FTVLive has said it so many times in the past, when it comes to great people in TV news, the list starts with Robin Meade.
The HLN Morning Anchor is one of the nicest people you will ever meet and an excellent anchor to boot.
FTVLive worked with Robin years ago at WSVN in Miami. She was a such a professional to work with, but it was her personality that set her apart from the rest. Robin truly is a rare bread of being so good on air and so nice off of it. When Robin asks how your day is going, she really wants to know.
She is also a person that understands social media. With over 130,000 followers on Twitter, Meade not only Tweets several times a day, she engages her followers. She seems to respond to every person that asks her a question on Twitter. Although she is on the 5 hours a day starting at 6AM, it is not uncommon to see her answering Tweets well into the night.
Along with her anchoring and social media skills, Robin is also one hell of a singer. Tomorrow, Meade's second album "Count on Me" is being released.
We caught up with Robin in a taxi from Nashville airport to her hotel for CMA fest where she was performing at the Opry and and doing some meet and greets with viewers.
We talk to her about her new album and about the day FTVLive changed her career (seriously!).
FTVLive: First thing off the top, how come you and I worked together so many years ago and while I look old as hell you look exactly the same? This isn't fair!
Robin: Haaa! We women are fantastic in the art of false advertising: fake nails, fake hair color, fake tan, fake eyelashes. It's all smoke and mirrors baby. Guys? What do you have in your arsenal of tools? Grecian formula, I guess. Or, in some women's minds....a big wallet. haaaa.
FTVLive: Your new album "Count on me" comes out on June 11th. What can we expect on this album? And how is it different than your first album "Brand New Day"?
Robin: I hope for the listener this new album is the musical equivalent of a warm hug. I like to say that our morning show is more than just info, its about mood enhancement to send you out for the rest of your day. Likewise, this album serves a similar mood enhancing role for the other parts of your day.
I've grown as a songwriter, and matured as a vocalist. I think you can tell that when you listen to this collection of songs. For me, "Count On Me" has a slightly more laid back feeling than the first album. And I dont think you have to be a hard core country fan to enjoy this album. While it definately is country, there is a rootsy feel to it bordering on Americana. There's a little bit of something for everyone.
FTVLive: You have a song on your new album called "This Just in" is the song about breaking news?
Robin: I went into the songwriting session that particular day and said "I want to do a song using some of those caricature sayings newsies use all the time, like "THIS JUST IN!" or "SHOCKING, SHOCKING NEWS". But I didn't want to the song to be ABOUT news. What came out of it was this sweet love story, about a woman falling in love unexpectedly with the guy who works down the hall. It's her heart trying to tell her, "hey silly, you're in love, this is it!" Thus, the words of the chorus go:
"This just in, this just in: you're never gonna have to be alone again. If love is a game then baby you win. This just in, This just in"
and then later in the bridge of the song:
"Here's the headline, here's the news:
Love shows up when it wants to
You make your plans then out of the blue
boy meets girl and a dream comes true...."
FTVLive: I see you did some cover of some songs. I love you rendition of "True Colors"...why did you pick that song as a cover?
Robin: Thanks, that one is a particular favorite of mine on the album. I really want people to hear this new banjo-tinged version! The title of the album is COUNT ON ME, so all the songs, (8 original and 4 covers) had to somehow fit loosely within this concept. It was album producer Victoria Shaw who came up with the blue grass arrangement for this version "True Colors". As a child of the 80's I already knew and loved "True Colors" and its message, and thought a number of listeners would too.
And, before you even have to ask, let me address why I put four covers on here. Why Mood Entertainment, whom I licensed this album to, are the folks who have the valuable end-aisle display at Target (where this album will go exclusively at first as well as itunes). In their marketing research, they discovered most buyers will flip over a cd (or look at the song listing digitally if on itunes). If there are a few covers of songs they already know and have an emotional connection to, they are more likely to buy that album, especially if its an artist whose work they are not yet all that familiar with. Fascinating. They actually wanted MORE covers, but I demurred saying four was already more than my instincts said to do.
FTVLive: Seems like a lot of artists are doing collabs on all their albums. If you could pick any singer to do a collab with...who would it be?
Robin: I'm fortunate to have a couple collaborations on this album. For the blues fans, check out "Slow It Up" with Keb' Mo'. We wrote this song together and he appears on the recording as well. I'm so grateful for that! You'll also hear platinum-seller Lee Brice help me on the song we (along with producer Shaw) wrote together, "Get Up". It's a call-to-action rocker we wrote, based on the scene from Bridesmaids where Melissa McCarthy is jumping on Kristin Wiig on the couch and punching on her, trying to get her out of her funk. I'm not kidding!
As far as still on my bucket list dream collaborations: Bono of U2, my pal Kenny Chesney, and Bonnie Raitt. How you like 'dem apples?
FTVLive: OK, so your anchoring the news on HLN starting at 6AM, you're recording albums, traveling the country and responding to just about everyone that tweets you on Twitter. I'm guessing you have just given up on sleep?
Robin: I admit I have been less than disciplined about my sleep since about January of this year when we started writing and recording this album! And maybe a little crankier than normal. lol.
The music, at least for my producer and me, happens fast. We basically wrote this entire album in one week. We recorded most of it in a matter of like four days. Crazy! It's the business end of music that sucks up your time. The emails, the pr campaigns, the marketing, especially when you're not necessarily with a big label that does all this for you. With the unique offerings of being with a distributor, I have my hands right in there getting dirty too. That's where the sleep goes.
But luckily I have a fantastic team not only at Mood Entertainment, but a fantastic news team that has the morning show down to a science. This team is a well-oiled machine after doing it for 12 years. Wow! They are incredible. ***You'd be surprised at the small number of staff that puts out four hours worth of live news everyday on our show. I'm incredibly grateful for their professionalism and ability to get it done well. I like to say "news doesn't write itself" so all the credit goes to them!
FTVLive: Do you remember the day you were offered a job at WMAQ in Chicago, your plan at the time was to turn the job down. But if I remember right, you're favorite Producer in Miami told you that you should reconsider and take another look at that job in Chicago. What ever happened to that Producer?
Robin: Yes I remember that day EXACTLY. Sometime between anchoring the morning show and the noon show that day at Miami's WSVN, I was on the phone and turned down a job offer from Chicago's WMAQ to anchor their mornings. YOU, mr ftv, said, "Whaaaat? Hurry up and call your agent back before he calls 'MAQ. Tell him you need more time, and that you're reconsidering." Your advice was to really think it through before giving a definate answer. Mr FTV had an affinity for the Chicago news market apparently, and advised me it would be the biggest growth period of my career if I took a job there.
You were right! After more talks and negotiation, I took the job in Chicago, where I stayed for six years and grew not only as a journo, but as a person getting comfortable in their own skin, thus becoming a much better communicator as a result. Credit to you for getting me to pick up the phone! (You also told me to call up Robert Feder, well-known tv columnist in Chicago at the time and introduce myself. Wise advice.)
So....whatever DID happen to that producer? The floor is yours!
FTVLive: While you went onto stardom, I retreated to lock myself in the FTVLive World Headquarters and live my life on the Internet. Looks like the next couple of weeks are going to be even more busy for you, which quite frankly seems impossible?
Robin: This week, between news and press, I'm headed from ATL to NYC for the album launch concert/party CNN & HLN are graciously hosting for me. I wake up the next morning and head to Los Angeles to host the Daytime Emmys with Sam Champion and AJ Hammer, and get to perform two songs on that broadcast as well. I'll be doing my show the followingMonday from Los Angeles. After that, maybe back to the regular routine. Or not. ha! Love it!
Just like all of you, in all the years of working on TV news, we have run into more than our share of idiots. But, then you get luck enough to run across someone like Robin Meade and it restores your faith in this crazy business.
You can buy Robin's new album on iTunes and at Target, we can say it is well worth it. The songs are beautiful but the person that sings them is even more so.