by Janelle Landauer

When did you decide that you wanted to pursue a career in television as a host?  And, how did you initially get in touch with CMT?

I never really decided to pursue a career as a host.  It wasn't something I studied or thought I would end up doing.  I called a friend who worked at CMT to inquire about another friend getting an audition.  It was suggested I try out too, and I went along for the fun of it.  I was surprised to get a call back, and another one, and then actually end up in the final ten!  I had a music background having been a performer myself, and I think that gave me the confidence to audition.  I figured if nothing else I had an advantage when it came to music knowledge.

What is it like working for one of the biggest networks on television?

It's great!  It's exciting to be on the inside of what is happening in an industry that I love.  I just hope the fans will continue to support music programming.

What is it like to speak one on one with some of country music's biggest stars?

It can be surreal at times, but at the end of the day I know they are completely normal people who just have abnormal jobs.  I have rarely interviewed someone who tried to be intimidating.  Country stars are especially down to earth.

You've had the opportunity to interview several artists over the years.  Does one interview that you've done stand out to you the most?

Anytime I get to interview Dolly Parton is it's an event for me.  I just love her so much and I always learn a lot when I am in her presence.  The way she handles herself and others around her is so impressive.  Having been part of Taylor Swift's career since the beginning has been a real treat too.  She invited us into her home for a CMT special and I was struck by how warm her family home is, and I felt lucky to see such a personal side of her life.  Getting to visit Shania Twain in Switzerland was way cool.  I could go on and on, there are so many artists that have been kind enough to give me great interviews.

Is there any artist (or actors/actresses) that you haven't interviewed yet, but that you'd still like to interview someday?

There is an english actor named David Warner that I have loved since I was a little girl, and I would LOVE to meet him.  I don't think I could interview him though because I would be too nervous.  I would also love to meet Roger Moore and David Bowie.  As for country artists I feel like I have been lucky enough to meet or interview most of them.  I would have liked to have interviewed Johnny Cash, but it wasn't meant to be.

Please also give us the behind the scenes look at the upcoming CMA awards, what is expected this year?

Taylor ,Taylor, Taylor!  Especially after all the Kayne nonsense, she has been even more elevated in everyone's eyes for being so classy about the whole thing.  Will she win Entertainer?  Who knows, but it's a huge feat to have been in that category this year! Brad Paisley should be a big winner after the years he's had too!

Where can fans find and communicate with you?  Do you enjoy participating in social networking?

They can follow on Twitter at, and I am also on Facebook and MySpace.  I love the social networking boom; it's fun.  I know how much I enjoy following people I am interested in, so hopefully people are enjoying my updates too.

Finally, is there anything that you would like to say to all the country music fans and all our readers?

Just that the music industry is facing some tough times, but I am always proud to be part of country music where fans are loyal and where artists recognize that they would be nothing without their fans.  There is so much mutual respect there, and I want to give props to the great fans that make it all work and succeed.  And thanks for watching CMT Insider!!!
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Added: November 2009

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