I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Buffy Lawson in 2007 (see T.E.N. Interviews) when she was one half of the phenomenal and very successful music duo BOMSHEL. Buffy brought to BOMSHEL all of her experience as a passionate songwriter and performer, her vocal style which is a mixture of country, rock and everything in between and best of all…her sweetheart personality.
She has since moved on in her career and life, getting back to what she did long before the duo, writing new music for both herself and writing music for some of the biggest artists in music which have included; Lorrie Morgan, Bo Bice, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers among others…still adding new chapters in her life’s story.
Buffy recently phoned in to update T.E.N. on what she has been doing in her life, the artists that she has worked with and what it meant to her to touch Superman’s heart.
Buffy Lawson– Hey Troy, it’s Buffy!
The Entertainment Nexus– How are you today?
BL– I have to catch up on everything from basically being a very nonproductive holiday gal for the past week and a half. I have gotten behind on everything but I’m doing fantastic though. I’m getting ready to take into some new year’s resolutions.
TEN– How was your Christmas?
BL– My Christmas was awesome! I was with my crazy family…my crazy, beautiful family and we just had the best holiday ever! We drank a lot of wine and ate a lot of fattening foods and it doesn’t get any better than that!
TEN– So what are some of your resolutions?
BL– Well, to not drink a lot of wine and to not eat a lot of fattening foods! (Laughs) Because, I’m tryin to drop some “lbs” and I promised myself that I’m going to start going to the gym five days a week, for an hour a day. This is not a natural process for me because generally, I don’t enjoy running unless someone is chasing me with a gun. (Laughs) That’s the truth. I’m going to make myself do it because my 40th birthday’s around the corner…and I’m goin to Vegas!
TEN– So, what have you been doing career wise lately?
BL– I’ve got my hands in all kinds of little pies. I’ve got a song plugger in Nashville and she’s fantastic. She’s out there pitching my music so I’m still working on the songwriting aspect of my career. This is what I’m focusing on more than doing an artist kind of thing. It’s just been wonderful and I’ve really enjoyed that. I’m getting some holds…which are great. I’m also teaching a songwriting workshop which has also been a blast. I’m doing some classes and doing some song evaluations and actually through the process, I’ve learned so much myself. I do a segment in my class where we evaluate hits ya know, where we listen to Sting and all of these different kinds of brilliant songwriters. In doing that it’s been incredible on how much I’ve learned myself through my students and sometimes you can kinda know what you’re supposed to be doing…but then you lose sight of it. When you break it down and think about it there’s a lot of stuff that happens along the way that you really learn a lot from. I’ve been living in Lexington, KY part of the time…I’m between Nashville and Kentucky and I’m always, always writing and getting ready to start a show here that hopefully is going to be a really cool thing. It’ll be a combination of personal stuff and artist stuff. It will be in Lexington and I’m trying to get the feeling of if you steal a little bit of Nashville and get more of a songwriter scene goin on here. You know, a singer/songwriter’s night and that kind of thing. We’ve got so many talented writers here that just really haven’t been subjected to having the ability to do the songwriter nights. There really isn’t anything like that here.
TEN– Will it be more of an intimate setting like in a club?
BL– Absolutely… I’d like to have it be very similar to like what’s going on at the Bluebird Café. Ya know that kinda feel. I think that it’s really going to add a lot to my hometown. Ya know…bring a little bit of Nashville home.
TEN– That sounds like it’s gonna be really cool. How old were you when you knew that you wanted to be a singer/songwriter?
BL– I would say about 3.
BL– Oh yeah. I was the typical girl who put on the shows in the backyard and charged my neighbors five bucks a pop. Actually I probably made as much money at about three or four as I have in my career. (Laughs) I came from theater and ballet and anything entertainment oriented and I just absolutely thrived on it and loved it. It’s really all I’ve ever known. If it’s in your blood, it make’s your decisions for you. It’s a really amazing process…the creativity. I think songwriters are the coolest people on the planet. I tend to like songwriters more than the artists a lot of times.
TEN– You’ve written some amazing songs. What inspires you when you write your songs?
BL– Thank you. I think that your job as a songwriter is to pay attention and just look around. It’s little things and paying attention to the details of what’s around you. I think songwriters are kinda born broken and some of your most amazing songwriters ever were able to really kinda look into the heart of somebody that’s suffering or look into the heart of somebody who is so happy or somebody that’s found love or somebody who’s half lost. There’s just a certain way that you look at it a little differently I think. Sometimes it’s so easy to write a song. It just comes out sort of magically. Sometimes it’s a “beast.” You know that you’ve got an idea but you just don’t quite know how to wrap your head around your idea and make it unique. For me I think the hardest songs to write are love songs. They are the most commonly written songs therefore your ability to write something unique is much more difficult.
TEN– How does a person or even you survive in today’s music industry, especially with all the talent in Nashville?
BL– It’s a different world out there right now and in a lot of ways it’s a very exciting time because we have more technology. We have more Internet features and there are ways that artists can get their music out there without having to have a record label. People have figured out how to promote themselves through their own creativity…which has been wonderful on the one hand. On the other hand, it’s been a really hard thing I think for the industry because of the technology. It’s been hard because of illegal downloading and stuff like that. That money takes away from the songwriters and the publishers. It’s a tricky situation because I think people are trying to figure out how to continue making it productive and successful. The artists are a lot younger than they used to be which has the benefits and the drawbacks as well. Parts of that are invigorating and exciting to see the new, young talent but then on the flip side of it, it’s kinda hard because there’s a lot of…I think there’s a lot of females out there not being spoken to as much as they used to. I’m talking about women in their 30s and ‘40s you know where as Patsy Cline was reaching those women…Lorrie Morgan, for whom I had her last single called: “Do You Still Wanna Buy Me That Drink?” It’s a song about a single mom who’s been married and she’s out at happy hour and this poor guy named Frank just happens to buy her a drink. She just lights into him with stories about her kids and the responsibilities and then she says; “Do you still wanna buy me that drink?” It is a funny song and I think that there are a lot of women that relate to that kind of music but there aren’t as many artists singin it because the record labels are going a lot younger.
TEN– Speaking of younger talent, what do you think of the Taylor Swift/Kanye West incident?
BL– I think it’s a shame and it made me really sad. It made me sad and I would like to believe that he did not intend for it to have been quite as bad as it was. I think that she handled it with grace and I think that Beyonce also handled the situation with grace. Hopefully that was a learning experience for him and you know it’s easier, and I’m not defending him at all…I really regret like I said, that he made that decision, but I think it is easier to say something that you don’t really mean it to come across like that. Sometimes when you’re in the public eye, you have to be really careful because I think all of us at one point or another in our lives have said or done something that we look back at it and had just incredible regret for. But the difference is, when you’re in the public eye you better think long and hard about it because it will follow you around for good.
TEN– For a long…long time.
BL– For a long time and ya know, I didn’t follow it enough to have seen how he ended up recuperating and if he apologized or not. I would like to believe that he did.
TEN– Tell me about your song “I Have Arrived.”
BL- That was such a special…that was one of those songs that came out very naturally and organically between myself, Angie Russell and Eric Pittarelli. I think that we all have been having some pretty difficult times; we’ve had some loss in our lives in terms of losing some friends. The learning that you do in the process of tragedy and when you feel like you understand the gift of this beautiful life and it’s a very special deal. Linda Davis, who’s one of my very favorite singers, recorded that and I think it did quite well on the Christian charts.
TEN– And then Christopher Reeves took an interest in it.
BL– He wrote a letter and he was one of my “true heroes” as far as just speaking of somebody who obviously had such tragedy in his life but remains so focused on doing the very best with that and making strong messages. He was so inspiring and when he heard that song before he passed, he wrote us a letter telling us how much it had touched his heart. It was a very special complement and to have been a part of something that meant something to him was just incredible.
TEN– I can’t imagine how you felt.
BL– I cried. What a remarkable man…somebody that we can all learn from.
TEN– He was way more than just Superman.
BL– He was and he was just a beautiful soul.
TEN–You have worked with a lot of people in the music industry in the past. Tell me some of the people that you’ve worked with.
BL- I worked with Lorrie Morgan and she was just incredible. Like I said, I have two cuts on her last record and I went out on the road and toured with her for a while. Then I got to do a duet with Neil Diamond which was many years ago. He was extraordinary as well and just “class act” and so professional and so funny. It was an interesting thing because he came to Nashville and I ended up doing the duet with him but he was so down-to-earth and he was not performing any of the songs that I had kinda grown up with and we became friends. He became friends with all the different co-writers and then they asked me to do a show in Louisville KY because it was my hometown. This was about six months after I had done the Jay Leno show with them and after I had done the ABC special with him. I went to Louisville to do the show and I was in the dressing room and all of a sudden I heard him sing “Love On The Rocks” and I got chill bumps and I’m like; “Oh my gosh! I’m singin with Neil Diamond!” (Laughs) Reality hit way after the fact it was really funny. Like I said he was just so personable and down-to-earth. It was really a great experience.
TEN– Is that the video that you can see on YouTube?
BL– You sure can! I had on a see-through dress in that one too! They designed this gorgeous dress for me and we didn’t realize that when the lights hit it just right, you could see right through it. So when we were doing the taping we had to shoot the same song about seven or eight times to try to make it so you couldn’t see through my dress. I can’t even tell you how many people came up to me and didn’t really remember my singing or the fact that I was with Neil…they just all remembered the dress. (Laughs)
TEN–You’ve also written a song for Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. Tell me about that.
BL– Yes I have! They’re having a single coming out and it’s called: “Tell Me That You Love Me” and of course Dolly is one of my all-time mentors and heroes. As a songwriter and as an entertainer and a performer she’s just one-of-a-kind. When you know as many fabulous songwriters out there in the world as you do when you live in Nashville and this is your industry, when you get an opportunity for someone like Dolly, who writes almost all of her material herself, when she is a part of a song that you’ve written…it’s very humbling and it’s incredible.
TEN– When you write a song and somebody decides to record it, do you get to meet the person performing your songs?
BL– Not really, but sometimes you do. It depends on the situation and circumstance. I did with Lorrie but with Dolly and Kenny, I have not been able to see them over the song however, about 20 years ago I met Dolly and she actually asked me at that time if I had any songs that she could hear? I really wasn’t a true songwriter at that point. I was very new to Nashville and it was just one of those deals where it was like; “I not worthy!” I can’t believe that I passed up that opportunity but I did. I shook her hand and said “Thank you so much but one of these days, I sure do hope that you’ll take me up on that offer.” I said: “Buffy, you won’t forget it right?” and she said; “Oh honey, a Buffy and a Dolly in the same room is liable to tear these boys up! I’ll never forget it!” That’s what she said and who would have thought 20 years later, that she would have recorded a song that I wrote. I love what I do and I feel like such an incredibly fortunate person. It’s a tough, tough industry and people you can’t even begin to believe how hard it can be out there. If you have ever been a salesperson, you realize that you are selling yourself ya know? 98.9 percent of the time there going to tell you “NO.” That makes for a lot of “NOs” over the course of a long career. A lot of people in my seminars and so forth they ask me “How do you keep going?” and like I said, when it’s in your blood, you realize not to take it personally when things don’t work out and you just hunt for those “beautiful moments” when it works and when you hit that “magic.” The song I wrote for Dolly and Kenney is about 10 years old. It’s a ten-year old song that has just been sitting in my catalog and there you have it. It got told “NO” a lot of times until finally, two legends loved it. Ya just gotta keep your faith ya know.
TEN– And now you’re working with Bo Bice I understand.
BL– I just recently started with Bo and he is getting ready to put out a new album here before long. I have always believed in him as a singer. I followed him on American Idol and thought that he just kinda takes you back to the real “Southern Rock” that I miss musically. I think that he is one of those kinds that are just solid singers and very authentic. We’ve written a couple songs that I really love and he is a fabulous writer. He’s a funny and hilarious guy. He is so much fun to hang out with. I’m really excited to watch and see what happens next in his career and hopefully to be a part of it somehow. He’s a top-notch guy…he’s great.
TEN– Let’s see what else. You’re writing a book too!
BL– I am! You know more about my career than I do! I seem to have forgotten everything that I’ve done, huh? (Laughs)
TEN– I’ve been keeping tabs on you! (Laughs)
BL– Oh, that’s funny. Yes, I am writing a novel with a gal named Gren Wells who is a fabulous screenwriter in L.A. I took her this idea and it’s called: “I’m Leaving You For Me” and I’m writing all of the music that goes with it. This book is about a housewife whose children are grown and she’s trying to rediscover herself. She’s been in the marriage that has become stale after all the years and sorta has lost herself. Her marriage has lost its’ excitement and passion and this is her journey. It’s really funny and it’s really sad and I think that there are a lot of women who are gonna relate to this. I don’t even know what to tell you beyond that because we haven’t figured out how it’s gonna end yet! (Laughs) We’re just as excited to wonder what’s going to happen.
TEN– Will that go hand-in-hand with a music CD release?
BL– It sure will. We’re going to include a CD along with the book and all of the songs will be pertaining to that market I was telling you about earlier. You know, women that maybe aren’t being spoken to on the radio as much as they used to. I was thinking; “What a perfect way. To let them read the book and also pop in the music in their car on the way to work.” I hope it’s an inspiring book for a lot of women.
TEN– I’m sure it will be. A lot of your songs are inspirational.
BL– Well thanks! I tend to write them either really funny or really sad. I’m not very good at right down the middle. (Laughs) I think I see the highs and lows of life…the craziness and the beauty. That’s really my style of writing. It’s usually kinda funny and I have a song on Lorrie’s last record called: “Hard On A Bombshell” and it’s about getting older as a woman and it’s hilarious. One of the lines says; (Starts singing) “Now I’m a sucker for a honk from a trucker. Lord, I’ve learned to love that sound and that’s hard on a bombshell.” (Laughs)
TEN– Did you also contribute to a movie called “The Woodsman?”
BL– I sure did. Gosh, you really have done your homework. That was a really interesting situation too. I wrote with a gal named Reecie Palmer and a guy named Eric Pittarelli. It was the first time that we had ever written together. We wrote a song called “Faith.” That movie was a very disturbing movie and had a very disturbing storyline. The song was played in the movie, at a very pivotal time, where this person is having to dig deep to keep her faith. It was a beautiful recording and Reese just did a phenomenal job as the artist on it. Once again, I am very honored to be a part of that. It was a very moving experience to see how music can be used in such a powerful way. I’ll tell you the thing I love the most about music is that it can touch your heart unlike just about anything else. You can watch a McDonald’s commercial and when the right song is on…it will make you just breakout into tears. It really does change the feel and the mood and the spirit of everything. I’ve had an opportunity along my twenty-year journey in Nashville to really have worked with some of the best of the best and I feel really honored.
TEN– You have also flown overseas to visit the troops too.
BL– Yes, I’ve done tons of military shows which were very touching. Honestly my only experience prior to that is what you see on the news or in films…that kind of thing. To actually be shaking hands with these guys and girls who are out there fighting for our country…it gets ya. We got to go to Japan and Korea and met thousands of troops and they were phenomenal people. They really do make sacrifices beyond anything that you can comprehend by being away from their families for so long and fighting for rights.
TEN– My brother just retired from the army and I remember him always saying how it really made the troops feel good when artists or celebrities would stop by and visit and take time from their careers to spend with the troops.
BL– Is he glad to be retired or is he itching to go back?
TEN– He’s glad to be retired.
BL– Okay, when I say; “Music’s in your blood” it’s the same way for the soldiers. I have seen so many soldiers the same way. They come home but then they feel like they have to go back there. I’m glad he’s back safe.
TEN– When I interviewed you back in 2007; your tour was sponsored by Tequila Rose.
TEN– I just wanted to remind you that you still owe me a shot!
BL– (Busts out laughing) Oh I haven’t had a Tequila Rose shot in a very, very long time but I do remember that! (Still laughing) The next time that I see you I’ll by you one! (Laughs) I do remember that. That’s hilarious!
TEN– Also in 2007, I asked you this question: “Tell me something disturbing about yourself that you’ve never revealed before in an interview.” You told me that “If I tell you…I’d have to kill you!” Does that answer still stand today?
BL– (Laughing) That answer still stands today! (Laughs harder)
I want to thank Buffy for taking the time for this interview and making our conversation a blast as always.