By RODNEY HO/ firstname.lastname@example.org, originally filed Saturday, September 26, 2015
The Georgia Music Hall of Fame doesn’t just induct musicians. Last year, it inducted Alpharetta stand-up comic Jeff Foxworthy for the “spoken-word” category.
Tonight at the Georgia World Congress Center, former Channel 2 Action News anchor Monica Pearson receives a Georgia Music Hall of Fame Chairman’s Award. She has served as emcee of the show for at least a decade.
Former chairman Bobbie Bailey, who passed away in July, wanted to give Pearson the reward for her long-running support of the group.
But while Pearson is best known in Atlanta as a broadcast journalist, including 37 years at WSB-TV until she retired in 2012, she describes herself as a “frustrated musician.”
“I always wanted to be a jazz and blues singer,” Pearson said today in a phone interview. “But I couldn’t pursue it. I was the first in my family to graduate college. It was incumbent for me to find a good job.”
She said at past Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, Bailey allowed her to sing a few times, including one year she closed with “Georgia On My Mind.”
She also backed up Usher the year he was inducted and sang that same classic Ray Charles tune.
Pearson has also interviewed a raft of musicians over the years for her “Closeups” specials on WSB-TV. One of her favorite moments was receiving vocal tips from Tony Bennett. But one of her best interviews was Dolly Parton, who treated her like they had been life-long friends.
“I’m still dreaming of a music career,” Pearson said. She is taking piano lessons at Clayton State University and hopes in a couple of years to rent out Churchill Downs next to the Fabulous Fox Theatre and sing for charity. She also hopes to enter some jazz music contests.
She said local singing coach Jan Smith has offered to give her vocal lessons as well but she said she isn’t quite ready for that yet.