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Nashville Star winner Melissa Lawson Talks Family

Occupation: Country music singer and 2008 winner of NBC’s Nashville Star.

Personal Stats: Before her big win, Lawson sang for church and school audiences, dabbled in real estate and helped her husband Rick start a Dallas-Fort Worth-based roofing company. Lawson currently resides in Dalworthington Gardens with her husband of 11 years, as well as their five boys: Maverick, 9, Harlan, 8, Zaden, 5, Xander, 3 and Ryker, 1 and a half. Her first single, “What If It All Goes Right,” was released in 2008 and quickly shot to the No. 1 spot on the iTunes Country Music most-downloaded songs list.

Kids’ reactions to her Nashville win:
“My kids have a good understanding of my love for music, so they were ecstatic about the news. One of my sons asked, ‘Daddy, does that mean that we’re going to live the good life?’”

What did you learned about yourself during the show? “I auditioned for Nashville Star on a whim — someone at church anonymously gave me the money to pay for a trip down to Austin for the audition. I no longer could let fear lead my life … I had to take a risk and it changed my life. After nine years of being a mom, I was able to hit the ‘reset’ button and get back to who I really am.”

Current project:
“Right now I’m working on recording my first album with the help of musician and producer John Rich.”

Parenting Strategy?
“I will admit that I’m a strict mom and I have high expectations for my kids. It is important to me that my kids treat others, especially elders, with respect.”

Rules to Mother by?
“Every mom should take time for herself, even if it’s just 10 minutes.”

What is something that not many people know about you? I met my husband at a karaoke bar. After we married and started talking about kids, I said that I wanted three girls … we now have five boys!”

How do you balance your career and motherhood? “You have to keep your priorities straight. My family comes first, yet I also have to give priority to things that are important to me personally. When my first two kids were little, I put so much of myself into my kids that I lost who I was as a person. I let myself go. I had a ‘light bulb’ moment and realized that I had to get rid of the excuses and lose weight in order to get my life back. With five kids I’m the first one to say that there’s no time, but I have even gone so far as to work out next to the playground where my kids were playing. If it’s important to you, make time for it. I’ve lost 87 pounds in one year and hope to lose a total of 100.”

Who is your support system?
“My career in music really took off when I started my journey on Nashville Star. When the show began, I was in lockdown in Nashville for about three months. I couldn’t see or even speak to my family. Everyone in my family had to make a lot of sacrifices. Now that I’m singing at shows and recording an album, I’m frequently on the road. Any day that I’m not performing or working in the studio, however, I’m at home. Warner Bros. and my management understand that my family comes first. I could not do it without my husband, as well as our parents and church homegroup.”

What are your morning rituals?
“The night before, I prepare all of the boys’ school stuff and things for the next day. It makes for a quick and easy morning. I get the boys up, get the oldest three fed and off to school, then I make breakfast for the little two and myself. We watch a little TV and snuggle on the couch together for a bit, then it’s time to really get up and get moving. I get myself ready for the day, dress the little two, do my morning chore list, check e-mails, make phone calls, etc. By the time I’m done with all of that, we are already at lunchtime.”

How long do you need to get ready?  “It depends … 15 minutes if I’m just running out quickly or headed to workout … 45 minutes on any given day, and 90 minutes if I’m getting ready for a show. Before a performance, I spend time praying and listening to music while I get ready. I take my time getting my hair and makeup done … and I always take a few minutes right before going on stage to take some deep breaths and calm my nerves.”

How do you pick your outfit? “On a ‘mom’ day at home, I wear whatever is most comfortable and presentable. Often times it’s workout clothes. Show days are a whole other story. I don’t have a stylist to choose my outfits. I pick the things that I like that also have mobility on stage.”

Do you wear different clothes now that you have children? “I did up until this last year. I think I got into a rut of being a mom, and not taking as good care of myself as I should.  I let everything else come first, then I remembered that I have to set an example for my kids and I am important, and it’s important how I feel when I walk out that door.

So now I make sure that I feel good about myself. Sometimes that’s a t-shirt, and sometimes that’s getting all glammed up!”

What’s your off-duty morning routine?
“Off duty? What exactly is that? If I am out of town, and don’t have a morning meeting or obligation … I sleep! I love sleeping in! But that is definitely a rare occasion.”