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Sue Bush
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Lita’s Rising Star

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Monday, January 02, 2006

Lita Williams recorded original material while living in North Adams.
Lita Williams may well be within singing distance of her vocal goal.
On Jan. 6, Williams, 21, is slated to deliver a live performance at Nashville's Wild Horse Saloon as one of 42 semi-finalists vying for a spot on the USA Network’s television show “Nashville Star.” Williams will perform an original song and the Sugarland hit tune “Baby Girl.”


“I’m wicked pumped,” Williams said during a Dec. 30 telephone interview from her Music City home.

It’s not hard to understand Williams’ excitement about the Friday night challenge; the 2004 Drury High School graduate remains part of a vocal showcase whittled down from about 20,000 singers who carried dreams of appearing on the Nashville Star stage.

Not all the semi-finalists are slated to sing at the saloon; another group is scheduled to perform at a Houston, Texas venue during Jan 3-4. Final selections are expected to be made on Jan. 10 and the fourth season premiere is scheduled air on March 7 with hosts Wynonna Judd and country rapper Cowboy Troy.

Lovin' the Crowds

Lita Willams will perform at the Wild Horse Saloon on Jan. 6.
Williams said that she isn’t nervous about performing at the landmark Nashville venue, but then again, this is not her first time on a big stage. In 2003, Williams won a talent contest sponsored by the Schenectady, N.Y.-based WGNA 107.7 FM radio station. The win meant Williams performed live at the country music industry renowned CountryFest event in front of over 35,000 people. She has performed at numerous city venues, including the Mayor’s Downtown Celebration and LaFesta events, and when in the area, usually performs at Gringos restaurant.

According to her mother Janeen Flagg and the singer herself, she simply isn’t plagued with performance jitters.

“I always say the more the merrier,” Williams said of large, live crowds.

Many Ways to Win

And missing a Nashville Star win isn’t the end of every aspiring country star’s dreams; at least one show runner-up has burst forth as a country music performer as a result of appearing on the show.

Country singer/songwriter Miranda Lambert finished third to top finisher Buddy Jewell during the show’s debut season; her recording of the original song “Kerosene” is burning up the country charts and Lambert is scheduled to appear at the Pepsi Arena in Albany, N.Y. on Jan. 26 with legendary country singer George Strait.

"You've Got What You've Got"

Williams is hoping that her star is ready to rise. During the semi-finalist event, she plans to play a guitar she bought recently at Wood Brothers music store in Pittsfield, and deliver a classic powerhouse “Lita” performance.

“When I’m performing, I’m doing the best I can,” Williams said. “You’ve got what you’ve got. They [audiences] are gonna love you or hate you and there isn’t anything you can do about it.”

What Williams has “got” has grabbed the attention of Del Miller, CEO of Shadow Mountain Publishing, an independent, Nashville-based music publishing company. Miller launched the company in 2004. His business partner is veteran musician Jim Cristaldi.

"I Gave Her 15 Minutes...."

Miller had no intentions of managing any performers until he met and listened to Williams, he said during a Dec. 31 telephone interview. A business acquaintance told him that Williams was something special and worth a bit of Miller’s time; Miller ultimately agreed to a very brief meeting with Williams, he said.

“I gave her 15 minutes,” Miller said. “And in 15 minutes she smoked me. I was really lucky to have her walk into my office. I think she’s going to set this town on its’ ear.”

Williams’ songwriting abilities are every bit as impressive as her powerful, on-target vocals, Miller said, and the publishing company plans to cultivate her writing talents.

”We want to develop her as a better songwriter, smooth out some of the edges,” he said. “We’re trying to get her ready for Nashville Star and we are working with her on the songwriting.”

Williams has been writing since she was able to spell and has a collection of about 250 to 300 original songs. She isn’t limited to guitar licks; Williams fingers often prance across a keyboard or strum a banjo or ukulele.

“I’m dabbling in a little bit of everything,” she said, and added that her choice of instrument for writing music “depends on what mood I’m in and how much my fingers hurt.”

An original tune titled “Git R Done” has struck a chord with those who’ve been treated to a Williams performance of the song. Williams said that she wrote the song during her first night in Nashville.

“Everybody that I’ve played it for loves it,” Williams said.

Another dimension of Lita

Miller has scheduled monthly music sessions that spotlight Williams and allow various music industry professionals to meet her.

“I tell her to take out the guitar and just start,” Miller said. “She draws them in and blows them away.”

Livin' La Vida Lita

Williams is presently waiting tables at a Chili’s restaurant, where hopes of breaking into Nashville’s inner circle and securing a recording deal is as commonplace as forks, spoons, and jalapeno peppers.

“Half the people I work with are trying to get into the business,” she said.

She is also performing at open microphone events when she can, and “I’m a karaoke bar junkie,” she said.

The move to Nashville wasn’t Williams’ first journey to a new location.

When she was 12, her mother, stepfather Brian Flagg and her siblings moved from Hawaii to Texas. The Lone Star state is where Williams, who was already an experienced singer, developed her passion for country music. That passion bloomed when the family moved to North Adams, and Williams began performing at every opportunity. She very quickly gained a huge fan base and became locally recognizable as simply “Lita.”

In Nashville, Williams said that she is surrounded by swarms of extremely talented people.

“It’s hard,” she said of pursuing a music career. “I’ve actually been pretty lucky. People are telling me that for being here such a short time, I’ve made a lot of contacts and met a lot of people.”

And she’s learning the ropes.

“There’s just so much talent here, you have to have something that sets you apart, something people will remember,” she said, and mentioned a snazzy, glittery belt buckle emblazoned with “Lita” scrollwork that has stood out at Nashville Star events.

She’s also learning about the fine lines that can blur the identity of up-and-comers. More than one person has compared Williams with country singer Gretchen Wilson, she and Miller said.

“I like Gretchen Wilson’s music,” Williams said. “But I really don’t like to be compared to anyone else. I have my own stuff and I have my own style. I’m Lita.”

A Force In This Town

Miller agreed and reiterated that until he met Williams and watched her perform, he hadn’t intended to manage any Nashville newcomers.

He believes that Williams has the potential to make the final cast of Nashville Star and is also capable of winning the talent competition.

“I believe that she has the potential to take it,” he said.

Williams’ career does not hinge on Nashville Star success, he said.

“She’s probably the best-kept secret in Nashville right now,” Miller said. “She will make it, I’d mortgage the house on that. I have no doubt that she will be a force in this town.”

Additional information about Lita Williams is available at a Internet web site.

Additional information about Nashville Star may be acquired at a Internet web site.

Information about Shadow Mountain Publishing and Del Miller is available at a Internet web site.

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at or at 802-823-9367.

Your Comments
Post Comment
from: on: 10-16 00:05:42-2010

Where is she now?
from: Hmmon: 01-08 00:00:00-2010

"Lita's rising star".. yeah, that's a laugh. She's been trying to be famous for what... five years now? And still nothing? She's not good enough. I have to plug my ears when she "sings"... or "belts out" those loud, long, draggy high notes. She's way off pitch and she's literally painful to listen to. Oh well... a girl can dream; but she should know when to give up.
from: NO TALENTon: 08-14 00:00:00-2008

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