A Cup of Coffee with Anita Stapleton (Interview)

By Dave Parsons

With the encouragement of her parents, Anita Stapleton took an interest in music at an early age.  Starting at the age of eleven, she began playing music throughout her home state of Pennsylvania. At the age of eighteen, she began performing on a regular basis at the WWVA Wheeling Jamboree. 

In 1995, she moved to Nashville, and a couple of years later, she began touring as a background singer for country artist, Patty Loveless. She has been on many TV shows, including Grand Ole Opry Live, Austin City Limits, Late Night With Conan O’Brien, and Live With Regis & Kathie Lee. She has also hosted the legendary Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree and hosted her own radio show. 

Currently, she is performing every Tuesday afternoon at the Music City Bar & Grill in Nashville from 2pm-5:30pm. She took time to talk with me on a break during a recent performance.

Me: I remember when you were on the Jamboree years ago and then you moved to Nashville. Was that progression to try to get more in the music business? 

Anita Stapleton:  So, I moved here in 95 and I just moved here to try to see where the Lord would take me, and I got a chance to sing background on the road with Patty Loveless for a little while. 

And then I’ve just been singing around town and doing background vocals and that kind of thing. 

Me: What’s it like being a girl singer in a swamp of guys and playing all the clubs in there? 

Anita Stapleton:  Well, it’s sometimes hard. But you know, God has been really good to me.  I really haven’t had a whole lot of issues with that here.

Me: That is good to hear. You have one CD out, and I know your Christmas CD came out last year. 

Anita Stapleton:  Yeah a couple of years ago we got the Christmas one out. I actually have a few country releases. I’m not going to be a radio commercial success, but fans that come in buy them, and I sell quite a few that way and through my website.

Me:  How did the radio host and later TV host jobs fall in?

Anita Stapleton:  Literally, God just opened those doors, because I am not a good self promoter at all. I’m very uncomfortable with it, I feel weird about it.  I had been contacted and asked if I’d be interested in doing my own program, as I said sure. It would incorporate the history of country music, which I love. 

So that was just kind of, I fell into that and really fell in with the TV thing. I got a chance to be what they called the talent liaison for The Marty Stuart Show. Marty, I’ve known Marty and Connie for a long time and Marty just called me up randomly one day and asked me to say, hey, would you want to do like a hostess kind of thing, to greet everybody who comes in and get them to make up and to get to the set and everything. 

I thought, wow, that would be a lot of fun. so that’s just how that happened and I worked on that for I think four seasons.  

Me:  Tell me a little about playing music here in Nashville on a regular basis.

Anita Stapleton:  They’re all here to have a good time. Especially on a Tuesday afternoon when it’s slow in here. I wanted to learn how to play the guitar so that I could kind of accompany myself, and not need to band.  So, mostly I perform solo.

Me:  Any new CD projects in the future?

Anita Stapleton:  Yeah, we’re working on a little gospel project and so it’s just an acoustic thing. We did one a few years back and it was kind of, I guess, an extension of that. I just want to sing for as long as the Lord wants me to sing, and I love to sing at church and anything that I can pick up here and there. But, yeah, I want to branch out a little bit, do some more stuff. 

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