CCMA Week So Far…What a Rush!!

What a week!  I’ve been back to the Fallsview Casino to see Jessica perform my songs and visit with her backstage, I’ve been in Toronto filming a CMT show about my experience writing for Jessica’s record, and now for the past few days I’ve been in Winnipeg, participating in my first ever Canadian Country Music Awards Week as an artist.  And it has been incredible so far!!!  Here are some of the highlights of the weekend…

-Meeting and greeting so many Canadian music industry folks at the Kickoff Party on Friday night – and it seemed like every time I turned around I was running into another artist who was saying “Hey, I just recorded one of your songs!!!”  Wow!  I think there were at least eight of them!

Debuting my song “I Can’t” from my upcoming record (releasing in 2009) for a huge room full of country music movers and shakers at the Industry Awards Brunch…with a SMOKING band (hey, they also back up Deric Ruttan & Jason Blaine, and the drummer also plays for Kim Mitchell – how cool is that?)…and alongside Gord Bamford and Deric Ruttan…and receiving an incredible reception of support and excitement about my album.  Some of the most influential people in the industry expressed an interest in working with me to help make my record a success and to get me performing on a great tour up here, so I’m really excited about that.

-Hanging out backstage at the Fanfest meet and greet for an interview with CMT Canada about my Jessica Simpson cuts, my Canadian roots and my new record pending release

-Bawling my eyes out in my hotel room Saturday night as I watched Jessica Simpson sing my songs “Come on Over” and “Remember That” (her new single) on the televised Grand Ole Opry.  It was amazing.  Her spoken introduction and the way she delivered “Remember That” with such conviction made me feel like Rachel and I were up on stage right next to her.  That song is so much more than a song to me – it’s a message of hope and strength that came out of the most difficult time in my life – and you can tell that Jessica feels the same way when she sings it.  I am SO excited that the world is going to hear it.  (By the way, you can watch the video of the performance online at www.sweetkisses.net).  What a rush…not only having two of my own songs performed on the Opry stage, but also seeing my sweet friend and fellow Ontario girl Crystal Shawanda make her TV Opry debut…and then seeing Patty Loveless sing as well, whose music is one of the main reasons why I chose to be a songwriter in the first place.  And on top of that, the queen of country legends, Loretta Lynn!  Let me just say that in a business that can be so tough for women (only 1 in 300 professional songwriters is a woman in the country genre, and of all last year’s charting radio singles only 17 were written or co-written by a woman), last night’s show was a celebration of strength, perseverance, and success.

-Being asked to give a speech and introduce “Remember That” to all of the program directors and DJs of Canadian radio who were gathered at BMG Canada’s presentation of new radio singles.  Boy, it sure felt fantastic to hear the song coming through those speakers and to have the opportunity to say a few words about how it felt to write it.

There is still much, much more to come – I’m performing tonight alongside Dierks Bentley and Darius Rucker (from Hootie and the Blowfish) and then again tomorrow in the Great Guitar Pull alongside Randy Bachman and country legend Bill Anderson…so I’ll fill you in again soon!

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