Upon listening to her speak, the first description of Becca Rae Greene that comes to mind is “soft-spoken”. However, that’s probably the furthest thing from your mind once she begins to sing — she can really belt it out (and does)… and she’s GOOD at it too! Her songs are all about the experiences of her life, particularly being an Army wife, being in the States while her husband is deployed and having to move around a lot when he’s back. She’s been all over the country, including Nashville; right now, she’s based in Fort Lewis, WA, where’s she’s just made a record. Becca Rae’s debut record Strength is available through her website, and full-length songs are streamable via her MySpace. Becca Rae has a true country voice and outlook, so I was happy when I got the chance to interview her! (By the way, did I mention she can sing?)
Part the First
At this moment in time, what is your favorite song?
Becca Rae: My favorite song of all time is “She Talks To Angels” by the Black Crowes.
What’s your favorite band that you don’t think a lot of people would ?have heard of?
Becca Rae: Caddle, a great group of good ol’ boys from Alabama. They used to come through town and play at a bar across the street from where we lived (in Columbus, Georgia). They’re rowdy and wild, and amazing on stage!
What, if anything, is on any particular wall (your choice) in your ?domicile?
Becca Rae: My husband’s military awards??.
What’s the strangest thing you own?
Becca Rae: A battery-operated dancing hamster wearing camouflage.
Of the things you’ve done, what’s your all-time favorite (however you ?want to interpret that, be it artistic works, actions, whatever)?
Becca Rae: Hands-down, the best thing I’ve ever done is marry Morgan Daniel Greene. He’s the greatest husband a girl could ever dream of, and our wedding day was the happiest day of my life. Everything else sort of pales in comparison.
Who’s your favorite visual artist (excluding yourself)?
Becca Rae: Visual? Hmmm… I’m going to go ahead and assume that means it can be a musician… I’m a huge fan of Brad Paisley. He’s not only a phenomenal singer and songwriter, but he’s an insanely good guitar player. He seems so down-to-earth on stage, and yet larger than life at the same time.
What are the five most recent films you’ve seen?
What’re your top three movies?
Do you own any original artwork, and if so, whose?
Becca Rae: The only original artwork we own is hanging on our fridge… They’re drawings given to us by our friends’ five-year-old daughter Kaylee.
What is your favorite game?
Becca Rae: Scattergories! I’m really good at it, too!
What sort of pie do you enjoy?
Becca Rae: Anything chocolate! Chocolate French Silk, Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie, etc..
If you could say one thing to David Byrne, what would it be?
Becca Rae: I would whip out my guitar and sing him a few tunes.
Describe some horrible/otherwise amusing local commercials.
Becca Rae: Oh geez… well there used to be this furniture store that would advertise that you “always got a free onion” just for coming into their store. I’m not sure how that was supposed to lure you into buying furniture…
What are your five most favorite books in the world?
Becca Rae: I’m not really the reading kind… but, I do enjoy autobiographies of rock stars. My favorite is The Dirt by Mötley Crüe. I think I’ve read it at least 5 times.
What is the most boring thing you’ve ever experienced?
Becca Rae: I think the most boring thing in the world is to be stuck in bad traffic. One time, I was driving from Tennessee to Georgia, and got stuck in Bonnaroo festival traffic. I sat in that traffic for FIVE hours. It was extremely miserable.
If you could name a child anything in the world, what would it be?
Becca Rae: I want to have twin boys, and name them Tristan Daniel Greene and Riley Matthew Greene.
What would be a better weapon, a gun that fires dogs or a gun that ?fires cats?
Becca Rae: What?!? I would never fire a dog out of a gun!! However, my old roommate had four cats, and I guess I wouldn’t mind firing one of them out of a gun…
What is your favorite meal?
Becca Rae: I love Chinese food, but especially sweet and sour chicken with fried rice.
What is reality?
Becca Rae: My reality is the people I know and the places I’ve been.
Part the Second
How did you get started as a songwriter?
Becca Rae: I’ve always loved to write, but I didn’t really get any actual songs written until I picked up the guitar when I was 18 years old. It came very natural to me that I should put words to music. As soon as I learned my first three chords, I was writing lyrics for them.
Your voice is very powerful — have you had singing lessons, or are ?you self-taught?
Becca Rae: I have always loved to sing, and as a young girl, I wanted to sing so badly that I would give up my recess! In 4th grade, I started going to “music lessons” during recess from a nun at my school who taught me to read music, breath control, and the technical aspects of singing. By the time I got to high school, I was far beyond my peers in my choir class. I also took voice lessons and music theory classes for two years in high school.
I know you’ve moved around a lot as an Army wife; do you have a ?favorite place you’ve lived?
Becca Rae: Definitely Columbus, Georgia. Fort Benning holds a very special place in my heart.
You’ve spent time in Nashville — do you have any interesting stories ?about that?
Becca Rae: Oh gosh — lots! Where do I start? ?I lived in a house right on Music Row, and I sang at every honky-tonk in town. I got the chance to hang out with some famous country music singers, and I heard some of the greatest songwriters play their hits at tiny little hole-in-the-walls. That’s the coolest thing about Nashville — you can hear amazing music on any stage in town, any night of the week. I haven’t been anywhere else like that ever.
Do you have a favorite show you saw in Nashville?
Becca Rae: I went to a small bar one night with friends, and heard that a few songwriters were going to be performing there that night. We thought, “Alright, we’ll stick around to see if they’re any good.” And guess who showed up… The songwriters were Dave Berg, James Slater, and Bill Luther. We heard country mega-hits “In My Daughter’s Eyes” (Martina McBride), “Somebody” (Reba McEntire), “Let’s Make Love” (Tim McGraw & Faith Hill) “God’s Will” (Martina McBride), “My Best Friend” (Tim McGraw), “Stupid Boy” (Keith Urban), and MANY more!! It was so amazing and unbelievable. Everyone in the audience was in tears as Bill Luther sang his song “My Best Friend” to his wife, and hearing James Slater perform his hit “In My Daughter’s Eyes”. I will never forget how moving it was to hear those famous songs, performed by the men who wrote them.
How did you get into country music?
Becca Rae: Country music runs through my veins!! I cry over old Hank songs, and I get excited every time I hear “Chattahoochee” by Alan Jackson. I love country music, because it’s all about telling stories. I wanted to move to Nashville sooo bad, it was all my daddy could do to keep me from leaving until I turned 18!! As soon as I turned 18, I packed up everything I owned in a U-Haul and headed for Nashville. I didn’t get into it so much as it got into me!
A lot of people have different answers for “the best country song ever written” (from “He Stopped Loving Her Today” by George Jones to “You Never Even Called Me By My Name” by David Allen Coe, and my personal choice, “Flowers on the Wall” by the Statler Brothers) — what’s yours?
Becca Rae: That is a really tough question, as there are so many classic country songs that could qualify for this title. I think I’m going to go with “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” by Hank Williams. That song is so simple and perfect, and listening to it, for me, is like remembering your old grandfather, or eating homemade apple pie. It is pure country.
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
Becca Rae: Brad Paisley. He’s the man.
What’s the best show you’ve played?
Becca Rae: The best show of my career was in 2003, when I opened for Montgomery Gentry in concert. There was a crowd of over 8,000 people in attendance, and I felt like I had finally made all my dreams come true! I will never forget that night as long as I live.
How did opening for Montgomery Gentry come about?
Becca Rae: Long story short, the local newspaper did a story about me and my budding singing career my senior year of high school. Montgomery Gentry was coming to town for the State Fair, and needed a local opening act. The folks in charge of the event saw the article in the paper, and contacted me about 3 months before the show.
If you could only do one, would you rather write and record songs, or ?play live?
Becca Rae: Oh gosh, that’s hard. I really love singing live, but I think I’m gonna go with writing and recording, only because if I could never write another song, I would be devastated. It’s how I best communicate with the world.
Do you have interest in producing records as well as writing and performing?
Becca Rae: No, not really!
Do you have a song of yours that’s a particular favorite?
Becca Rae: Of course, I must say “Wherever You Are (Morgan’s Song)”. It’s so personal for me and my husband, and at the same time, a lot of people have told me that they can relate to it, which is awesome.
Does your husband, Morgan, have a favorite?
Becca Rae: I don’t think so… although I’m sure he’s secretly partial to the song named for him…
Do you come from a musical family?
Becca Rae: Nope! I grew up with my father and three brothers, and none of them are musical at all!!
Your songs seem to come from a deep emotional place — are there any ?songs that are so powerful for you that you have a hard time performing?
Becca Rae: Any time Morgan is deployed, I can’t help but get a little over-emotional performing “Wherever You Are (Morgan’s Song)”. The song “Seattle” is also kind of a tough one for me to perform, depending on the occasion. Most of the time, though, I have no problem.
For people who haven’t heard “Seattle”, could you explain why that one can be tough?
Becca Rae: As a young girl, when times got tough, my older brother would comfort me by telling me beautiful stories about a perfect place where we would someday run away and forget all our problems. I would ask him, “Where? Where are we going to run away to?” And he would say, “Seattle.” He painted a picture of a fairy-tale place where we could go whale-watching in the rain, and nothing could ever hurt us. My brother never got to go to Seattle, as he passed away in a tragic accident when he was 17 years old. I wrote the song about him a few years ago, and as fate would have it, my husband and I moved to the Seattle area last May. I often feel like I’m here to see the beautiful place my brother dreamed of.
If someone were to take a look at your music collection, what do you ?think the biggest surprise would be?
Becca Rae: Haha — definitely that I am a huge Mötley Crüe fan! Random, I know. But I have some very fond Mötley Crüe memories, including a concert where Nikki Sixx gave me his guitar pick, and Tommy Lee referred to me as his “Next Ex-Wife”! Ah, hair metal…
What is it about Mötley Crüe that appeals to you?
Becca Rae: Their music is young and fun, and it’s really just about escaping from your day-to-day life, and letting your hair down, even if just for a night. My roommate in Nashville was a big fan, and she got me into their records, and took me to my first Mötley Crüe concert. After I read “The Dirt”, I was hooked for good. We used to blare “Same Ol’ Situation” in her Mustang convertible and ride down Music Row without a care in the world.
Have you ever struck up friendships and correspondences with fans of ?yours that have gone through similar experiences as fellow Army wives?
Becca Rae: Absolutely! There are LOTS of fellow military wives who have found my music through MySpace, and they are often kind enough to share their experiences with me. I’m always humbled by their great sacrifice for this country. When I receive messages from other military wives, it’s really encouraging and flattering. And I’m always floored when other wives show up at my gigs to show support! It’s a wonderful family to be a part of!
Do you have any other projects you’d like to mention?
Becca Rae: Right now, I’m really just working to promote my debut CD, “Strength”. I’m always writing, and getting into the studio to record new stuff, but for now, my goal is to get “Strength” out there, continue to build my fanbase, and hopefully, someday hear my songs on the radio!