Best Known For
Country singer Patty Loveless is famous for her blend of musical styles, and songs like "How Can I Help You Say Goodbye?"
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By 1985, Loveless's father had died and her marriage was over, but she was ready to jump into a new phase of life. "I learned so much about what to feel in a song from those years of playing those clubs. I was saddened sometimes because I thought 'I left Nashville, I left all that for this? What happened to me? What is wrong with me?
' But I think what was happening was that I was beginning to find ... me. Find who I really was. And what kind of person I was inside and out. I still believe to this day it happened the way it was supposed to happen." Loveless moved back to Nashville and worked with her brother Roger to get a record deal. He played a demo tape for the head of MCA Nashville's A&R department, who signed Loveless on the spot.
Like the Wilburn Brothers band before it, MCA proved a good choice for Loveless—or at least for her personal life. She married her producer, Emory Gordy Jr., in 1989. They kept their marriage secret for a year and a half. "It was so difficult for me. Especially with him—our musician friends would say… 'We heard that you guys…' and we'd go "oh nah, nu uh no…' It was so difficult! But we wanted people out there to know that I was standing on my own. And you know how stories get going… especially a woman in this business… it's like 'OK, who's she sitting on the couch with.' I'll put it nicely. And he just wanted people to know that 'Hey, she's standing on her own.'"
Unfortunately, Loveless's musical success didn't immediately match her personal happiness. She made five records in all for MCA, but while she became a popular opener for acts such as Reba MacEntire and Wynonna Judd, her records didn't sell as well, and she felt as though she wasn't being promoted effectively by the label. Loveless and her husband decided to make the switch to Epic Records.
In the fall of 1992, Loveless's tour was cut short when she found out that she had a leaking blood vessel on her vocal chords, requiring immediate surgery. She canceled tour dates and stopped the planned record to have the surgery. After a few months of complete silence, she went back into the studio to record again; her first single became a smash No. 1 hit, and her new album, Only What I Feel, went platinum. It was the first of four straight Top 10 Loveless albums on Epic, making her one of the biggest country stars of the 1990s.
Patty Loveless has been performing and releasing records nearly every year since 1993, though she takes breaks to relax at her dream home outside Atlanta with her husband. In 2010, she was inducted as the 65th member of the Grand Old Opry, Nashville's prestigious country showcase. Her most recent album, Mountain Soul II, continues a trend of bluegrass and traditional country music. But Loveless won't commit to just one style: "A little more bluesy, a little more rock edge to it—I wouldn't mind doing something like that. You never know. I may surprise you."
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