MUSIC Country star Pam Tillis says she's thankful for her career



She plans to meet with fans after her Sunday show at Ponderosa Park.
By NANCILYNN GATTA
VINDICATOR CORRESPONDENT
Taking risks in her career is a common thing for country music star Pam Tillis. She performed on Broadway in "Smoky Joe's Caf & eacute;," wrote children's books and produced her records.
Instead of just hearing her hits, such as "Don't Tell Me What to Do" and "When You Walk In The Room," the audience attending her Ponderosa Park concert this Sunday will listen to a few untested tunes from her upcoming album. Tillis was in the studio working on it just hours before leaving on tour.
"I think usually creative people are like that. If they're creative in one area, it tends to spill over. Daddy [country music legend Mel Tillis] is taking up painting," said Tillis.
Tillis inherited her creativity, but it took more than her artistic genes to achieve gold and platinum records, and such awards as CMA's (Country Music Association) Female Vocalist of the Year and CMT's (Country Music Television) Video of the Year.
"I think I have a fair amount of drive, but I don't know where that comes from. Anybody that has had any amount of success would probably say that they had dogged determination too. Not many people just kind of fall into it. Although that does happen. There's always an exception to the rule," She said.
Meets with fans
Country music is unique because of the close-knit relationship between artists and their fans. Tillis will meet with the audience after her Sunday show.
"There's not a big separation between fans and artists. I'm thankful for the career that I have, that I feel comfortable out in the crowd shaking hands and getting to know people one on one. I really value that," said Tillis.
In 2000 she was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. With this honor, she joined a tradition of musical artists that she continues to admire.
"The artists that inspire me right now are the people that have refused to be put out to pasture, people like Dolly Parton, she continues to grow as an artist. Willie Nelson and my dad are still out there doing it. They're my heroes right now," said Tillis.
Advice from Dad
When she began her career, her father advised her on dealing with the ever-changing whims of commercial music.
"He said, 'Don't chase a trend. Let the styles come to you.' I mean, just think about bluegrass. Who'd have thought? I've always loved bluegrass. But what if all those people had sold out and done something that wasn't them? They wouldn't be enjoying the success that they're enjoying. Soon it'll change and it'll go to something else.
"I think you've just got to be yourself. Every now and then you're going to be in sync, but sometimes you won't. So just do what you do," remarked Tillis.

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