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Naomi Judd ‘Smoked a Big Doobie’ Before RCA Records Audition

Naomi Judd
Stephen Cohen

Today, Naomi Judd is one of the most highly regarded country singers of her generation. But before she and daughter Wynonna Judd released their successful debut EP, Wynonna & Naomi, in 1983, she struggled to pay the bills.

“In 1983, Wynonna had just finished high school,” Judd recalls (quote via Country Weekly). “I was doing prostate exams on the guys down at Williamson County Hospital as a registered nurse.”

Everything changed when she received a call from RCA Records, who wanted to arrange a meeting. “We were wearing $30 flea market dresses, way too much hair, way too much makeup,” Judd says with a laugh. “Just absolutely terrified. I remember they said, ‘Bring a bio,’ and I said, ‘Does that have something to do with health?’ I had no clue.”

Before going in to meet with the executives, Judd tried to calm her nerves. “I went into the bathroom and smoked a big doobie,” she says. “We sang some songs that we had learned on the mountaintop. Wynonna…goes, ‘Mama, sing that song you stayed up all night and wrote.’ I said, ‘No, it’s not finished. I don’t want to do that.’”

Eventually, though, Judd listened to her daughter’s advice and performed her unfinished song, “Change of Heart,” for the executives. Hearing the soulful, heartfelt song convinced the executives to sign Judd and her daughter to a recording contract.

Although they had a humble beginning, it didn’t take long for the mother-and-daughter duo, titled the Judds, to make a splash in the country music world. They won five Grammy Awards and became one of the most successful duos in country music history.

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