Hey, you guys! I haven’t been active on either of my blogs lately and it’s bumming me out! I’ve talked with family and friends about what I should be sharing, and they all seem to be giving me a resounding “MORE STORIES ABOUT COOL THINGS!” So here’s a big one: My “50 first interviews”.
Here’s the backstory: As a kid, I always loved TobyMac. To this day, I can spout off every lyric to every song he has ever made. I was severely bullied at school and found it hard to relate to the other kids who liked other white rappers like Eminem. I got sick of the negative attention and decided I would form an alliance – on the internet. I was 13 and really, really wanted to create my own website. I didn’t have enough experience yet, so I began work as a teen columnist for an indie-music website called Jesus Wired. My first opportunity was red-carpet access and a media seat backstage at an event called “The Dove Awards”. This is an annual award show in Nashville, Tennessee hosted by the Gospel Music Association and aired on television.
Due to my age, I obviously had to bring my whole family with me. We traveled to Nashville, ate barbecue, and enjoyed the trip to the fullest. I remember my mom doing my makeup and me being so excited to get there. On the way, my mom turned to me and asked if I was nervous. It’s the weirdest thing but I didn’t feel nervous at all. You’d think that a kid like me going to an event like this would be at least a bit shaky. I think I actually began to get nervous because of how little nervousness I felt. I had studied red carpet interviews for weeks and had done my best to study up on every artist nominated. (Except TobyMac. I already knew way too much about him.)
Upon arriving, my dad and I received our credentials and got handed a piece of regular white paper. This, we were told, was our space on the carpet. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever really noticed it in interviews, but red carpets are a lot of sweat and squishing together with people you don’t know. We had to fit all camera gear and me on this tiny white paper. I was immediately given another sheet of paper. This time, it had five facts about the artist headed my way. I handed the paper back to my dad right away. I didn’t even have to read it. I was prepared.
These interviews were my only in-person interview experience at that point. I think I had done a few before this on the phone, but this was a totally different ballgame. This night I ended up doing 50! There is no way the ability to remain calm and focused is from me. Truthfully, this was a big moment that advanced my faith in Jesus. It’s insane that I was even given the chance to be there, but the fact that I got up there and interviewed 50 people in one night as a 14-year-old kid is mind-blowing. I didn’t know at least half of the people on the carpet, yet still came up with questions and everyone left smiling. Of course, some agents completely avoided me and I lost out on some really great interviews, but I didn’t even care. A few important observations:
- Lecrae is TALL. And I’ll tell you what, he is a sweet man.
- If you look closely at my montage video you will see several sweaty artists and interviewers fanning themselves. That heat was NO JOKE.
- Pretty sure everyone on the carpet smells really good.
- You have to be okay with people spit-spraying you while talking. It’s loud under that tent, so people are trying to talk over each other. This means some people will probably spit on your face by accident.
- The backstage media members are expected to ask winners questions throughout the night. I’m fairly certain this is the part of every award show (including the Grammies, which I witnessed from YouTube) where incredibly insensitive and questionable questions come out. I remember some very awkward relationship questions being asked to artists, such as “are you single?”
- There’s nothing like a good hug from Jason Crabb.
- TobyMac has learned to bypass red carpets, but I did see him from afar backstage!
The rest of the night was a blur. I remember watching the award show on the screens backstage. I vaguely remember being VERY distracted when TobyMac came backstage. I also remember live-tweeting updates on winners and beating GMA to their own show’s announcements. (I was very proud of that.)
I have attended the Doves four times so far, and have been on media at three. I am still friends with some of the members I met there today. Each year I am just blown away to be back. I’d love to go more in depth with other years’ experiences here, and even this one! Comment below and let me know what you’d like to read more of. I really want to share more of these super cool stories I’ve been able to live out!
Sincerely, Maddy Agers