The foundation is a national nonprofit that raises funds and awareness for cancer, leukemia and HIV/AIDS research locally for Emory University’s Winship Cancer Institute. It hosts annual events in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Nashville and New York.
Meade, who splits her time as both a TV anchor and a country music artist, released her second album, “Count on Me,” in June. Last week was an example of how frenetic her life as a journalist and singer/songwriter has become.
In addition to working at HLN, the east Cobb resident performed at the Foothills Fall Festival in Maryville, Tenn., spent a day in Jacksonville, Fla., taping a Veterans Day show, and performed in concerts at the King Plow Arts Center in west Midtown and at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur.
In between gigs, she emailed the Neighbor about her life and her role with the Best Cellars Dinner.
Q: With your success on HLN, why is it important for you to also make time for your music?
A: “I couldn’t help but make time for both. You know how they say your passion will drive you? I’ve longed for decades to learn how to write songs, like I learned to write stories about people’s lives for television. In a strange kind of way, I feel like songwriting is another form of the journalism I’ve been so lucky to do in my television career. In news we chronicle people’s wins and losses, struggles and victories, ups and downs. That’s exactly what songwriting is, too. I’m just lucky I live in a time where multi-platforming is accepted and encouraged.”
Q: With your new album out, how do you balance singing, your career and family life?
A: “The balance is constantly shifting. For me the free time and downtime on the weekends has evaporated this year. I used to be at the lake every weekend like clockwork, to hit the reset button after the stress of work weeks. But since I’m doing things I love whether it be for work or music, it doesn’t feel like work, and I am grateful to do it. Luckily I have a patient husband [Tim Yeager] who has long been my cheerleader as I made my way through my career in news and now music, too. I’ll admit, though, that I have not been as disciplined about getting sleep as I was before this second album came out. Oopsie. Call me Cranky Crankmeiser every now and then.”
Q: Can you tell me a little bit more about performing for the troops this week? Why is that important to you?
A: “I just flew in from Jacksonville, Fla., where we were taking ‘A Salute to Troops’ for Veterans Day. I can’t wait for you to see the incredible work going on there with former shelter dogs now helping veterans with [post-traumatic stress disorder]. Think about that: this group rescues dogs, then trains them … and the dogs in turn rescue the lives of soldiers who were on the brink. Stories like that make any 2:30 a.m. wakeup call worth it. Ha! As does my fantastic team behind the scenes and the incredible viewers who are the reason I get to do my job.”
Q: How and why did you get involved with the Best Cellars Dinner?
A: “I was introduced to the T.J. Martell Foundation via Laura and Bob Heatherly, who are so instrumental in the group’s work in Nashville. I attended the event once, and was hooked from there. Through the years, my involvement has slowly increased. As for the event itself, it’s an eclectic blend of fascinating people, creative minds, coveted wines and a deserving cause. What at fascinating combo.”
Q: Why do you think the T.J. Martell Foundation is a worthwhile cause to support?
A:“One of my favorite types of stories are the health stories where we get to announce to the viewer some type of breakthrough medical discovery, where you know someone’s life is going to improve because of it. It ticks me off some days that we don’t have a cure for so much of what our loved ones suffer with. But it’s good to know the T.J. Martell Foundation is funding some of the important work into leukemia, cancer and AIDS, and that as a result of being involved, you may be helping to write the eventual news story that such diseases are cured.”
If you go:
o What: Best Cellars Dinner
o When: Saturday at 7 p.m.
o Where: The Ritz-Carlton, 3434 Peachtree Road, Buckhead
o Benefits: T.J. Martell Foundation for cancer research
o Tickets: $800 per person or $7,000 per table
o Information: www.bestcellarsdinners.com
Editor's note: Click here for a preview story on the Best Cellars Dinner.