DIARY - 24 DECEMBER 2003 - MINDY SMITH
New Yorker Mindy Smith has good reason to be pleased about her move
The singer cut a video clip for her version of Dolly Parton hit Jolene
for Parton tribute disc Just Because I'm A Woman on the eve
of release of her debut solo disc One Moment More.
It was good karma for Smith who left New York with just $300 after
her mother died of cancer.
Mindy arrived in Nashville with $300 in her pocket and the phone number
of a friend. When she called, the friend had moved but the person
on the other end was looking for a roommate and the rent just happened
to be 300 bucks a month.
Five years later, Smith is enjoying similar good fortune with her
version of the oft cut Jolene.
Mindy's version as her favourite and backed up her praise by going on
The Tonight Show to belt it out alongside the young singer-songwriter.
"It was a challenge because she has such diehard fans out there,"
says Smith. "It's her
most cut song, so that also was tricky. Most of Dolly's songs that I'd
heard were the
ones from her later years, like Little Sparrow, so I was not inhibited
by other people's
arrangements or approaches. It was really from an honest and fresh place,
and I just
wanted to honour her as best as I could. And Dolly just went, 'I love
it,' and she's really
got behind me as a writer. Nothing but great stuff has come out of Jolene."
Smith's debut disc, released early in 2004, documents her coming of age.
Highlights include Raggedy Ann, - a portrait of an unhappy childhood,
and the title track - a rumination on life and loss.
"It's about my mum Sharon who passed away from breast cancer,"
says Smith, who first left her native Long Island, New York, after her
mother's death. "It's been a great healing song. A lot of people
have thanked me for writing it, because they didn't know how to communicate
how they felt. The record is dedicated to her. She was also a musician
and a fabulous singer."
Smith was a fan of The Cure long before she ever heard Alison Krauss or
Shawn Colvin. Tracks like It's Amazing - penned in Smith's tiny Nashville
studio apartment - represent the young songwriter's bid to transcend the
doom and gloom of her early writing efforts.
"When I first started writing, everyone was like, 'Why are you're
songs so sad?'" she says.
"With that song, I just had a nephew and a niece - my sister had
a little boy and my other sister had a little girl - and I was madly in
love with them. So I had to figure out how to incorporate that joy into
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