Donna Beckham Ready To Shine New Album, Nashville Experience Have Texas Singer-Songwriter On The Verge By Luke Gilliam The spotlight naturally finds some musicians. Donna Beckham got tired of waiting. The blonde-haired, big-voice singer-songwriter from Tours, Texas, has returned to her home state after a year in Nashville recording her self-titled album. She's ready to hit the road to promote an album that showcases her tremendous vocal talents and straight shooting, to-thine-own-self-be-true songwriting. The album, which was produced by Dan Drilling, is rooted in a small-town life, tight-knit family, all kinds of love and strong story telling. The album covers the gamut: from the simple life in 'Fake Diamonds,' to striking out on your own, 'Texas Star,' to a cheating song, 'Lying Next To You,' to easy loving, 'You Screwed Up My Love Song,' to good loving, 'Love You Well,' and the trials and tribulations of being a woman, 'Wonder Woman','Mother Nature' and 'Wonder Bra Blues.' Donna said she accomplished both of her goals in her Nashville journey. She produced an independent record that she's proud of and she improved her depth as a songwriter. 'I'm proud of my songs,' Donna said. 'I don't have any children, so my songs are my babies.' Donna was not groomed for musical stardom. Her humble roots trace back to a 20-acre farm in the community of Tours, Texas, which doesn't appear on any state maps. Her father is full-blooded German, while her mother is full-blooded Czechoslovakian. Her earliest memories are of tending to the family garden and tagging along with her five older siblings in search of homemade fun usually around a nearby creek in an area called Whiskey Hollow. There wasn't much music in the house until her brothers received a record player with a Waylon Jennings album one Christmas. Her epiphany came as a 19-year-old watching a local band, Ridin' The Wind. She was invited on stage to sing Trisha Yearwood's 'That's What I Like About You' because the lead guitar player wanted a female voice to sing while he concentrated on a gitar solo. Donna said she wasn't nervous during that impromptu performance. 'I like being in front of people, I like the spotlight,' she said. 'Being the youngest of six, I never lacked confidence. I'm not afraid to make a fool of myself.' For the next two years, she sang for Ridin' The Wind, concentrating on her singing and stage presence - which she admits needed some work. Her only previous live performance was singing a song at her sister's wedding as a 14-year-old. 'I was bad,' Donna said with a laugh. 'When I look back at video, people were either really drunk, telling me I did a good job, or they didn't hear very well.' In 1999, Donna joined 3DC, a country/rock band comprised of high school friends. Donna said she was skeptical of the move. 'I was very hesitant,' she said. 'How would I be able to mesh with them? They were playing Poison and Whitesnake and I was singing 'Harper Valley PTA.' It ended up showing me I could sing more than country. I found a little more soul than I realized I had.' 3DC built a strong following across Central Texas the next several years. But in February 2005, Donna, with a little divine intervention, decided it was time to strike out on her own. While sitting in church one Sunday morning, Donna received, what she calls, a sign from the Lord through scripture reading Genesis 12:1-48...The Lord said to Abram: 'Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father's house to a land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation and I will bless you. I will make your name great so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. All the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you.' Three months later, Donna and her husband, Gilby, had quit their jobs, put their house on the market and moved to Nashville. She played every singer-songwriter show she could find. Donna wrapped an album that had been a year and a half in the making with the help of veteran Nashville producer Drilling and songwriting mentor joyce Marek. 'No regrets,' Donna said. 'If you are a lover of country music, what little girl or boy doesn't dream of going to Nashville.'
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