Collin Raye: That's My Storyby Bev Moser

The new Collin Raye "SELECTED HITS" album is unique in that it contains six great songs and is available exclusively at Wal-Mart stores for under $6. In addition to two new songs ("A Soldier's Prayer" and the equally powerful "Quitters") the album contains four of Collin's biggest hits ("That's My Story," "Little Rock," "I Think About You" and "Love Me" ) all recorded "live" with the Salt Lake Symphony Orchestra in front of an audience of 8000 who sang along. It is first time that live recordings of these have been available and there is a six-minute interview with Collin as a bonus feature.
Bev: Thank you so much Collin for your time this afternoon and sharing with me your new music and the thoughts on your new CD. Let’s talk about the new cd “SELECTED HITS” – who’s idea was it to market it in this way? Collin: Wal-Mart came to me and suggested this means of marketing, because people now days can go online and download just one or two favorites, this is more economical because you get the six songs PLUS you get the two new ones and some interview segments. I think it is a great way of doing it.Bev: I know you feel this is the wave of the future, do you see it as a way to save the traditional CD vs digital downloading?Collin: I think it remains to be seen, and in a way this is the last straw or valid shot to get records back on the shelves in record stores. Basically you cannot sell them as singles for a dollar, because they can do that online. You have to offer them something for their money in addition to that. I think the time to really tell will be Christmas, because for six bucks it is a perfect stocking stuffer. If it does work, then yes it could save the retail end of the music business as far as CD sales go. Bev: Are these songs available as downloads, or will they be or are they exclusive to this CD only? Collin: They are available on my website, but as a CD it is an exclusive deal with Wal-Mart. It makes sense to me as a buyer, for example a Trisha Yearwood song and I see two new songs plus the ones I already know are my favorites, I know I am going to enjoy that purchase. Bev: I have read where proceeds from the first one, "A Soldier's Prayer," go to Wounded Warrior Project ( The non-profit veterans association, based in Florida, helps people who have been severely injured in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere adjust to their new circumstances. Can you tell me more of this project and how and why you became involved in it?Collin: It happened very very quickly and these folks were thrilled to have the attention and they wanted to show us everything they did and do. I have always had a soft spot for soldiers anyway and veterans. It is actually ran by wounded warriors, people who have fought and been wounded. So they know first hand what the others are going through. The wounded soldiers it seems tend to become the forgotten souls among our service men and women, because when someone gives the ultimate sacrifice and dies, we praise them and honor them like we should, but the wounded are kind of an ugly side that no one wants to look at so they are the ones who really do need our help.

This organization is perfect. I spent some time with Captain Dan McConnell, who was an Apache helicopter pilot, 30 years old, who crashed in Iraq and lost his right arm and of course was right handed. No complaints or requests for sympathy. His only complaint was that the Army won't allow him to fly any more. These guys are all so amazing. We did a video that is very special and I think pretty amazing and at the end their web information is at the end.Bev: There is another new song on this CD called Quitters, talk to me about this song, did you write it or how did you choose this particular song and what does it mean to you personally?Collin: No, I did not write it, it was written by Neil Thrasher, George Canyon, Wendell Mobley and I have been a fan of Neil for a long time. Teddy Gentry of Alabama and Michael Curtis found it and put it on hold for me, they are the producers of this project. It got to me emotionally the 1st time I heard it. I have always had a soft spot for people with issues such as this, and I have a granddaughter who fits the description of the song as well, so it really brought it home for me personally and emotionally. You understand the day to day struggles they go through as well as those caring for them. Bev: You are also involved in a second project that was just released – called - Songs 4 Worship: Country, a praise-and-worship CD by Time Life. There are quite a few big names on this project as well, how did you come to participate with The Oak Ridge Boys, Bryan White, Rebecca Lynn Howard, Linda Davis, The Wilsons, and the album's co-producers, Teddy Gentry (of Alabama) and Michael CurtisCollin: Michael Curtis and Teddy Gentry again, they wanted to expose these wonderful Christian songs to the country fan base. I personally have never recorded a country song. So this was very exciting for me. I have wanted to for a long time and then to be included with all these wonderful people was even better. I did a very old up-tempo song written by Marty Raybon and Michael Curtis, and Marty did the demo and for me to try and make this better was a challenge. It was a very special project.Bev: You have been an icon in the music business for many years and have several huge hits, what has your favorite song been and why?Collin: My favorite song of mine was written by Tom Douglas called Love Remains it was a single that went top five, and I always feel so lucky to have recorded it, it sums up life in about 3 1/2 minutes. My favorite of another artist, would be Trisha Yearwood's The Song Remembers When, and was written by Hugh Prestwood who wrote On The Verge for me. The 1st time I heard her sing it, she introduced it and I got weepy, and then to find out one of my favorite song writers wrote it just made it all come together. Bev: I know that Muhammad Ali is one of your hero’s .. can you talk to me about why he is a hero and what you might say to him should you get to meet him? Collin: That is tough. I actually have a friend who is trying to make that happen. Because of Muhammad's current condition, he does understand you, but is not able to speak back to you, so communication is complicated. I don't know what I would say. I have met one of his daughters, who is just a doll. She is just like him. I would probably say something like "let me be the 80 millionth person to tell you bad you are" I do not know another human being from the 20th century in the entertainment field that transcended everything about himself. To me, he is bigger than life and as a fan of boxing, what he did as a fighter is unbelievable. The greatest thing to me though, is that since his retirement, and since being struck with Parkinson's disease, I have never once heard him say or heard about him saying one word of self pity or remorse. He travels half the year and does fundraisers and signs autographs to everyone who asks and the line is done. He stops for everyone and he is always trying to be a goodwill ambassador. His life story is just a great success story. Bev: As you have matured as a person and in the industry, what are some of the major changes you see that have affected who you are and how you are perceived as an artist?Collin: I think the negative has turned into something positive being that the power the major labels hold, have started wielding and making big judgment errors. From some unknown reason it was as if the powers that be all got together and said let's just focus on one thing, one kind of sound and obviously the audience shrunk. It changed the way we all did business and where our audience was. So we had to look at alternative ways of reaching our fans. Used to be a label stuck with you, nowadays, you get one shot with a label and if you are a hit they stand behind you and if not, you are on your way out the door. I think one of the biggest changes for the positive has been the internet. It takes the control out of the big labels and powers that be so to speak and brings us back to the creator of the music and the listeners and the masses can speak. Some of the changes are hard to accept, but I think it is moving in the right direction. A lot of artists have their own labels now too. So control is definitely changing.Bev: On the same note, as an artist I know you have come to understand how the music changes people and how deep the lyrics can reach into the hearts of the fans and those who may not have been a fan until a certain song reaches them – does this affect the song selections you record? Collin: When I sit down to do a song listening, or even if I am writing, I never go in say I am looking only for this or that. I let the songs speak to me and try not to plan the outcome. I think you run into disappointment when you do that. I try and let the song dictate the direction and the action. When I hear one that affects me, I know I can make it affect others. I do not have to manufacture emotion when I am in the studio. That to me is the beauty of the journey.Bev: Before we wrap up, is there anything you want to say to your fans and listeners or something we did not touch on you wanted to talk about today? Collin: I have a live Christmas album available on my website, I wanted it to be traditional with the old favorites, we did a couple of live shows last year and we recorded them. It will not be retail this year, only website sales. Bev: Thank you again Collin for your time and for giving us your talents. I am looking forward to hearing more great stuff from you in the future.
(reprinted with permission Music News Nashville)

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