Hacker voted Newsmaker of the Year for 'Nashville Star' win
It's been nine months since Angela Hacker went from being a local singer/songwriter to the 2007 "Nashville Star."
To say it hasn't changed her life would be an understatement.
The TimesDaily news staff voted Hacker the 2007 Newsmaker of the Year.
Instead of focusing on making ends meet, the 31-year-old country artist is able to spend more time with her son and focus on writing songs for an upcoming album.
"I was playing bars five or six nights a week to make a living," Hacker said during an interview in Studio B at the legendary FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals.
Hacker uses words like "thankful" and "shocked" when talking about winning the "Nashville Star" competition, which saw her compete against nine other performers. The television competition that aired on USA Network is much like the "American Idol" format.
One of Hacker's "Nashville Star" competitors turned out to be her younger brother, Zac, who was first runner-up.
Hacker said she didn't expect to win the competition, but saw the show as a way to get some exposure.
Yet win she did.
Once it became known around the Shoals that she and her brother were finalists, fans began following the show and calling in votes for the Hackers. The votes kept Angela and Zac on the show while other contestants fell by the wayside.
When the show ended, Angela Hacker was left on the confetti-covered stage of the Roy Acuff Theater, declared a winner and given a new Chevrolet Silverado pickup.
A few months later, she and her brother joined finalists David St. Romaine and Josh Stevens for the "Nashville Star" tour that began in June and ended in September.
Hacker said the plan was for her to go into the studio in October to begin recording an album, which was part of the package the winning contestant would receive.
Soon after the show's conclusion, Warner Brothers released "And the Winner Is ...," a compilation of songs that Hacker performed on the show. She said the tracks were recorded in Nashville the Sunday before the show aired since the performers knew what songs they would play on the show.
The album was available exclusively at Wal-Mart, but was released with little promotion, Hacker said.
She said an album of new material has apparently been placed on hold because of administrative changes inside the record label.
"I have no clue if they're interested in me," she said.
Hacker is not letting that come between her and her fans.
Rather than wait on Warner Brothers, Hacker said she has been cutting tracks locally with people like Don Srygley and Jimmy Nutt, and recording tracks at FAME.
Hacker has a songwriting contract with FAME Studios owner Rick Hall.
"I'm cutting them the way I want to cut them," she said proudly. "I'm going to keep moving forward. I hope my future is with Warner Brothers. This is my life. This is not my hobby."
Hacker said she's made her living playing music for the past five years and will continue doing so with or without a label.
Hacker said she wants to put out a record not only for herself, but also for the fans who supported her during the show.
"I met people out on the road that really liked 'Nashville Star,' that really liked us," Hacker said. "I hope that fan base will be there if I put out something."
While the "Nashville Star" experience has been satisfying and Hacker says she is grateful for what it has brought her, it has also been frustrating.
"If it wasn't for the fans, I wouldn't have been able to have dealt with it," she said. "I think it will all work out in the end like it's supposed to.