Little Rock, Arkansas native, Pamela Hopkins, is a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. In 2021, Pamela has 6 fresh new songs to release throughout the year. She co-wrote each song with various Nashville writers and is excited about the success of her first co-written duet featuring Matt Dame. “Little Things” was released on February 5th and it shot straight to the top of the international iTunes country charts. With another single ready for release, Pamela took the time to answer some questions for us…
–Hi Pamela! Thanks for taking the time to speak with us today. You’ve been pretty busy between releasing your single and video for “Somebody Here is Walkin'” and the latest one, a duet, “Little Things” with Matt Dame. Tell us about both songs…the writing and recording process forboth, which one came together easier, and how your fans have reacted to them.
Hello, and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share my music with you and your readers.
My two newest releases are the two songs you mentioned above, “Somebody Here is Walkin” which I released December 18, 2020 and “Little Things” which I released February 5, 2021. I’ll start with “Somebody Here is Walkin’.”
This song was actually written by #1 Nashville Songwriter, Jim Femino and his co-writer Megan Sheehan. Jim wrote James Otto’s #1 hit “Just Got Started Lovin’ You,” which hit #1 in May 2008. Jim has written with and for many major Nashville artists so I was extremely honored that he would allow me record a few of his songs. I reached out to Jim on Facebook and asked to make an appointment with him to see what other songs he might have in his catalog of music. Luckily, he answered me and I drove to Nashville to meet up with him, and that’s when his body decided to have heart attack number 5. He texted me and told me that he thought he was going to be admitted into the hospital and he’d let me know what was going on in a bit once he talked to the doctors.
Now, I drove 6 hours to meet this guy and to also look at and interview producers/studios that I wanted to work with on my next project. Jim texted me back and told me they were, in fact, going to admit him to the hospital. I was bummed out of course, but told him that I understood and if he needed company, I was already in town and would still like to meet him in person if he wanted someone to keep him company and hopefully cheer him up a little bit. He actually agreed and told me I could come to his room. My mom and I went to the hospital and visited with him for a bit and he got his computer out and started pitching me songs. I fell in love with his writing from before, but hearing his other songs, just made it an even deeper love for his music and writing style.
One of the songs that I chose was “Somebody Here is Walkin’” and the other 2 songs I chose were “Crankin’ Up the Crazy,” which I released at the end of June 2020, and “Me Being Me,” which is scheduled to possibly only be released on my full album which is supposed to be pressed and released in December 2021or early January 2022. Jim is still having some health issues with his heart and I consider him a great friend and pray he gets better and lives a long life. I’m looking forward to the day I can actually co-write with him and have the honor and privilege to have his name along with mine on a few songs.
My newest release, “Little Things,” was a co-write with my buddy Matt Dame and Trafton Harvey. I had this idea of doing a duet love song and was looking for the perfect male voice to compliment my vocals. Through some mutual friends, I was lead to Matt Dame. I listened to a few of his songs and fell in love with his voice. He’s also from Arkansas but has been living in Nashville and doing studio vocal stuff for quite some time now.
I reached out to Matt and explained my idea and he said he would love to help me write it. So through a zoom meeting, we sat down and wrote this song. I had sent him my notes and list of things I love about my husband and obviously, I couldn’t speak for what a man would love about his wife, so that is where Matt and Trafton came in. Matt started playing a guitar lick that I loved and started with a melody line and we just flowed from there. It took us about an hour and a half to 2 hours from beginning to end (including our chatting about the idea) to complete the song. It’s one of my favorite co-writing experiences I’ve had.
Matt met me at Off the Row Studio in October 2020 to record our vocals to the song. It was our first time meeting face-to-face. We did our photo shoot and recorded the song in about a 2 hour time frame. He is an amazing vocalist and is so professional and just knows what extra little things to do with his vocals to make the song pop. I couldn’t be happier with how this song turned out.
–What inspires you to write? Where do you get your ideas from? What do you like to write about most?
Lots of things inspire me to write. Things around me and the way I feel about them inspire me the most. I am a people watcher so lots of ideas flow from what I see in the bar I work in or just things that have happened in my own life. I think I write mostly about myself and people and situations that I have encountered in my life. I write with other co-writers pretty often and many songs that we have written are specifically geared for me to perform and record, so the ideas stem from my list of titles, ideas, or song lyrics I keep in my notes
–If you weren’t a singer and songwriter, what would you be doing, and would you be enjoying it?
I have already had a few careers in my life and enjoyed each one immensely while I was doing them. Once I feel like my heart is no longer in the career field, I find a new passion. I was a police officer for 13 years and I have a Master’s Degree in Teaching and taught English for 5 years before changing to the music profession. If I had chosen to not write my own music and start down this path, I would be doing what I was doing before taking this on…I was and am still a dueling piano player. We cover popular tunes from the 50’s to today and in all genres. I love my job and that has afforded me the opportunity to grow in my own musicianship and personal songwriting/recording. So had I chose to NOT start writing, I would just enjoy playing and singing other people’s songs in a clap-a-long, sing-a-long type of environment.
–You’ve performed on cruise lines in the past. How did you get into that, and what is that like?
Being a dueling piano player, I’ve met lots of other dueling piano players and as you play across from someone, you start to get a reputation; that can be good or bad. I’ve always strived for the good reputation and getting along with everyone as best I can. Because of that, I have been able to make connections with people in charge of booking for the dueling show for Howl at the Moon on the Norwegian Cruise Lines. I generally only play for one month during the summer each year. Because of Covid, I wasn’t able to go as planned last summer—I was supposed to do the Baltic run and I was so excited about that. Hopefully, the cruise lines will open back up soon and I can get back on the cruises again. I love cruising.
–You are from Little Rock, AR. How has that influenced your sound
I don’t know that Little Rock has really influenced my sound in “country music.” I actually sang more gospel-type songs in high school because I was in our school gospel choir called Lab Singers. We sang things like the Black National Anthem, Hush. Hush, Somebody’s Calling My Name, Ezekiel Saw de Wheel, etc…so my sound for the longest time, was not necessarily “country.” Being exposed to the more gospel sound and then singing country, pop, R & B, etc…actually made it harder for me to develop a more country-type sound, vocally speaking. Sometimes in the studio, I have to not be so direct in my words…I have to concentrate on leaving the endings off some of the words I sing so they don’t sound like another genre. Now, I speak very southern and country but that doesn’t always carry over in my singing—especially since my dueling piano job makes me cover all types of music. I have to change my dialect and inflection depending on the song. My brain has to switch so much in my dueling job that I have to get in the right frame of mind for my own songs so they sound the way I need them to. Then it becomes muscle memory.
–What is your next release after “Little Things?” Tell us all about it, and when we can expect the release.
My next release is a song titled, “Givin’a Damn (Don’t Go With My Outfit).” I co-wrote this song with Melissa Leigh and Dave Lenahan (we have bi-weekly writing sessions so more of our co-writes will be releasing later in the year). It’s about those hypocrites in your life that just want to judge you, and my response is that “Givin’a Damn” is not something I’m willing to waste my time on, and it is not an accessory I choose to wear. This is definitely a fun song and I think so many people can relate to it. I plan to release it near the end of April or the first part of May. I honestly can’t wait. We plan to run a campaign leading up to the song release that includes a t-shirt and tumbler with the design for that song. It was such a fun writing session and I am definitely looking forward to its release!
–Do you ever get stage fright? If so, how do you overcome that? If not, have you ever?
I only kind of get a little nervous if I’m at a venue I’ve never played at before. Not knowing what the crowd will be like and how to adjust my show is a little bit scary. I and my band are good at reading the crowd and shifting the setlist if need be. As a dueling piano player, it’s what we do all night long as the crowd changes, so I’m used to thinking on the fly.
–What does 2021 have in store for you, besides the next single release? Any big plans coming up?
I have a few releases that are scheduled to come out this year. I’m also playing some festivals and doing some acoustic shows as well. With venues just now opening up, it’s hard to tell what will come our way, but I’m ready for the challenge and excited to see where this year goes with my music!
–If you could perform on any stage in the world, where would it be, and why?
Honestly, I would love to play the Grand ‘Ol Opry. I think it’s a status thing, like, if you can get invited to play on that stage, you have done well in country music. Since we have been closed for the past year, I’d love to play any large stage where people are having a great time. I love to perform and sing my songs.
–Thank you for taking the time again, Pamela. Any last words for our readers?
I would be honored if your readers would check out my website and join my PamFan Club on my webpage as well as follow me on social media. You can find me at www.Pamelahopkinsmusic.com. You can find all of my social media on my webpage and if you like music videos, you can find those on my YouTube Channel (just search my name) and I have my “Official” music videos are on my VEVO channel and you can just search pamelahopkinsvevo to find those. I have merch on my website so any support in that or doing a monthly subscription that is also found on my webpage, is greatly appreciated! Thank you for taking the time to read about me and thank you for listening to my music.