10 Questions with ... Deborah Evans Price
January 23, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Deborah Evans Price began her career in production at KTAL Channel 6 (NBC affiliate) in Shreveport and then spent four years as an air personality at KRMD Shreveport. She moved to Nashville in 1983 and landed her first job on Music Row at R&R. Evans Price served as Editor-in-Chief of Country News magazine and associate editor of American Songwriter before landing at Billboard in 1995 as Country/Christian music editor. She's currently a freelance writer contributing regularly to Billboard, Country Weekly, AOL's The Boot, GMCtv.com, People Country, CMA Close Up and other outlets. Over the years, she's interviewed Brad Paisley, Don Henley, Taylor Swift, Reba, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Bon Jovi, Smokey Robinson, Carrie Underwood, Amy Grant, Third Day, Darius Rucker and numerous other artists. A noted music industry analyst, Evan Price has been interviewed by the Today Show, CNN, MSNBC, ABC PrimeTime Live, the Wall Street Journal and other media outlets. She's a graduate of Leadership Music and is on the Board of Directors of the Gospel Music Association.
1) You're a respected journalist in the Country and mainstream genres but few people know that you got your start in radio at KRMD in Shreveport.
I started working at KRMD while I was attending LSU and it was a dream come true. I had been listening to the station for years and was thrilled when I landed a job there. I couldn't believe I got paid to talk and listen to Country music---two things I love to do!
2) What made you move to Nashville?
I originally thought I wanted to go into TV news but I interned at KTBS Channel 3, the Shreveport ABC affiliate, and after covering a shooting and then a car wreck, I decided God made people who could handle that type of journalism better than me. I was already working at KRMD and loved it. I was also writing Country music stories for the Shreveport Times and thought Nashville would be the right move after college. If you want to be a Country music journalist it's THE place to be.
3) Do you think you'll ever get back into radio?
I would love to! I really miss radio and if an opportunity arose, I'd jump on it.
4) You have covered Country artists for 27 years in such publications as Billboard (where you were the Country & Christian editor for 10 years), Country Weekly, People Magazine, etc. What has been your favorite interview?
That's a hard question. When I wrote my book, the CMA Awards Vault, I loved interviewing Loretta Lynn and having her tell me about the night she became the first woman to win Entertainer of the Year. I'll always treasure that conversation. The first time I interviewed Don Henley was for a cover story for American Songwriter magazine and he called me at home the next day to tell me something he wanted to add. I was surprised. At first I thought it was my brother playing a joke on me, then I realized it was really him!!! Brad Paisley, Amy Grant and Charlie Daniels are also among my favorite interviews.
5) Now you're a first-time author with your book, "The CMA Awards Vault" (Country Music's Biggest Night). What made you write a book?
I had always wanted to write a book and when I got a call asking me if I was interested in writing a history of the CMA Awards I couldn't think of a more fun project. I especially loved going back and watching all the previous shows starting with the first televised show in 1968, the second year the CMA Awards were in existence.
6) Being a former radio personality, how did it feel to be interviewed by the radio stations at the Premiere Radio Remote during CMA Week?
I had such a great time! I'm a fan of so many of the nice folks who took time to interview me. It was a lot of fun, although I have to admit, I'm used to being the one who asks the questions so it felt a little odd at first to be the one being interviewed. It really made me miss radio, the spontaneity and sense of purpose.
7) Tell us the background story of Charlie Rich setting on fire the ballot that announced John Denver as Entertainer of the Year in 1975.
Since Charlie has passed on, I didn't get to interview him to find out exactly what he was thinking during that bizarre moment in CMA history. Some people are convinced it was a protest because John Denver had won, but some friends of Charlie's think it was a prank that went awry. They think he was just trying to be funny but it really became an infamous incident that damaged his career.
8) All you have to say is - Reba - red dress - and the rest is understood. What's the background story about that revealing dress she wore at the 1993 CMA Awards?
The dress was designed by Sandy Spika. When Reba first tried it on she thought it was too revealing and asked Sandy to sew more crystals on the dress. Sandy complied, but when Reba got dressed, she and her husband Narvel were concerned the dress was still too revealing. Of course, it did cause quite a stir and Sandi said she thought she was going to be fired. However, Reba got more press than any artist at the show that year, in large part due to her dress, so Sandy became a hero!
9) Which of the numerous hosts for the awards has the funniest story?
Vince Gill told me about a time when he was in his dressing room changing clothes and suddenly someone banged on the door and said he was supposed to be on stage NOW! He threw his clothes on and then ran across the stage skidding up to the podium in his socks.
10) The CMA Awards is a live show, so what "accidents" almost made it into prime time?
Just moments before Dolly Parton won Entertainer of the Year in 1978, the front of her dress ripped open. She borrowed Marianne Rogers' fur coat and covered her bosom as she took the stage to accept her award, quipping Daddy would say that's what I get for putting 50 pounds of mud in a five pound sack.
1) What's your favorite barbeque place in Nashville?
It's a tie between Judge Beans and Famous Dave's.
2) Where is the strangest place you ran into a country artist when you weren't working?
I ran into Tim McGraw at an Eagles concert and saw Troy Gentry at Maggie Moo's ice cream shop. I also ran into Brad Paisley at Judge Beans. I'm sure there is probably something weirder, but can't think of it right now.
3) What CD is in your player right now?
In my SUV, I've been listening to Darren Kozelsky's "Arrivals & Departures." I love this CD and have been listening to it over and over for more than a year. He's a Texas artist---a really nice guy with a great voice and these are some of the strongest songs I've heard on an album in years. "Seven Vern Gosdins Ago" sounds like a classic and "Somebody Find Me a Preacher" perfectly captures that wonderful feeling of being in love and KNOWING that it's the real thing. In my house, I've been listening to Christian Rock band Third Day's new CD "Move." It's awesome! I love frontman Mac Powell's voice. He's amazing and the songs are incredible. They nourish my soul.
4) What was the first concert you ever attended?
When I was a kid and we where living on an Air Force Base in New Jersey, my dad drove me to the fair in Allentown, PA to see the Osmonds. It was a great show! What little girl in the '70s didn't love Donny Osmond?