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LeAnn Rimes Interview

(CSC) 1. Congrats on the new record! Please tell us about “Lady & Gentlemen” and reasoning for the amount of time since the last release.

(LeAnn Rimes)

Thank you very much! No reason really on my part, this album was meant to come out last year and it kind of spiraled into really wanting to make sure it was the right time and the right moment and getting on the same page as the label. There are a lot of things that go on behind the scenes that I think a lot of people don’t see. Sometimes we as an artist and managers have an idea of what we want and they have an idea of what they want, not that it is always a negative thing but sometimes it just doesn’t match. I think it’s because we just weren’t on the same page at the same time. I’m just excited that it’s finally out; it is very surreal for me. I say this every time but I think I’m proud of this record more than I was the last and I hope I can continue to say that because I’m growing as a woman and as an artist, and every time there’s a new adventure and a new creative process to fulfill.


With the concept being that these original songs were originally recorded by men but not from a woman’s perspective, I think a lot of people sometimes cringe when they think of an artist doing a covers record but with Vince Gill producing it and Darrell Brown being a huge part of the production, including myself, we are really kind of creating a story and a film almost I feel like on an album to listen to. These are genius songs that were huge hits and now from a woman’s perspective and a lot of them have never been performed by a woman before. It takes on a whole different connotation, I think the arrangements are genius, I think we pushed the envelope in a lot of things, I believe we paid homage to the originals on a lot of things and the people that grew up with these songs will forever love them I hope and the people that never heard these songs will bring them to a new generation of kids. 


(CSC) 2. What challenged you most about recording songs made famous by country music’s leading men and what type of an approach did you take with each track?


(LeAnn Rimes)

Each track we treated completely as its own entity, I feel like Vince, Darrell and I have such a vast knowledge of music when it comes to different styles and we appreciate and respect the true sureness of real country music but we also have influences in jazz, blues, rock and Motown, whatever it may be, we grew up in all of it.


It all stems back to these classic country songs and there’s definitely influence from all different kind of types of music in this record. I always felt like some of the time we changed the gender because it needed to be but some of them, we didn’t; I felt that if I could make you believe that I was singing it, it didn’t really matter.


One day when I was in the studio, Vince walked in and said that we should cut “16 Tons” because he had heard it on a car commercial earlier that day. My initial reaction was “I’m working the coal mine?” (Laughs) He said “Yeah why not!!” I think we really pulled the sex out of that song which was so cool; I’ve never heard “16 Tons” be so sexy so it was really fun to push the envelope but also remain true to these genius songs that were popular in the day and still classic and timeless to this very day.


We definitely did a song-by-song approach with this record and we had a great time creating each and every one of them. A lot of people say it’s a very ballsy move, I never thought that until someone said it to me, because I just grew up with these songs. To me it was just paying my respect to these men that influenced me my whole life; it was never a “ballsy” move for me, I never thought of it that way because I did what I love and the music that I love.  


(CSC) 3. What was the creative vibe like in the studio being able to work with two of your mentors Vince Gill and Darrell Brown including yourself as executive producer?


(LeAnn Rimes)

It was so chill. (Laughs) You know Darrell is very gregarious and over the top and I love Darrell because he’ll get in front of my vocal booth and dance around it if I need to be lightened up if I’m having a crappy day, and the song doesn’t really call for me to be sad. (Laughs) I’ve learned from being in a room with him that he won’t really go after me and push me to do something unless he really feels that it’s important. I’ve always been one that is really open minded and I’ll listen to what he has to share and we’ll go round and round a few times on it but if I don’t get what he wants me to do I tell him.


Even Vince and I both sometimes got locked into what we originally heard on these songs so we both had to push each other out of that box and we were good for each other in that respect. He’s an artist at heart so he always told me that this was my album, and he wanted my voice to be heard which is rare from a producer because sometimes producers make a record and they want to make it their record.


Vince was very adamant about my voice being heard on this and him being there to facilitate my vision. Every single person in that room down to the guitar players and drummers had a say in how we were making this record, and that was what was so fun; it was an open room, an open mic in a way where everybody had a say and everybody was willing to hear each other and willing to try. I think that’s where the genius records come from.  


(CSC) 4. Your current single “Give” embodies the positive message of forgiveness and outreach. As an artist, what compelled you to partner with StandUp For Kids and record a video for the song in Chicago?


(LeAnn Rimes)

When I look for outlet songs, it’s something that I really want that moves me and where it tilts to my life and I really understand it and get the relationship of it. With “Give” I feel like I’m this little vessel carrying this big message. I feel like in this country we always feel like we have to give only monetarily, and to reach down in our pockets in this economy a lot of people feel that they can’t do that and a lot of people can’t.


My manager lives out here in L.A. and we were talking about how many homeless kids there are out here in Ventura County and Santa Barbara and I told him that I’d like to get involved with this. The more research there is, the numbers are growing exponentially and these kids really don’t have a choice sometimes to be in the place that they are. So, we came across StandUp For Kids, there’s forty-five chapters across the United States and they’re solely volunteer based which is really inspiring to me because these people are not getting paid to do what they do; these people are passionate about what they do.    


We actually filmed the video with kids from the chapter in Chicago which was an eye opener and a life changing experience for me. I would film with them, be strong for them and then go in my trailer and cry and have to redo my makeup after every different setup because I just realized I didn’t walk in their shoes, but I definitely walked beside them that day and I felt for a moment what they go through. The minute I start stressing about my life is the moment I think back to them and realize how great I have it. We all have our issues but when you really think about it, they go through a lot and it’s hard. If I can do the smallest bit in my part to help that’s really what it was all about, them telling their story, not mine.


(CSC) 5. Growing up the music business as a young girl, how did you cope with that lifestyle compared to those of your peers and what have you come to accept about it in your adulthood?


(LeAnn Rimes)

(Laughs) This is a complicated question; I say that with a laugh. I don’t know how I coped, I had great parents because I know a lot of people realize that we’ve gone through a lot together and that is fine because that’s behind us. I had a great upbringing with my Godmother and Godfather and I was taught great manners, how to be a lady but also went through this whole craziness of a whirlwind of success that no child would ever understand how to handle even if somebody gave them a book on it telling them what to do and how to do it. (Laughs)


We all go down our path, we each have our own paths, I’m really not proud of some of the things I’ve done and I’m very proud of some of the things I have. At the end of the day there are no regrets about what I’ve done or what I’ve gone through because it has made me who I am today. I think that if you really break it down, celebrity or no celebrity. Hopefully we all can kind of come to that at the end of the day.


It’s been hard, it’s been rewarding and I know I have an amazing family, I’m in a place that I’ve never been where there is a balance, or at least I’m striving for one where finally I get to have a life because I really have never been able to have one. I like making lunch with my stepsons; I like being at home with my family and supporting my husband and his career. I’ve never had that before so it’s really important to me that that belief comes before anything in my life. I like music and I’ll always continue to do that. I have a huge respect for my family and the family I’m creating, I want that to be in the forefront in my life from here on out.


(CSC) 6. Looking back on your career, what do you feel is your greatest achievement as an artist and why?


(LeAnn Rimes)  

I believe that my whole career is my greatest achievement. I was talking to someone recently, and I think they put it into terms that I actually never thought about; to be in this business for eighteen years, still be relevant and still come into my own for the first time after having success so early on, it’s almost like the reinvention and the reverse of myself as an adult. I’m almost like a miracle actually in this business because that doesn’t happen, so I think honestly my whole career has been a huge accomplishment for me. I feel like I’m just now scratching the surface of what I’m really capable of. 


(CSC) 7. Do you have any specific pre-show rituals or techniques that you do to keep your voice conditioned so well?


(LeAnn Rimes)

I’m kind of laid back about it more now, I used to be really uptight about it but I do warm up twenty to thirty minutes before the show. You wouldn’t go running without warming up first, my voice is like a muscle so I have to do the same thing with it. I really don’t have any superstitions or anything like that when it comes to going on stage.


(CSC) 8. What’s your response to the critics who cast judgment upon you and what gives you the strength to rise above that negativity?


(LeAnn Rimes)

My family gives me the strength. Obviously, there are a lot of people who have no idea what they’re talking about because they’re basing something on a one-sided story. Everything is based off of a picture or a very slanted comment and I don’t fight back. I do comment every once and awhile when I feel it’s needed but I always try to keep my comments positive because I feel like that’s just who I am and that’s what my life is.


My life is incredibly positive, my family is incredibly positive so why bring it down to a negative level when there’s no negativity in our lives when it comes to our household. I know who I am and where I’m at more than I ever have and where I’m headed. I think that it gives me a confidence to just say “whatever.” (Laughs) Whatever you want to say, say; I’m glad I’m that interesting but I’ve never considered myself that interesting. (Laughs)


At the end of the day, Eddie and I both have multifaceted careers; he acts and I sing so unfortunately like celebrities become huge and that kind of overshadows us sometimes but truthfully, we give each other strength. As long as my family knows, I really don’t care what anyone else says. That’s a huge deal for me because growing up in the business, you always had to care what people think. I was told that and taught that so for me to really start to let that go and really care about what my husband, my family and stepchildren think is the most important thing to me. As long as we’re keeping each other in check, the world kind of doesn’t exist in that facet when it comes to people being negative.


(CSC) 9. It seems that you get some pretty interesting tweets every so often online. Would you like to comment on that?


(LeAnn Rimes)

I don’t even pay attention to them. To be honest, I get maybe one negative tweet every three or four days because the people that are tweeting negativity, I blocked so therefore they have to start accounts that are eggs (Laughs) and they’ve only tweeted like two things that are all to me, so it’s the same people. That’s the thing, it’s so funny because people tell me that everyone is so negative to me on Twitter and it’s not that way at all. The only ones were the few people that I blocked, so the craziness is that there are people out there that will continue to create new accounts so they can say ignorant and negative comments. Twitter is so positive for me other than the few things that you see from the same people. (Laughs) 


(CSC) 10. What would you like to say to your fans that have stood with you from day one?


(LeAnn Rimes)

Well, they are part of my biggest accomplishment, so thank you. I really appreciate people that have been there with me through everything. To a lot of people, it’s about my voice and I think that I’ve grown so much as an artist, I’m really proud of where I am with my live shows and my music. It’s just so cool to have people that I’ve known for years and years still listening to me. (Laughs) The fact that I’ve been able to stick around this long is honestly all because of them so I send along a huge thank you!!


(CSC) 11. Moving forward, what would you like to accomplish next in your life and career?


(LeAnn Rimes)

Oh gosh, I don’t even know. I take life as it comes at this point and time, day by day. I’d love to have a family and have a child of our own. There are days when I think that I couldn’t even deal with that but it changes daily. I definitely want to do more acting. I have tons of stuff to do when it comes to music and have so many ideas.


I’ve been with Curb Records since I was eleven, and this next album is my last record so I have a whole new world of things opening up that I don’t even know about yet. It’s an exciting time but it is a lot of closure to one huge chapter of my life and a rebirth in so many other ways. I think that this time it’s on my own terms and it is not when I’m a child, I’m really making these decisions myself, doing my homework and I believe that I will be even prouder of the accomplishments that come as an adult.


I never took the time when I was a kid to really sit there and absorb it all. I didn’t understand it and know that you should bask in the excitement and achievements. There are a million artists out there that will never win Grammy’s and awards, and I never took the time to sit there and fully appreciate it but I know how to do that now. With all that I’ve gone through I think the next stage of my life will be the most exciting and the most rewarding. I’m incredibly grateful for where I’m at. 

Part II of our interview with LeAnn Rimes:

(CSC) 1. Great to speak with you again! You were the very last guest to tape “In Bed with Joan,” (episode 72) with the entertainment and fashion icon. Having been able to share conversation with Joan, what do you treasure from the time you spent together, what are your thoughts on her tragic passing, and what did she mean to you?

(LeAnn Rimes)

She’s the only person that you just knew she was going completely offend you and you were totally ready for it and I could totally take it because it’s hysterical. And because I knew her, I’ve been on a million red carpets; she probably tore me apart a zillion time. Once you got to know her though, you kind of wanted her to (Laughs) thinking, “how do you come up with this, its fun!” And so, the more I was around her, especially everything I’ve gone through in the last five years, she was always very candid with me off-screen and with using very choice words (Laughs). Basically, (she) told me to just ignore these people. She talked to me about marriage, and ex-ism, like everything. And, she always had a way to make you feel supported, and she always was very supportive of me. Since really knowing her and going through what I’ve gone through, she’s always been one to really acknowledge the strength that it took to go through it all because she’s been through it all herself.


Being the last person that was on the show…it’s crazy because we (Eddie and I) were just talking about her going to New York and she was flying back that night, it’s such a crazy whirlwind of events that happened after that. She was fine; she was happy and she was so with it. Her work ethic was insane. I have great, great respect for her tenacity and the way that she paved for so many women; I loved her. I really, really did. And I love Melissa. It was fun to be in the room with both of them actually for that. Melissa produced the show so she and Melissa were cracking up and asking us questions and it was just nice. There was a lot of energy, happy energy. She was good, good person, I am sad to see her go. I love the craziness about her, I just loved that anything came out of her mouth, she did what she did and she was so unapologetic for it. She was smart, and there’s so many, so many things great about her and it really is sad to see someone that has been such an icon and such a huge part of our pop culture, on E, for many, many years in her older age. I mean, come on she’s never gone away and she’s about found a million ways to reinvent herself. I think she had so much left but I guess somebody else disagreed with me.


(CSC) 2. I know that you and Darrell Brown are dear friends, but when the both of you are collaborating in the studio, what is that experience like? What do you learn from each other as artists?


(LeAnn Rimes)

Oh wow, well that’s a very complicated answer, actually. There are so many layers to Darrell’s and my relationship. He’s such a talented, talented person and so fearless and so fearful at the same time. I think the fearful comes from both of us being such an open book and vulnerable, and that’s just where we create from. He gives me the support I need to do anything that I want to do. He knows how to communicate with me and help me communicate what I want to communicate. I guess we are just music soul mates in so many ways but its fun. You don’t go anywhere with Darrell without having a good time; there is nothing stagnant about it, nothing forced, it’s just kind of an open forum for creating and it’s really rare to find. It’s really rare to find that people aren’t so scared of what they’re gonna’ do wrong, or what somebody is going to say about it, or “Oh my God is it going to fit that format or this radio station,” or whatever it may be... it’s nice to have that kind of energy around where it’s a very open forum for creativity.


(CSC) 3. What do you love the most about being able to sing live on stage for your fans?


(LeAnn Rimes)

I love just the connection, you know… I think more than ever I’m connected with my fans. I love to get them involved in the show, talk to them, and there’s really no wall there anymore. To see them moved, happy and enjoying or crying or whatever they’re moved to do, just to know that there’s that human connection is there is nice.


(CSC) 4. When you think back to when you first began performing in the business, what were some hard lessons that you learned as a new artist and what did they teach you looking back now?


(LeAnn Rimes) 

You can’t do it all, there is such a word as no.


(CSC) 5. Looking ahead, would you like to record another album similar to “Lady & Gentlemen” but with original songs that have a traditional country sound to them?


(LeAnn Rimes)

I love that record; it was really fun. You know, I am open to a lot of different things. I don’t know if that will come around anytime soon but I’m always open to that. That’s my favorite kind of country music, that’s what I was influenced by. My heart and soul is in that and what I grew up on. There’s always going to be that influence with what I do. I think that just the honesty and organic nature of that style of music. I haven’t thought about doing that; God knows as many records that I make hopefully having many more years, I am sure that will come about again.


(CSC) Unfortunately with the lack of women on country radio, it’s important now more than ever for established artists to get out there and release music, because you just don’t hear them on the radio anymore.



No, it’s kind of becoming a dying art. I feel like there are a lot of singer/songwriters and a lot of different artists that aren’t country that do bring that into their music. You know where Folk music or people like Ray LaMontagne or The Civil Wars, there are people like that who wouldn’t be considered but now all of a sudden, it’s cool and mainstream… but that to me is more country music than anything that’s being produced that’s called “country” these days.


(CSC) 6. You seem to be the constant target of attacks through the social media circuit and supermarket tabloids. Have you ever considered removing yourself from that negativity by making your personal life more ‘personal’ and not give these outlets the reaction they want?


(LeAnn Rimes)

I definitely don’t engage a lot obviously and I think I’ve stopped engaging tremendously. I think of it in a different way now, I look at it as these are very sad people, and when it comes to social media, very lonely. Obviously either they get paid for it or they have so much hurt and hate inside of them about themselves that they feel better taking it out on other people. Within that, it gives me a lot more compassion for them and I’m not taking it personally.


When it comes to magazines, look, that’s how they make their money; it’s sad that people buy it. What I feel sad about sometimes is people actually take it for truth instead of what it is, which is just pure entertainment. They make up whatever story fits their soap opera that week and what will sell.


My life has been very open since I was a kid. People are going to make up whatever they will make up, because like I said, it’ll sell magazines and that story sells magazines. I guess I’m really stubborn that way and I try not to let it stop me from living or sharing my happiness. How people take it or what they hear is not really my issue. My issue is always my intent. As long as I’m not maliciously hurting anyone, which people like to say I do which is completely the opposite… I have to deal with myself really at the end of the day.


I think that’s the hardest part for a lot of people, they are not dealing with themselves and that’s how it comes out. This comes from a lot of therapy and a lot of thinking about it. There are times that it does get to me, but I’m human, it’s going to but I found other ways to let it out, to get over it or to not just let it affect me most of the time. It’s like a muscle; the more you train it the easier it is.


(CSC) 7. I know you’ve lived in California in the past, but how have you adjusted to life in LA and what do you miss most about living in Nashville?


(LeAnn Rimes)

I live in a gated community 40 minutes outside downtown LA; it looks more like Nashville than LA itself. I don’t drive to the city unless I absolutely need to! I really miss fall and the change of seasons.


(CSC) 8. Tell us about your latest record, “One Christmas; Chapter 1” which includes traditional favorites like “Silent Night” and “White Christmas” but also some fun renditions such as “I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas.”


(LeAnn Rimes)

I recorded a Christmas record years ago and haven’t recorded one since. I love the holidays, love, love the holidays. I wanted to be able to continue to create Christmas music. I always feel like people need good new Christmas music, whether it is an older song that we kind of revamp or we write a new song. It’s the same thing played over and over, so I wanted some good Christmas music. I wanted to be able to contribute to that and do it for the next several years. There will be three EP’s over the next three years that will end up as one record. I kind of wanted a dirty south, kind of very open, organic vibe. Through lines, you’ll hear certain kind of bells and certain kind of strings and different things through everything.


For instance, I wanted to do “Hard Candy Christmas” but I had this crazy idea of doing it with just the steel guitar and that’s it. I did it with Paul Franklin who is absolutely incredible, and who is the only person I probably could have done that with. It’s heartbreaking and I wasn’t setting out to make every song a huge radio draw and the whole deal. It’s just trying to pay homage to what the lyrics were saying. It’s a very lonely kind of thing. “Blue Christmas” is a little bit like that too, it’s just me and a guitar and little bit of a b3 (guitar).  


Then you have “I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas” which has everything but the kitchen sink on it. Someone described it as the most fun you can have with your clothes on (Laughs). Which I think it really is fun and it’s my favorite Christmas song and it’s just silly. Gayla Peevey’s voice is so interesting; I could never compete with her voice so I kind of switched it up. I wanted the track to be crazy but I do sing in an operatic voice; we tried to use parts of my voice that I don’t use often.


On “Silent Night,” I came home from Darrel’s house one day and said, “Eddie, we re-wrote “Silent Night” and he said, “What are you talking about? How do you re-write “Silent Night?” We just played around with the melodies and it’s such a classic song, and it has such a classic sensibility still, but we wanted to change it up a little bit and make it interesting. I really wanted to bring in all of my influences of a little bit of country and soul and everything I grew up listening to. To me when I think about Christmas and what I grew up on, if it wasn’t Bing Crosby, it was something that was a little more on the soulful side.


(CSC) 9. Can you explain the intent to have the album released consecutively over a three-year period of time?


(LeAnn Rimes)

I love Christmas and I didn’t want to do just one full Christmas record (laughs) and then not record any more music. I can’t release a Christmas record every year, but I can release a Christmas EP. Who knows, I might do these three with this kind of sound and then in the next three years I might decide to do three more EP’s and it be completely symphonic. But who knows! It’s just the time of the year that I love so much and I didn’t want to give up on just one record (laughs).


(CSC) 10. You are hitting the road this Christmas season in support of the album. Set aside from performing Christmas songs, can we expect to hear your hits incorporated into the show as well?


(LeAnn Rimes)

I don’t know we are actually playing with that right now. Between this Christmas record, and the last Christmas record, I have thirteen Christmas songs that I want to do. I am sure we will put a couple in there. Usually when we have done a Christmas kind of vibe tour, it’s been maybe six or seven Christmas songs and then the rest of my hits; it’s kind of opposite this year, we are actually digging into Christmas music and then I think we will play a couple of songs of mine.


(CSC) 11. What was the concept behind planning this tour and without giving too much away, do you plan to decorate the stage with Christmas trees, lights and decorations?!


(LeAnn Rimes)

Yes! We are right in the middle of figuring all of that out of what it’s going to look like. Of course, we have to have some trees and ornaments and stuff. That will be fun! It’s the holiday season, everybody will be a little more dressed up and it will be very festive. I’m sure we are going to even decorate the bus (laughs). I think I am gone twenty-three days straight or something like that and I love to decorate my house for the holidays. So, for this tour we are going to have to get a Charlie Brown Christmas tree and all that stuff on the bus so it feels like Christmas (laughs).


(CSC) 12. I know how much you LOVE Christmas…. so, what traditions do you and your loved ones embrace on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?


(LeAnn Rimes)

Christmas Eve we usually go to Eddie’s parents’ house and have a full-on Cuban feast, it’s incredible. We usually do an Italian thing, none of us are Italian obviously, but we do an Italian thing at our house on Christmas Day because we had so much turkey and all of that stuff before with Thanksgiving. It’s usually pretty chill. If we have the kids we are up at the crack of dawn. There are thousands of pieces of paper all over our house and I end up finding wrapping paper weeks after. If we don’t have the kids, Eddie and I get up and it’s just about us for a little while, which is nice; it ends up just being a really relaxing day.


(CSC) 13. What are some fond memories that you have of Christmas from being a young child? What was one gift that you REALLY wanted and hopefully got?!?


(LeAnn Rimes)

I remember I wanted a TV for my room; a little TV with the old VHS player inside. I don’t know how old I was, I think nine, but I use to spend the night at my Godmother and Godfather’s house which was right down the street from where we lived. My Godmother would literally drug me with Benadryl to go to sleep (laughs) because I was so excited… I’d still wake up at five o’clock and make my parents come over and we’d be opening presents by six-thirty in the morning. I was all about it! We had nothing really; but my Godparents had money so they spoiled me a bit, my Godfather used to give me the JCPenney catalogue and tell me to circle the things that I liked. He was so cute!! It was so sweet. I think I appreciate it obviously so much more now that I got older; they used to do kind of a big Christmas and decorating. Between my Godmother and my stepdad, that’s where I learned how to decorate, how to wrap gifts and the whole deal. So, I’m carrying on the tradition of crazy Christmas decorations that looks like Santa vomited on the house! It is fun, especially with kids now it just makes it so much more exciting and special because they light up!


(CSC) Didn’t you have a Christmas movie once that was made for television?



Yes! “Holiday In Your Heart,” that still gets played every year. I think I was fourteen when I filmed that with Bernadette Peters…. It’s time for a new Christmas movie (laughs). We’ve been talking about making a new one because of the next three years to have this kind of a Christmas theme and the EP’s so maybe we will be tapping into that eventually in the next few years.


(CSC) 14. On a more serious note, set aside from all the gift giving and craziness that the Christmas season has become, how do you make an effort to honor and celebrate the sole reason for the season…. the birth of Jesus Christ?


(LeAnn Rimes)

I’m not a big organized religion person, I have to say. I am very, very spiritual in my beliefs and in my everyday life more so than just going to church on a Sunday. My mom is really big on the church thing so we usually go on Christmas Eve before we go to Eddie’s mom’s house. It’s funny because the kids really never have been in church until maybe three years ago. We took them to a Christmas Eve service and they walk out going, “That was fun” and I thought, “Thank God!!” At least you’re not going, “Oh my God, this was boring, and do I have to go back?” (Laughs) They were really inspired by it, and it was so cute to see. We have really made that more of a tradition to go on Christmas Eve. To me it’s all very personal. Eddie and I, I think we both get really moved around the holiday season obviously knowing exactly what it’s about, being able to teach the kids the whole story and to be able to instill that in them is really important to us. We keep that very much alive on a daily basis in our house.







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