I can’t believe that my new video for the single “Me Time” has made it to the #1 spot on CMT.COM. This is the second video back to back for me to make it to #1. It’s such an honor for me and such an incredible feeling to be on the same list as Toby Keith, Miley Cyrus, Luke Bryan and Alan Jackson. Thank you again CMT for giving me this opportunity.
I am so thankful to Danilo Gabrielli for the AMAZING gown he designed for me … I felt like a princess : )
The after party at the Country Music Hall of Fame was spectacular and we all had a blast. Can’t wait for next year’s award show!!
Produced by JVC Radio Broadcasting’s country music station, My Country 96.1 FM, the Vets Rock concert was an all-day outdoor country music festival that boasted a turnout of 7,000 Long Island country music fans! Vets Rock turned out to be even bigger than last July’s Freedom Fest on Long Island. If this large turnout isn’t a sign that country music is taking root on Long Island, I don’t know what is!
The show began at 1PM and went until 9PM that night, with platinum selling country artist Eric Church as the concert’s headlining act. Other popular country artists who performed included: Thompson Square and The Jane Dear Girls.
I opened the show with the National Anthem, after being escorted to the stage by a local American Legion Post motorcycle group on a Harley Davidson motorcycle. I returned to the stage once again, later in the show, to do my 35 minute set. I sang 9 songs, both from the Me Time EP and from my upcoming LP, Sunrise Highway. Amazingly, there were audience members singing along with me to “Me Time,” “Sunrise Highway” and “I Don’t Feel Anything.” I have My Country 96.1 to thank for supporting my music and giving me the airplay that has allowed people to become so familiar with my music. I also want to thank the musicians I worked with on stage: Tony Bruno, Bobby Guy, Jules Radino, Simi Stone, Greg Smith, Colin Smith and Mike Dimeo. I am blessed to get to work with such a talented and accomplished group of musicians.
After the main part of my set, I read a poem written by a Vietnam Veteran named Walter Mooney. The poem was a poignant piece that expresses what freedom means from the point of view of a veteran who has fought for our freedoms. I then performed a song called “We’re All The Same,” written by songwriter Sheira Brayer who was in the audience. The Broadway Youth Ensemble, a group of young professional Broadway performers, sang backup for me and provided the harmonies during this song. “We’re All The Same” is a great patriotic song with a profound message: if danger came to our world there would be no racism, no prejudice… we would stand together as brothers and sisters and learn to love one another.
Country music has a way of bringing people together. I saw fans in the crowd line dancing together, socializing with one another, and the concert was truly a family affair with a lot of children in the crowd. You can feel a warm camaraderie between country music fans that you don’t always see at other types of concerts.
After my set I signed autographs for over an hour, signing everything from “Me Time” T-shirts to boots, hats, posters and pictures. Fans of all ages, from little kids to Veterans in their 60s and 70s were lined up for autographs.
On August 18th The CW Network in Orlando, Florida did a segment on my life and music career on their morning show, The Daily Buzz. The live television segment opened with a montage about my life and early music career, showing video clips of my days on the dance pop charts as “Lysa Lynn.” As the voiceover told my story about transitioning from a young dance pop artist to a stay-at-home mom, and now a country recording artist, I felt the weight of how far I’ve come. After that opening montage, musician Joey Sykes and I performed a live rendition of “Wouldn’t You Like to Know” on the air.
After our live performance, I sat down for an on-air interview with CW anchor, Andy Campbell. We discussed my earlier incarnation as Lysa Lynn, taking time out to raise my kids on Long Island, and now re-emerging as a country recording artist; my dream come true :)! Andy made me laugh when he told me that he looked at pictures of me from back in the day as “Lysa Lynn,” saying that I’ve aged “like a fine wine.” Ha ha, that was very sweet.
As we were chatting about my upbringing in South Florida, how much country music has influenced my life, and how good it feels to be recording and performing country music, it dawned on me that I am incredibly blessed to be doing exactly what I want to do in this life. I’m singing and recording the kind of music I am passionate about, “country rock,” as I told Andy during our interview. We also spoke about my upcoming LP, Sunrise Highway, which will be out this fall.
After I left the sound stage, CW reporter Mitch English came up to me backstage with a cameraman filming at his side. He kept asking me, “’So, sup? ‘sup?” trying to get a reaction out of me, on camera! Apparently, he does this little routine to many of the guests that come on the show. I didn’t expect it, so it was pretty awkward at first, but it was VERY funny! Everyone working at the Daily Buzz have terrific personalities and seem to really enjoy their jobs! I had a blast at this station! After the interview, me and musician Joey Sykes filmed a “Lisa Matassa Minute” for my YouTube channel backstage at the CW Network studios.
Another highlight of my visit to Orlando, was when I FINALLY got to visit the Harry Potter exhibit at Universal Studios!! People who know me, know I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan, so right after my appearance on CW’s The Daily Buzz, I went back to the hotel, changed into shorts and went straight to Harry Potter. The exhibit is a replica of the story’s fictional town of Hogsmeade. We drank Harry Potter Butterbeer (which was amazing, by the way) and one of the rides made me a bit queasy, but it was worth it. You go through the whole Harry Potter experience and get transported into another world. I LOVED every minute of my visit to Orlando and can’t wait to go back!
Just got back from being on the road and yesterday evening I was invited to Long Island’s NYCB Theater at Westbury to meet country music star Trace Adkins backstage. My Country 96.1 WJVC had a promotional table at the concert and invited me down for a meet and greet with Trace.
As Long Island’s first country format radio station, JVC gets a lot of local support at shows. They were able to set up shop at Trace’s concert with giveaways and radio station contests for the NYCB Theater audience. Trace Adkins, apart from being extremely tall, is a super nice guy and one of my favorite country artists. All in all, it was a great night!
Now that I’m back home I’m taking this opportunity to work in my home recording studio, finishing up the vocals on my upcoming LP, Sunrise Highway, and doing a ton of radio interviews all over the country. At this point I feel like an old pro at doing press (it starts to become second nature after awhile :)), but I’m always amazed that people want to know all of the details about what’s going on with my career and my life. Journalists also find it fascinating that I made the transition from a 1980s dance pop artist to a country artist. I grew up in the south with country music, but when I moved back to New York as a teen, country music had not yet developed a large following up north, so back then a country music recording career was not feasible. Times have changed quite a bit and I am so proud to see all of the support for country music in New York these days. I’d like to think I am a part of that exciting music
We covered quite a bit of ground on our last radio tour, with the first stop at WDSY Y108 in Pittsburgh. At Y108 we met up with on-air personality and program director, Stoney Richards, who does the weekly drivetime show. Musician Joey Sykes and my record promoter, Larry Pareigis, President of Nine North Records / Turnpike Music, both accompanied me on this radio tour and it was great to have that kind of support around me. Larry commands a tremendous amount of respect in country radio, dating back to when he helped to break The Dixie Chicks. Joey Sykes and I performed for everyone down at WDSY and we gifted Stoney Richards with our promotional “Me Time” and “I Don’t Feel Anything” t-shirts.
Next, it was off to “Froggy” 94.9 (they also broadcast on 103.5 and 104.3 in their region). Everything over at “Froggyland” radio is frog themed, even down to the deejays’ names. We hung out with deejay, David Hopperfield, who was very sweet. After a lively conference room performance for the Froggy crew, we joined them for dinner. David was a professional drummer at one time in his career, so we had that musical kinship. Before leaving Froggy, the station had me record a station ID promo where the written copy actually required me to “ribbit” like a frog. I felt better when I was told that Carrie Underwood and many of the biggest artists who had come through their doors were also compelled to croak the radio station’s famous “ribbit,” so I’m in good company! Afterwards they gave me a fun swag bag full of stuff from “Froggyland,” including a giant coffee mug that I use every morning :).
When we moved on to Cleveland, Program Director Charlie Connelly and DJ Chuck Collier, at WGAR 99.5, had me perform a live acoustic set in their radio station’s studio. Charlie and Chuck were very sweet and receptive, and since Charlie is originally from Long Island and misses his NY Islanders hockey team, I brought him a goodie bag full of Islanders gear, which he loved.
After Cleveland we moved on to Fort Wayne, Indiana and WBTU U.S. 93.3 where we were greeted by Assistant Program Director AJ Maguire and Colin, the station’s music director. I pre-recorded an on-air performance of “Me Time” for WBTU and AJ told me about a recent contest the station had where they offered a generous reward for whoever could locate and recover the “9” that was mysteriously stolen from their 93.3 sign out front. The listener who found and returned the station’s missing 9 donated his reward of $10,000 to a local homeless shelter.
WBEE 92.5 in Rochester, NY actually invited their listeners to come down to the radio station to watch me and Joey Sykes perform. After performing for their listeners I did a Q&A and autographed photos for everyone. These spontaneous concerts are some of my favorite radio appearances because I actually get to meet country music fans and thank them for their support and enthusiasm for my music. And it was on the Rochester stop on our radio tour where I created my “Lisa Matassa Minute” video blog where I began posting video journals of my experiences on the road and posting them to my YouTube channel. We shoot the Lisa Matassa Minute right on my iPhone and it’s pretty raw and organic; a video journal of this amazing journey I am on.
As everyone knows, I feel a strong sense of pride and commitment when it comes to supporting important causes and events on Long Island. When I got a request to perform at the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund’s 1st annual Pink Penguin Bash, I said “yes” right away! I was so honored to be invited and asked to perform by the Baldwin family, and for a cause that is very close to my heart. One of my favorite aunt’s lost her battle with breast cancer last November.
For those who aren’t familiar with Carol Baldwin, she is the mother of actors Alec, Billy, Stephen and Daniel Baldwin, and she is a breast cancer survivor and breast cancer awareness advocate. The family originates from Massapequa, NY, and all four Baldwin brothers established the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund in their mother’s name.
The Pink Penguin Bash took place on July 30th at the Long Island Atlantis Marine World Aquarium and Exhibition Center in Riverhead, NY and was emceed by WBAB 102.3 FM on air personality, Fingers. I performed a five song set along with JD Leonard who is a super talented guitarist. JD and I performed 3 songs from my EP, Me Time, including: “I Don’t Feel Anything,” “Wouldn’t Like to Know?”, and the title track, “Me Time.” We also performed two songs from my upcoming LP, Sunrise Highway: the songs “Somebody’s Baby” and the title track, “Sunrise Highway.”
The other great performers at the event were legendary rock n’ roll singer, Lita Ford; American Idol season 10 finalist, Robbie Rosen, who is so talented and such a sweet kid; and Randy Jackson from the group, Zebra, who performed an amazing rendition of “Stairway to Heaven.” Robbie Rosen sang first, followed by Randy Jackson of Zebra who invited Lita Ford up on stage with him. Lita Ford then did her set, and I went on as the final act. My guitarist, JD Leonard, picked up the harmonies for my songs beautifully, and the crowd was very receptive to us.
During the event I had the opportunity to speak with Billy Baldwin, Stephen Baldwin, and their mom, Carol Baldwin. The Baldwin family was so kind and the work they are doing for breast cancer research is remarkable. I was informed that since its inception, the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund has given out $6 million in grant funding with a large portion of that grant funding having gone to breast cancer research at Upstate Medical University. In addition, the Carol M. Baldwin Fund awards multiple $50,000 grants each year to breast cancer research at the State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University and University Hospital in Syracuse.
For the event, the Atlantis Aquarium was transformed into a catering hall. Many of the aquatic exhibits were table-side. They did a beautiful job decorating with pink and purple lights and penguins were dressed in pink bowties. There was also an organization at the event that was there with exotic looking rescue birds that you could stop and take pictures with.
I posed for pictures and signed plenty of autographs throughout the night, and there was a fun casino area and a Chinese auction. All in all, a very rewarding night!
Before we left, Atlantis Marine World’s curator and co-founder, Joseph Yaiullo, told me that he enjoyed my performance and he offered me a private VIP tour with my family for a private session with the penguins and seals, which sounds wonderful. Can’t wait to take him up on his offer!!
On July 18th I hit the road once again for part of my mid-western radio promotional tour for Me Time, and it was such a pleasure to be surrounded by so many fans who share my passion for country music!
Our first stop was Boise, Idaho and KIZN Kissin’ 92.3 where I met program director Rich Summers and on air personality Spencer Burke. After making some small talk, Rich said, “Let’s see what you got!” Joey Sykes and I performed my song, “Wouldn’t You Like to Know?” While we sang, local campers who were on a field trip at KIZN were excited to meet me, a “real country music artist.” I ended up singing two more songs for the kids and they were clapping and loving the live show we put on for them. Afterwards, I took pictures and signed autographs for all of the kids and their camp counselors. They told me that meeting me was “the best part of their field trip,” and one of the kids said, “I now like you better than Taylor Swift!” It was very cute and so sweet, and a great way to start the day!
Next stop was in Idaho Falls at KTHK The Hawk 105.5 where we met with on-air personality and program director, Brother Dale. Leading up to my appearance, KTHK held a radio call-in contest for a meet and greet with me. Twenty of their listeners won the contest and they all piled into the radio station’s conference room to watch me perform. Joey Sykes and I performed 4 or 5 songs for the radio contest winners from my EP, Me Time. In anticipation of this event, we ordered pizza and soda for all of the contest winners to enjoy during their meet and greet with me. After my performance I signed autographs, gave away photos and chatted with everyone. It was really nice to sit and talk with the listeners, answer their questions and connect with them.
Next, we drove through the night into Montana. After arriving at our hotel at 2AM on the 19th, we had to leave at 5AM to drive another 2 ½ hours to reach KDBR The Bear 106.3, in the town of Kalispell. As we were driving to KDBR, bleary eyed and spent, we turned on the radio to hear my song “I Don’t Feel Anything” playing! It was the very first time I heard one of my songs playing on a car radio. We got so excited that we picked up the pace to get to the radio station quickly, and we ended up getting a speeding ticket. Upon reaching KDBR I did an interview with their morning show personalities, John and Charlene. Joey Sykes and I then sang “Wouldn’t You Like to Know” and “Me Time.” Before leaving KDBR we gave Charlene a “Me Time” T-shirt and John an “I Don’t Feel Anything” shirt.
Our final stop was on July 20th at Clear Channel station, KIXX 96 in Spokane, Washington. At KIXX we met with program director, Paul Neumann and on-air personality, Cody Carleson. Cody produced an entire “Lisa Matassa hour” for her show. We recorded a 30 minute interview where she asked me about the music video for “I Don’t Feel Anything,” and we discussed my back story and the current direction of my country music recording career. Joey Sykes and I performed three of my songs, and then Cody played three songs from my EP, Me Time, live on the air. I have to thank Paul and Cody for devoting such a large chunk of time to me and my music.
Before leaving KIXX, program director, Paul Neumann, had me hang up my picture on his “wall of fame” and he had me draw something unique around my picture. The KIXX studio’s “wall” is full of famous country artists’ pictures with their drawings surrounding the perimeters of their pictures. Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, everyone was on there. It was quite an honor.
After this latest leg of our whirlwind radio tour and a red eye flight through the night, we landed back home on Long Island.
Next stop, Pittsburgh…
This month has been jam packed with radio interviews, promotional appearances and photo shoots.
On July 13th we headed out to Fire Island, New York to shoot pictures for the album art for my upcoming LP, Sunrise Highway. The title track, “Sunrise Highway” is about those young care-free days, growing up on New York’s Long Island, cruising down Sunrise Highway in a Camaro, feeling free and dreaming big! We wanted the pictures to reflect that image and we captured it.
My team was able to secure a 1969 Chevy Camaro for the photo shoot, and we chose great locations by some open road, on the boardwalk, and next to Fire Island’s lighthouse. As sun gave way to clouds the sky took on a purple and blue-gray haze which ended up looking amazing in the shots as I posed in front of the car. What a great affect! It’s like those clouds rolled in just for us, and then the sun showed its face again.
On July 14th I did a live interview on the “Phathead in the Morning” radio show down at WJVC My Country 96.1 FM. This was a special interview, where WJVC played the world radio premiere of my new single, “Sunrise Highway.”
After performing a preview of “Sunrise Highway” on July 3rd at Long Island’s Freedom Fest, JVC radio personality, Phathead, made me promise to premiere “Sunrise Highway” on JVC’s My Country 96.1 FM. They have been a great supporter of my country music recording career, and of course, I obliged. On July 14th, a little after 8:30 AM, WJVC My Country 96.1 FM played the world premiere of “Sunrise Highway!”
During an on-air interview with Phathead, we talked about my upcoming West Coast radio tour, my July 3rd performance at Freedom Fest 2011, and plans to shoot a new music video in Nashville for the title track of my EP, Me Time. We also discussed the meaning behind my new song, “Sunrise Highway,” which pays homage to my hometown of Long Island, NY and following those dreams that are in the distance, down that highway of life. The lyrics to the song begin, “Seventeen with a black Camaro and Bon Jovi on the radio…” It’s about keeping your eyes focused straight ahead, and turning the dreams of your adolescence into your reality. It’s how I try to live my life. For those who don’t know, Sunrise Highway is a main thoroughfare that runs across the south shore of Long Island.
Before leaving the radio station I was asked to sign some country guitars to be displayed in the WJVC studio. For the remainder of the month of July, my new single, “Sunrise Highway” is available to download for FREE at JVC My Country 96.1 FM’s website, LICountry.com . After this month, you can purchase the song Sunrise Highway at iTunes or through my website.
Don’t forget to call in to WJVC My Country 96.1 FM and request my new single, “Sunrise Highway!” 🙂
I’m still elated after my performance at this year’s Freedom Fest at the Long Island Ducks Stadium on Long Island, New York. The July 3rd country music concert brought country music fans from all over Long Island, and all over the Tri-state area. It was a beautiful day as we packed our kids into the car and headed out to the stadium for my sound check for the concert. As our car approached Long Island Ducks Stadium at Bethpage Ballpark, I noticed WJVC My Country 96.1 FM banners, a huge stage set up on second base, and an entire field covered with barricades set up for the fans. It was hard to believe that all of this was for me and the other country music acts.
As we entered, one fan approached me saying, “You’re Lisa Matassa, right?” When I replied, “Yes,” he said “Knock’em dead today. I’m a big fan!” Another highlight of the event was meeting all of the other country music artists that performed with me at Freedom Fest. I was able to mingle and talk with the guys from Badhorse, Due West, Jacob Lyda, Sarah Darling and Jaron And The Long Road To Love. All of the artists were so friendly and fun to hang out with.
When it was time for me to go on, I walked down this long hallway and staircase and it was great to get that high as I stepped onto the baseball field to sing the National Anthem for the packed stadium! Military personnel, including color guards from the Marines, Army and Navy, were there in celebration of July 4th weekend. As I belted out, “the bombs bursting in air,” fireworks went off and it was simply breathtaking! JVC My Country radio personality, Phathead, then introduced me as “Long Island’s First Country Artist,” and my band and I performed five songs. Three of the songs I performed were from my EP, Me Time, which included: “Wouldn’t You Like To Know,” “I Don’t Feel Anything,” and “Me Time.” I also performed “Somebody’s Baby” and the title track to my upcoming LP, Sunrise Highway. I sang the song “Sunrise Highway,” last and the crowd went crazy! They were literally singing right along with me, memorizing the never-before-heard lyrics as fast as they all could to keep pace with me.
My band members at July 3rd’s Freedom Fest on Long Island included: Colin Smith, Tony Bruno, Brett Bass, Simi Stone, Mike DiMeo, Phil Cimino and Bobby Guy Graziose. As I walked off the stage the fans were reaching for my hand and telling me they loved my performance. I also received a nice note from one of the guys in the Marines saying what a great job I did on the National Anthem.
Upon exiting the stage I was asked to do an interview with Fios 1 News. I was then escorted, along with all of the other artists, to the event’s autograph signing table. I gave out autographs for an hour, signing everything from cowboy hats and cowboy boots to clothing and even assorted body parts :). I also took tons of pictures with the fans. I truly enjoy all of those special moments just as much as the fans do who came out to support me and the other country music performers at 2011’s Freedom Fest.
Thank you all for your ongoing support! XO