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Singletary rides high with a little help from his friend

By Richard McVey II, November 1995

It was back in the early and mid-'80's that acts like George Strait and Randy Travis first took country back to its roots. Now, some 10 years later, a new breed of traditional country singer has arisen. Falling squarely at the heart of the ever-growing movement is Giant recording artist Daryle Singletary. And for Singletary, traditional music is anything but new. Singletary grew up on a small Georgia-farm in a household where music was plentiful. Inspired by his parents and grandparents, who performed locally as a gospel quartet, he took up singing at the age of three for family and friends. However, it wasn't until some 20 years later that fate smiled on Singletary and landed him a management deal with an impressed Lib Hatcher-Travis, wife and manager of Randy Travis. Today, Singletary can be found performing before a crowd of thousands in support of his current hit, "I Let Her Lie," from his self-titled debut album.

Country Standard Time spoke with Singletary about his landing a deal with Giant, his ties with Randy Travis and his debut album.

HOW DID YOU END UP GETTING YOUR DEAL AT GIANT RECORDS?

When I started out, I worked in a club for about a year-and-four-months. One Friday night, a guy came up to me and said, "I got some guys over at Giant that need a good country demo singer." I said, "Well, if I fit that bill, then tell them I'd love to demo their songs." I got a call about three weeks later, and they said they needed me to sing a couple of songs. I said, "All right." We went in and did the demos and James (Stroud, Giant's president) had to hear all the songs because he had to approve everything. So, he was listening to the songs and asked who was singing. They told him it was me and told him all about me and that I had management with Lib Hatcher and everything. At the same time we were doing the demos, Lib was coming up on the other side talking to people, and they all kind of made a big circle and met in the middle. They came out to the club and listened to me sing and kind of made the deal from there.

YOUR FAMILY HAS OBVIOUSLY HAD A BIG INFLUENCE ON YOU. WHAT DO THEY THINK OF ALL OF THIS?

My mom had the dream of being a singer, and I had an uncle who had a dream of being a singer, so they're kind of living it through me. I have a family who's very much behind everything I do.

HOW WAS IT MAKING YOUR FIRST ALBUM?

I have a bad allergy thing. It was kind of weird. Some days we'd be able to cut and then other days this studio might be open and I'd say, "Man, I'm in good shape and I can sing today,'' and then we'd have to go to another studio. We kind of jumped back between two studios.

WHAT'S YOUR DEMEANOR LIKE IN THE STUDIO?

Probably like I am right now. I don't get upset about anything. I just listen and sing. They tell me I'm off pitch, and I correct it. I try not to back talk anybody. Everybody I work with has been in this business a lot longer than I have. So, I just kind of set back and listen and learn a lot and just kind of make things run smooth. I just took it one day at a time.

ONE THING I FIND INTERESTING ON THE ALBUM ARE THE PRODUCERS. WHO PRODUCED THIS ALBUM?

James Stroud, David Malloy and Randy Travis. When we started talking about doing the album, along with some of the other guys over at Giant, (we) thought it might be neat if I asked Randy to come in and help co-produce it because he was such an influence on my singing and style. When we asked Randy to come in and co-produce it, I was a little scared. It was like this is a superstar I'm looking at here across the window. It was kind of a little nerve wracking, but we got through it, and it was like a bunch of guys, we just got in there and had a big time and made what I think is a great first record.

IS THIS THE FIRST TIME RANDY'S PRODUCED AN ALBUM?

Yes. As far as producing-wise, this was the first time. So it was kind of a learning experience for both of us. I'd done quite a few demos, and it's a whole lot different. They do surgery when you go in and do a master album and then for Randy to be in for the first time, we kind of learned together.

HOW MUCH ARTISTIC FREEDOM DID THE LABEL GIVE YOU?

I had all the freedom I wanted. You hear about the new artists not having much freedom or much say-so. Thank the Lord I had a little bit of say-so in what I'd like to cut. I don't agree with those people who say, "You need to do this kind of stuff and do that." I didn't want to do it that way. That's a little hard-headed, but I knew what I could do, and if I couldn't sing a song, I couldn't sing a song. At the same time I was very open minded, not being arrogant or cocky about it. I was open minded to any suggestion, and believe me, when Randy thought something needed to be done another way, we'd converse back and forth. It was weird to have Randy in there with his experience. Me and him would swap little vocal licks back and forth a little bit.

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