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article imageRemembering Merle Haggard: Country music pioneer

By Markos Papadatos     Apr 7, 2016 in Music
Back in April of 2012, this Digital Journalist had the good fortune to interview a country music legend, Mr. Merle Haggard, via phone.
These were the highlights from that interview conversation.
He is drawn the country music due to its "honesty." The country veteran had noted that he is equally comfortable singing in the studio and in a live setting.
When asked about his proudest professional moments, Haggard said, "There are too many to mention. I received the Kennedy Arts Center award and I was placed in the Hall of Fame. I've received 100 BMI awards. It would be nice to write and direct a successful film I think."
For Haggard, it was a great honor to be selected for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum back in 1994. "You know it's always with you," he said.
In addition, Haggard won two Grammy awards, which include a win for "Best Male Country Vocal Performance" for "That's The Way Love Goes" in 1984. "We've been nominated 20 something times for Grammys, but we've only won a couple of them," he said.
The hardest part of his job as a country musician was "the travelling." "Being at the airport 180 times a year," he said, with a sweet laugh.
In his spare time, Haggard enjoyed fishing and playing golf. "That's about it," he said.
Haggard stayed connected with his fans via the music that he recorded and by putting out a new record every 15 or 18 months. "I do an editorial every once in a while on the Internet, and I do interviews, and we do television shows and all the things that help in that way," he said. "We do meet and greets too before the show."
For aspiring country singers, he said, "It has to be a love from deep within. You got to be willing to give up everything, and I do mean everything."
Haggard did not have a personal favorite song of his, and he treated them all like his children. For Haggard, the key to longevity in the music industry is to "Keep on swimming."
He defined the word success as "The difference between good and bad."
Alas, Merle Haggard passed away yesterday on his 79th birthday, yet his musical legacy will live on forever.
More about Merle haggard, Country music, Legend
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