If you have not heard of Courtney Dickinson yet or recognize her as a household name, you will soon. Courtney Dickinson at the age of 13 has been blessed to have performed a Duet with Billy Ray Cyrus and has opened for Major Label Country Artists: The Road Hammers, Joe Nichols, Julianne Hough, Kellie Pickler, Jason Aldean, Jonathan Singleton, Jimmy Wayne, Darryl Worley, Trent Tomlinson, Phil Vassar and LeAnn Rimes.
Courtney grace the Grand Ole Opry stage at 5 years and age six she sang at Pres. Jimmy Carter’s Birthday Celebration in Plains Ga. Dickinson has credits in over a dozen commercials, magazine, film & TV.
Bev: Courtney, WOW, you have already done more than most people dream of in a lifetime, and I am so impressed. What has been your most cherished moment so far in your career?
Courtney: There has been a lot, really. It is hard to choose only one. I won a radio contest that allowed me to perform a duet with Billy Ray Cyrus and that was like a dream come true for me.
Bev: Is he someone you have always admired and listened too?
Courtney: My dad has listened to him forever, so I was very familiar with his music.
Bev: What is your dream at this point of what you ultimately hope to achieve?
Courtney: I want to be a solo act, but I also want to cross-over and do acting as well, because I have done so much of that and I enjoy it and much of one flows into the other, so I really want to be both.
Bev: Of all the performers you have had the opportunity to work with, who has been your favorite and why?
Courtney: In January of 2009 I had an opportunity to perform in Chicago at an event that had fourteen major acts, and as they broke down one act and prepared for the next, I was singing on a stage during this time so I opened for Kelly Pickler, Julianne Hough, Darryl Worley, Phil Vassar and I absolutely love every one of them so that has been my favorite time to perform with other artist so far.
Bev: Do you have a preference of the kind of entertainer you hope to eventually settle into or do you enjoy the variety and having many options to choose from?
Courtney: I do want to do a variety and be able to branch into several things.
Bev: Do you enjoy contests and showcase events where you compete against others?
Courtney: I do. It is fun to meet other people and see who is out there. I did one called American Kids and I loved competing in that one.
Bev: Do you find the competition side to be more stressful than some of the other things you have done?
Courtney: Sometimes it is, but I am so excited to have the chance to sing and entertain, so I don’t let it get to me.
Bev: You have four songs that you have written and are available for download on MySpace, do you have a favorite?
Courtney: I have written a lot of songs, but we only have the four online for download right now. My favorite of these four is “It’s Gotta Be Rough”. Another is “Notice Me” which I have not made available yet for download.
Bev: Are you shopping for a label?
Courtney: No, I am trying to get out there and sing and create a fan base, and learn all I can about the business while I grow and improve my skills. I will be putting a CD together soon, but right now I am not shopping for a label.
Bev: Are you planning on utilizing Amazon.com or iTunes or any of the other online resources to sell your songs?
Courtney: No, but when I perform at Tootsies this week during CMA Fest I will be giving away a CD with my new song on it called “Falter” written with Lisa Torres and produced by Steffon Hamulak
Bev: When you write, do you try and write about things you know, or do you write about subjects you have to do research on when you have an idea?
Courtney: I write about things I have experienced, and even though I am young, I have done a lot in my short lifetime, so I can relate to things a lot of others can. I did one called “Ten Words Or Less”, it is about describing love in less than ten words, and even though I have not been in love, I still can write about it.
Bev: Do you target an audience that is your age or do you aim for a wider audience?
Courtney: I do write things for people my age, and I enjoy putting a message in my songs, but I do not just want a young fan base. I want to reach people of all ages.
Bev: Are you addicted to the Twitter, MySpace, Facebook and other online social sites?
Courtney: Absolutely YES! I love all of them and am on them all the time. It is the best way to keep in touch with people when I am travelling and share what is happening in my life and career. I was in Panama City for a week and did not have internet, and it really about killed me not having it.
Bev: What has been the best piece of advice someone has given you?
Courtney: “Turn nothing down but your collar”. I did a competition where I heard this saying and I really believe in this, because you never know where opportunity might be. I think this is so true.
Bev: What has been the most embarrassing moment for you?
Courtney: Oh, I can write a book. I do a lot of embarrassing things. I tripped over a door recently and then hit the door frame in front of people. I cannot think of anything on stage. I have forgotten words, but I mumbled my way through it.
Bev: Because you began entertaining at such a young age, did you show natural talent that led into all of this, or did your parents or someone else encourage you to participate?
Courtney: Well my parents encouraged me, I won a contest for a pretty baby contest – and I had no hair, but my mom thought I had the biggest and most beautiful eyes, so she sent in the photo, and I won. From there, it just kept leading into other things, like the modeling and competitions and singing.
Bev: I understand you are learning the guitar. How is that coming and are you taking lessons or teaching yourself?
Courtney: I am taking lessons from a member of our church; he is also my math tutor. It makes for an interesting time.
Bev: Are you home schooled?
Courtney: I am now. I attended school for half of this school year, but with all the traveling I do, it is easier to home school. I will be in ninth grade next Fall.
Bev: What other instruments do you play?
Courtney: No others right now.
Bev: Has there been a special performance or venue that really has meant a lot to you?
Courtney: Chicago was definitely the best when I was there with so many major artists. I love to travel and see new places, so any venue is an adventure.
Bev: What kind of pressure do you feel at the thought of being a role model for other young performers?
Courtney: I try not to do anything stupid. I do feel some pressure, but I look up to people like Carrie Underwood and try to emulate what they portray.
Bev: CMA Fest is next week in Nashville, what will you all be participating in and experiencing?
Courtney: I am performing twice a day at Tootsies Orchid Lounge during the days, focusing more on the family crowd. I did a set one time last year as well. I am also doing a lot of interviews with the media and trying to meet people.
Bev: Is this your first time to be here during CMA Fest?
Courtney: This is my second year at CMA Fest, and I am so excited to see the fans and my friends again who have been supporting my music. It is a very fun experience and I really enjoy everything when I am here.
Bev: Before you go on stage, do you have any rituals you perform or anything special you do?
Courtney: I warm up my voice and do some scales and I pray I don’t mess up!
Bev: Besides all the acting and singing, what do you do when you are relaxing or off the road?
Courtney: I really enjoy being home so I can hang out with friends and do nothing.
Bev: Do your friends treat you any differently or have they been around you all your life and only know you as the entertainer and model and so on?
Courtney: At school they did, in church not so much, and it is one reason we decided to home school. My friends are all excited to see me achieve goals and see me succeed.
Bev: Courtney, you are quite the young woman and I wish you much success. Thank you for meeting with me and taking time to share so much about yourself. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Courtney: I just want to encourage people to come see me on July 26th for a pre-party for Two Foot Fred’s birthday. I perform at 2 pm before the Big and Rich Concert in Pheasant Run, near Chicago. I am also singing before the Atlanta Braves game on August 2nd.
For more information on Courtney Dickinson please visit her website at http://www.courtneydickinson.com or www.myspace.com/courtneydickinson