Artist Spotlight: Dave Woods interviews Beverley Mahood
Beverley Mahood is more than a triple threat. She’s a successful singer, songwriter, actress, model, and television host. Right from her debut on the country music scene in 1998 with her award-winning album Girl Out Of The Ordinary, it was clear that this talented artist was here to stay. She’s gone on to have her songs & videos climb to the top of the charts consistently. Beverley isn’t just dedicated to her music, she’s dedicated to giving back to her community through her involvement with several charitable organizations. Last year’s “Hope and Gasoline” – written by Beverley, Patricia Conroy & Danick Dupelle – was a big hit with radio, CMT and country fans. Now, Beverley has a brand new single and video (airing on CMT) called “Sunday I’m An Angel” – written by the same writing team that wrote “Hope and Gasoline.” The song is sure to add another important chapter to Beverley’s career.
Take us back to the moment when you knew music was going to play such a big part in your life.
I immigrated from Belfast, Northern Ireland, at age 7. Prior to that, my music and singing was confined to our family’s coffee table stage. Shortly after arriving in Canada, I got onto a real stage in Southwestern Ontario. I sang “I Am Shirley Temple”… acapella! This soon led to a bigger stage where I sang “Little League In Heaven” with Orville Prophet, my first duet. Anne Murray was on the show. I knew music was my life, even then. My break really came at 13 years old when I won a youth talent search at the London Western Fair and its manager, Anne Eadie, introduced me to producer Rick Hutt. He is a real talent, one of the best anywhere, who mentored me for years. I am grateful for that.
Who are some of the artists and songs that played on the soundtrack of your childhood and teen years – when music seems to have its biggest impact and leaves the deepest impression?
Some interesting artists formed my childhood, musical soundtrack and gave me direction. Patsy Cline’s “Crazy,” Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” and Tammy Wynette’s “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad” were the big three songs on my 8-track Singing Machine, which I took everywhere. I won it in a contest and these were the tunes that came with it. Coincidence? Yes, I was 11 years old, singing “Like a Virgin”. Funny, looking back, I couldn’t have tripped into better influences. I know this even more now. They were the deal.
Your song “Hope and Gasoline” is one of those songs that can become an anthem for listeners. The message in it is so inspiring. How much satisfaction do you get from recording and releasing songs that have a positive influence?
Making even the smallest difference in how people think, or feel, is the ultimate payoff for an artist. Paying your bills is a close second here. I wrote my first song, “Girl Out of The Ordinary,” for young girls like me who wanted more. They might not fit the norm but were willing to fight for a dream. This song helped to give me a career, as it connected with many like-minded young girls. With “Hope and Gasoline,” I continued that theme again, as I had the burning desire and energy to take on the challenges again. It was motivational for me to write with Patricia Conroy and Danick Dupelle and I was thrilled to connect with like-minded people again. Beer songs are great, fun and important too. The key is to have people feel something from your song.
You deliver a truly moving performance on one of your recent singles “I Can’t Outrun You.” I can feel the emotion when I listen to it. What song of yours moves you the most when you sing it and why?
Different songs move me for different reasons. “I Can’t Outrun You” brings a flood of memories about people I have lost. It is emotional to sing and probably to listeners…we all have dealt with loss. “Sunday I’m an Angel” (the new single) makes me revisit all the reasons I perform and entertain. I am thrilled to sing it, perform it, knowing the song, for me, is about living life and giving it everything you’ve got! So I sing it that way and I smile. Actually, if any song is working for the audience, it’s probably working for me.
You’ve had some great duet partners over the years (Randy Bachman, Kenny Munshaw & Steve Fox, to name a few). When you were on my radio show, you mentioned that Bryan Adams is on your duet wish list. What is it about the magic of the right duet partner that you enjoy?
Yes, Bryan Adams is my ultimate duet partner! I did sing with him once, on the disco tune “Get Down Tonight” at one of his shows. Ha! Still hungry for more! I love to sing harmony with the attention on group singing and blending in with a great voice or voices. It can be pretty powerful musically and more entertaining when it works right. Also, as a singer, duets and collaborating with the incredible vocalists in Lace made me a better artist. It was like going to school and learning the importance of listening. One wrong note and you bring the whole team down.
Celine Dion recorded a beautiful song you wrote with Thomas Wade called “Come To Me” on her Miracle album. What other artist outside of country music would you like to have record one of your songs and why?
How about any/all of them? Every artist needs a Beverley Mahood tune in their show! Seriously, I am thrilled when any artist feels like they can bring something to a song I have written. When Thomas Wade and I wrote “Come to Me,” it was the last song in a writing week for my album. It didn’t end up fitting on my album, yet was well-suited for Celine’s Miracle album. Things can be unplanned! If I had to pick one artist to sing one of my songs, maybe Bryan Adams again, recording the duet we write together.
How does a new songwriter become a better writer?
By songwriting all the time, by themselves and with experienced writers. Songwriting is a muscle. It only gets stronger by working it out. Many new writers/artists see fast results and then quit, thinking they already have a hit or an album complete. This is a common mistake. Good can come pretty fast but great is elusive and hard. Like life, most people just don’t want to work that hard.
What are some words of wisdom you could offer for new singers & songwriters on the country scene who are wondering how to start their journey?
Don’t try to sound like anyone else but you! Write first and develop your own sound singing your songs with something to say. The world doesn’t need more of what it already has.
How enjoyable is it to help play a part in developing the career of other artists like Leah Daniels?
For me, working with real talent is always worthwhile and can be inspiring. Helping younger artists skip mistakes I made can be useful for them.
Leah Daniels is a huge talent. She is also a social media dynamo so I get payback. I was mentored growing up around a Kitchener music studio called Cedartree so paying it forward comes pretty naturally.
Who are some of the artists catching your ear these days – country and otherwise?
Bruno Mars is the complete deal! A songwriter, performer, he works his butt off. A true superstar! I actually like a bunch of them: Fun (the indie pop band), Pink and my old fave James Taylor. In country I am liking Miranda’s new music quite a bit and Keith Urban is still probably on top of my list. I like the male power-country music, just don’t gravitate to any one artist. They all work okay! All a bit too similar to separate.
You do some awesome covers in your shows like Marc Cohn’s “Walking In Memphis” and Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man” (the female take on the song.) What’s a recent cover you do and why did you choose it?
The one I am doing right now is Blake Shelton’s “Boys Round Here.” What a great tune, fun to sing, people like it. I get a kick out of the rapping.
You’re currently the national spokesperson for the Pink Mitten Campaign in support of breast cancer research. And, this year marked your 17th year hosting the Kinsmen’s Telemiracle, which raises millions for those in need within Saskatchewan. How satisfying is it for you to be a part of these organizations and to see the difference they make in our world?
Working with these organizations is a privilege. Satisfying? More just the right thing to do. Success for each of the causes…that would be really satisfying. I believe, as artists, we are fortunate to be given a public stage throughout our career. It is important for us to use the stage, and our voice, in part, to help others have their voice in making a difference.
When you’re wrapping up a bunch of shows & songwriting sessions and are looking to unwind & recharge, where would we find you?
At home! Give me a lake, a glass of wine, my dog Jake and Kenny Loggins’ Live From The Redwoods album…and I am the most happy of girls. Also, I like cars!
Tell us about your new single “Sunday I’m An Angel.”
I am pretty tired of hearing “Bro-only” Country music, on radio, about partying, beer, trucks and girls. Are they the only ones that can do it? “Sunday I’m an Angel” speaks to women who can rock, let loose and still pull it all together. I know plenty of these types. Musically, with my producer Bob Funk, we wanted to have acoustic country meet full-up, power rock.
You shot the video for the new single in Texas. What is the best part of filming a music video? What is the most challenging part?
The best part…hopefully, the finished product. The most challenging part… everything else! Videos are really hard. Time is short to complete them and nothing ever goes as planned. Given all that, Texas was a great experience with a great director – Jeth Weinrich. He also did my previous two videos for “Hope and Gasoline” and “I Can’t Outrun You.”
The CMAO held its 2nd Annual Awards Show back in May. It was a great night of music and so wonderful to see you perform your new song. The organization is playing a significant role in shaping and promoting Ontario Country talent. What are your thoughts on the importance of the CMAO?
Ontario has the largest provincial population in Canada and represents the biggest growth potential for Country Music. The CMAO plays an important role here. Since beginning, they have quickly been building a business plan, with two years of sold out award shows and various support programs throughout the year. This is a fantastic start which has pushed “Country” into the music conversation in Ontario. Hats off to them!
For more information on Beverley, be sure to visit www.beverleymahood.com
To hear episodes of In The Country with Dave Woods – including new interviews with John Landry & Tebey, please visit www.inthecountryinterviews.com