Teea Goans is one artist that is definitely doing what she loves to do. The singer, who grew up in rural Missouri, was inspired by the music she heard on her local radio station. "As a kid, I grew up listening to an AM radio station that played traditional country music," she recalls. "That was all I knew."
That's not an understatement. It wasn't until the late 1980s that she discovered there were other formats. "The kids were all into rock and roll music, and there was this Michael Jackson and Madonna - people who I didn't know. I wasn't aware of their kind of music. It was sort of an eye-opening experience to go "Oh, there's something other than this."
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Goans is quick to admit that she loves other styles of music, although traditional country is very close to her heart. Her debut disc, "The Way I Remember It," is very representative of this, with remakes of songs made famous by acts like Ray Price, Bill Anderson, and Ernest Tubb. It's a career path she's always dreamed of.
"I knew at a very young age that I would move to Nashville someday," she tells Billboard. "I have a picture that I drew in third grade of me on the Grand Ole Opry stage. I knew that from the time I was a kid that I would be in Nashville. I got my apartment sight unseen. I had no idea what part of town I was in. I just said 'I'm doing this,' and my mom, dad, and grandma helped me move my stuff down here on Halloween night. I moved into my apartment the next morning, and they were gone the next morning," she reflects, admitting that she was scared, but "still to this day, learning Nashville was one of the most fun experiences I have ever had."
Upon moving here, Goans started working a variety of jobs, including selling cell phones. Her husband urged her to concentrate on her music, because that's why she moved to Music City in the first place. She heeded his advice. "I started doing a lot of gigs around time, writing, and networking. That is so important, and I don't think people realize that. They think you come here, you sign your record deal and you're a hit. That's not the way it goes."
Her path to putting out a record included a stint with three of country music's most famous letters - WSM. "In 2007, I went to the Wilson County Fair, and Keith Bilbrey was there broadcasting," she says of the broadcasting legend. "I wanted to meet him. I thought that would be the coolest thing. So we met him, and there was a girl working there, and I said 'If you ever need help, and someone to volunteer, I would love to help out.' A couple of months later, I get a call, and they had an opening for a part-time promotions person opening, and they asked if I would like to do it. I said 'absolutely.'"
That job led to Goans also doing some production work for the station, and eventually being asked to do some on-air work, including interviewing some of the Opry's top stars. "The first two interviews that were lined up were Garth Brooks and Vince Gill," she says with a smile. "I hope no one ever has that recorded, because there is no telling what I sounded like and I was so nervous. It was one of those things that God has put in my path that I would have never dreamed of or wished for."
Then, not too long after, she found herself making her performing debut on the Opry. She has found much support there, with artists like Jan Howard and Bill Anderson being in her corner. She is thankful for that.
"It's very humbling to have people that you have respected and admired get behind you and to keep it up," she says. "That is such an encouraging thing. The road to get to where they are is harder than anyone is going to have it now. To have them come up to me is humbling. That's the only way I can describe it. There's a new audience that isn't familiar with their music, so I would love to carry on what they have done to a new generation of people." Goans is currently in the process of recording her second disc, and her video for her latest single "Letter From God" won the Yallwire "Inspirational Video of the Year" award.