It’s All About the Heart…
“Marketing yourself as the product is a very difficult thing to do” Pauline Reese, acclaimed songwriter, performer, real estate agent, wife and most importantly, mother of two beautiful little girls mused recently. As a woman in the highly competitive, often male-dominated, country music industry, her life is a study in making music on her own terms and surviving. To date, the Queen of Texas Music has been nominated for a Grammy, released six full albums, recorded two duets with Willie Nelson, performed at six Willie Nelson Picnics and at three Farm Aid festivals. Twice-named Entertainer of the Year in Texas, five times Texas Female Vocalist of the Year in different associations, and numerous #1 Album of the Year awards add to Pauline’s ever-growing collection of accolades. She has opened for national acts like Merle Haggard, John Cougar Mellencamp, and Tanya Tucker to name a few. As glamorous and impressive as all this sounds, life has not been easy for her. Pull back the stage curtain and listen as her songs paint a watercolor of her life, depicting a heart that has experienced struggles and victories, crushing sorrow and great joy. Like the Phoenix, she rises and soars on determined, hope-fueled wings again and again.
Pauline’s father, a mechanical engineer, left the stresses of Houston for a quieter life in Mt. Pleasant, Texas, before she was born. The move gave the family the luxury of more time together. Surrounded by parents and grandparents who were in church choirs, bands, and who played several instruments, music came naturally to Pauline. “I watched my thrifty mom raise eight children. I also received inspiration from my sisters who are entrepreneurs in their own right. My oldest sister is an architect and interior designer; my second oldest is an interior designer and a faux painter and the third is a landscape designer and research scientist.” These successful family role models instilled in Pauline the belief that she could accomplish whatever she set her mind to do. Maybe that is why, at five years old, she recorded a cassette tape practicing her Grammy Award acceptance speech! She obviously knew even then that her passion would be music. By the age of fifteen, she was a member of a band.
Pauline appreciates that one must pay her dues as a professional musician. She has learned to deal with the emotional tide that accompanies her work and she accepts the responsibility of reading carefully what the contract says if she wants to get paid. Nothing deters her from what she knows is her calling.
After a rough first marriage, Pauline married again and was blessed with two daughters. A third pregnancy ended traumatically not only because she lost the baby, but because an emergency surgery, blood loss, and a stroke nearly took her life. When she regained consciousness, she was unable to understand speech nor could she read for a time. Her good friend and mentor, Michael Martin Murphy, convinced her that she needed to pack her bags again and go on tour.
About two-and-a-half years after her miscarriage, Pauline’s husband, a #1CPRA bronc rider, broke his neck at a local rodeo. This was a hard hit for the family both personally and financially. His injury and recuperation kept Bill in the hospital for almost two months, but amazingly, he recovered full mobility.
Once Bill stabilized, Pauline refocused on her music. She visited each country radio station in Texas, a daunting task, to market herself and to get her recordings on the air. With her girls in tow, she started touring anew. Again, navigating the road was not easy. To finish a tour in Oklahoma, she borrowed a rodeo car after the engine in her vehicle failed. The same fate befell her tour van on another trip closer to home. Later, with her band in that van, the transmission went out en route to New Mexico. In this time period, she suffered a second miscarriage during her daughter’s birthday party. Thankfully, a close friend was there to help her recover. For Pauline, life is all about survival, not giving in, and not giving up.
So. How does a country music singer end up carrying a briefcase and selling real estate? Pauline’s head for business and her tenacious will feed her goal to be self-sustaining. Selling and leasing properties help cover her records’ production costs. She also operates a bed and breakfast at her ranch. A small building which was originally intended for an office is transformed into a B and B complete with an outdoor shower. Pauline also rents out a 2018 Princess Craft vintage camper with a cool, retro-style interior. The outside sports rainbow hammocks that swing over a garden designed by her sister.
As Pauline pursues her real estate career, she cultivates her first passion for music. A duet with Willie Nelson called, “Trail of Tears,” is included in her seventh album, “Lucky #7”, to be released this year. The album reflects her myriad life experiences and in her words, “is deep, heartfelt, and inspirational. My purpose is to inspire others. It’s called ‘Pulling yourself up by the bootstraps and getting back on the horse that threw you off.’”
Pauline’s maturity comes from hoisting herself back into the saddles. By sharing her story, she hopes others find encouragement. Says Pauline, “Life is a beautiful ride; have faith and believe in yourself.”