Local Celebrity Profiles
- 1 Record Found.
- (View All)
Donna Hughes | Singer/Songwriter
Donna Hughes | Singer/Songwriter
Q: Have you always wanted to be a singer-songwriter, and how long have you been doing it?
I started playing the piano at just three years old. In fact, I have a memory of going to the piano after hearing “You Light Up My Life,” and playing it on the piano. My mom was stunned. I didn’t read music at that time, I just played it by ear. I thought it was something everyone could do. Music runs in my family, but there was a point where they were giving up on me and my music because I just wanted to make my own. I wasn’t interested in doing other people’s music. Luckily, in time, things went my way and they realized music really was in my soul!
Q: What are some of the highlights of your career?
I’ve been very fortunate and most of my musical dreams have come true, and I’ve even surpassed up my own expectations of what I could do in music and where I could play. I’ve worked with some incredible people like bluegrass guitar legend Tony Rice, legendary banjo performer J.D. Crowe, and one of my songs was performed by Alison Krauss. I’ve played at BB Kings in New York City, with Ricky Skaggs at Dollywood, Marty Stuart at The Birchmere, and at Eddie’s Attic in Atlanta, and I’ve played four times at the Bluebird Café in Nashville. I feel pretty fortunate!
Q: How many songs have you written, and do you have any fears that you face being in the music business?
I’ve written approximately 500 songs. My biggest fear in writing music had always been that if I let people hear my songs, they will know what I’m thinking. This took some getting used to, but after doing it for a while, the ironic thing I found out was that many people think the exact same things I do. It’s actually liberating now. When I put my words on paper and others can relate, it’s a wonderful thing because they realize they are not alone in their thinking either.
Q: How do you describe your music to others? Is there a specific genre you play?
I am inspired by country and bluegrass music, but I play music from the heart so there are other influences as well. Being a singer-songwriter, I’m also inspired by folk and many other types of music.
Q: What is your favorite kind of music to listen to and do you have a favorite artist?
There are way too many artists I like. Even to name my top ten would be hard. I like classical, jazz, country, and mountain music, and growing up I listened to alternative, as well. I would have to say the music that seems to strike me the most are undiscovered musicians. We have a lot of talent - even around here - and it just doesn’t seem right that they all don’t have record deals. It’s a funny business.
Q: Do you have a favorite song that you have personally written? If so, what is it that is so meaningful to you, and why?
I wrote a song called “I Want to Grow Old with You,” and this is the way I feel about Andy, my fiancé. It’s what I live for. Life is not about the material things; it’s about spending time with the ones you love.
Q: How did your animal activism and anti-chaining song come about?
I used to pass by this poor dog on my way to work every day, and he was always locked up by a short chain, even in the rain and snow. I felt so bad for the dog that my heart hurt, and I was in turmoil over it. I feared if I confronted the owner he may not understand, and it would be illegal for me to take the dog. So I wrote a song about it instead. One day I was asked if I could sing for a classroom full of kids and I had no idea what song to sing for them, so I sang “Dog on a 10-Foot Chain,” that I had written. At the end of the song, many of them were crying. I suffered over this too, but in the end, I realized they opened my eyes even more, and I felt I had to do something. So I published the song. I knew it was bigger than me, and that I was lucky enough to have a platform in order to make people think. If just a few people have learned a lesson from my song and end up treating their animals better because of it, then it was worth it. Now I’m taking it a bit further and have started a charity for people who can't afford to get fences for their dogs, so they don’t have to chain them. It’s called Flying Hound Fences and anyone can donate to the cause and can make a difference.
Q: You’re also a real estate broker in addition to being a successful singer-songwriter. What made you decide to do that?
My dad was a real estate broker and an auctioneer and he wanted me to have a good life. He always told me he wanted me to be a school teacher or a real estate broker so I could support myself. I tried being a school teacher, and I taught gymnastics which I liked, but in the end, I felt more drawn to do real estate to augment my singing career. I really like selling real estate too because every day it’s a different scenario and I never get bored. I enjoy working with people and learning about their stories.
Q: Have you always lived in Randolph County, and what are some of the things you like about it here?
Yes, I’m part of my family's sixth-generation here in Randolph County. We go back to before the Civil War. I have lived in the same square mile all my life and I love it here. I feel such pride hanging onto the property that my family has worked so hard to keep. I love the sense of familiarity and the sense of community here. The people are so nice and caring, and I love the Southern hospitality and deep sense of home. I appreciate our historic sites. I think it’s amazing that we can still find Indian arrowheads in the woods. I love that there is still undisturbed land here with pretty wilderness and beautiful wildlife. This is definitely home for me...I’m not ever leaving!