Q&A with Heidi Newfield with Trick Pony. Training with the Stars: Q&A with Heidi Newfield

by Lindsay Miller
photos by Sam Carbine

You might know Heidi Newfield as the lead singer, rhythm guitarist, and harmonica player for the group Trick Pony, alongside Keith Burns and Ira Dean from 1996 until 2006. Heidi pursued a solo career and debuted in 2008 with the single, “Johnny & June,” but she is currently working on her most diversified album to date.

Her petite stature and endless energy are only small references to her vibrant personality. She has made health and wellness a priority in life despite her busy schedule, largely due to the dedication and determination she has practiced for years to perfect her career and reputation in the music industry.

Q. What was it like deciding to pursue music and moving to Nashville?
A. Since my first memories, I was always a singer. I stepped in front of a big audience when I was 6 years old and sang “Delta Dawn” in front of 300 people – that was the end to my personal search for passion. I went back and forth to Nashville starting at the age of 13. It was a natural transition. I don’t ever remember a time in my life when country music wasn’t a dream of mine.

Q. What has been your go-to source for fitness?
A. I like it all! Even though I hate leg and butt day while it’s happening, I feel better after doing it. But I truly love a combination of things. I love the way my body responds to weights. I’m not a big runner, but I would like to be. At some point, a goal of mine is to run a marathon.

Q. What has fitness taught you about yourself and your career?
A. I think the key to everything I’ve learned is finding a balance. No matter who you are or what you do, you still have to do life. Enjoy your food and drinks and also be an adult. I’m not a fanatic about fitness, but I’ve learned that I naturally handle everything better when I move and sweat. I’ve learned to not punish myself for enjoying special moments. Having an active family has influenced that. Even though I get home and want to rest and relax, we’ll go for hikes or horseback rides together.

Q. What is your overall outlook on living a healthy lifestyle?
A. For myself and the everyday person, it’s just about the idea of living my best life. My schedule involves a lot of travel, which means I am in cities where they tend to have “the best of something” and I don’t want to restrict myself and end up missing an experience or making a memory. Regularly, I eat a healthier diet and try to move my body, but I make a point to not punish myself because of choices. That creates balance for me and it helps me stick to my goals.

Q. What’s the first thing you eat or drink in the morning?
A. My fiance is the sweetest and makes me tea in the morning. He puts it by the bed. It’s a black breakfast tea with vanilla, soy milk, and honey. After that, it’s usually oatmeal for complex carbs and fuel in the morning.

Q. What is your favorite song to cover or wish you could cover?
A. The list of songs I wish I could cover is endless! Right now I’m loving Brandi Carlile, Ashley McBryde, Kacey Musgraves, and Caitlyn Smith. I’m a big fan of the classics as well though. The current record I’m working on is the most electric thing and also the most soulful country music I’ve ever done.

Q. Any embarrassing moments on stage?
A. So many of them! If you haven’t fallen hard on stage or had a full-on wardrobe malfunction, you haven’t been on stage long enough, because trust me, it will happen. I’ve been shocked by mics. I ripped my jeans before going on stage in Vegas – ripped them right under both butt cheeks. I broke my tooth in half on a harmonica mic in Canada. I felt it pop off and I just watched it bounce around the stage. It was 3 days before I could get it fixed. Once, while on tour with Brooks & Dunn and ZZ Top, I went to grab my harmonica mic, and the toe of my boot caught one of the cables and I made the mistake of trying to catch myself. The whole crowd sort of went, “Oh! Oh! Oohh…”

Q. How about the most embarrassing moment at the gym?
A. I haven’t fallen on a treadmill yet, but I took my first spin class at the Green Hills YCMA. I never asked what level the class was, but I’m pretty sure it was full-on advanced. I got off the bike, walked towards the stairs, felt a little dizzy and just puked all over the stairs. I had all these strangers patting me on the back like, “Yeah girl, let it out.”

Q. What movements do you dread from your trainers?
A. My least favorite thing is working my butt and legs. But also, when the weather gets cold and we have surpassed the holidays and all the food and drinks, I’m used to laying around and watching football. It’s a tougher time to get motivated. It is difficult to jump back into those movements after my hibernation, especially when I know I’ll be sore.

Q. Do you have any aspect of your body or personality that you’re self-conscious about? How has health and wellness helped you combat that?
A. Absolutely, I’m human. I’m always trying to work on getting a bigger booty, so tons of squats or some version of that. However, the older I get, the more comfortable I am in my skin. The best feeling is when you are at a place in life where you can set goals, obtain those goals, and be okay with changes like aging. In my 30’s, I made my looks a bigger deal than they should have been. I guilted myself over small details. Everyone deals with that. Now, instead of picking things apart, I feel blessed to be able to do each and every little thing that I love. I lost my mother and father far too young. Losing them makes me feel like I have to take it upon myself to live my life out loud.  Because I don’t have them to go to anymore, I feel as though I am doing things for those that can’t or for those that no longer have the chance. I’m just grateful for a healthy perspective and it keeps moving forward, rather than lingering with self-doubts.

Q. After-show snack?
A. I always have turkey jerky, fruit, or nibble on leftovers. After a show is my time to unwind and I’m usually not hungry. That is probably my biggest issue. I’m still wired, or I’m doing signings, or I’m wanting to change back into my sweats. When I’m finally settled into the hotel room, I’m starving at 2 am. So what do you eat at 2 am? I’m not ashamed to say I have pulled over the bus a time a two for Taco Bell.

Q. What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
A. There was one time my sister ran over a rattlesnake while we were driving home. She threw it in the back of the truck and skinned and broiled it. It was not good.

Q. Favorite place to eat in Nashville?
A. Lately, my go-to place has been the Barcelona Wine Bar. One of my favorite trips I’ve ever taken was to Spain, so I like how you can have fun with your food and try different things. There is such a plethora of places in Nashville. I’m always trying to find time to try new ones.