Firstly I want to take a moment to wish that you have had a wonderful Christmas. I am currently writing from my home town Gunnedah, but will be traveling across NSW throughout the week! BIGGEST OF CHRISTMAS LOVE xxx
If you can dream it you can do it... Part 2
My father who also has a musical pedigree (that somehow skipped his generation) grew up with a mother who sang and played the piano and a father who played The Violin, Saxophone and Clarinet just to name a few. My grandfather loved Jazz, and I spent my holidays in Sydney in awe of whatever musical instrument my Grandfather would bring for me to play with. My poor Grandfather would be made to sit and watch me perform shows for hours, then encourage my imagination by making suggestions for my next show. I believe my "ear" is a credit to my Grandfather Burgoyne. At two years old I could pick up a piano and work out nursery rhymes like twinkle little star. I adored him.
Despite Dad not being "superstar" potential, every night before bed, he would have us in fits of laughter as he serenaded us with his repertoire of comedy songs. He was a left-handed man who will probably tell you his guitar playing career ended the moment he started learning guitar right handed, but his passion for music still continues today. I think he would have given Kevin Bloody Wilson a run for his money if he ever decided to venture into a music comedy career.
I wonder if my Dad ever knew that he was just about to bless his daughter with the very thing that would put food on her table and take her around the world? Christmas in the year 2000, I got my first guitar.
By Mid January 2001, I was enthusiastically entering Country Music Talent Quests at the Tamworth Country Music Festival. I remember it had been a hot summer, and I had trouble sleeping in the old sleep-out where my bedroom was so I pulled a mattress into the hallway and slept in the air conditioning. The alarm set for 5:30 am, as the Manilla talent quest kicked off at 8:30 am and we had an hour to drive. My clothes laid out ready to go, an innocent pink skirt and white top that I had got for Christmas that year.
8:30 am rolled around, and talent quest entrants started pouring out of the bathroom in sparkles and sequence. My Mother and I looked at each other in shock, and I sank into my chair feeling sick with nerves as I continued writing hand written lyrics with chords above the words so the band could play my songs.
When Mum and I look back, we laugh about this moment as I was just the innocent, clueless country girl.
As I stepped up to the band and gave them my chords above lyrics, they said, "We don't know this song". Most kids were playing Dixie Chicks or Shania Twain. I didn't know that you could perform covers.
I said, "It's one I made up". I stepped up to the microphone and fumbled about for five minutes as I didn't have a pickup in my guitar and had to position another microphone for my guitar. I introduced myself, "G'day how are ya all going today? Are ya having a good time? This is a song I wrote called.." Not only was my banter terrible but my accent was incredibly Austrailian Bush country. The incredible band fumbled through my terrible chord charts every section of the talent quest.
I stood out like a sore thumb. I was that naive girl that everyone felt sorry for as I had no idea I was meant to have an outfit for each section and there is a "known list" of cover songs appropriate for talent quests, I needed a guitar with a pickup and maybe learn how to do my hair and makeup. I was awarded the encouragement award; I came to learn that this award was generally given to the worst person on the day.
Mum and I talked about what we learned as we traveled home. We both giggled about how foolish we looked but there was such a beauty to our innocence. Knowing that I had already outgrown my brand new guitar, within the week, my Dad played "fairy godmother" traded it in and arrived at my first ever Tamworth Country Music Festival with my new Little Black Guitar and some brand new sparkly stage clothes.
It would take me five years and a lot of disappointment before I would win my first country music talent quest.
It was the same time when I met Steve McCauley, a local legend in North West, NSW. Steve was my first guitar teacher, I would take my songs into him and he would teach me a "fancy" way to play them. After a few performances jumping up with Steves band by the age of 14 I was playing regularly, singing a few songs a set and learning how to lug on guitar. I started my apprenticeship playing till 1 am every Thursday at The Tamworth City Tavern known as The Tutor Hotel now.
Namoi Valley Indipendent Newspaer August, 2005
By 16 I really started to blossom School Spectacular, Talent Development Project, Talent Quests, Songwriting Competitions, Pubs and Clubs, any performance opportunity I could find I would take it. My afternoons would consist of me running from the bus to my bedroom to play for at least 3 hours before having a nap and waking for dinner to then play through the night.
Although my music was going so well my Mum was concerned that I wasn't being a teenager. I would turn down opportunities to see my friends or go to birthday parties so I could sit in my bedroom and play.
A few major highlights in the younger years for me was winning the Gympie Muster Talent Search in 2005, Graduating the Talent Development Project, Performing on Mornings with Kerry-Anne, Attending CMAA College of Country Music and awarded an APRA Professional Development Award in 2009.