lisa pikaard is country strong…
Angela Reign may not be a name known by all but she is definitely making a splash in the country world and continuing to broaden her horizons. While she may be labeled a country singer, her sound is that of Fleetwood Mac- if the band decided to do a collaboration with Heart and tried to do so with a country twang and sing about bull riding or the like.
For those of you who don’t know Angela Reign, she is a philanthropic vocal powerhouse who is generating a buzz around the southeast. Angela does what she can for cancer research amongst many other charitable organizations and can sing her butt off. She has actually been offered the opportunity to sing at any PBR, Professional Bull Riders, not Pabst Blue Ribbon, event of 2013. That is one heck of an honor for any up and coming singer.
I was fortunate enough to get to catch up with Angela before she took on Opryland down in Nashville. She was more than happy to tell me about her philanthropic efforts, her new EP, and how to get somewhere in the music world.
Pop-Break: So lets start with the basics, tell me a little bit about you, Angela, and how you ended up kind of in country music.
Angela Reign: Okay, well, first of all, I’ve been singing since I was 9 years old. I started singing in church choir. I was actually in the adult choir at 9 and throughout all of elementary, middle school, high school and some college I did a lot of musical theater. So music in general has always been a part of my life. However, once I graduated from college, I went on to the corporate world and I took about a ten year break to be quite honest from doing anything involving music or theater.
PB: Oh wow!
AR: I know, yeah! But I’ve always had it in my heart and so I moved to Atlanta back in 2007, and in 2009, the end of 2009 I met a Nashville guitar player at a private party and my friends actually knew I had sang and my past and they encouraged me to get up with him and sing a couple of songs. So I did even though I know he was probably like oh great here we’ve got this girl coming up and singing with me. But actually, he seemed to be very impressed to the point where he asked me to start performing with him locally throughout Atlanta and I did and we started out as a duo for about a year. Then we’d grown from that to a 5 piece band performing throughout the southeast, all over the place, lots of festivals and venues and we’ve also combined some interesting things like the World Championship of Line Dancing.
PB: That’s exciting!
AR: It is; it’s an interesting world.
PB: Absolutely! So when I was listening to your music, I heard a lot of classic rock. I heard a very much a Stevie Nicks vibe so I was wondering what music did you grow up listening to that really inspired you to sing and your style?
AR: You actually hit the nail on the head right there. Stevie nicks! Fleetwood Mac is my ultimate favorite group, musical group. In fact, I mean its funny, my dad was very much a classic rock guy and so I was brought up with the greats, ya know the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, and Bob Seger; so I infuse a lot of that into my music just because that’s where my heart is, my soul. But I love country too so I try to pull it all together and give my country songs a very classic rock vibe along with some southern rock too. I’ve been told that a lot of people say you’re kind of like the female version of Lynyrd Skynyrd.
PB: I was going to say that too!
AR: So I’m a little crazy on stage too. I am not tame by any means. They call me the “Tasmanian Devil.” If you’ve seen me perform, it’s hard for photographers and videographers to just stay focused. They have to buy special lenses, I’ve been told, to film me!
PB: That’s awesome. That is something to hold on to. Good for you. Okay, so you have an album out, right?
AR: Yes I do and I actually have an album that I did in back in 2010 called Living In Between and from there I’ve had a couple of new songs that I’ve actually recorded as singles and I’ve added them into a compilation that I call my sampler CD that I’ve been giving out and selling as well.
PB: Well what song, if you could pick one of your songs, what song should people check out if they’re not familiar with your music?
AR: Oh wow.
PB: Tough question, I get it.
AR: That’s a hard one! I would say “Tall Drink of Water.” That is probably my newest single out right now and it represents, for me, my capabilities as a singer and a performer. It’s a wide range in my vocals so I start off kind of a sultry Bonnie Raitt feel into a more of a crescendo, hitting some pretty high notes, and it also represents, the song itself represents, kind of what I like to bring to music- a little bit of fun, a little bit of sassiness- and that song definitely has that.
PB: So I know you keep talking about your persona on stage and I know, I read that you’re headed to Nashville to Opryland right now, which is very cool, but tell me, what was your favorite show that you’ve ever been to? What musician really caught you on stage?
AR: Oh wow! Um, this is going to be funny. Madonna.
AR: Yeah! It’s funny because I think, mainly because her performance is electrifying. I saw her in Chicago when I was living in Chicago about six years ago and she has been, to me, kind of a role model when it comes to versatility and a chameleon to kind of changing with the times and recognizing what people want, what audiences want. It’s not just about the music; it’s not just about the song; it’s about everything; it’s about putting the theater into. It’s about really making people involved in the music through dance, as well as through the song, as well as through the visual aids that come out in her performance.
PB: I can see that. When you first started talking and you mentioned theater, you can just assume that people who have theater background really do have that stage presence, which I think really makes a live performance.
PB: So another kind of question, I mean I’m sure that you’re talking about touring, you seem to be playing a lot of shows, you’re constantly on the road, who is your favorite person who you’ve performed with?
AR: Lets see here. I’m trying to think back to last year. You know it’s funny, I’m going to say, the guy I’m performing with this coming weekend. I didn’t do a full show with him but I did some cameo stuff with him. His name is Barry Richman and he is an amazing guitar player throughout the southeast. In fact, he has been recognized as one of the best guitar players in the country and it’s just, he’s got this style about him that just appeals to all genres of music. He focuses more on rock and jazz with a little bit of blues but he infuses that into any style of music. He and I are actually doing a show this coming Saturday in Atlanta, but I’ve also performed with him during open mic nights and I have to say, even though it wasn’t a full fledged show, that meant the world to me, more than doing a full show with anyone else.
PB: That’s awesome. It’s really funny that you said that though because as soon as you start talking and you said he’s such a talented guitar player the most talented guitar player I have ever seen live is Lindsay Buckingham from Fleetwood Mac so it’s just so funny! Like I see this whole trend. That’s awesome but okay, so what does 2013 have in store for you now that we’ve started the new year. I’m assuming it’s going to be more touring.
AR: Yes, in fact I just got a unique opportunity that just came around with the Professional Bull Riding Association, PBR. They actually have hooked onto my song “I Want to Ride the Bull.”
PB: I wonder why!
AR: [Laughter] And they have asked me, have given me an extended invitation to come to any of their events in 2013 and actually perform the National Anthem and we’re also in negotiations about during their kind of half time, or a time when they’ve got a crowd and no events happening, either performing a concert or doing a backing track to my, “I Want to Ride the Bull” song. So we’re in negotiations on that end of it but I’m definitely going to be doing the National Anthem at three locations here coming up this year. The first one is in January in Winston, Salem so that is exciting. I’m also planning a very large benefit concert in my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio for the American Cancer Society and the Cancer Support community. I’ve got some family members who have cancer and it’s very important for me to give back, using my music, to organizations who are there to help people like that. So I’ve got a big concert planned with them in the spring that we’re working on venues right now as well as I’m working with radio stations to kind of promote that. Then, of course, I’m working on a new EP at the moment. We’ve got several songs that we’re working on. We’re in the recording studio and that’ll be throughout, I would say, probably the first half of the year we’ll be in and out of the studio working on those things.
PB: Awesome. I saw through some research of you that you are very big in these different philanthropies and giving back. What do you think brought you to doing that in the first place?
AR: I think, for me, I’ve always been a humanitarian. Before I even went into corporate America I was a biology teacher for high school. Giving back to the community has just always been a part of who I am as a person. Probably from my upbringing in church as well as just being, I just love to help people and I feel like I’ve been given a gift for a reason and I don’t want to use that in selfish ways. I want to use it in a way to inspire people and to encourage them for whatever they might be going through. Whether it’s for the military because they need encouragement to get through their daily lives or for people who are battling with illness who just need a pick me up, I feel like the best way for me, I pick up my spirits through music and I feel like that’s the way I can give back as well.
PB: That’s fantastic! Good for you. So one silly question, for the new year, have you made any new years resolutions?
AR: I’m trying to think. I think I have! For me, it’s been to be more involved in all parts of my life. I guess I need to explain that a little bit better. Not only am I a musician but I also am a step mother. I have two step children and I, you know it’s all about balance and balancing out my different aspects of my life. I guess that’s what I wanted to do. I want to be better at balancing that so I can be more involved in my husband’s life, in my step-children’s life, my band, promoting my music as well as performing. All of those things are really important to me and I just want to get better at balancing it all together.
PB: Very cool. So one last question I have is do you have any advice for people that want to break into country music or just music in general?
AR: I do! Several things really. The first is be true to yourself and I say that because there is going to be people in this business that are going to tell you that you need to do this or do that and you know, I think it’s important to first listen to the advice and the feedback but then make your own decision about whether or not that really matches who you are either as a performer or as a person. So being true to yourself and being true to what you really want to get out of this should always come first and foremost. And then second of all, I think when you are performing, whether you’re performing for ten or five or five thousand people, you need to always put forth one hundred percent your best performance ever. Even if you’re discouraged because people haven’t come out to see you or the crowd isn’t as engaged as you’d like them to be, it doesn’t matter. You need to always go forth with the attitude that this is going to be my best performance, especially because you don’t even know who is going to be in the crowd. You could have two people but those two people could be Sony record producers. You never know. And then the third piece is to get involved in all aspects of this business. Not just performance, not just songwriting, not just going out and singing but you need to also educate yourself about the business aspects because it’s just as important. Even if you have a team of people helping you, which I think you should have, I think it’s important for people to be educated in all aspects of this business because ultimately it’s your career and you want to help make those decisions.
PB: Awesome. That sounds like great advice. So last thing, where can people find your music?
AR: I would say first and foremost go to my website which is angelareign.com, and then also you can get access to my music through iTunes, Facebook. I have a Facebook page as well which is angelareignfanpage and I’m on ReverbNation and I’m also on sonicbids and myspace.
PB: Very cool so you should be easy to find. Thank you so much for talking to me!
AR: Sure, same to you!