Tuesday March 30, 2010
South Arts has invited Kathy Mattea to give the Keynote Address at the annual Performing Arts Exchange conference on September 30, 2010 in Pittsburgh, PA.
(From South Arts)
Two-time Grammy winner Kathy Mattea’s music has spoken to millions of people during her 20-plus years as a singer, songwriter, and recording artist. In recent years she has found a growing audience for the words and ideas she has to offer on a variety of issues, ranging from arts education to finding your creative path to global climate change. Often interweaving her message with musical selections, Kathy’s presentations seek to provide her audience with spiritual nourishment: food not only for thought, but also for the soul.
The West Virginia native came of age musically in the Nashville songwriting community, where she sang demos for rising young tunesmiths. Signed to her first recording contract in 1983, she nurtured that connection, giving a score of now-famous songwriters their first hit — and many their first #1. The list includes Nanci Griffith, whose Love At The Five and Dime was Mattea’s first hit in 1986.
While in the national spotlight, Mattea took another bold step: she became the first country music star to make a public statement about AIDS when she addressed the issue on the 1992 network telecast of the CMA Awards. She later organized Red Hot & Country, an album that raised funds for AIDS research and education.
After 17 years with Mercury Records, Mattea asked to be released from her contract. “I thought if I stayed, I would be knowingly participating in my own misery,” she says. “I told them that it had been an incredible ride, and I was thankful. But it was time for me to leave. We shook hands and parted ways. It felt good to act in the name of my own self-respect.” Her freedom in hand, Mattea and her manager plotted their next move. “I had nothing lined up,” she says. “It was a leap of faith.” Continuing along a path away from the Nashville Music Machine she considered small labels, major labels, independent deals, licensing agreements and even starting her own record company.
“After 20 years, I still look forward to going to work every day, whether it’s in the studio or on the road”, she says with a bright grin. “That’s the barometer for me. My show is still evolving, and my fellow musicians challenge me to evolve as a singer, writer, player and performer. I still feel inspired about music. I am incredibly blessed.”
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