Brandon Sun (Newspaper) - June 24, 2002, Brandon, Manitoba
Carolyn Dawn Johnson, who appears at Dauphin’s Countryfest Sunday night, has used an unbeatable work ethic to find her way to the top.Singer’s formula not complicated
By Perry Bergson
A grumpy Nashville songwriter may never know how much of a role he played in making Carolyn Dawn Johnson a star.
On one of her first trips to Music City she ran into the wellknown musician — who she won’t name — at a party. For whatever reason, he chose to give her a piece of his mind.
“This successful person said ‘Who do you think you are? What does Canada know about country music? How do you think you’re going to get a deal in this amount of time?’ and blah, blah, blah,” Johnson remembers. “I said ‘I don’t care how long it takes me — I’ll go back and forth (between Canada and Nashville) as long as it takes me.’
“This guy was basically telling me that I was too big for his britches.”
It was also unfair.
Johnson knew what she was getting into and had few expectations of any early success when she first went to Nashville in 1994. At the time, she was making regular trips back to Canada both to earn money and because of visa restrictions.
Another musician later came to her aid at the party that night.
“Somebody walked me to my car and said ‘Don’t worry about that. He’s just a bitter songwriter who hasn’t had anything (in the way of hit singles) for a while and probably hates young people like you coming in with high hopes and dreams.’
“That hurt my feelings but it lit an extra fire under me.”
And eventually she burned her way up the charts.
The singer-songwriter, who appears at Dauphin’s Countryfest Sunday night, made history in Canada when her two debut singles from her first album, Room With A View, went to No. I. But Geoigia and Complicated only launched a performing career that has since included the top IO hit I Don’t Want You To Go .
She received IO Canadian Country Music Association award nominations in 2001, winning five. She was named top country performer at the Junos earlier this year and also took the Academy of Country Music’s award as top new female vocalist in the U.S.
Her meteoric rise actually
Ar A Glance
MAIN STAGE COUNTRYFEST ACTS
Talent Contest Finals Rowdymen The Cruzeros Tracy Lawrence Mark Chesnutt Joe DifRe
SATURDAY Song Writer’s Circle Justine Rick Tlppe Charlie Major Tanya Tucker
SUNDAY Kenny Shaw Thirsty Cactus Samantha King Diane Chase Chris Cummings Rascal Flatts Carolyn Dawn Johnson Neal McCoy
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began in a few wild months in 1999. She signed a record deal, did background vocals on a Martina McBride album and then toured with the star, and had a song she co-wrote called Single White Female go to No. I for Chely Wright.
You can give a lot of credit for her success to an amazing work ethic.
Prior to heading south, the Deadwood, Alta., native first went to the Columbia Academy in Vancouver in 1992 to learn her way around the recording studio.
“I’m a female, not that that’s a negative, but 90 per cent of the music business is male,” she said in an interview last November on the day her Brandon show with Merle Haggard was cancelled. “Well, if I’m going to be one of those IO per cent of females, I’ve got to get whatever edge I can.”
Tim McGraw books focus on life on the road, fatherhood
NEW YORK — Atria looks will publish two books >y country singer Tim McGraw.
The first book is an illus-rated behind-the-scenes look it life on and off the road. It vill be published in November, to coincide with he release of McGraw’s lat-!st album, the publisher said rhursday.
The second book will be a atherhood memoir, includ
ing McGraw’s thoughts on being the son of baseball star Tug McGraw and what it means to be a famous husband and father.
McGraw, 35, and his wife, singer Faith Hill, have three young daughters.
“My family keeps me focused,” McGraw said. “They are the most important thing to me. Before them, it was just about making music.” — AP
Minority Report, Lilo & Stitch in dead heat for top movie spot
By David Germain
LOS ANGELES — Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg wound up in a dead heat with a cartoon kid and her goofy alien pal.
Minority Report, Cruise and Spielberg’s sci-fi thriller, took in $36.9 million US in its first weekend, according to estimates yesterday by its distributor, 20th Century Fox. That would put it barely ahead of the animated Lilo & Stitch, which debuted with $35.8 million, according to its studio, Disney.
Disney and other studios had tracked Lilo & Stitch in first place, slightly ahead of Minority Report. The weekend’s other new wide release, Juwanna Mann, debuted at No. 7 with $6 million.
Studios base weekend projections on actual ticket sales reported by theatres for Friday and Saturday and estimates for Sunday. When final numbers come in today, Lilo & Stitch might edge out Minority Report for No. I.
Bruce Snyder, head of distribution for Fox, said his estimates put Lilo & Stitch at $36.8 million, just $100,000 behind Minority Report, making it too close to call.
“I’m not claiming No. I. I’m not claiming anything,” Snyder said. “I’d call it a tie.”
The top movies rarely bunch up so closely. In 1999, Sunday estimates had Paramount’s Double Jeopardy in first place, Universal^ The Story of Us in second and Fox’s Fight Cub in third. Final figures Monday lifted Fight Club to No. I.
Studio executives privately grouse that competitors sometimes inflate Sunday estimates to make a film’s results look better, even if only for a day, before reporting lower numbers Monday. But studios avoid public fingerprinting.
“As much as I’d like to go there, I’m not going to. That’s not our style,” said Chuck Viane, Disney head of distribution. “Of course, it bothers me. In my heart, I know I’m right, and I assume that in the morning, the dust will settle that” Disney’s Lilo & Stitch finished ahead of Minority Report.
Viane said he thinks Fox simply erred and does
not believe the studio deliberately inflated its Minority Report numbers.
Snyder said Fox’s figures were legitimate estimates but conceded the rankings might change.
Even if its rank changes, Minority Report may retain bragging rights as the No. I film, since many news outlets pay greater attention to Sunday estimates than they do to final Monday numbers.
“The first reporting of the box office, in my mind, tends to be the one that sticks in people’s minds,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations, which tracks ticket sales. “You can have people proclaiming a movie as No. I for the rest of the week, even if it winds up being No. 2 come Monday.”
Lilo & Stitch clearly would be No. I based on actual tickets sold. It managed to do virtually the same amount of cash business as Minority Report, though a much higher percentage of Lilo & Stitch admissions came from cheaper tickets for children and adult matinees.
Many in Hollywood say that instead of counting dollars, the industry should track movies based on number of tickets sold, a method used in some European countries. That would provide a fairer head-to-head ranking of films and eliminate the inflation factor that skews all-time box office charts toward newer movies, which place higher than older films because of ever-rising ticket prices.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through yesterday at North American theatres, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures will be released today.
1. Minority Report, $36.9 million.
2. Lilo & Stitch, $35.8 million.
3. Scooby-Doo, $24.4 million.
4. The Bourne Identity, $14.8 million.
5. The Sum of All Fears, $7.9 million.
6. Windtalkers, $6.7 million.
7. Juwanna Mann, $6 million.
8. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, $5.7 million.
9. Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones, $5.1 million.
10. Spider-Man, $4.4 million.
She also decided to set herself apart from other Nashville hopefuls by concentrating on her songwriting. She ordered video lessons on the topic and also attended songwriting camps.
At the end of one of the workshops, she received some great feedback when the instructors critiqued her songs.
“I had some people say ‘This is really good. I can’t wait to see what you’re doing in six months or a year,’” she says. “And these were very successful songwriters and publishers.
“That was just enough for me to go ‘I know that I need to be here.’
Johnson, now 31, travelled between Vancouver and Nashville for three years before finally landing a work visa in 1997 after signing a publishing deal for her songs.
“Once I got down here I knew it was destiny and that I had to be here,” she says. “I came down here hoping that I would make something happen with some of my songs and to get a record deal too. But I knew there was no chance I’d get a record deal on my first trip.”
While she laboured at her songwriting, she also worked as a waitress and bartender to help make ends meet. Ironically her favourite boss was Phil Vassar, another successful performer who first made his mark as a songwriter.
Now her performing talents are also being noticed.
After doing that initial McBride tour, she has since been on the road opening for Haggard, Kenny Chesney, Trisha Yearwood and Alan Jackson and on the Girl’s Night Out Tour with Reba, Sara Evans, Jamie O’Neal and McBride.
She made her Grand Ole Opry debut Oct. 6, 2001 with an introduction by her buddy Brad Paisley with her parents watching from the wings.
Even with all the things going on in her career, she remains careful not to overstep. So you won’t see her headlining a Canadian tour anytime soon.
“I would love to do that,” she says. “But we (her management team) have talked about that and it’s got to be the right positioning. You can’t go up there and go backwards. I’m not quite a big enough star at this point and time to do my own thing.
“I’d have to land on somebody else’s tour.”
Thats ‘Dr. Schwarzenegger’
ORANGE, Calif. (AP)— Dr. Arnold Schwarzenegger?
That’s the latest title the film star and political activist picked up when he received an honorary doctorate from Chapman University.
University officials said Schwarzenegger received an honorary degree in humane letters during yesterday’s ceremony at the Orange County campus.
Chapman President James L. Doti presented the degree to the former Mr. Universe for his work on behalf of young people in athletics and education.
The 54-year-old star of the Terminator films and 1994’s True Lies has heavily promoted a ballot initiative that would help finance extracurricular activities and tutoring assistance for kindergarten through Grade 9
students in California.
Schwarzenegger has served as an ambassador to the Special Olympics and chair of the Inner-City Games Foundation.
ON THE NET:
Arnold Schwarzenegger Web site:
http: / / www.joinamold. com.
BV Sitar to Winl. ll
m. “RnH Scramble JSC’ Brandon Sun 501 Rosser be •
A Golf weekend at Clear Lake
- WEEKLY PRIZE -An 11 Nece Golf Club Set
* 2 nights at Elkhorn Resort & Conference Centre
* 2 rounds of golf at Clear Lake Coit Course
* Plus an 11 piece Golf Club Set
Here’s How To Play...
1. Look for the advertisers in today’s Brandon Sun with the ‘Golf Scramble’ border and Golf flag in their ads.
2. Simply clip out the ads of those advertisers and place them all in an envelope along with your name address and phone number.
Then mail or drop off your envelope to: Golf Scramble 2002, Brandon Sun, 501 Rosser Avenue, Brandon, MB, R7A 0K4.
All entries received prior to 4 p.m. Monday will be eligible for the previous week’s draw for an 11 piece set of Golf Clubs.
All entries received will be eligible for the Grand Prize Draw to be made Tuesday, August 6, 2002.
Entries must include your name, address and phone number with a copy of all of the participating advertisers’ ads. (Allowances will be
made for ads placed back to back) Photocopies will not be accepted. Each entry must be in a separate envelope.
7. Entrants must be 18 years of age or older.
8. Grand Prize must be accepted as awarded. No cash value will be allowed.
9. Anyone may enter except employees of the Brandon Sun and their immediate families.
Our Participating Businesses Are:
• Canadian Tire
• J&G Building Supply
• Advantage Hyundai
• Westoba Credit Union
• The Brick
• Smitty’s Restaurantsf ...