Cherrie Mag’s Featured Artist of the Month

Interview by Jenny Okeefe from Cherrie Mag
Issue 33, June 2010

How did music start for you?

Oddly enough I’d say it started in the womb, as I was fed the beat of Cold Chisel. I have quite a musical family, and recall jamming on the ukulele before age 5. I learned piano and guitar, and at 10 started composing tunes about childhood shenanigans. Since, my passion for music has turned into my career and lifestyle.

How would you describe your music?

Missy Higgins meets Ani Difranco? I’m quite the passionate songstress and love spicing up my tunes with intricate feisty guitar work. There’s a great variety – alternative folk with hints of blues, roots, pop, soft rock, even jazz. There’s an instrumental guitar track on my new album too, that branches off into a musical excursion that goes wherever it goes. Recently I’ve been exploring country music. I’m always hoping to venture into new territories.

Who and what are you influences and inspirations?

I admire artists like The Waifs, The Whitlams. Love the guitar work from Josh Cunningham, Ian Moss, John Mayer. I have a strong respect for Aussie indie artists like Liz Stringer, Sal Kimber, Jen Cloher, and admire their hard work, passion, humility and the “keeping it real” factor. Lyrical inspirations stem from self-reflection, hardship, satisfaction, longing for change, breakups, and there’s an emotive ballad on my album about the VIC bushfires.

You recently moved to Melbourne from Sydney, what prompted the move?

The music scene, not to mention the architecture, cafes, food, and art, in Melbourne is terrifically vibrant, and for the last few years I’ve been itching to get into the thick of it and explore its beaut venues, talented musicians and creative culture. I’ve spent most of my music career in Sydney, and it’s time to venture into Australia’s musical capital (bout time I left the nest too). I’m loving Melbs. I don’t believe I could grow tired of this city.

You’ve been busking around the streets of Melbourne, what do you love about busking?

I love the warmth and cheeriness that dissipates through the streets when music enters the air. Gosh this city is cold in winter (I’m a wimpy Sydneyite) but to get out, play tunes, and watch the joy on the streets, it’s so uplifting. I love interacting with people, making them laugh, having street sing-alongs, dancing, touching them with a lyric, and feeling the connection between people. It’s always different, an adventure, and makes for a change from pub gigs.

What’s the strangest thing someone has given you while busking?

An orange. A lime. A block of cheese. Japanese Beer. 4 packets of Cashmere Bouquet Soap (???). A $50 note. A God pamphlet. A Spanish 5cents. I’m still hoping for a Caramello Koala.

What has been your career highlights so far?

Releasing my first studio album “Chest of Drawers” (2009) was a terrific milestone. A year in the making, it was such an honour to finish. Some other highlights include supporting Cotton, Keays and Morris, singing the National Anthem for 8000 runners at the 2008 Melbourne Marathon, and winning the Just Guitars: Best Artist Award at Port Fairy Folk Festival. But the journey has just begun, and I’m sure many challenges, successes and frustrations lie ahead.

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