One of the most impressive emerging country music artists in the Southern Hemisphere is New Zealand singer-songwriter Jenny Mitchell. She recently released a new album, Wildfires, and before that the title single. She’ll be appearing at the Tamworth Country Music Festival and is currently on tour in Australia; if you need a reason to see her perform, simply watch the video below. I spoke to Jenny recently and found a clear-eyed artist and performer who is passionate about music and working hard to bring it to audiences on both sides of the Tasman.
You’re nineteen years old and you’re already about to release your second album, incredibly. When did your musical life start?
My dad is like a real traditional Hank Williams, Johnny Cash man. So when I was growing up my life soundtrack was the Dixie Chicks and stuff like that. My first on-stage performance with Dad was when I was four. So it has always been something that we’ve been involved in. In 2013 I did New Zealand’s Got Talent, so that kind of started a whole new sort of chapter … I think it’s a really hard transition from being sixteen and having it as a hobby to fulfilling it and saying, ‘Actually, I am going to try to do this.’ So it’s been an interesting time.
At four years of age you were probably too young to be nervous, but at thirteen, what was that like going on a national TV show?
I think it was really good. I think probably if it was a few years later, I would have been really stressed about the big picture and worried about all that stuff, but at the time I remember some of my biggest concerns was things like the different outfits that I didn’t like, and my friends at school will think I’m such a loser and stuff like that. So, I think it was almost good that it was so young, because it one, prepared me for those nerves, [which] were quite horrific. You don’t know what the judges are going to say, so I think it was quite good because it kind of put me through the boot camp of learning how to deal with stress and now I’m like, okay, nothing is as bad as that.
Continue reading “Interview: Jenny Mitchell”
If you’re looking for an excellent start to the week, the new single from New Zealand singer-songwriter Jenny Mitchell can help you out. ‘Wildfires’ is a cracker of a song and the first single from Mitchell’s next album, to be released later this year.
Mitchell has a terrific voice, and on this song it’s married with a snappy beat and snarling guitars to match the tale of a toxic relationship. ‘Wildfires burn so easily’ she sings, and we believe her.
The gift of this level of talent and skill on a song is that the listener is immediately on the hook, as you will be as soon as you listen to ‘Wildfires’.
Mitchell is a graduate of the CMAA Academy of Country Music and melds country, folk and Americana into her own unique style. She’s a rising star in her home country – but she’s going to tour here soon. Dates below.
Listen to ‘Wildfires’ on:
Apple Music | iTunes | Spotify
Friday 26th – Sunday 28th October – Tablelands Folk Festival – Yungaburra, QLD
Wednesday 31st October – The Spotted Mallard – Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 1st November – Caravan Music Club – Melbourne, VIC
Friday 2nd – Monday 5th November: Maldon Folk Festival – Maldon, VIC
Wednesday 7th November: Ararat Live – Ararat, VIC
Thursday 8th November – Porch Light Sessions, Petersham Bowling Club – Sydney, NSW
Friday 9th November – The Acoustic Picnic – Brookvale, NSW
It’s good to mix things up on a country music website – although, as Elvis Presley was a bluegrass performer at least some of the time, interviewing an Elvis performer is not mixing things too far.
After over 20 years of performing Elvis tunes, New Zealander Brendon Chase earned himself the title of ‘Australasia’s Ultimate Elvis Tribute Act’ in 2017. He is one of the world’s premier Elvis performers – not to mention the busiest in New Zealand, by the sound of it – and he is appearing on Cruise N Groove, with the theme Elvis Meets the Legends. The 2018 Cruise N Groove music festival at sea departs from Sydney on 6 November and runs till the 13th. I spoke to Brendon recently.
How old you were when you discovered Elvis?
I would have been seven years old, I guess.
And was that because your parents were playing Elvis music?
No, it was the Elvis Aloha concert beamed around the world and I watched that in 1973.
Is that a distinct memory, seeing him for the first time?
Yes – it blew me away that he was such a cool dude and I thought I want to be cool like that one day.
So, given that you were so young and you get exposed to a lot of music over a lifetime was Elvis like your favourite artist as a child and a teenager?
Yeah, for sure. And probably Motown was my next, but Elvis is up there with the best of them.
Continue reading “Interview: Brendon Chase on Elvis and Cruise N Groove”
I’ve been enjoying New Zealand singer-songwriter Jamie McDell’s album Extraordinary Girl so much that I haven’t wanted to stop listening long enough to write about it … which is why the premiere of the video of her new single, ‘Running Now’, has presented the opportunity for an excellent compromise (of sorts).
The album was recorded in Nashville in 2017. Says McDell: ‘Nashville was me getting out of my comfort zone and finding my way back to it. I like to write songs quickly and alone and quite frankly when I feel like it, and I think being away from home helped me get back to that headspace.
‘The listener is getting a sincerely true collection of stories that haven’t been tampered with since they were written. They are exactly what I felt like saying/singing at the time – raw, unpolished and deeply honest.’
McDell lives in Auckland and recently toured Australia with Busby Marou. If you missed her , however, start with ‘Running Now’, fall in love with her voice, her lyrics and her sound, then you’ll soon find yourself running to the album.
Extraordinary Girl is out now.
Apple Music | iTunes