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Entertainment News

Sunday, 3 February, 2008 6:57 PM

CMA New Artist Spotlight: Rissi Palmer

Photo by Jimmy Bruch

17.20 Entertainment recording artist Rissi Palmer

By Bob Doerschuk
© 2007 CMA Close Up News Service

When Rissi Palmer invites all the women in the house to "clap your hands . show the world you're a Country girl," she's doing more than delivering a show-stopping vocal over a stomping, fiddle-lashed groove. She's actually practicing what she preaches.

That's the main reason why the world didn't get the chance to know her first as an R&B superstar. That opportunity beckoned when legendary producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis invited her into their stable of big-time clients, which at that time included Boyz II Men, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson and Michael Jackson.

But as a finalist in "Star Search" in 2003, the glitzy talent hunt phenomenon of the 1980s and early '90s that CBS-TV had revived, she found her true path, thanks to a few simple words from celebrity judge Naomi Judd: Awarding Palmer the maximum score of five stars, the Country legend said, "There are only two kinds of music, good and bad - and Rissi is good."

That's made clear on her self-titled debut featuring nine songs written or co-written by Palmer. The swaying romanticism of "Hold Onto Me," thoughtful introspection of "Anybody Out There" and irresistible strut of "Country Girl" testify to Palmer's refined, soulful singing. But her writing chops are just as evident, making it no surprise that one of her songs, "Faith," was included in the soundtrack for the Miramax film "The Woodsman" in 2004.

For all the travels she's taken, creatively and personally, from the talent shows of her teenage years in St. Louis to the publishing deal she signed with Song Planet in Nashville at age 20, she presents her message with the assurance you'd expect from a down-home Country girl on her way to the big time.

IN HER OWN WORDS

Who is your musical hero?
"I admire Dolly Parton and Barbra Streisand. They both have had amazing careers, succeeding in music and film, and in Dolly's case, songwriting. And they still do it today. They have longevity, and that's what I want."

Which song would you secretly like to cover?
"'Sweet Lorraine' by Patty Griffin. That song gave me chills the first time I heard it."

What is your pet peeve?
"People who won't let you over in traffic."

What CD is on your stereo?
"I have a six-CD disc changer: Mindy Smith, Patty Griffin, Sugarland, Craig Morgan, Robin Thicke and me."

What actor would portray you in a biopic about your life?
"Someone with really curly hair."

What moment in your life would you relive if you could?
"Any time spent with my mother."

Do you have a lucky charm?
"My yorkie, Jeremiah."

Which mode of transportation do you prefer - planes, trains or automobiles?
"I love the loud engine of my Mustang."

Who is your dream duet partner?
"Vince Gill or Jamie O'Neal."

On the Web: www.rissipalmer.com

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