Veterans to Farmers, a farming nonprofit, is helping veterans reintegrate into civilian life, connect with fellow vets and recover from PTSD, by training them to work in agriculture.
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Paige King Johnson of North Carolina is a three-time Carolina Country Music Awards winner — for Female Vocalist of the Year, Country Emerging New Artist and Tour of the Year.
Recently announced as the first-ever musical ambassador for North Carolina’s Got to Be NC campaign, the up-and-coming country singer, born on a farm, is helping to solidify connections between music and agriculture in America today — and letting young people interested in these areas know that they, too, can lend their interests, abilities and aspirations.
In a recent interview, Johnson said she’ll be performing at the Got to Be NC Festival in Raleigh, N.C., on Friday, May 20 at 5 p.m.; she’ll also announce a new AgStar North Carolina Talent Competition, she told Fox News Digital.
“My home state of North Carolina is near to my heart,” she said, stressing the array of “homegrown music” across the state.
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Johnson discussed her newest projects, including “American Beauty,” a new song, how she got through the lockdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic as a performer and entertainer used to being with crowds — and what that taught her for a lifetime.
Paige King Johnson, born on a farm, is the first-ever musical ambassador for North Carolina’s Got to Be NC campaign.
‘Encouragement and empowerment’
Some friends started writing song ideas and melodies amid the beginning parts of the pandemic, she told Fox News Digital in an interview.
“All three of us were 20-something women who were singers and songwriters — and we had no clue what was happening [in the country] or was going to happen to us” in the future, she said.
Still, together they wrote a song of “encouragement and empowerment,” she said, both for themselves and for millions of others like them.
Paige King Johnson is a native North Carolinian. She said that before she puts out any piece of music, any post or any music video, she asks herself how the people most important to her in her life might react to her words.
That way, she said, people would know that “no matter where you’re going or what you’re doing, even if you feel like it’s not getting you anywhere, it is — and you’re going to feel grateful for that progress that you did make in that time when you get years down the road” when you look back on it.
“Would my mama and my grandmama be proud of me whenever they see this or hear this?”
During the pandemic, when everything was shut down, she also had time to give back to 4-H and to FFA (Future Farmers of America), she said — groups she was very involved with during her growing-up years, she said, and that remain important to her.
“I could ride horses before I could walk,” she said. “I was showing horses, lambs, rabbits at my county fairs every single year. That was normal to me.”
‘Would God be proud of me?’
“I’m a people person — I love being able to connect with people,” she said. “I’m definitely an extrovert and I feel energized around other people.”
Paige King Johnson said that artists today “need to check themselves” given the often-broad spotlight they have.
Johnson also noted the burden that comes with being “in a wider spotlight” now than “most of the people” she grew up with, went to school with or interacted with most likely as a younger person, she said.
“Everything I write, everything I sing, everything I post, everything I release — I ask myself: Would my mama and my grandmama be proud of me whenever they see this or hear this?”
“Most artists need to do this — they need to check themselves.”
She also said she casts her gaze into the future: “If I’m able to have a daughter one day, what will she think of what I’ve said and done — would she be proud of me?”
“And I also ask, Would God be proud of me? And will whatever I do be honoring to all of those people?”
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The burden, she said, is on the person today who is putting out the messages, to make sure they’re fair, they’re strong, they’re accurate, they’re true.
“Most artists need to do this — they need to check themselves,” she said.
Raised on ‘classic country music’
“I try to be a modern retro country singer,” Johnson also said.
She said she was raised on “a lot of classic country music, people like Loretta Lynn, Waylon Jennings, Patsy Cline.”
Tayla Lynn, Loretta Lynn (center) and Kellie Pickler attend the 2019 Nashville Songwriters Awards at Ryman Auditorium on Sept. 17, 2019, in Nashville, Tennessee.
(Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
People tell her they can hear those folks in her voice when she performs, she said.
“My goal is to try to bring that back into modern-day country music.” Johnson said that could happen through the instrumentation in her songs, the lyrics or her performances.
“It’s still on my bucket list,” she added, “to be able to run into Loretta Lynn” during an event at some point.
Paige King Johnson told Fox News Digital she’s focused on sharing the message of the “lifelong legacy” of American farmers.
“It would be a dream to be able to sing with her or write with her. She’s had such an amazing career … and as a woman in country music, she is just so inspiring to me, including how successful she’s been in her personal life, and how honest she’s been, and able to ask for help. She’s human — it’s admirable.”
‘Love being busy’
The “Got to Be NC” festival — put on by the N.C. Dept. of Agriculture, coming up this weekend — is “kind of like a mini-state fair here in North Carolina,” she said.
Beyond that, festival season for her will include 130 performing dates already lined up for this year — which is a far cry, of course, from what happened during the pandemic.
“I love being busy, and I love my job — and within the agricultural department partnership, I’m getting to see so many different corners of North Carolina that I haven’t ever seen before, even being raised here and living here for over 20 years,” she said.
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As she expressed her excitement for all that lies ahead this year, she also called out the team around her for what they do — “even with me, and I consider myself a baby artist at this point in my career — it takes a full team to do what we do.”
Johnson said that overall, she is focused on a message of the “lifelong legacy” of American farmers — and on sharing what goes into farming life today.
Source by www.foxnews.com