Atlanta-based Robin Meade is best known as that HLN morning anchor with the chipper greeting, “Mornin’ Sunshine.”
But she’s also a country singer who released her first album last month called “Brand New Day,” available on iTunes and Target. Reviews have been kind. “Meade rises to the challenge and meets it dead on,” wrote Chuck Dauphin of Music News Nashville.
The album shows that she can actually sing with sass with songs such as “Put My High Heels On.” “Five inch heels are transformative!” she said in an interview today. Her trademark phrase “Mornin’ Sunshine” also became a song.
A couple of years ago, she was hosting a reality competition show on GAC (Great American Country) when she met judge Victoria Shaw, who produced Lady Antebellum’s first album. Meade asked Shaw if she could teach Meade how to write music. Shaw, she said, figured this was just a notion, not a real project. But Meade kept driving up to Nashville and working with her.
“She said I stalked her,” Meade said. “I call it reporter’s persistence. She got sucked in. I fell into a vat of luck.”
So people in the music business would take her seriously, she surrounded herself with pros. John Rich, a well-respected Nashville songwriter and producer who recently won “The Celebrity Apprentice,” co-wrote one song and dueted on another. “American Idol” runner-up Bo Bice joined her on a remake of Richard Marx’s ‘Right Here Waiting.”
She purposely included two cover songs on the album to draw casual Target shoppers, especially those who might be perusing the aisles of Target. Besides the Marx cover, she did a tongue-in-cheek bluegrass take on Don Henley’s “Dirty Laundry,” a biting critique of the TV news business from 1982. She made one small lyrical change, singing, “I make my living off the morning news,” rather than “evening news.”
Meade, a preacher’s kid from Ohio, said she always loved that song going back to eighth grade. HLN honchos, she said, didn’t blink an eye: “My bosses are hip enough and secure enough to realize this is irony and a wink and a nudge. I’m not biting the hand that feeds me.”
That hand pays the bills. Her HLN obligations preclude her from becoming a full-time country artist touring 150 days a year. But she does a few one-off concerts, most recently sharing the stage July 1 in Warner Robins with Wynonna. She also owns the masters to her album, having paid for the production out of her own pocket.
Meade may not have a record label to push sales but she has HLN as a promotional vehicle. The network created a contest asking viewers to write a theme song for the show, enabling Meade to namedrop her album without being obnoxious about it.
The distribution company Somerset Entertainment said the album has done well at Target. It also peaked at No. 25 on iTunes.
Meade insists this is not just a hobby. “It’s more than a hobby,” she said. “We already have plans for a second album. This is not a one off.”
By Rodney Ho, firstname.lastname@example.org, AJCRadioTV blog