When did you first discover your love of music?
I’ve been surrounded by music my whole life…there’s videos of me when I was just a couple of days old with my Grandmother, waltzing to the ‘Merry Widow Waltz’, which is a really famous opera piece. I started learning piano when I was five and stuck with it, so here I am…my sister and I are both musicians.
Do your sister and you ever collaborate?
We used to collaborate more, she lives in Italy now and is an opera singer so we don’t get as much opportunity to.
How have the shows been at the Tucker Box stage so far?
So busy! I think everyone needs something to eat and a good sit down so the Tucker Box stage is always complete bedlam because it’s an eating hub.
What does it mean to play at the Royal Easter Show?
I’ve been coming to the show since I was a little kid myself and it’s something that’s entrenched in my family; my parents used to exhibit Australian made wool and knitwear and before that my grandparents used to have show cattle and prize winning hereford bulls. The Royal Easter Show begun as an agricultural show and it’s expanded to be lots of exciting bells and whistles now but the core element of country people coming to Sydney is still there. I grew up on a farm near Armidale in northern NSW and moved to the city to study music.
Do you do covers or originals?
I do both…all of my albums are original material but I do covers as well when I’m performing live because it’s great to get the kids involved with songs that they know.
Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
Fleetwood Mac, Kate Bush, Jennifer Warnes and Leonard Cohen…there’s a beautiful album of Jennifer Warnes singing Leonard Cohen’s songs and I love it. Some recent artists I love are Sarah Blasko, Missy Higgins and Florence + The Machine…and I’ve got a secret soft spot for Coldplay!
Do you have any upcoming music releases and tours?
I’m launching my next single ‘Wayfarer’ at the end of May…it’s about a tour I did last year when I travelled 7,000 km around outback and regional New South Wales. This was the first time I’d been to the outback and it made me realise just how big Australia is and how many amazing sights there are to see. ‘Wayfarer’ is about being a tourist in your own land and about having so much more to learn and discover. I’ve got a show at the Vanguard in Newtown on May 30 launching the single and the single launch is part the Vanguard’s program for the Vivid Music Festival.
What was the 7,000 km journey around Australia like?
It was incredible…I committed two months to travelling around Australia and went with a friend of mine who is a painter who did live painting on stage with me…we’d explore an area and then do one hour concerts in regional art galleries where he would paint local scenery while I sang. We got to connect with some of the local communities we were performing in and explore places that we’d never travelled to before. It made me realise that there’s so much to see in Australia. The outback is a different planet compared to New England where I grew up or the South Coast of NSW. There’s so much to see, everything from rainforest to bushland to desert to farms and open plains and incredible volcanic rock formations and mountains?
What are some of the challenges of being a musician in New South Wales and particularly Sydney?
It’s always a challenge getting enough opportunities to play and particularly payed opportunities to play. A lot of venues aren’t doing live music anymore…there’s a few venues that are the ‘last bastions’ of the live music scene in Sydney. I do think it’s coming back and will do the full circle but there has been a bit of a black hole in terms of venues for musicians to play. There’s a few venues that are doing great stuff and hosting songwriters nights to support live music. I think it’s also that the world is changing and Netflix is great so a lot of people stay home (laughs)…it’s a very different climate for live music and it’s changing a lot. People do still want live music and I’ve discovered this by doing a lot of busking…people want live music and they still really connect with it.
What was the last live concert you went to that blew you away?
I went to see Missy Higgins and the John Butler Trio at the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House and that was a really beautiful gig. The Art Gallery of NSW also do free live music every Wednesday night and I went to see some friends of mine play a wonderful gig there a couple of weeks ago. It’s a fantastic idea because you can go and see art and then sit down with a glass of wine and enjoy live music.