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Heidi Newfield Says Her First Time on the Radio Was ‘an Out-of-Body Experience’

Heidi Newfield birthday
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Heidi Newfield began her country music career as the lead singer, rhythm guitarist and harmonica player for the platinum-selling, ACM-winning trio Trick Pony. Along with bandmates Ira Dean and Keith Burns, Newfield recorded three studio albums and produced eight charting singles, including the catchy “Pour Me” and “On a Night Like This.” Newfield left Trick Pony in 2006 to launch a solo career; she released her debut solo album, What Am I Waiting For, in 2008, which produced the critically acclaimed single “Johnny and June.”

Below, Newfield recounts to The Boot her “first time stories” — where she was when she heard Trick Pony’s first single on the radio for the first time, and the just-as-exciting story of hearing her first solo single on the radio for the first time.

I can tell you exactly where I was the first time I heard [Trick Pony’s] first single on the radio: I was in Odessa, Texas. I was rolling down the road, and [in] West Texas, there’s not much around; it’s pretty bleak there. I was listening to the local radio station … I was with some of my manager’s family.

“Pour Me” came on the radio. I heard that guitar lick come across, and we immediately stopped the car, and I opened the door and did a dance outside the car door while we listened. We were screaming in total elation. I said, “Oh, my God! That’s our song!” Ira and I were jumping up and down and screaming. The whole carload was hugging each other.

All of this hard work and all of this time going up and down the road in a van and a trailer, playing clubs … it all just happened before my eyes, and finally, here we were, hearing our song on the radio for the first time. It was a dream come true. Any movie I’ve ever seen … from Ray Charles when he first heard his first song on the radio to Tom Petty to you name it, that’s your dream come true. You set goals from there forward, but that’s the start of it all. You think, “Someday I’m going to hear my song on the radio,” and when you finally do hear it, wow! It’s almost an out-of-body experience.

I heard “Johnny and June” when I was driving between Atlanta and Nashville. I was in my husband’s car; his car has satellite radio, and I was listening to Sirius. I’m rolling down the road, and the coolest part about that is that they have the kicker on the bottom [display] that says who the artist is and the name of the song.

I heard that really distinctive acoustic guitar lick, and again, same thing, let out this uncontrollable Smokey-and-the-Bandit-kind of hoot; I was screaming at the top of my lungs. And then to look on the screen and see my own name and to see the name of the song that I was a part of writing and creating — I was so happy. I didn’t change the station the whole trip.

I remember being just as excited, if not more so, to know the feeling of having my own thing out there, just as much as it was for me and the boys. It felt like I had really accomplished something coming from a country group, stepping out on my own. It felt like we had hit a milestone.

This story was originally written by Pat Gallagher, and revised by Angela Stefano.

NEXT: Marty Stuart Knew He ‘Had a Lot of Work to Do’ After His First Time on the Radio

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