Thank you to Marushka Media and Jimmy Wayne for giving me this amazing opportunity. I am eternally grateful.
As Americans, we are inundated with celebrities. Music stars, sports stars, reality TV stars, politicians…they all have one thing in common: our children are growing up watching, listening and looking up to these people. In most cases, this makes a parent nauseous at the thought of their child wanting to become anything like these people that we see on TV. Do we really want our children to become loud, obnoxious, lying trouble makers? That’s what seems to get the most attention in the media, unfortunately. As a mom to a little one, I find it so refreshing when someone in the spotlight not only uses their platform to make a difference, but also lives their life in a way that we can encourage our children to look up to. Today, I am honored to interview someone who is doing just that: Mr. Jimmy Wayne.
I first learned of Jimmy Wayne over 10 years ago. He was from a small town near where I grew up, and he was going around to local stores, giving mini-concerts, signing autographs and doing radio interviews. At that time, he had a song on the radio called “Stay Gone”. It is an amazing song, and one of my favorite songs to this day. There was something about the person singing this song that intrigued me, he didn’t sound like the others did on the radio. There was something real and pure about his sound…something that made you think he had lived the stories behind his songs. So, several afternoons after school, a couple of my friends and I begged my mom to take us to these mini-concerts and appearances. Guess what? This guy sounded even better live than he did on the radio! If you’ve been to many concerts, you know that this isn’t usually the case, in fact, it’s usually the opposite. Having personally met him, I can tell you- he is one of the most genuine and down to earth people you will ever meet. Over the years, I have followed Jimmy’s music and career.
Jimmy is a former foster kid turned award-winning country music artist whose songs and story highlight his mission to raise awareness for kids in foster care. Jimmy’s hits include “Stay Gone,” “Paper Angels” and“ I Love You This Much,” which was featured by Coca-Cola during its #ShareASong campaign. His three-week Number One, “Do You Believe Me Now” earned BMI’s prestigious Million-Air Award for receiving one million radio spins in America. In 2009 Jimmy toured with Brad Paisley and recorded “Sara Smile” with rock ‘n roll Hall of Fame duo Daryl Hall and John Oates.
In 2010, Jimmy walked halfway across America (from Nashville to Phoenix) to raise awareness for kids aging out of the foster-care system. In 2011, Jimmy released the novel Paper Angels, which became a made-for-TV movie of the same title. In 2012, Jimmy helped get legislative bills passed extending the age of foster care to 21 in both California and Tennessee, and in 2015, he did the same in his home state of North Carolina. In 2014, he released Walk to Beautiful, his three-time New York Times Bestselling memoir. In June of 2016 President George H. W Bush presented Jimmy with the prestigious Points of Light Award.
Jimmy has performed the Grand Ole Opry more than 200 times. He lives in Nashville and continues to work tirelessly on behalf of at-risk foster youth by performing, writing books, keynote speaking and through ProjectMMH.org.
LLL: Being a celebrity and in the spotlight can, sometimes, for lack of better terms, “go to someone’s head”. You have been a celebrity for some time now, but have remained grounded. You continue to give back in ways that make a huge difference and touch many lives. You have not forgotten where you came from. What keeps you so grounded?
Jimmy Wayne: My walk halfway across America, Saint Jude’s children’s hospital and realizing how quickly music business “friends” come and go in and out of my life when I’m on or off the charts keeps me grounded.
LLL: Tell us a little bit about Project Meet Me Halfway. What are some ways that someone like myself, a working mom, could get involved with this project?
Jimmy Wayne: Project Meet Me Halfway ( http://www.projectmmh.org ) is an awareness campaign that started January 1, 2010 when I walked from Nashville to Phoenix Arizona to raise awareness for the more than 30,000 foster children who age out of foster care every year in America at age 18. Anyone can get involved because it is as simple as learning about the issue and then talking about it amongst your peers. Change starts with awareness.
LLL: In your book “Walk to Beautiful”, you talk about Bea Costner, a woman who has had an insurmountable influence on your life. Women like Bea are one in a million and a true treasure. What one piece of advice do you think Bea would have for women today?
Jimmy Wayne: If I could speak for Bea I think she would say, not only to women, but to everyone – “be quiet and be nice.” She did not mean to be submissive. Her point was to choose your battles and the best way to fight them is with kindness.
LLL: You have written many songs, played numerous shows and collaborated with some amazing artists. What’s on your playlist right now?
Jimmy Wayne: I am listening to a music project that I will be releasing in 2017. Besides this project I listen to talk radio.
Wow! That’s all that I have to say. What an amazing interview and opportunity. I especially love Jimmy’s advice from Ms. Bea-“be quiet and nice”. How much of a better place would this world be if we all took that to heart? Sometimes, we get so caught up in writing a check or making a donation (which are wonderful), that we forget sometimes the best way to make a difference is to donate our time. I know for a fact that I will be looking into how I can help with Project Meet Me Halfway, and I hope that you do as well. To quote Jimmy- “change starts with awareness”.
If you are intrigued by children in foster care and wondering how you can help, I highly encourage you to purchase Jimmy’s book. I have personally read “Walk to Beautiful” and it is one of my favorite books. I couldn’t put it down when I started reading it! It is so beautifully written and eyeopening to struggles of the amazing children in foster care and the tremendous impact that one person can make. It is one of those books that you could read over and over again, and still find a hidden gem inside.
You can purchase”Walk to Beautiful” by clicking below:
Jimmy is also a keynote speaker available for booking at www.jimmywayne.com