The Music & Sound Retailer: Who was your greatest influence or mentor and why?
Meredith Hamlin: A woman named Suanne Rouse. She has invested a lot of time and energy and meals and prayers into me, and she saved my life many years ago.
Hamlin: Measure twice and cut once.
The Retailer: What was your first experience with a musical instrument?
Hamlin: I played drums all through school and in college.
The Retailer: What instrument do you most enjoying playing?
Hamlin: Air guitar.
The Retailer: Tell us something about yourself that others do not know or would be surprised to learn.
Hamlin: I was a tire technician on a stock car racing team in the late ‘90s.
The Retailer: What’s your favorite activity to do when you’re not at work?
Hamlin: Anything with my kids. Play tennis, do-it-yourself projects and traveling.
The Retailer: What is the best concert you’ve ever been to?
Hamlin: Lyle Lovett and his large band.
The Retailer: If you could see any musician, alive or deceased, play a concert for one night, who would it be and why?
Hamlin: Freddie Mercury; because it’s freaking Freddie Mercury!
The Retailer: What musician are you hoping to see play in the near future?
Hamlin: St. Paul and the Broken Bones.
The Retailer: What song was most memorable for you throughout your childhood, and what do you remember about it the most?
Hamlin: “Seven Spanish Angels” performed by Willie Nelson and Ray Charles. I remember this song vividly because it told a story, not just with the lyrics but with the actual music. And it was the first time I heard two diverse and impressive artists joining.
The Retailer: What songs are on your smartphone/iPod, etc. right now?
Hamlin: St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Fantastic Negrito, Kacey Musgraves, Leon Bridges and David Crowder.
The Retailer: If you had to select three people, past or present, to have dinner with, who would they be and what would you ask them?
Hamlin: My great grandmother, Lillian Kyser: “How did you live through two World Wars and the Great Depression and still manage to raise five children and pick cotton and have three meals on the table?!?” Carol Burnett: “How did you keep from laughing every time you were onstage with Tim Conway?” George W. Bush: I feel that we are kindred spirits, and I would want him to co-host the dinner with me.
The Retailer: What is the best thing about the MI industry?
Hamlin: The family reunion that happens every year at NAMM!
The Retailer: Who do you admire most outside of the music industry and why?
Hamlin: My parents. I come from blue-collar stock: a firefighter and a house cleaner. They taught me the importance of servant leadership and a good work ethic.
The Retailer: If you weren’t in the music industry, what would you be doing and why?
Hamlin: Teaching, or I would be living abroad and serving the AIDS/HIV population in eastern Europe. Those people have my heart.
The Retailer: Tell us about your hometown and why you enjoy living there.
Hamlin: I live in East Texas. The pace is slower and the people are friendlier.
The Retailer: What are your most prized possession(s) and why?
Hamlin: My two children. I am constantly amazed at how full of grace and compassion they are. I tell them constantly that the way they treat others is more important to me than the grades that they bring home or the ribbons that they win.
The Retailer: What’s your favorite book and why?
Hamlin: “Schindler’s List.” It’s the typical theme of the triumph of good over evil and the fact that one person was able to accomplish change even amid such atrocities that were happening during WWII. I can relate to the lament of, “Have I done enough? Could I be doing more?”