Country Spotlight: Win a Trip to Music City Courtesy of Margaret Durante’s Nashville Diaries

August 22, 2011 at 4:59 pm , by

Find out how to enter at the end of Margaret’s latest diary entry …

It’s only been a month, but I feel like I have so much to catch you up on! I’ve played shows on both coasts, appeared as a guest on GAC’s Top 20 Countdown, tracked 5 new songs in the studio for my new album and even witnessed my older sister’s engagement! I wish I could list “cleaned my apartment” among those things, but there’s always next month … maybe. I try to remind myself to live fully in each moment but, truthfully, it’s been hard to get a grip on everything that’s gone down in the past 30 days. Luckily, though, I have the chance to reflect on everything now and share it with you!

six flags americaLet’s start with my visit to the GAC studios to chat with Nan Kelley, host of their Top 20 Country Countdown. I was thrilled to be invited on the show, having watched it so many times in the past wondering if and when I’d ever get to be the guest artist. I had the #1 video the week prior to my visit and had no idea where I’d land the week I appeared on the show. I’d watched my video debut at #1, then go to number … nothing, then to #7 and back to #1 again, so I was ready for anything. Nan couldn’t have been nicer and she was so easy to talk to. At the end of the segment, she asked me to read from the teleprompter to introduce my video for that week. (Good sign, I thought. I at least made the countdown!) Then I read the words on the screen in disbelief: “Here’s my video ‘Maybe Tonight,’ at the #1 spot!” At that point, I’d pretty much lost any composure I had during the interview. I was just in awe of my fans who had taken me to the top once again. (Side note: The video went #1 the following week also, so to any of you voting, thank you!)

Kix Brooks is such a supportive and talented guy.

Kix Brooks is such a supportive and talented guy.

The following week I had a show in Washington, D.C., at Six Flags America for WMZQ and WPOC, two radio stations in Baltimore and D.C. I’m from Potomac, MD, and both stations have been big supporters of my music, so it was pretty cool to make a trip back home and play for all of those listeners. It was a scorchingly hot Saturday afternoon and the temperature hung around 110 degrees onstage. There was a heat advisory in the area so I was half expecting everyone at the park to be on the water rides! It was one of those shows where you could tell anyone in front of the stage and out of the shade was clearly kin to me or a very close friend, but it was a blast. And I’ve never consumed so much water! Kix Brooks from Brooks & Dunn was our host as this was part of his tour for the American Country Countdown. He’s a great guy and music lover, and I’ve gotten the chance to get to know him through some mutual friends. It’s so great that even after the successful career he’s had that he continues to be such a champion of country music.

I had planned to take it easy for the rest of the weekend at my parents’ house before heading back to Nashville, but the next day was anything but uneventful. My mom and little sister hinted to me that Scott, my older sister’s boyfriend, was going to propose. My mom wasn’t supposed to tell my little sister … but she did. And my little sister wasn’t supposed to tell me … but she did. Apparently, there are no secrets in a house full of Durante women. The entire family—and I mean entire family—along with Scott’s family was waiting at my parents’ house when Claire and Scott walked through the door, which led to a big celebration. I was so grateful that I got the chance to be there for such an important day in my sister’s life.


Here I am with some of my bandmates, owning the day with Lady Antebellum.

The next weekend it was time to hit the road again, traveling across the country to play a show in Sweet Home, Oregon, at the Oregon Jamboree. Lady Antebellum was headlining that night and we were supposed to play that Saturday afternoon. The band and I had flown all night from Nashville to Portland and we were staring down a 9 a.m. lobby call to make the two hour drive to the venue for the first meet and greet. My phone rang at 8 and it was the event booker calling to say that the act that was scheduled to play the main stage at noon couldn’t make it because his tour bus broke down. We were asked if we could step in and play, and we were stoked! That meant we’d get to play two shows, with one being on the main stage where Lady A would be playing later that night. It was like a fire-drill. We all jumped in our rented minivan and booked it to Sweet Home! I’m happy to report that we had two amazing shows, I made some great friends there and I hope I get the chance to head back there next year!

That's my little sister Theresa striking a pose in front of me on stage!

That's my little sister Theresa striking a pose in front of me on stage!

The following week I was back in Nashville in the studio to track 5 more songs to potentially complete my album. My producer is James Stroud and he is the groove monster! He played drums on tons of Motown records and has produced 127 hits, but he is totally humble and wonderful to work with. And the tracking process is so much fun! You gather all of these incredibly talented musicians in the room and then you play the work tape or demo that you’ve made as you tell them what you’re envisioning for the song. Before you know it, they’ve brought your vision to life. It’s always an awe-inspiring process for me. At this point, I’ve recently finished the last of the vocals for the project, but there’s still a lot of work to be done to finish the album …

… which brings me to the last exciting update I have for you. I’m so thankful for your support and it means so much to me that you’re reading my LHJ Ladies’ Lounge blog, following me along on my crazy journey. As a token of my gratitude, I want to give you a chance to win a trip to Nashville and spend some time in the studio with me. I’ll take you to lunch, set you up with tickets to the Grand Ole Opry, and of course I’ll put you up in a comfy hotel in Nashville. You won’t have to just read about my day-to-day life—you can live it with me!

Want to enter? Good! All you have to do is look is click here, or look for the A Star for a Day graphic on with my image on it (wait for it … wait for it … there it is!) and then click on it for all the rules and entry details. Good luck! Maybe I’ll be seeing you soon!

Well, that gets you pretty much up to date on my end. Thanks again for reading and remember to go for your dreams.

Until next time,


14 Responses to “Country Spotlight: Win a Trip to Music City Courtesy of Margaret Durante’s Nashville Diaries”

  1. [...] can read Margaret’s latest blog HERE. Leave Some Love! [...]

  2. Yes, Please enter me in this fantastic contest and please let me know who wins too. Thank YOU very much. Cecilia CECE

  3. Wow! love Nashville!

  4. I would love to spend the day with you!!

  5. As pretty as you are, this ol’man would love to spend the day with you in Nashville!

  6. Sounds like fun!’

  7. I would love to enjoy this contest ,since never in my life I ever win anything.

  8. I’ve dreamed of going to Nashville – would love to win this!

  9. I would LOVE to go to Nashville!

  10. Sounds like I would have a great time.

  11. They tell me I have a beautiful voice, I was in a contest one time that was given at the Grand Ole Opry House & I came in 7th out of 140 contestents. But I didn’t have the money to continue w/it! If I win maybe you could show me the hot spots that I need to go to. Thanks, Lana

  12. I can’t wait to meet you and hang in Nashville. Thanks Lee

  13. Would be so much fun!

  14. for being our 4,750th! And Happy New Year!