from Riverside, California, who was singing by the age of four and playing
the guitar at the age of eight.
By this time, she was already good enough to play with her
dad’s band on a cruise ship.
At seventeen years of age, she started singing jingles for
commercials such as Jeno’s Pizza, which
exposed her voice to a national audience.
college when she was eighteen years old and pursued a degree in music.
Sharing a room
with her was Janie Fricke, who would go on to become a country and western
singer in her own right. The
two of them found work in Memphis, Tennessee, at The Tanner Agency, again
recording commercial jingles.
Judy also moonlighted with a local band named Phase II that played
the Memphis hot spots.
In the 1970s,
she graduated to background singing in the genres of country and western
and soul music. She wed drummer
and fisherman John Rodman and the two of them moved to Music City, U.S.A. in
1980. In Nashville, she
continued to sing for commercials, but also had the opportunity to sing
backing vocals for artists such as Johnny Cash, Ray Charles and Tammy Wynette.
She became the
first artist to be signed by MTM Records, and the partnership proved
profitable. In 1985, she
cracked the Top 40 with her first record, “I’ve Been Had By
Love Before”. The
follow-up, “You’re Gonna Miss Me When
I’m Gone”, reached #33.
The Academy of Country Music named her its Top Female Vocalist for
the year. “I Sure Need
Your Lovin’”, Judy’s own
composition, went to #30 in 1986.
importantly, she recorded her eponymous debut album and it went to #23 and
spawned a #1 hit in “Until I Met You”. It would be her only view from the
top, although the second release from the album, “She Thinks That
She’ll Marry” managed a respectable #9, and Billboard crowned her its Top New
Country Female for the year.
In 1987, her
sophomore effort, A Place Called Love,
yielded a pair of hits:
“Girls Ride Horses Too” went to #7; “I’ll Be
Your Baby Tonight”, the old Bob Dylan song, went to #5. Her third album, Goin’ to Work, was never released, as MTM went belly up. Three of its would-be tracks,
including the title song, enjoyed some chart success in 1988. “I Want a Love Like
That” went to #18; “Goin’ to
Work” worked its way to #43 and “I Can Love You” peaked
music reverted to a more traditional idiom, singers like Janie Fricke and
Judy Rodman were shut out by fickle C&W execs. Undaunted, Judy pursued the power of
the pen, and began making hits the old-fashioned way, by writing them. “One Way Ticket” was a
#1 hit for Leann Rimes.
“Girl Thang” was a party
pleaser for Wynonna Judd and Tammy Wynette.
In 2006, she
turned her attention to the stage, acting and directing the music in Daughters of Eve.
focuses her time and talent on vocal coaching. Her six-CD instruction kit, Power, Path & Performance, is
available at the website below.