Entertainment, On A High Note

Tanya Tucker discusses being honored by the Country Music Hall of Fame and growing up in the spotlight

f1da6f87-c40a-4b7f-b6df-048dbf42b087Superstar Tanya Tucker was quite honored and surprised when she received a call from the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Vice President of Museum Services, Carolyn Tate.  Not letting grass grow under its feet, of late the CMHOF has been doing all they can to honor country stars who, while still in our hearts, may not be on the radio.

The Country Music Hall of Fame has found a fine balance in honoring both the legendary icons of music and country music’s new artists. This is due much in part to the efforts of Carolyn Tate, who reaches out to the artists and coordinates the exhibits in an effort to keep their iconic musical efforts in the public eye and to refresh our memories.

Tucker admits the call came as a surprise and that though she was honored, her first thought was, “I wonder if we could just hold off a little longer until I could finish my album – then I could release it at the same time?” But then she jokingly relates that she’s glad it all worked out as it did because, as she puts it, “I think I’m breaking the record for how long it takes to make a record.” Tucker says she’s been working on a project she likes very much – but only as she has time to do it, and that she still lacks two or three more tracks for the album.  She later added that the project has been in the works for nearly 10 years now.

As a child performer, Tucker was one of the few that didn’t allow the fame to go to her head and says that any sense of balance she had came from having “good parents.”  “If I did something wrong it wasn’t that they hadn’t taught me or weren’t teaching me – it was me choosing not to learn.  That’s all I can attribute it to.  They always told me the ground was “beneath” my feet.  So I had great parents…and it helped me keep some balance.  And I never really understood why people get cocky over just being given a God-given gift that the public hears.  Other people have their gifts too, we just don’t get to see them on a stage.”

And what a grand gift Tanya Tucker was given.  She was signed as a recording artist at the age of 13 thanks to a wise man named Billy Sherrill. In March of 1972, Tucker, despite her early teenage years, confidently walked into a studio and announced to Sherrill and to the seasoned musicians, “Well, I know my part boys.  Do you know yours?” And that very day, the mega-hit “Delta Dawn” was born.

In 1974, Tucker was on the cover of Rolling Stone and shortly thereafter, on her 16th birthday, signed a $1.4 million contract with MCA records, thanks to her very savvy manager, who happened to also be her father.

Hit after hit ensued, making Tanya Tucker a headlining star for most of her career.  And even though she’d started out as a child performer, she also ended up being a hit maker far into adulthood. Even as she was having and raising children of her own, she was still working.  Tucker’s view was: “I’m a servant – I serve the public. I want them to love it.  Even if I hate it and they love it, I’m cool with that too…just so long as they like it.”

7ea5fbd4-e544-4a3e-aa3d-aace5e61b15eAnd no truer servant to her audiences could there be. Tucker says that only three short weeks after her first child, Presley, was born she was back on the road touring.

Later on, even as she lay in the hospital with her second newborn child, her name was being announced as “Female Vocalist of the Year” at the CMA awards in 1991. In 1999, her youngest child, Layla, was born and it wasn’t until that time that Tucker started to slow down just a little.  And it wasn’t until she lost her dad in 2006, that she decided to slow up a little more.

But the slow-down did not come until well after songs like “Just Another Love,” “I Won’t Take Less Than Your Love,” “If It Don’t Come Easy,” and “Strong Enough To Bend” – the song that inspired the CMHOF exhibit. Tucker concludes: “I do … think of all my songs, that pretty much sums it up.  And I’m glad to be remembered that way…strong enough to bend.”

Originally Tucker wasn’t sure she wanted to continue performing and had taken the last three years off to spend time with her children and work with her cutting horses…which is what she loves to do.  But thankfully, she notes that this CMHOF exhibit in her honor may very well be changing her mind.  To a press conference of media friends she says: “If you guys are still interested in hearing me sing, then I’ll sing and you got a deal.”

Tucker adds however, that her children are still all she ever dreamed of and that she currently loves spending the time with Layla (her youngest) more than anything else.  So even if she does begin performing again, you can likely expect to see more of her family around her.   All of Tucker’s children are musical and have a great gift of their own. So you never know, maybe more than one Tucker will see the spotlight of fame.

The CMHOF Exhibit features Tanya Tucker memorabilia from stage outfits (including one from when she was nine years old) to a pink Harley Davidson.  The exhibit is open and runs through May of 2015.