The First Lady Speaks to Students

Uploaded by whitehouse on 21.11.2011

The First Lady: It's good to see you guys!
Well, hello, and welcome.
Pretty cool, huh?
Audience: Yes!
The First Lady: Yes, pretty cool.
Well, I can't stay, because I have to go out to the garden and
do a bunch of other stuff.
But this is one of my favorite parts of the day,
when we have Music Series and inviting you guys all here,
so you get a little taste of it.
And today, in the latest edition of the White House Music Series,
we are celebrating the great American art of country music.
And this is our second time doing country music,
and it's one of our favorite art forms.
And I want to start by just thanking a few people before I
turn it over.
We have a trio of amazing stars, men who are gorgeous and
talented and awesome and giving -- yes, yes.
Lyle Lovett, Darius Rucker, and of course Kris Kristofferson,
who are here with us, and Bob Santelli,
who has been just a huge support for these events that we have.
He's from the GRAMMY Museum, and he helps to put all this stuff
together, and oftentimes works to get young people here for
these series.
So I want to thank them for being here.
So in a little bit, you're going to have an opportunity to
hear from them.
They're going to tell you some stories, answer some
questions, and sing.
They're prepared, they're all ready.
But first, I want you guys to get a better sense of why we put
on these workshops, because I want you to know why these are
important to us and why we're so excited to have students
from Anacostia.
We got some Anacostia students!
We've got teachers firing it up -- firing it up.
Woodrow Wilson High School is here!
Fired up, fired up.
And Newport Middle School!
So you're excited.
You're excited.
Well, we are excited to have you all here.
We've invited you here because I want to make sure that the White
House lives up to the name "The People's House."
That's what everybody calls it, what we call it.
And I want to be sure that it's not just a place for senators
and diplomats and CEOs who have a chance to come here,
but it's a place for all Americans,
especially young people.
And so I want you to all have a chance to come into the State
Dining Room and sit in these chairs,
just like every head of state comes into this room when we
have a State Dinner; this is where they sit,
this is where they eat.
I want you guys to walk around these halls and look at the
artwork, and to imagine the history that has been made here.
I want you to see up close just how talented folks like Darius,
Lyle and Kris are, and to hear their music,
but more importantly, to understand their stories.
But here's the important part: I don't want you to come here and
simply just sit back in awe.
And you guys seem like not a shy bunch, so that's good,
that's a good start.
So don't be shy.
I want you all to realize, as you sit here,
that you belong here.
That's one of the reasons we do this.
You have to see yourself here in these seats,
sitting up here on this stage one day, because Kris,
Darius and Lyle might be country music stars today,
but they were once just young people like you with
their own dreams.
Kris grew up in Texas, the son of a military officer.
Lyle grew up outside of Houston, and joined a band when he was in
the 9th grade, and because he liked playing the guitar so
much, he'd ride around and -- you'd take lessons an hour away
from where you lived?
Is that true?
Do I have my facts right?
Lyle Lovett: That's exactly right.
The First Lady: So you'd drive for an hour for lessons.
And Darius once lived in a house with his mom, two aunts,
his grandmother, and 14 kids.
That's some character building right there.
He always wanted to be a singer, so he'd walk around singing
songs, using a broomstick as a guitar.
So that was your first instrument, the broomstick.
But as each of them got older, they kept chasing their passion
for music, but none of them took a straight road to the top.
It wasn't automatic.
It took a little bit.
For a while, Lyle tried to be a journalist --
that's something I didn't know.
Lyle Lovett: I took it in -- I took journalism in school.
But nobody ever hired me.
The First Lady: That's probably okay.
But as he put it, "Making up songs," he thought,
"wasn't a real job."
And I know a lot of people think that --
that the things they really like to do, if you really like it,
then obviously you can't get paid for it.
But they always came back to music, each of them,
no matter how they diverted their careers.
They started playing in small clubs,
then the clubs got bigger, and they kept working and working.
And now, years later, they're able to do what they love every
single day.
And that is really my biggest hope for all of you,
is that as you sit here and you listen to these fine gentlemen,
that you figure out how you can turn something that you love
into one of those real jobs, right?
I mean, think about the things that really drive you and give
you passion.
And it might not be music.
It might be business, it might be technology,
it might be teaching or medicine, or anything else.
For me it was working with young people that gave me passion.
But no matter what sparks your imagination,
I want you to take that energy and then follow it.
Follow it with every little piece of energy that you have,
because whatever you do, it does take work.
And that's the one thing you have to get in your mind,
that even when you love something,
if you're going to be good at it and get good enough at it,
you have to invest in it.
And I also want you all to imagine yourselves coming back
to the White House maybe years from now,
sitting up on this stage and hearing from some future First
Lady or future President.
And I want you to be thinking about telling your story to the
next generation of young people.
And you have to be able to see yourselves in these places to
begin to imagine and to dream and to work
towards those dreams.
You can tell your story; you'll be telling them how you grew up
in Washington or maybe in Rockville, how you worked hard,
how you kept chasing your dreams,
how you got invited to the White House one day and sat and
listened to some of the finest artists in the country and that
made you go back and work a little harder and focus a
little more.
I want you, every single one of you,
to believe that something like that is possible for you,
because if I'm standing here as the First Lady of the United
States, having grown up on the South Side of Chicago,
with a father who was a stationary fireman and a mother
who stayed at home, parents who didn't go to college --
if I'm here, then you can be here, right?
You can be here.
But it's only if you believe in that.
You've got to start out, first of all,
believing in that for yourselves.
And it only happens if you're willing to work for it.
So today, I want you to use this as an opportunity.
So don't feel shy or bashful.
Use these gentlemen as resources.
Poke them, prod them, ask questions;
get all the information that you can.
Ignore the media, pretend like you're here all by yourselves,
and make the most of this opportunity.
Will you promise me that?
You I don't worry about.
Yes, yes, I think you're going to be plenty ready to talk.
So you all enjoy yourselves, right?
Keep working hard.
Keep staying positive.
Listen to your teachers, listen to your parents.
Eat your vegetables.
Have to say it.
And with that, I will turn it over to you guys.
Thank you all.
Have fun.
Bob Santelli: Well.
Well, welcome.
My name is Bob Santelli, and I'm Executive Director of the GRAMMY
Museum in Los Angeles, and this is, I think, the third or fourth
time that the GRAMMY Museum has been in this very room to talk
about American music to not just you,
but also to many students out there across America who are
listening to this online.
I have three very, very, important guests which I'll get
to in a minute, but before we start our musical program,
what I'd like to do is just give you a little bit of an overview
as to why and how Country music is such an important part of
American music culture.
Now, in order to do that, what I want to do is I want to take you
back about 100 years, okay; let's go back to the early part
of the 20th Century, because at that part -- 1910, 1912,
somewhere around there, an amazing thing is happening
in America.
We are about ready as a nation to experience an explosion of
music, an explosion of music, so much so that the 20th Century,
no other country can match the amount of music that we created
during that 100-year period.
Not one, not two, but almost a dozen different music forms
evolved and came of age in the 20th Century in America.
One of them, of course, is Country music.
Can any of you help me identify the others?
Audience Member: Rock.
Bob Santell: Rock, so Rock-and-Roll.
That's one.
Audience Member: The Blues.
Bob Santelli: The Blues, absolutely.
Audience Member: Punk.
Bob Santelli: Punk, yeah; kind of Rock-and-Roll.
Audience Member: Hip Hop.
Bob Santelli: Hip Hop, for sure.
Audience Member: R&B.
Bob Santelli: R&B.
Audience Member: Swing.
Bob Santelli: Swing, a part of jazz.
Audience Member: Jazz.
Bob Santelli: Jazz, yep.
Think sacred.
What about sacred?
Audience Member: Gospel.
Bob Santelli: Gospel, sure, Gospel.
What else?
Audience Member: Folk.
Bob Santelli: Folk.
Okay, you get the picture.
Can you imagine just one nation, one nation in a -- less than
100-year period, we gave birth to so many of those different
music forms and all of them great,
so that today you can go to the Philippines and you can hear
Country music.
You can go to China and hear Blues.
You can go to Chile and hear Jazz.
You can go to Belgium and hear Hip Hop.
It's our great American cultural export.
So with so many different kinds of music,
you have to ask yourself how did it happen, why?
It happens because we are a nation of immigrants,
and every immigrant who came to this country brought something
with them, other than their material possessions.
They brought their music.
So all of a sudden this great country,
this America of immigrants has, not only people coming in from
all over the world to settle here,
become American citizens and contribute to our country,
but they are bringing their music.
And we put all of their musical influences in a melting pot,
in a big pot.
And we stir it up and out comes these great music forms.
One of the most important ones, one of the earliest ones is
Country music.
Now before Country music, there was no such thing as a music
culture or a music culture that actually was, like they say,
commodified, or in other words, they made money on.
Most of the Country music that we heard in the 1800s or early
1900s was folk music.
And then right around the 1920s or so things start to happen
in this country -- for Country music as well all of the
other musics.
Two things happen and they both are technologically --
come from technology, I should say.
One is the radio.
And the other one is recordings.
So in the 1920s, this explosion that's about to happen,
totally explodes, and it explodes because of the radio
and technology.
So now all of a sudden, you have the ability to hear music.
You could live in Maine and you could hear music being made
in Nashville.
Or you could live in Los Angeles and hear Jazz being made in
New York City.
And also you could bring it home.
Now it becomes portable.
You know what portability is because you have iPods
and iPads.
You don't think anything of it.
But back then, to take a recording home and be able to
play it on your gramophone again and again,
and bring Bessie Smith or Jimmie Rodgers or the Carter Family
back into your living room, to your home;
it was an amazing technological feat.
And that explodes all across America.
And those two things are the single two reasons why we have a
great American music in the 20th Century.
Now, think about Country music because there are two things
that happen in the 1920s in addition to that that I have to
tell you about, and it opens the doors for everything else that
will happen in Country music for the rest of the century.
Number one, there's something called a Grand Ole Opry.
They used to have barn dances back then.
Barn dances were places where people would come on Saturday
nights in a big barn and have dances.
And they were lots of fun and people look forward to them
every Saturday night after working hard in the fields.
You go to these barns and you would play music and have
a great time.
Someone gets the idea, why don't we put them on this new thing
called radio and let's beam it out all over America.
And that's exactly what they do.
So the Grand Ole Opry is coming out of Nashville on a station
called WSM.
Now you can hear the Grand Ole Opry, which played
Country music.
At the time, it wasn't called Country music.
They often called it Hillbilly music because much of the music
that they were playing was coming from the hills and
mountains of Appalachia.
Many of these people were from English and Irish and
Scottish descent.
So a bulk of that root music that was now,
starting to be transformed into Country music,
comes from that area.
A second thing happens in the 1920s that's totally historic
in Country music and that is something called the
Bristol sessions.
Bristol is a small town on the Virginia and Tennessee border.
And in 1927 a very famous talent scout named Ralph Peer brings
together what he thinks is some of the best talent in the area.
And two artists, a family, and an artist, both come,
hoping to get an audition and make some records,
new recordings.
One of them is named Jimmie Rodgers,
and he's from Meridian, Mississippi and the second is
called the Carter Family.
They are often called the First Family of Country music.
They make records and change everything.
They become the first superstars in this new thing called
Country music.
As a matter of fact, Jimmie Rodgers is called the father of
Country music.
Carter family, the First Family of Country music.
When you go to the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville you'll
see the very first person in inducted into the Country Music
Hall of Fame, Jimmie Rodgers.
The interesting thing about Jimmie Rodgers, though,
and a lot of people say oh, white people listened to country
music back then and black people listened to Blues or R&B.
Not so.
Because we know that Jimmie Rodgers who was also known as
the Singing Brakeman because he worked on the railroad,
he listened to sharecroppers, black sharecroppers in the
fields and listened to what they were singing called the Blues.
And he mixed into his Country music, Blues.
So what we have is the start of something that had always been
true in America, although we are always apt to forget it and that
is musicians and music know no boundaries.
Everyone borrows from everyone else,
as I'm sure these gentleman will tell you in just a minute and
everybody sees greatness in good music.
So what you have is Blues influencing country and then you
hear -- I've done a lot of oral histories with old black Blues
men, 70, 80, 90 years old, then I'd ask them,
what was one of your most important influences?
You know what they'd say -- oh, Grand Ole Opry.
I'd say, wow, that's Country music.
They'd say, yeah, we listen to Country music just like
everyone else.
So, Country music, forgets about segregation of this country.
It brings together the races.
Even though it couldn't happen officially in the segregated
South, it could happen in music.
And it did.
The rest of the story of country music is something that just
explodes, as I say, throughout America.
In the 1930s even though the depression is happening,
and the music business, this new music business,
almost goes away because no one can afford to buy music.
You can't even afford to buy bread, but it struggles to stay.
And all of a sudden, World War II comes along,
and after World War II, everything is different,
because this technology has taken hold.
Nashville has become the capital of Country music,
and a lot of these new record companies start putting out
Country records and everyone goes to Nashville,
it becomes the most important place.
Many artists, from Hank Williams,
you may have heard the name Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell,
Patsy Cline and so many others in the 1940s and 1950s elevate
the status of Country music.
And then right on through into the '60s and '70s and '80s,
the music explodes more and more.
So, now, you have when you think about Country music today,
you have Country music almost as pop music.
It's almost hard to tell the difference --
where does country end and rock begin?
When we think of someone like Garth Brooks --
you've all heard of Garth Brooks,
one of the great country artists from the '90s, 1980s,
1990s in Country music, he said, in one of the first interviews
he did, someone asked, well, who's one of your most
important influences?
You know what he said?
He said, wow -- KISS, country music, they are not exactly
Country music.
But, that's because great artists listen to all kinds
of music.
And today, Country music is as popular as it's ever been --
even more popular.
And now of course we have artists like Taylor Swift,
Dierks Bentley.
We have artists like Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson,
Shania Twain.
You've heard of, certainly, Faith Hill and Mr. McGraw.
You have all of these people, these artists who are
contributing, continue to contribute to the American music
tradition as it's called Country music.
So, as we go forward, and we think about where Country music
is going in the future, I can't predict it,
but I can only say it's going to continue to evolve.
There will be new artists, as the First Lady said,
people like yourself who are writing songs, right now,
somewhere in their homes or living rooms, or with friends,
and sooner or later, talent rises to the top.
They will be discovered and they will then contribute to this
ongoing tradition -- this great 100-plus year tradition of
Country music.
Now, with that said, I'm only a historian and I can give you the
story in my view, but the most important stories come from the
artists themselves.
So what I would like to do now is I'm going to step off to the
side of the stage.
I'm going to ask my guests here some questions.
And then I'm going to turn it over to you and allow you to ask
some questions as well and we'll kind of get the story of country
music from a more personalized point of view,
one that they will give you.
So with that said, gentlemen, thank you, first of all,
for being here.
I appreciate it.
Lyle, I would like to start with you.
You were someone who of course had other aspirations early on
as the First Lady said.
You were thinking about becoming a journalist,
you went to school, Texas A&M, I believe it was?
Lyle Lovett: I did go to Texas A&M, and I went to Texas A&M.
My parents worked hard.
My mom and my dad both worked for the Exxon company.
My dad was in marketing.
My mom started out as a secretary and became a training
specialist, eventually in human resources.
They -- because they made choices in their lives based on
what they had to do, they gave me the opportunity to make
choices in my life based more on what I wanted to do.
And my guitar lesson that I would take every week that was
an hour from home, my mom -- we lived about that far north of
downtown Houston and my mom would drive out after work every
Thursday evening and pick me up and drive back in to Houston for
my lesson.
So it was, it was more than an hour for her.
It was important to them.
I was interested in going to college because they had gone
to night school.
I went to -- attended both of their graduations as
a young boy.
And so it was important to me because I knew it was important
to them to go to college.
I secretly only wanted to play music.
I only wanted to play and sing and make up songs.
And I was lucky enough once I got out of college to be able to
keep playing music and didn't really ever seek a career in
journalism, which was my field of study.
Bob Santelli: Kris, I think I'm safe in saying that one of the great things
about Country music is it's ability to tell a great story.
That so many of the great songs, yours,
everyone else's are really, if you will, many song stories,
they are almost small novels put to music.
Can you talk about the art of songwriting and how you go about
writing a song?
And if that holds true for you?
Kris Kristofferson: Well, I was thinking what Lyle was talking about.
My parents' reaction to my idea of being a songwriter --
my mother disowned me and said,
nobody over the age of 14 listened to that.
If they did it wouldn't be any better than (inaudible).
She said a few bad things about Johnny Cash and Hank Williams.
And the one thing that I learned by following through and being a
songwriter, which took me eight years as a janitor in recording
studios and other things, was that the best thing I ever did
was to follow my heart which is where the writing was.
And if you admire other people's writing and singing,
you can learn from them.
And I would recommend that you do follow your heart because
it's been nothing but the best for me.
I started to say, I'm 85, but I'm really only 75 --
Ever since I went to do what I had to do,
it's been a great life.
And I would recommend following your heart.
You don't need to be a songwriter, but songwriters
(inaudible) you can express your feelings and you can move the
emotions of other people.
I would recommend it.
Bob Santelli: Darius, your way to country music is an indirect way.
You may remember Darius from Hootie and the Blowfish, okay,
which was a big rock band some years ago.
And then you made kind of a little transition.
But Country music had always been a part of your background.
Can you talk about that?
Darius Rucker: Yeah, I grew up in South Carolina and I was lucky.
Like Lyle, I had a Mom who wanted me to do anything.
I had five brothers and sisters who didn't want me to
do anything.
And they would -- every day, they would find a way to give me
-- for a better word, give me crap about the music I was
listening to all the time.
But for me, I just wanted -- I wanted to be a songwriter.
I wanted to sing songs.
I wanted to go out in the world and have fun, you know.
It's like Kris said, I was told so many times, being from South
Carolina, I had no chance of ever making it in music.
I was told that a million times.
I was told that by everybody I know that it was never going
to happen.
I just didn't believe that.
I believed that, you know, I was pretty good at what I did and we
could go in and we would make it.
The thing about it for me is like Kris said:
Follow your heart.
I can't imagine doing anything else.
I've had tons of jobs, and I can't imagine doing
anything else.
Bob Santelli: But there's certainly a sense of persistence that you
have to have.
There's so few artists that simply,
they write a song and bang, they are superstars.
It takes a lot.
And all three of you, you went through those hard roads to get
to the point where you are.
What is it about a songwriter who has a vision like all three
of you had, how do you get from the point of saying,
I want to do this to the point of saying, I am doing this?
Lyle, do you want to take a stab at that?
Lyle Lovett: I was fortunate enough to receive encouragement at every
step along the way.
I started out playing just anywhere I could.
I started out playing in places where people were,
in restaurants where people were in the bar part,
where people were waiting for their table.
You know these weren't places where people wanted to hear my
songs; they wanted to hear songs that they had heard on
the radio.
So I learned songs like that.
But I received enough encouragement at that level to
be able to take the next step and to start playing in night
clubs and getting to open for singer/songwriters that I
admired, and start to play my own songs.
But it was, you know; in terms of feeling like you're
doing it, I think that's still a day-to-day process.
And I think when you love doing something you never stop trying
to do it.
Darius Rucker: Yeah, I was going to say I don't feel like --
I mean, I've sold X amount of records and I still don't feel
like I'm a songwriter.
I don't feel like I'm there, I'm make it or anything,
I still feel like there's a lot of stuff to do.
Bob Santelli: Yeah.
Kris, tell me about the creative process.
Every songwriter, of course, has a different way of writing
songs; some get an idea, they write it down,
they wake up in the middle of the night,
they might write it down.
Others feel like it's a 9 to 5 job,
they wake up and they sit at the piano or guitar and they work
for three hours, take a break for lunch.
How do you do it?
Kris Kristofferson: I have to say it's not as disciplined as it could be as a
-- I know there are people like Tom T. Hall who writes so many
songs a day, you know, and I -- I can't.
I have to be inspired by it, which is a little scary, but --
but so far it hasn't bothered me.
And I'm 75.
Bob Santelli: You've wrote a couple. Yeah.
Kris Kristofferson: No. It's -- but the thing is it's the love of doing it that
keeps you going.
Bob Santelli: Darius, being an African American and being in Country
music, there aren't a whole lot that have, you know --
Charlie Pride and you think of a couple of others,
and you've been breaking ground and number one hits,
what is the secret there, is it just about being color blind?
Darius Rucker: I think country music is at a point to where, I mean,
all those stigmas and stuff are behind them.
You know, I mean, for me, it was all about the music,
it was never, you know, my color;
the color of my skin was never a problem in what I was doing.
I mean, people were just -- if the music is good,
they were going to play it, if it wasn't,
they weren't, you know.
And that was really cool for me.
And, I mean, you got to think -- as a kid, for me, you know,
listening to Al Green songs, you know,
and one day I'm 12 and I decide that I'm going --
I want to be a songwriter, so I start reading song writers,
you know, and I'm looking at an Al Green song,
and my favorite Al Green song Kris wrote, you know,
and you freak out, because I know this Country songwriter
wrote this song that's just a great R&B song,
but that's a great song.
A great song can be played at any genre and be good.
Bob Santelli: That's right. Right.
Kris Kristofferson: And the soul doesn't really depend on your color or your
background, you know, it's the -- it's --
Ray Charles is one of the best Country singers there ever was,
and so was George Jones, you know.
And George is just an old southern boy.
And Hank Williams.
And it's really if it moves your soul and your heart,
and that's what you have to do, then do it.
If it doesn't, don't.
Bob Santelli: Last question. We're going to open it up to the kids.
So much of the great Country music comes out of the south.
When you think of the artists, you know, you think of,
basically, from Virginia to Texas,
and everything in between has turned out dozens and dozens of
great artists.
Why has this music do you think, Lyle, have come of the south,
why didn't it come out of Maine?
It may be popular up there, but so many of the artists come out
of the southern experience -- why is that?
Lyle Lovett: Well, you know, I think the days of --
there was a point in time where we were more isolated than we
used to be, and we were influenced more by what was
directly around us, and as you pointed out,
the traditional music coming from Appalachia,
that's where that kind of music was.
And primarily in the south.
But we live in a very exciting new time with all the new
technology, we can all be influenced by everything.
The days of being able to tune in just radio station or one
television station over the air are over.
And so before -- I think it speaks to what you said about
the popular -- Country music becoming popular because of
radio and because of stations like WSM.
I think its influence can be, you know,
much greater now than it ever was because of the technology.
Bob Santelli: Yeah, yeah.
At this point, I'm going to open it up and let's see if any of
the students have some questions for you.
Please raise your hand and stand up if you have a question,
tell us who you are and what school you're from.
And I'll acknowledge you and we'll ask a question.
Would you like to start, ma'am?
Hope Wilson: My name is Hope Wilson, I'm from Woodrow Wilson Senior
High School, and I was wondering what specifically influenced you
guys to become -- sorry, I was wondering what specifically
influenced you guys to become Country artists instead of Jazz
or Hip Hop or something, what specifically
influenced you guys?
Bob Santelli: Good question.
Darius Rucker: For me, it was listening to music.
I mean, there was a moment -- when I was a kid,
I listened to everything, and then I got into high school and
I discovered Lyle and I discovered Foster and Lloyd
and New Grass Revival and Dwight Yoakam, and for me,
it was those bands.
I wanted to -- I wanted to sound like they did,
that's why I did it.
It's true.
Kris Kristofferson: I didn't get any encouragement.
The first job I got actually singing was when I was a janitor
at Columbia and they -- a guy had a job at a nightclub in town
that he wanted to go and record that night instead, so he asked
me to fill in.
And after I finished one song, the owner of the club came up to
me and said, how long you been doing that?
I said, oh, about 15 minutes maybe.
He says, no, I mean in your life.
He fired me on the spot.
Kris Kristofferson: So you have to be determined.
But when I sing later, you'll understand why he wasn't crazy
about me.
Lyle Lovett: Well, I've always been drawn to Country music because of the
narrative quality in country songs,
because the songs tell a story traditionally.
And, you know, great songs that Kris has written,
like "Me and Bobby McGee," you imagine yourself in that truck
hitching a ride.
And a great narrative, great stories inspire you to your own
stories, to imagine your own stories,
and I think that's what is so powerful about country music.
Bob Santelli: In the back.
Yes, sir.
Student: My name is Gabe Conno (phonetic), I go to Woodrow Wilson High
School, in 10th grade.
And, well, I know that different music genres influence each
other, but I'm a Jazz musician, I play the saxophone,
so I was wondering, especially interested if Country music is
influenced by Jazz omens and if you guys in particular
are influenced by Jazz music.
Darius Rucker: Well, I'll tell you right now, you go buy Lyle Lovett and his
large band and you'll see how much --
how much Jazz is influenced by country music.
I mean, he's got probably three or four records that are just a
mash of -- probably more than that, all your records are,
but he writes these great songs that are played to Country,
but they're -- to me, so many of them are jazz songs,
and he has a big band that he plays with them that -- I mean,
it's absolutely amazing.
So I think -- I think all genres cross.
I mean, I know when I'm writing a song, when I'm writing,
I take from everything that I know and, you know,
I'm not writing Country songs, I'm just writing songs.
Bob Santelli: And I would suggest that you check out an artist by the name
of Bob Wills, because Bob Wills came out of Oklahoma in the
1930s, he was influenced tremendously by Jazz,
the swing bands, just like the stuff that you probably
listen to.
And you'll hear that connection between Jazz and Country music,
and they call it Country and Western Swing, you know.
And you'll see what that's all about.
Yeah. Someone else.
Yes, sir.
Student: My name is (inaudible) and I'm also from Woodrow
Wilson High School.
And I'm also an artist.
And as an artist, have you ever been like artist block,
meaning you've been stuck at a song, and if you have,
how did you solve that problem?
Bob Santelli: Artist -- writer's block, yep.
Darius Rucker: I had it.
And when I -- I was writing a song and I couldn't finish it,
and, you know, what I did is I just stopped writing it and move
to the next song.
Bob Santelli: Easy enough.
Kris Kristofferson: Well, I'm not sure that I have the answer for that
question there.
You were asking what happens when you have a block?
Bob Santelli: Writer's block.
Kris Kristofferson: Writer's block?
Bob Santelli: Yeah.
Kris Kristofferson: I do like Darius, I quit until I can --
no, that's a bad advice.
No, you should keep working at it until it comes easy,
and if you -- if you do keep persist working at it,
you'll succeed.
Don't give up, because writing songs is something you can do
all your life, as you can look at me and see.
Bob Santelli: Yes, sir, right here.
Student: My name is Carlos, I go to Woodrow Wilson High School.
So I'm a hip hop artist and I do hip hop and my piano and things
like that, I also play piano.
So I was wondering if you could colab any two genres of music
together, what would you colab using your Country genre,
what other genre would you colab with?
Bob Santelli: What genre would you collaborate with, what do you think?
Darius Rucker: Well, there's a big movement right now with Country/Hip Hop
that's really surprised me with Colt Ford and I see the last
number one song was kind of -- was a Rap song on Country --
on Country radio, but for me, I --
I don't know, I'd probably put together --
I like it when like, you know, like --
I like to play like Springsteen or somebody like that, you know,
get some more of the big Rock guys and see what they could do
in Country.
But, you know, if I could collaborate right now,
I'd like to just do a record with these two guys and would
call it a day.
Bob Santelli: Lyle?
Lyle Lovett: You know, over the years there have been lots of hit Country
songs that started out -- started life as hip Pop songs.
Gosh, there are so many examples.
But I think people who write, as Kris and Darius were saying,
people who write songs write songs without --
oftentimes without regard to the genre,
you just try to write a good song.
And if a Blues influence can help tell the story in a song,
then you would incorporate that.
And if Jazz chords do, well, then you incorporate that.
You know, people who write music love music,
and people who love music love all kinds of music.
And there's really no reason to limit your creativity,
because -- just because you might be labeled one thing
or another.
Kris Kristofferson: Someone from Hip Hop are -- to me are more --
they're at an intellectual level that's higher than I am.
And I could never really get involved in it,
because I couldn't do the mechanics of it.
Bob Santelli: Someone from Anacostia who hasn't -- okay, you, sir.
Student: My name is -- hi, my name is Charles, and I'm from Anacostia,
in the 9th grade.
You all say you all are very influenced by other
music genres.
I was wondering like why, like, what was --
like if you all would consider as a young child being another
-- being in another music genre.
Bob Santelli: Was there another music genre that you were interested in
as a kid?
Darius Rucker: I was lucky, I was into everything.
I had a mom who let me listen to whatever I want.
And I listened to everything from the Rocky Horror Picture
Show to, you know, deep Hip Hop to Country, and so for me, I --
I just wanted to sing.
And when I met my guys in college, you know,
if I had met three guys who wanted to play Country music,
we would have been a Country band.
I just happened to meet three guys who wanted to play
So I mean, I was with everything.
I made an R&B record back in 2000.
Yeah, I love everything.
Bob Santelli: Lyle?
Lyle Lovett: You know, I had made up a pile of songs,
and I went to Nashville, really because I knew that was a place
where publishers, where recording artists were
interested in songs.
So I thought, well, this is a logical place to go,
because I was trying to get people interested in
recording my songs.
So I went to Nashville, and because I went to Nashville,
they gave me a little more credit for being Country than I
gave myself.
In fact, I didn't think of some of my songs as being Country
songs, but as I got to record them,
then they became thought of as Country songs.
Kris Kristofferson: I grew up down in Brownsville, Texas,
which is right at the bottom of Texas, very close to Mexico.
So I grew up singing Mexican songs, and loving Mexican songs.
And it wasn't a big jump from there to the --
I guess what they call Country or soul songs,
because it was all heart and emotion,
but it was pretty simple musically.
Bob Santelli: You know, I think before we get one last question,
one of the things I'm sure I'm summarizing for you --
and certainly for the education programs we do at the GRAMMY
Museum -- if you are a young artist -- and some of you are,
apparently -- the worst thing you can do is limit yourself.
You have to be sponges; you have to go out there and listen to
all kinds of music, anything, from Classical to Opera to
Country to Soul, it doesn't matter, sponge it up,
take it all in, because that's how you will find your identity
and that's how you will find your original sound.
And without original sound, then you are just
interpreting someone.
The GRAMMY winners, those people who stand up there next February
and get that GRAMMY award, they did that,
they tell us in the interviews and the programs that we do with
them in Los Angeles, they say, I listen to everything,
just like what you're saying, I listen to everything.
You need to do the same thing.
Do not -- you may love Country, you may love Hip Hop,
listen to everything, expose yourself to everything.
We're going to take one last question,
and then we're going to play some music.
Yes, ma'am, right there.
That's right.
Student: So I'm also a singer and a songwriter, and so is there,
like, a certain transition between just performing at like
local restaurants and stuff and then going to, like, big stages,
and did you ever think that you wouldn't be able to make it from
there to, like, being in front of a bunch of people like
you are now?
Bob Santelli: Darius?
Darius Rucker: I started the band when I was 19 years old,
and we were a band for nine years before anybody even
thought about giving us a record deal.
I mean, it was -- we -- we played 300 days a year for about
three years in a row, and that's how you make it.
I mean, I don't want to come down on American Idol,
because it's a great show and it's a great way,
but it seems like everybody, especially in your generation,
when I talk to people, they expect to have it tomorrow.
And it's just not going to happen that way.
The music business, I mean, it takes a lot of work.
I was -- like I said, it took nine years for us to even get a
record deal, and then once we got a record deal, after that,
it was pretty quick.
But it took a long time.
If you want to make it, you've got to be willing to sacrifice
and wait because we played some really nasty,
dirty clubs that we should have never been in.
But we were there.
We did.
Bob Santelli: Lyle, I think what part of her question also was,
when you're playing in those restaurants,
are you playing with the same intensity and are you playing
with the same commitment to an audience that you would, say,
in an arena or at a big festival somewhere where there's
thousands of people?
Lyle Lovett: You know, when you love getting to do what you're doing,
and there's not -- and you all know this already, I think,
but there's not a greater blessing in life than to get to
be able to do things that you like to do.
And when you love doing what you're doing, you --
I think you always try your best.
And it doesn't matter if there are two tables of people waiting
really, thinking about what they're going to have for dinner
as they listen to you or if you're playing to 10,000 people
in an arena or a stadium.
You try your best every time.
And I think that never changes.
You know, it's not so much about the audience as it is about your
own self respect, what you think of what you're doing.
And if you're happy with what you're doing,
then you'll always try your best.
Bob Santelli: Good advice.
Good advice.
With that, why don't you just finish up there, Kris,
and then we'll take some music.
Kris Kristofferson: Is this thing working?
Bob Santelli: Yeah, you're good.
Go ahead.
Kris Kristofferson: I was just going to say that you're going to have so much
influence against what you want to do,
because everybody wants to be a hit singer or to have hit songs.
You've got to believe in yourself.
And like he was saying how long it takes,
I was 33 years old before I made a dime at music.
And I've been working at it full-time since I got out of the
Army so it was -- it's hard.
And you have to believe in yourself,
and you have to love it.
Bob Santelli: With that said, I think what we'll do,
instead of talking about music, how about we listen to some
music, okay?
So I'm going to turn it over to Darius,
and we're just going to go right down.
If you can just play us a song that kind of best represents
your repertoire, that would be great.
And we'll get some mic stands here.
Give it up!
Darius Rucker: Are we standing or sitting?
Bob Santelli: You can sit or stand.
Darius Rucker: Am I coming up there, or are you coming to me?
Staff Member: I'll come to you.
Darius Rucker: Okay.
This song -- this is the first country song I ever wrote,
and I wrote it a long time ago.
Songs come from everywhere.
I wrote this song one night when I was having a pretty good time
and I was listening to Bonnie Raitt records and I wanted to
write a song for Bonnie.
And this is what I wrote...
(singing) ♪ She sits alone by a lamppost ♪
♪ Trying to find a thought that's escaped her mind ♪
♪ She says, Dad's the one I love the most, oh ♪
♪ Michael Stipe's not far behind ♪
♪ She never lets me in ♪
♪ Only tells me where she's been ♪
♪ When she's had too much to drink ♪
♪ I say that I don't care ♪
♪ I just run my hands through her dark hair ♪
♪ And I pray to God, help me fly away ♪
♪ He said, let her cry ♪
♪ If the tears fall down like rain ♪
♪ Let her sing ♪
♪ If it eases all her pain ♪
♪ You gotta let her go ♪
♪ Walk right out on me ♪
♪ And if the sun comes up tomorrow ♪
♪ Let her be ♪
♪ Let her be, yeah ♪
♪♪(playing guitar)♪♪
(singing) ♪ This morning I woke up alone ♪
♪ Found a note standin' by the phone ♪
♪ It said, maybe, maybe I'll be back someday ♪
♪ Like a fool, I, I wanted to look for you ♪
♪ You walked in, I didn't know just what I should do ♪
♪ So I sat back down and had a beer ♪
♪ And felt sorry for myself ♪
♪ Sayin' let her cry ♪
♪ If the tears fall down like rain ♪
♪ Let her sing, yeah ♪
♪ If it eases all her pain ♪
♪ You gotta let her go ♪
♪ Walk right out on me ♪
♪ And if the sun comes up tomorrow ♪
♪ Let her be ♪
♪ Let her be ♪
♪♪(playing guitar)♪♪
♪ Last night I tried to leave, she ♪
♪ Cried so much I could not believe ♪
♪ She was the same girl ♪
♪ I fell in love with long ago ♪
♪ Mmm, yeah ♪
♪ She went in the back to get high ♪
♪ I sat down on my couch and I ♪
♪ Started to cry for my mama ♪
♪ I said, please, Mama ♪
♪ Won't you come and ♪
♪ Take me outta here? ♪
♪ She said, boy, let her cry ♪
♪ The tears fall down like rain ♪
♪ Let her sing ♪
♪ It eases all her pain ♪
♪ You gotta let her go ♪
♪ Walk right out on me ♪
♪ And if the sun comes up tomorrow ♪
♪ Let her be ♪
♪ Let her be ♪
Darius Rucker: Thank y'all.
Darius Rucker: That felt pretty good -- I saw you singing it.
I felt pretty good.
She knew my song!
(rustling noises)
Darius Rucker: I have to tell you while you set this up that these two guys are
two of the biggest influences on my music.
I say in interviews all the time that I wouldn't be a country
singer if it wasn't for Lyle Lovett.
And that's really true.
And I want to say thank you guys for just making great music.
Lyle Lovett: It's kind of hard to pick isn't it?
We each play one song?
One of the song writers that I grew up listening to,
and every time I would hear one of his songs,
I would think to myself gosh, that's what I want to do,
is a song writer from Texas who Kris and Darius both know
named Guy Clark.
And Guy is from out in West Texas originally and
spent a lot of his growing up time down in the
Texas Gulf Coast, in Rockport, Texas.
And he's a very talented man all the way around and is a really
talented painter and artist and was working as the art director,
graphics artist for the local ABC affiliate in Houston,
KTRK Channel 13, and hanging out with ne'er-do-well song writers
like Mickey Newbury and Townes Van Zandt and Jerry Jeff Walker
in Houston.
And Guy tells me that it was Mickey Newbury who encouraged
him to write his first song, and this is it.
That this is anybody's first anything is,
I think, incredible.
It's a song that Guy never has recorded,
and he was nice enough to let me record it a few years back.
♪♪(playing guitar)♪♪
It's a song about inviting somebody into your life.
It tells a story, but not -- well, the kind of story that
allows for your own imagination, as well.
It's a --
♪♪(playing guitar)♪♪
It's a song that shows you how, when you do invite somebody into
your life, you know, you expose yourself a little bit.
You say, well, this is who I am, this is how I am, and, you know,
you have to -- you know, if you want to be part of this,
you have to accept me.
♪♪(playing guitar)♪♪
♪ That picture hangin' on the wall ♪
♪ Was painted by a friend ♪
♪ He gave it to me all down and out ♪
♪ When he owed me ten ♪
♪ It doesn't look like much, I guess ♪
♪ But it's all that's left of him ♪
♪ And it sure is nice from right over here ♪
♪ When the light's a little dim ♪
♪ Well, step inside this house, girl ♪
♪ I'll sing for you a song ♪
♪ I'll tell you 'bout just where I've been ♪
♪ It wouldn't take too long ♪
♪ I'll show you all the things that I own ♪
♪ My treasures, you might say ♪
♪ It couldn't be more than ten dollars' worth ♪
♪ But brighten up my day ♪
♪ And this book of poems was given me ♪
♪ By a girl I used to know ♪
♪ I guess I read it front to back ♪
♪ Fifty times or so ♪
♪ It's all about the good life ♪
♪ And stayin' at ease with the world ♪
♪ It's funny how I love that book ♪
♪ And I never loved that girl ♪
♪ Well, step inside this house, girl ♪
♪ I'll sing for you a song ♪
♪ I'll tell you 'bout just where I've been ♪
♪ It wouldn't take too long ♪
♪ I'll show you all the things that I own ♪
♪ My treasures, you might say ♪
♪ It couldn't be more than ten dollars' worth ♪
♪ But they, they brighten up my day ♪
♪ Well now you hold this piece of glass up ♪
♪ To the light that's shinin' through the door ♪
♪ Well, it's a prism glass ♪
♪ I found it on the road ♪
♪ Can't you see that tiny rainbow? ♪
♪ Well, it's not really a prism ♪
♪ I guess it's just kinda broke a funny way ♪
♪ I was on my way through Houston ♪
♪ And I was headed for L.A. ♪
♪ Well, step inside this house, girl ♪
♪ I'll sing for you a song ♪
♪ I'll tell you 'bout just where I've been ♪
♪ It wouldn't take too long ♪
♪ I'll show you all the things that I own ♪
♪ My treasures, you might say ♪
♪ It couldn't be more than ten dollars' worth ♪
♪ But they, they brighten up my day ♪
♪ And this guitar was given me ♪
♪ By old man Thomas Gray ♪
♪ It's not too much to look at ♪
♪ But I play it every day ♪
♪ It's been across this country ♪
♪ Now four or five times, I guess ♪
♪ Between me and old man Tom ♪
♪ It never got much rest ♪
♪ Well, step inside this house, girl ♪
♪ I'll sing for you a song ♪
♪ I'll tell you 'bout just where I've been ♪
♪ It wouldn't take too long ♪
♪ I'll show you all the things that I own ♪
♪ My treasures, you might say ♪
♪ It couldn't be more than ten dollars' worth ♪
♪ But brighten up my day ♪
♪ Now, that's just about all that I own ♪
♪ And all I care to, I guess ♪
♪ Except this pair of boots, maybe ♪
♪ And that funny yellow vest ♪
♪ And that leather jacket
♪ And that leather bag ♪
♪ And that hat hangin' on the wall ♪
♪ Just so it's not too much to carry, babe ♪
♪ Could I see you again next Fall? ♪
♪ Well, step inside this house, girl ♪
♪ I'll sing for you a song ♪
♪ I'll tell you 'bout just where I've been ♪
♪ It wouldn't take too long ♪
♪ I'll show you all the things that I own ♪
♪ My treasures, you might say ♪
♪ It couldn't be more than ten dollars' worth ♪
♪ But they, they brighten up my day ♪
♪♪(playing guitar)♪♪
Lyle Lovett: Guy Clark.
Lyle Lovett: Thank you.
(rustling noises)
Kris Kristofferson: Can you hear me?
There you go; yeah.
Kris Kristofferson: This is a song that was inspired by a scene in a movie that was
about the poor people from Oklahoma that were out
in California.
Out there, they were called Okies.
And "Okie" was a dirty word.
And...anyway...this kind of...
♪♪(playing guitar)♪♪
(singing) ♪ The scene was a small roadside café ♪
♪ The waitress was sweeping the floor ♪
♪ Two truck drivers drinking their coffee ♪
♪ And two Okie kids at the door ♪
♪ "How much are them candies?" they asked her ♪
♪ "How much have you got?" she replied ♪
♪ "We've only a penny between us" ♪
♪ "Them's two for a penny," she lied ♪
♪ And the daylight grew heavy with thunder, ♪
♪ With the smell of the rain on the wind ♪
♪ Ain't it just like a human ♪
♪ Here comes that rainbow again ♪
♪ One truck driver called to the waitress ♪
♪ After the kids went outside ♪
♪ "Them candies ain't two for a penny" ♪
♪ "So what's it to you?" she replied ♪
♪ In silence they finished their coffee ♪
♪ And got up and nodded goodbye ♪
♪ She called: "Hey, you left too much money!" ♪
♪ "So what's it to you?" they replied ♪
♪ And the daylight was heavy with thunder ♪
♪ With the smell of the rain on the wind ♪
♪ Ain't it just like a human ♪
♪ Here comes that rainbow again ♪
♪ Ain't it just like a human ♪
♪ Here comes that rainbow again ♪
Thank you.
(applause and cheering)
Thank you.
Bob Santelli: Darius Rucker, Lyle Lovett, Kris Kristofferson.
Thank you, gentleman.
Kris Kristofferson: Thank you!