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NPR: Kathy Mattea Got Her Voice Back

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Thursday September 20, 2018

From NPR

How Kathy Mattea Got Her Voice Back With ‘Pretty Bird’
By: Alyssa Edes and Mary Louise Kelly

Kathy Mattea has been successfully making music for a long time. Her first gold album came out in 1987. She won her first Grammy in 1990. For a while, she was putting out albums every year or two. But Mattea’s latest LP, Pretty Bird, out now, is the country artist’s first release in six years — and it almost didn’t come out at all.

“I was out on the road playing,” Mattea says. “And I’d play some song that I’ve played for 20 years, and I’d go up for a note that I know how to hit and it wouldn’t come out. It’d be kind of tight, or flat or strained. And I kind of buried my head in the sand for a while, and then I finally was like, ‘I’m going to need to find out what this is.’”

Mattea says a chance encounter with Tony Bennett gave her a glimmer of hope. He told her about his own struggles with his aging voice, and she asked him what his secret was. His advice? Find a teacher and re-learn to sing. So she did. Mattea’s coach encouraged her to not think of her voice as diminished, but just different.

[…] Eventually, things gelled. On her latest album, Mattea’s new range and maturity is on full display. She sings the Hazel Dickens song “Pretty Bird” a capella — with a kind of deep richness only time can provide.

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