November 16, 1997
By J. Robert Parks
I'll be honest. It was with some trepidation that I headed out to interview Angie Turner, better known as Miss Angie. I had seen the poster art with stars stuck to her cheeks, I had read the interviews which highlighted her girlishness, and I had heard her CD with the simple praise-like lyrics. So I was half-expecting to talk with a 12-year-old girl stuck in a 22-year-old's body. But, to my pleasant surprise, I found myself sitting across from an accomplished young woman who knows what she wants and how to get it. Yeah, she still loves Nickelodeon (and I don't mean Nick at Night), but she's also navigated her way through the shark-infested waters of the music industry. This is her story.
J Robert - Let's just start with a little bit of history. I know that you were in your family's traveling music ministry. Could you just share a little bit of what that was like and places you went and the sort of things that you guys did.
Miss Angie - Well, my dad was in Christian music, but he was never anybody known or anything. He just kind of did it as a ministry. So I traveled with my family as a kid doing that. And then my brother's band, Johnny Q. Public, developed out of the same musicians my dad was using, and I traveled with them and sold their t-shirts. In fact, we had such a ministry type of thing that we could really do whatever we wanted at the concerts; so I would even come up at the end of the concert and sing an invitation song or a praise song. Then I started singing and writing songs with Oran, one of the guitar players, who's also my boyfriend. From there we made a demo with David Zaffiro in Nashville and cut a record deal.
J Robert - Going back to your family's thing, what sort of music was that?
Miss Angie - Well, my dad was like this hippie in the past, so he did rock-n-roll.
J Robert - Not like what you were doing tonight, I suspect.
Miss Angie - Kind of. He was always pretty hard-core for his time. He used to wear leather pants and tie-dyed stone washed pants. I grew up in a family like that. He still has long hair.
J Robert - How did you progress to the style of music that you're in now?
Miss Angie - When we were kids, rock-n-roll is what we listened to all the time. We went to all the Petra concerts, and Stryper. My parents would let me and my brother listen to Stryper at volume ten in the car on the way to grandma's. They were just like that. It was To Hell with the Devil screaming all the time. I liked other people like Amy Grant and Leslie Philips, too. But I wasn't into secular music at all when I was a kid. I wasn't even allowed to listen to it. And the first secular group I did start listening to was New Kids on the Block.J Robert - We'll delete that from the interview.
Miss Angie - Yeah, I know. But from then on, I opened up to regular, mainstream music-Metallica, Guns & Roses, and stuff like that; then I changed and listened to dc Talk. Really now it doesn't even matter to me. I just listen to whatever I want.
J Robert - What sorts of things do you listen to and what sorts of things influence you as you write music?
Miss Angie - Lots of different
stuff. I'm weirdly influenced by things like Second Chapter of Acts and
Keith Green. I really like their lyrics because they're out-front
praising Jesus and plainly talking about the Word and stuff like that.
Crystal Lewis does that, too. I really admire that in her music.
J Robert - Well, the album is very now. When I listen to it, I think of people like Veruca Salt.
Miss Angie - Yeah. That was another influence when I was recording. And I don't like to say that anymore. The records that I listened to were that whole grungy era, and I'm kind of sick of that stuff. Music's weird. You just go on to things like, "I'm embarrassed that I liked that."
J Robert - In the last two, three, four years, there's been this huge resurgence in the secular scene of female rock stars who are confrontational about their feminism and sexuality. Your music fits in with that real well, and yet your demeanor, shall we say, doesn't fit with that image. And I'm just wondering how you see yourself and how you react to that sort of thing.
Miss Angie - I don't know how to do anything but be myself and spread God's word and live for Christ and glorify Jesus. Those are the things that I want to do. And I'm really playing about that. I don't know how to be undercover about it. There's a time to be sensitive, like if you're playing in clubs, but anybody who listens to my record can tell that my focus is lifted up. I don't know how to be anything but myself, which is a Christian.
J Robert - There haven't been a lot of strong female rockers in Christian music until the last six months. As always, Christian music is trying to play a little bit of catch up here. How do you think Christian music should handle that, because clearly it's not going to be comfortable with the overt sexuality of Fiona Apple or others like her. But it's still trying to be girl rock. How should it fit, or should it fit?
Miss Angie - With girls?
J Robert - Yeah, particularly with a female rock star. I mean because there just haven't been a lot of really strong female rock stars in Christian music.
Miss Angie - Well, I hope that Christian girls will set a standard of being a Christian girl with purity to Christ. I hope they keep that and not try to be like the world because that's not what we want to give people.
J Robert - How was the recording process, and how did it work? There were a bunch of producers and . . .
Miss Angie - . . . a bossy girl. And, boy, was I bossy! Well, a lot of the songs were written by me and Oran, or me and my brother, or me and this other guy in a local band. Actually, this guy in a local band in my town, he wrote two of the biggest hits on my record. He wrote "Trampoline" and he wrote the disco song. And then Troy Daughtery from Hoi Polloi and I wrote "Lift My Eyes Up." I got to work with everybody that I ever wanted to work with-my favorite guitar players, my favorite singers, everybody. It was so fun. And four million producers. But I love the way it turned out.
J Robert - You say four million producers as if that wasn't so fun.
Miss Angie - Well, no, just
because there were so many of them. I try to mention all of them,
but I always mention the same one, Oran. I should mention David and Dan
because they did everything, too. We just wrote a lot, and it took
a long time in the studio.
J Robert - Does the album sound like what the songs were, or did they change as they went through the recording process?
Miss Angie - The songs just kind of got made because we didn't have the whole record written before we went in. We just did it right before. We weren't even sure what kind of songs we were going to have. We were in the studio recording the first four songs, and we just had the track to "Lift My Eyes." It was just the music. We got done recording it, and I was really scared. I thought it was a hard rock song at the time. I was like, "Oh, my gosh, Myrrh is going to freak out." So, when the record company guys came over to listen to it, we were preparing them. But they loved it! Then they tried to get me to listen to different artists that sounded like that.
J Robert - Myrrh doesn't do anything without thinking a long time. What do you think their hopes and dreams are for what you do?
Miss Angie - I think they want me to be gimmicky. Honestly, no. They didn't want me to get married, and I am.
J Robert - Why didn't they want you to get married?
Miss Angie - For marketing reasons. They just wanted me to be some teeny bopper. Because I appear young and I feel young. There's nothing about me that's old. They just wanted me to be that type. More of the Jaci thing but in a rock-n-roll way, but I'm not so. . . . But they're fine with it now. They were just kind of shocked at first. (Myrrh Press Release)
J Robert - What other things did they want you to do?
Miss Angie - Well, what's really cool about this whole thing was they knew when they met me that I wasn't going to be molded, and I think that's one of the reasons they tried really hard to sign me. I went with them because they called me *every day*. There were lots of labels. It was really hard to decide, and I was freaking out because I didn't know what to do, and I didn't even want a record deal, and I didn't know what was going on. But Myrrh was really clear that they were just going to let me be myself and they were just going to market that. And they were really good about letting me have a lot of say on how the record was recorded. I mean my baby brother co-produced it. Oran, my boyfriend, co-produced the record, so they let me do whatever I wanted. With the marketing and stuff like that I got to pick how everything was done.
J Robert - Why the name "Miss Angie?"
Miss Angie - No reason whatsoever. I didn't really want to change my name to something like Jewel or something. I thought about it because everybody knew me as Angie Turner. That would be retarded, "Oh, no. I'm not Angie Turner. I'm ..." And I knew I'd be getting married, so I didn't want to be Angie Turner. I just made something with Angie and it was like the first thing I thought of (Miss Angie). I went through the dumbest name though . . . Cricket. That's so stupid! Why would I ever name myself Cricket? I'm so glad I didn't. Miss Angie sounds like a Sunday School teacher.
J Robert - It's sort of the strange thing I remember. I was looking at the press packet and the photo and the poster. And I was thinking, "there's this music that's fairly aggressive, and then there's this kind of persona which is not aggressive, and then there's this name . . . "
Miss Angie - . . . which is retarded. (laughs)
J Robert - Well, it's not retarded. It's just like, what's going on here? The people at Myrrh are great people, but I also know that they manage their artists.
Miss Angie - Mold them?
J Robert - Yeah, and not always in a bad way. But you don't get by without getting Myrrh's approval for whatever you want to do. And so I was thinking, "I wonder how much of this is Myrrh and how much of this is you?" It just struck me as a strange combination.
Miss Angie - They were really wanting something different, something in the modern scene. They were wanting us so bad, and they were searching for it. But they didn't always know how to get it. Like the whole inside packaging of the album. They'd come up with a different one. It was really just kind of boring, me sitting on a chair on one page, me doing this... And I was like, "NO, that's not going to work." And I had to pull teeth to get what I wanted. I was like, "No, you've got to go back and do this. I want a rock-n-roll collage, I want stickers and stuff like that."
J Robert - What was their thinking in having you be like that, I mean...
Miss Angie - Well, there wasn't. They have so many things going that they delegate it to different people and the person they delegated it to came up with this, and I was like, "No, no, this isn't going to work."
J Robert - How's touring? I know you haven't been doing it a long time.
Miss Angie - I'm kind of used to traveling. But it's different for me right now because I'm the only girl on the road and I'm also the leader. I'm the boss because I don't have a road manager right now. So, it's kind of stressful. It kind of makes me to be the grumpy boss, and that's hard.
J Robert - Yeah, I can imagine it would be.
Miss Angie - And being a girl doing it. I was about to go insane before we joined up with Sixpence. I was really like, "I'm going to go home. I'm going to quit." Because boys can be weird sometimes. I expect boys to be real proper and gentlemen, and they're just kind of like kids. I was like, "I'm going to go home. I can't take this anymore. God, something's got to change." I really admire Leigh Nash of Sixpence. She inspired me because I think I was just being too bossy. Seeing her gentle spirit, I realized I need to be like that.
Also, I'm really hard on myself on stage about what I'm going to say. I feel like I've got to give an altar call or something in the two seconds that I have, because that's the way I've been raised-being in an evangelistic family where my dad was preaching every weekend on the parking lot of Wal-Mart to whoever passed by. But Leigh really freed me in that too; she said say whatever you feel like saying, don't feel like you *have* to say anything but whatever you feel like saying. I know that, but I'm still dealing with that.
J Robert - Now who's in the band?
Miss Angie - Well, I auditioned people for months and months, and I couldn't find anybody that suited me, and there wasn't anybody else to audition (laughter). And for a long time I was like, "God, is this is what you're giving me?" Cause you know, I want the top of the cream of the crop. But this band is great. When we go places people say, "Your band is getting good; you're really tight." And they're just kids from my town that were in other local bands.
J Robert - Besides Sixpence, anyone you want to play with in the next six months?
Miss Angie - I don't know. I don't care. I'd like to play on Nickelodeon.
J Robert - What show do you like on Nickelodeon?
Miss Angie - All of them. I like Allegra's Window, and I like Blue's Clue a lot. Have you seen it?
J Robert - No, can't say I have.
Miss Angie - There's this guy on a blue screen, and he has like all of Peewee's Playhouse around him. He's funny. Reminds me of my friend.
J Robert - What was the last good book you read or last good movie you saw?
Miss Angie - Well, the last book I read was about Mother Theresa, and it was My Life for the Poor. That was weird. She's wild. Not wild. She's great.
J Robert - Why did you choose that one?
Miss Angie - Because she's a servant of Jesus. It's just so admirable that a person would give her life to the dying and the lepers.
J Robert - Besides just getting your name out there, do you have goals for the next six months? Like when you play a show like tonight, what do you hope will happen?
Miss Angie - I don't mean to sound naive or silly, but I just want my testimony. I think that's why God lets me sing about him because I think there are a lot of kids who know about God in their head, and they're not saved. It's a very scary place because you think you're okay, but you just kind of deceive yourself. I did that for a long time. I think that's why He lets me sing. My testimony is real plain.
J Robert - Where do you see yourself four or five years down the road?
Miss Angie - On Nickelodeon. I want to be on Nickelodeon so bad.
J Robert - Doing what?
Miss Angie - I don't know, in concert or being on a show or being a part of the channel. I don't know. I love Nickelodeon. I have no idea. I never thought I'd be doing this now, so I don't know.
J Robert - Are you happy doing it?
Miss Angie - Yeah, I'm happy