BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

Catching Up With ... Mila Mason

With her trademark curly blond locks and raspy, soulful voice, Mila Mason captivated fans' eyes as well as ears. And now Mila, who scored two Top 25 hits in the late 1990s, "That's Enough of That" and "Dark Horse," is bouncing back to the music scene.

And she's definitely doing things her way.

She has a new album in the works, Stained Glass Window, scheduled for release this fall. And she wrote every song on it, including the first single, "Maybe, Maybe Not."

"I moved to Nashville to write songs," declares the Kentucky native. "I really wanted to write my next project, and I took my time to do that."

Music isn't the only thing keeping her busy, though. Two years ago, Mila married singer/songwriter Jason Grainger. In May 2002, the couple welcomed a baby girl, Rainey Lynn.

"She's a sweetheart, just happy all the time," notes Mila with a smile. Rainey Lynn joins Mila's two children from a previous marriage, son Kipp, now 18, and 16-year-old daughter Zelphia.

"Kipp plays guitar, Zelphia loves to do sign language to music on her church mission trips -- and the first thing Rainey Lynn ever crawled to was a guitar," Mila beams. "They have all been around music and even more so now, with Jason and me both writing all the time at home."

Staying home marks a big change from Mila's early days, when the single mom worked as many as three jobs while shopping her demo recordings to the Nashville labels. Her persistence ultimately paid off.

She broke through in 1996 with "That's Enough of That," the title track to her debut album. After her second album, The Strong One, Mila left her record label to take time off and focus on her songwriting.

"People told me, 'You're either really brave, or really stupid' – but I knew it was what I wanted to do," says Mila. "It got to where I didn't think people knew who I really was."

This past year, Mila signed with a smaller label, which allows her the freedom to be herself. "With more independence now, I have the best of both worlds this time around," explains Mila. "It's a great place to be!"

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