Lancaster, S.C., native Julie Roberts was the subject of a CMT reality TV special in 2004 that focused on her struggle to make it in Nashville as a singer. An album released later that year did well, earning gold record status for selling 500,000 copies. However, Roberts' 2006 follow-up CD sold poorly and vanished quickly from the charts. She's now at work on a third album for Mercury Records, though no release date has been set.
Following are excerpts from an interview with reporter Mark Price.
Q. Want to vent about that last CD not doing so well?
You know, when you put your heart and soul into a record, you want everyone else to hear it on the radio. If you have a radio hit, like with my first album, you have great sales. We didn't have a radio hit on the second record and I got a little discouraged. But I can't spend my days looking back and wondering what happened, because I did the best I could. I have to look forward and do the best I can on this new one. I feel this is my destiny and what I'm supposed to be doing. It's just not that easy for some people. I will keep working hard until I get that big radio hit, whether I write it or find it.
Q. How is the new album?
I've been doing a lot of song writing with some of the most amazing writers in Nashville. If I'm not writing, I spend a lot of time doing demos in the studio. Then I come home and eat with my mom and sister. I live with them (in Nashville). Then it's watching TV and going to bed. I'm staying disciplined and focused now. I'm working hard to make the third album the best yet.
Q. What else are you working on?
I kind of have a really big project, a potential film project that I can't talk about yet. I've been kind of working with both that and my records. I've been taking acting classes and honing my skills. Acting makes me really nervous and I have not felt that anxious feeling in a long time. I like that.
Q. Are you still dating a member of the Carolina Panthers?
We are great friends. His name is Jason Kyle. I don't know whether we took a short break ….But you never know … Maybe someday when we both have a little more time. I'm still crazy about him.
Q. Do you still have family in Lancaster?
In the two years since my last record, I've reconnected with my family in South Carolina. We lost my grandfather this year, so I'm taking any opportunity I can to spend time with my family. I've done lots of that. For a couple of years, I was always gone for my career. But when you lose someone, you realize you want to spend more time with the family you have left. I have relatives in Weddington and Fort Mill.
Q. Your career is based on a knack for making connections: What's your secret?
I don't do that consciously. If you have a vision of where you want to be, like if you want to sing on the Leno show, you picture yourself on the show. You never lose sight of it. If you do, you are losing your dream. I picture myself many places. I don't know if that's what puts me in the right place at the right time or if it's something else. I have a great manager that is very well connected in New York and L.A., and he's great for me too. I do work really hard for everything, nothing is given to me.