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Magazine Articles - Page 2

NOTE : This article is taken from the June 1998 issue of Country Music International

'It's a whole difference world , that's for sure. It wasn't my world , but I was playing in it that night and it was fun. There's a saxophone solo in the song , and standing there with a microphone in your hand for 10 seconds , I looked out and I could see Jack Nicholson. During that moment was when I thought , "Here I am standing here in front of these people I only see in the movies." It was wonderful.' So said Trisha Yearwood in an interview with Associated Press following her performance of the song HOW DO I LIVE at the 70th annual Academy Awards Ceremony.

And while the tune didn't manage to scoop the Oscar for Best Original Song - that prize went to Celine Dion's rendition of MY HEART WILL GO ON from the all conquering TITANIC - a nomination was enough to win Yearwood a slot on the show. And for the 34-year old from Monticello , Georgia , that was excitement enough. As she admitted to Country Today , 'When you sit down and write out a list of dreams for your life , I don't know if you have the nerve to write , "I'd like to sing at the Oscars."'

And despite the reported rivalry between Yearwood and LeAnn Rimes , who also scored a (bigger) hit with the song - 'they'd love to see some kind of hair pulling thing' , Yearwood jokes - on the big night , both singers must have been united in rooting for the son's composer , Diane Warren. But just two days after performing at the Academy Awards , yearwood was back on stage in Winston - Salem , North Carolina opening for her good friend Garth Brooks. Anybody who knows a little Yearwood history will recall that it was Brooks who gave the singer one of her early breaks back in 1991 , when he took her out on his 80-city tour. She'd already had a smash hit single with SHE'S IN LOVE WITH THE BOY , but that exposure must have done her career no end of good.

Over the years , Brooks has continued to play an important role in Yearwood's success , and the pair have become great friends. But judging by Yearwood's increasingly busy schedule , it's surprising she had time to fit in those recent gigs at all. And , by all accounts , the next few months are going to be a whole lot busier still , including a promotional visit to the UK this month.

It's been a while since Yearwood played in this country in fact. Last time she was here , it was part of her European tour , which included visits to London's Royal Festival Hall and Scotland's Big Big Country event , as well as more Brooks support slots at the Big G's sell-out dates at Dublin's Croke Park.

Sadly , though , Yearwood was unable to return to Britain to promote the release of the HOW DO I LIVE single later in the year. So despite having her version of the song picked up for the soundtrack of the action movie CON AIR , she not only had to watch LeAnn Rimes outsell her by considerable numbers with the same record , but also watch Rimes score a UK Top Ten hit where she had failed.

Such things must be but small disappointments so long as the hits and awards keep rolling in. Even before her Oscar debut , Yearwood had already scooped the award for best female vocalist at January's Nashvile Music Awards. And when it came to the Grammies in Febuary , it was Yearwood who won the accolade for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for HOW DO I LIVE. And she picked up another the Best Collaboration for IN ANOTHER'S EYES , the duet she recorded with Brooks. This was also the second Grammy Yearwood had won in that category , having shared the prize with Aaron Neville three years ago for their rendition of I FALL TO PIECES.

Although Brooks was not around to collect the award with Yearwood , she called him straight away to give him the good news. And commenting on the win herself she says , 'It's always exciting to win an award , but to share it with a friend is even better. I had such a great time singing with Garth , and I'm proud our first duet won a Grammy.'

The Oscar performance wasn't Yearwood's only debut of recent months either. She had an even closer brush with the cameras when she played the part of a forensic pathologist in US TV series JAG , but she denies she is planning a career in acting : 'I'm not an actor. Videos kinda count , but you're singing , so you're still in your element. i was definitely out of my comfort zone with JAG. I'm not trying to be a full-time actor , but I enjoyed it. I felt like I did well.'

Besides the acting and the awards , Yearwood has also found the time to complete work on a new studio LP , the follow-up to last year's Best Of collection , SONGBOOK. Although the album is not scheduled for release until July , judging by the first single , THERE GOES MY BABY , fans have a lot to look forward to. The single is a big , powerful pop ballad and , given the right exposure , could be the record to finally bring the singer a wider audience in Britain.

But if you can't wait until July for a Yearwood fix , the singer has a song on the soundtrack to the movie HOPE FLOATS , starring Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick Jr , and it's available now. In a strange twist of fate , the song she has recorded , Bob Dylan's TO MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE , appears twice on the soundtrack. The other version is sung by - you guessed it - LeAnn... No , just kidding. This time round it's the Big G himself who could steal Yearwood's thunder - although the pair are certainly not in competition. However , Brooks' version of the song is likely to be the one that most people hear simply because in America his record label , Capitol , is hoping to use the track to gain Brooks some of that all too elusive pop radio play.

The reason Yearwood came to record the same track was because the album's producer wanted two versions of the song with which to frame the set. Sandwiched between Brooks and Yearwood are contributions from the Rolling Stones , Bryan Adams , Martina McBride , Deana Carter , Lyle Lovett , Whiskeytown , Lila McCann , Gillian Welch and the Mavericks , among others.

The Oscars probably won Yearwood the biggest single audience of her career - an estimated 78 million Americans tuned in , making it the most watched Academy Awards ever - but she is scheduled to perform at another major event this June. Yearwood , along with a selection of other star names , will perform at Luciano Pavarotti's annual all-star charity event. Jon Bon Jovi , Celine Dion and the Spice Girls are also lined up for the June 9 show , which takes place in Pavarotti's home town of Modena in Italy. All funds raised from the concert will go towards buliding the Pavarottu and Friends Liberian Children's Village.

In many ways , Yearwood couldn't have planned her career any better. But then she did study at Nashville's Belmont University and majored in music business , so she had a pretty good idea of what she was getting herself into. And she attributes much of the way she handles her business today to the years she spent studying. 'I think as an artist , one would love to only focus on the creative side and not focus on the other things. I'm a unique person because I enjoy the other sides too - the details of the business. You have to take responsibility for your own career. The bottom line is , it is your life.'

She also attributes much of her professional acumen to Brooks , from whom she says she has learnt a great deal. She told Associated Press , 'I've known Garth for ten years and we're good friends. He's like a big brother to me. I think we both value each other's opinion. I watch him and how he deals with his fans. Let me tell you , he has class. He's a good person. The biggest thing to learn from him is that he really focuses on the music and lets all the other stuff - gossip , critics knocking him - fall to the wayside. He doesn't act famous. I like that.'

But Brooks is not the only important man in Trisha Yearwood's life. Early on in her career she met Maverick's bass player Robert Reynolds , to whom she was married in 1994. So when she's not out on the road playing up to 200 live dates a year she can probably be found hiding away at home making the most of the five or so days she and Reynolds actually get to spend with one another. While it may not sound like much of a basis for a marriage , to spend so little time with one's partner , Yearwood says of the situation , 'It's the first time I've been in a relationship where I've felt the freedom to be career driven'. Just one of the benefits , perhaps , of having a partner in the same business.

With her husband's band currently proving such a hit on this side of the Atlantic , Yearwood must have even more incentive to crack the UK once and for all. She certainly has a strong following here , but she knows only too well that to make the big crossover into the pop market , you have to put in the leg work - and she has always been doing what it takes : 'I've been touring the UK for the past four years , so it's very important to me. There does seem to be a real hunger for country music over there , and I believe that if you want people to know you and your music in other parts of the world , you have to travel there.'

While some artists of Trisha Yearwood's calibre are content to reep the benefits at home and rest on their laurels , it's gratifying to know that Yearwood plans to continue to visit her fans outside of the States. And one thing is for sure : she will always be welcome on these shores!

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