Though most know her from her high-energy hits during her days as a member of Trick Pony, Heidi Newfield is one of the most distinctive vocalists in country music. That can be heard on such deep catalog Pony moments as "Stay In This Moment" and "Rain." Of course, she connected with audiences with her very first solo single for Curb Records, "Johnny and June." It's been a while since that record put her in the spotlight, but from all indications, the singer will soon be making a return there with her latest, "Why'd You Have To Be So Good."
The singer told Billboard that it's a song that she connected to -- immediately. "It's really one of those big and powerful dynamic songs that is reminiscent of an old classic. It's got a stylist's feel. I knew the moment I heard it that I wanted to sing it, and that it would really fit my voice. I think it's great that we were able to keep the authenticity in the vocal and the track. My producer, Blake Chancey and I enjoyed cutting the single. It's not polished. It sounds a little unique on the radio. It's got a swooping steel guitar solo instead of a big rock solo. But it still has the energy and drive. It showcases a lot of different parts of my voice. I love songs like that where I can have some fun with it."
The new record signifies a new chapter in Newfield's career -- one she is very excited about. "This particular single is coming out at a time where I've got a whole new team and a whole new label in Sidewalk Records, which is a sister label to Curb. We've got a team around me that feels very authentic. Everybody has a deep passion for what we're doing. Everybody cares about the music, and is focused on seeing me succeed."
"It feels like there's a lot of focus -- not only on this song, but building a career, which is what we are all trying to do. It feels like consistency is being built. I'm not planning on going anywhere."
The reaction to the record is something that makes the songstress smile. "It really warms my heart when you put out a song like this that is such an emotional song, and you see it connect with listeners, and program directors, who get thrown hundreds of songs a week. So, there's a lot of people I've developed relationships with who will sit down and give it a listen. It's a cool feeling when a big burly PD turns around with tears in his eyes after hearing your tune. I can see people connecting with it. It's an important song for me. I don't take that for granted. It's extremely important."
Newfield is putting the finishing touches on her Sidewalk debut, which will feature a little bit of her up-tempo side then her last album. "It's interesting when you contrast the first two records. I love 'What Am I Waiting For.' There's not a song on there I don't love. It had lots of air, and a lot of room," she says of the feel of that release.
"I love the music on there because Tony Brown said 'Everybody knows that you can rock out. They know you can put on a show, but they've never listened to you sing. Sometimes it takes these types of songs to focus on the fact that you've got these other elements in your voice that people have never heard before. We wanted to showcase some other aspects of my voice. It set me apart from the Trick Pony days."
At the end of the day, the mission was not to worry about tempo for the album, but simply to put the best product out. "We just tried to find the best song," Newfield says. "The rest of the record has definitely got a lot of kick to it. It pulls a lot from my influences -- stone country, harmonica, southern rock. There's a lot of drive on this record," she says, admitting that when you get pitched a song as powerful as the new single, it's a relative no-brainer. "We just felt this song needed to be heard first."
- Country