certainly I can’t think of another business where you get to sleep late, socialize in nightclubs, meet celebrities AND get paid for it!

6. Favorite website? I love Mental Floss (because I am a trivia and quiz geek), and I am an All That Chat voyeur, for sure. Also, Playbill Online gets checked at least every other day. You Tube is terrific, but I only go there if I have a few hours to kill, because one clip surfs you to another, and another, and another……

7. Favorite musician/singer? Pianists I love: André Previn, George Shearing, Bill Evans, Lee Musiker, Bill Charlap. Singers I love: All the ones I work with – Christine Ebersole, Marilyn Maye, Liza, Klea Blackhurst – and ones I don’t work with – Patti Austin, Cleo Laine, Mel Tormé, Reba McEntire, Trisha Yearwood, the list goes on….

8. Favorite play/musical? “Sunday In The Park With George” affected my deeply when I first saw it in the 80’s, also “Sweeney Todd”, “42nd Street”, “City Of Angels” and everybody’s favorite “Gypsy”.

9. Favorite TV Theme Song? This is even before MY time, but I love the theme to the old “Patty Duke Show” – I wish they’d bring TV themes back, but when you have to knock out an entire 30 minute show in 22 minutes, I guess a full theme song takes up too much time. It’s a shame, because now when we think back on shows from the 50’s to the 80’s, what do we remember most? The theme song!

10. “Mary” or “Rhoda”? Mary, of course. Actually though, Sue Anne Nivens was my fave. I love Betty White and have met her many times. She’s a delightful lady!

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite kind of shoes? Prada.

12. Boxers or Briefs? I love Boxers, but personally I have a Border Terrier named Ivy who I’m hopelessly in love with. Is that what you meant?

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