This Sara Evans interview with Chapel Hill News & Views publisher Tim Collins took place shortly before her July 2014 concert at Mill Town Music Hall. Though her latest album is called Slow Me Down, she is not slowing down anytime soon. We were able to ask some interesting questions and learn more about this country music superstar.
Tim: On July 18th, you are coming to Bremen, Georgia at Mill Town Music Hall. This will be a relatively smaller venue compared to some of the places you normally perform. Is there a difference in how you approach a show depending on the venue size?
Sara: When I play a smaller venue I can really have that intimate connection with the fans. It gives me the chance to connect more because I can see most of the crowd and see their reactions. When I play a stadium or large amphitheater it’s just as much fun, but it requires me to work the stage a little more.
Tim: In March, you released a new album, “Slow Me Down”. Do you have a personal favorite from the new album, and a personal favorite song of yours out of all of the songs you have recorded?
Sara: Right now my favorite song from “Slow Me Down” is the Gavin DeGraw duet “Not Over You.” It was Gavin’s song that he wrote with Ryan Tedder and released to pop radio, but from the first time I heard his version, I thought “This is a Sara Evans song!!!” ha ha. I joke that they wrote it for me and just didn’t know it. I love all of the songs I’ve recorded, but the song “Restless” from the album “Restless” holds a special place in my heart.
Tim: Of all of your songs, is there one that you would consider to be the most challenging song vocally?
Sara: On the “Slow Me Down” album, a song called “Better Off” is SO vocally challenging. I love it so much but am scared for it to ever be a single because I’d have to sing it in the live shows. Another song called “Niagara” that I recorded on my “Restless” album is one that stretches me vocally.
Tim: Of all of your songs, which ones have been the most popular commercially?
Sara: “Suds In The Bucket” and “A Little Bit Stronger” both seemed to touch people and are played a lot on radio, even though they aren’t current singles.
Tim: Looking back at your career, is there one “special” moment that stands out above the rest?
Sara: There have been SO many amazing moments and highlights, but I’d have to say winning the ACM Top Female Vocalist award is the one that stands out.
Tim: What is the most unusual thing that you can remember happening at one of your concerts or in your career?
Sara: I had a guy in the front row a couple years ago that shook my hand, then wouldn’t let go… he almost pulled me down into the audience. My road manager was close by luckily and ran out to tackle the guy. We actually made a webisode about it that’s hilarious.
Tim: Are you working on any new material?
Sara: I usually only write when I’m working on a new project, and we just put “Slow Me Down” out in March, so I’m focused on promoting it right now.
Tim: If someone looks back at your career and your life, is there something that you would want to be remembered for – like Sara Evans was this?
Sara: Musically I’d love for them to remember me as someone who touched you with my songs and made you feel something. Overall as a human being, I’d like people to remember me as a good mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend.
Tim: Outside of music, is there something that you are particularly passionate about?
Sara: I love fashion and beauty. My sister in law, Kaelin, who is also my stylist and does my hair and makeup, started a blog with me called A Real Fine Place. We blog about fashion trends, what I wear on the road and at photoshoots, beauty tips and tricks, our travels, food we love, and more. It’s been a fun creative outlet beyond my music.
Tim: When people listen to a Sara Evans song, what influence or effect do you want it to have on them?
Sara: I want you to feel something… whether it’s joy, or sadness, or healing, or humor… each song can speak to someone in a unique way, and I just want you to feel when you listen.
Tim: If you look back at Sara Evans as a musician and as a person over the span of your career, how would you say that you have changed?
Sara: Over the years I’ve evolved and learned that you can’t define an artist in narrow terms or put yourself into a box. It’s ok to take some creative risks and color outside of the lines. I like to stretch myself vocally now more than ever.
Tim: Is there one particular moment that you could say was your “Big Break”?
Sara: I got asked to sing a demo of the song “Tiger By The Tail” that Buck Owens had made popular. The songwriter of that song, Harlan Howard was wanting to pitch several of his hits to current artists, and I got asked to sing the demo for “Tiger By The Tail”. Harlan was in the studio that day and flipped out over my voice and how country sounding I was. He called Joe Galante who was the head of RCA Records at that time, and setup a meeting. I went in and sang a couple of songs, and by the time I got home, there was a voicemail waiting for me offering me a 7 album deal on RCA. It was surreal!
Tim: What are your plans for the future?
Sara: I’m not slowing down anytime soon. We’re touring throughout the rest of the year, getting ready to release the second single from “Slow Me Down”, looking at some TV opportunities, and much more.