“Sweetheart, come sing for Bridgette!” yelled my mother from the living room. I was four years old and Bridgette was my mom’s best friend who was a professional singer and gorgeous and blond. I was too embarrassed to sing in person so I made a deal with my mom to give me five minutes and I would record my voice into a tape recorder from my bedroom. Then she could play Bridgette the tape. She laughed and said fine. So from the safety of my twin bed, I hit RECORD and sang “Country Roads, Take Me Home” by John Denver. I handed my mom the tape and then ran back into my bedroom, too nervous for feedback. Bridgette listened to it and yelled back: “Hey Georgia, you’re really good! You should be a singer.” And with that, I flung all good common sense to the side and decided to be just that. A singer.
I grew up listening to such country pop crossover stars like Ronnie Milsap, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton and Barbara Mandrell. My mom and dad also loved Neil Diamond, Barbra Streisand and Barry Manilow. What I took away from those records were how stunning the melodies and lyrics were. I had found a passion even greater than singing when I discovered songwriting. I wrote my first song when I was ten about the boy next door. I wasn’t really in love with Shaun, but the song seemed to have more power if I introduced the matter of love into the lyric. You know, whatever works
I got my first taste of rock and roll when my two older sisters let me come into their room during that very sacred time they were listening to their Fleetwood Mac, Loggins & Messina and Beatles records. Again, I was hooked. To help the cause, I took up guitar when I was twelve and my teacher was a cool, progressive twenty-something woman named Melody, who turned me on to Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez. I lived in San Antonio, Texas and that same year, I started performing at a honky tonk on the outskirts of town called The Texas Star Inn. Melody was in the house band so as nervous as I was, I felt comfortable knowing she was on stage. I had learned my four standards that I was told every country band knew: Delta Dawn, The Gambler, Coalminer’s Daughter, and Tanya Tucker’s Texas, When I Die. I was told if I knew those songs, I could sit in anywhere there was a country band. It seemed to be true. At the Texas Star Inn, I would wait for my cue to go on stage when the band leader said “Ladies and Gentlemen, would you please welcome knee-high to a grasshopper, Miss Georgia Leigh!” That was my middle name. And I was literally four feet tall.