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Entertainment News

Sunday, 19 July, 2009 11:51 AM

CMA New Artist Spotlight: Whitney Duncan

Photo by Jeff Lipsky

Warner Bros. Nashville recording artist Whitney Duncan

By Bob Doerschuk
© 2009 CMA Close Up News Service

When Whitney Duncan left her hometown of Scotts Hill, Tenn., she took little with her other than a soulful voice, equal parts rawhide and honey, and a determination to seek her musical fortune. It took her a while to find it in the form of Mark Bright, who was so impressed with her that he shared the news with his friend John Shanks. Just like that, the two Music Row veterans were onboard to advise, write with and produce their discovery.

Duncan was just 18 at the time, though she had begun chasing her dream years before. After singing at her kindergarten graduation, she never looked back and began performing in church, at festivals, parties and barbecues, and participating in a talent contest at Loretta Lynn's Ranch, where she took third place in an all-ages competition.

Her first trip to Nashville came in her early teens. Over the next few years she was a regular in town, collaborating with Chris Tompkins ("Before He Cheats") and other top writers and even recording and touring with Kenny Rogers.

The big break came, though, when she teamed with Bright and Shanks on her Warner Bros. debut album, Right Road Now. On all 11 tracks, each one co-authored by Duncan, she displays rock-solid writing technique and a confidence that practically leaps from the disc. From the declamatory rhythm of the vocal-and-drum passages on "The Bed That You Made" to the steady groove and masterfully crafted hook that drive the first single, "When I Said I Would," written by Duncan, Shanks and Gordie Sampson, Duncan demands and deserves attention as a fully-formed artist.

IN HER OWN WORDS Q&A

BOOK ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND
"Holy Bible."

DREAM DUET PARTNER
"John Mellencamp or Bruce Springsteen."

INFLUENCES
"Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Tanya Tucker, Shania Twain, John Mellencamp and Bonnie Raitt."

MUSICAL HERO
"Elvis."

PET PEEVE
"People being rude at the airport and bad drivers."

SONG YOU WISH YOU'D WRITTEN
"'The Story' by Brandi Carlile."

SONG YOU'D LOVE TO COVER
"'Authority Song' by John Mellencamp."

WHAT YOU'D BE IF YOU WEREN'T AN ARTIST
"Homeless."

WHAT ACTOR WOULD PORTRAY YOU IN A BIOPIC ABOUT YOUR LIVE
"Kate Hudson."

On the Web: www.whitneyduncan.com

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