I cut off my hair. Changed my look completely from the long, permed, big country music hair the label wanted as the were getting ready for me to record my next record. I left one week and went to Alabama for a visit, walked back into the label and they were incensed, mad, upset that I would throw a monkey wrench in their plans for what I would look like for the next album cover. I didn’t even realize how it would matter, made no connection between my desires for myself, how I felt and what they had planned for the business model in order to release a follow up to a pretty successful record with Tough All Over. I could feel an instant change in their attitudes and it became clear that they felt all of the work they had put into presenting me a certain way was futile.
So the process of my next record went forward but it was plain to see the label wasn’t going to offer much. They wanted to cut a certain kind of song and I wanted to venture into new territory, more Pop, more sophisticated, no fiddles and no steel guitar. I look back and feel the itch I was scratching without even knowing where I was heading. I looked for songs that felt Pop/R&B, a different kind of lyric and CBS wasn’t biting. They were not into the direction I was choosing so they literally washed their hands of it. My manager at the time and I took the reins and we chose record producer/drummer James Stroud to help me get what I wanted. The songs were good but mediocre and I was flailing within them, hoping for a gel to smooth it out but to no avail. The record was slated on the release list way down at the bottom and they kept pushing it back and back even more. By the time the record was released they were done, and I was too.
Communication was silent and I started looking for a way to get off the label. I found a Los Angeles attorney who was a badass who started digging in at my contract which was unbelievably difficult. I had been signed to a 7 album deal and the deal was done before the 3rd record. People thought I was crazy to leave, thought I should stay and stick it out, and maybe I was, but I knew in order to make records I wanted to make and be free enough to express myself as an artist I had to get out from under a formula I would never fit in. It took close to 2 years to get off of CBS and to start looking for another more independent group of people who could see more from an artist besides piss poor hits on the country charts. I wanted to be bigger, be seen as bigger and release myself from the confines of Nashville. I was 22 years old.