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North Carolina’s Paige King Johnson is a three-time winner of the Carolina Country Music Awards – for Female Vocalist of the Year, New Emerging Country 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, farm-born country singer is helping solidify the ties between music and agriculture in America today – and letting young people interested in these areas know that they too can contribute their interests, abilities and aspirations.
In a recent interview, Johnson said she will be performing at the Got to Be NC festival in Raleigh, NC on Friday, May 20 at 5 p.m.; she will also announce a new AgStar North Carolina Talent competition, she told Fox News Digital.
“My home state of North Carolina is close to my heart,” she said, pointing to the range of “local music” across the state.
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Johnson discussed her latest projects, including “Homes in the Hometown,” her latest single, how she navigated the lockdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic as a performer and an artist used to being with crowds — and what that taught him all his life.
“Encouragement and Empowerment”
Some friends started writing song ideas and melodies at the start of the pandemic, she told Fox News Digital in an interview.
“The three of us were women in our twenties who were singers and songwriters – and we had no idea what was going on [in the country] or was going to happen to us” in the future, she said.
Yet together they wrote a song “of encouragement and empowerment,” she said, both for themselves and for millions of others like them.
That way, she said, people would know that “no matter where you go or what you do, even if it feels like it’s getting you nowhere, it is – and you you’ll feel grateful for that progress you’ve made in that time when you have years down the road” when you look back on it.
“Would my mother and grandmother be proud of me every time they see or hear this?”
During the pandemic, when everything was shut down, she also had time to give back to 4-H and FFA (Future Farmers of America), she said — groups she’s been heavily involved with during her years of growth, she said, and which remain important to her.
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“I could ride a horse before I could walk,” she said. “I showed horses, lambs, rabbits at my county fairs every year. It was normal for me.”
“Would God be proud of me?
“I’m a people person – I like being able to connect with people,” she said. “I’m definitely an extrovert and feel energized around other people.”
Johnson also noted the burden that comes with being “in the wider spotlight” now that “most people” she grew up with, went to school or interacted with quite possibly as a person. younger, she said.
“Everything I write, everything I sing, everything I post, everything I publish, I ask myself: would my mother and my grandmother be proud of me every time they saw or would hear that? »
“Most artists have to do this – they have to check themselves out.”
She also said that she looks to the future: “If I can have a girl one day, what will she think of what I have said and done? Would she be proud of me?”
“And I also ask, would God be proud of me? And whatever I do, will whatever I do honor all of these people?”
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The onus, she said, is on whoever is spreading the messages today, to make sure they are right, that they are strong, that they are accurate, that they are true.
“Most artists have to do this — they have to check themselves out,” 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.”
People tell her they can hear those people in her voice when she performs, she said.
“My goal is to try to bring that back into modern country music.” Johnson said it could happen through the instrumentation of her songs, the lyrics or her performances.
“It’s always on my to-do list,” she added, “to be able to meet Loretta Lynn” at an event at some point.
“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’s so inspiring to me, including how successful she has been. in her personal life, and how honest and able she was to ask for help. She’s human – it’s admirable.
“I love being busy”
The “Got to Be NC” festival – hosted by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, which will be held this weekend – is “kind of like a mini state fair here in North Carolina”, she said.
Beyond that, the festival season for her will include 130 performance dates already scheduled 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 as part of the partnership with the Department of Agriculture, I see so many different corners of North Carolina that I’ve never 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 awaits her this year, she also called out the team around her for what she is doing. “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 overall, she’s focused on delivering a message of the “lifelong legacy” of American farmers — and sharing what’s happening in farm life today.