You are well known in Murchison and around about as a Paramedic. How do you unwind?
Peter Wilson (husband) and I have built a new house here in Murch. We have a big music room opening to our lounge room and also an outdoor deck. We like to take our dogs and guitars out in the evenings for a relaxed jam session.
You’ve been described as ‘One of the finest contemporary country musicians in Australia.’ Thats an impressive credit! Where do you find inspirations for your lyrics?
On long drives, in the middle of the night; they have to be written down straight away, or they’re lost! Some are light, like my song, ‘Canola’, and then there’s ‘R.M. Williams’, then there’s deep issues about topics like child abuse and other tragedies I encounter in my job. Also I write story songs about influential people in my life.
How did you get started? Were you showing your musical talent while on the dairy farm as a kid?
Actually, yes, I wanted to learn to play the piano when I was 8 years old. The farm was in Lang Lang, in South Gippsland and a wonderful woman by the name of Zelma Munro taught piano and lived locally. She was a War Widow, and she became one of my best friends. She ensured that the learning process was always fun, and so she got me through the early phases of learning the basics of music theory and practice with ease. When I was about 14, Zelma suggested I start to get creative, and improvise. She showed me how to write my own songs. She was a terrific teacher.
And singing? Did singing come naturally to you?
Haha, yeah, I have always had a loud voice, so I got the lead roles in our school musicals. Probably because I didn’t need a mic which saved the school money! After Zelma passed away I felt the need for some proper singing lessons, and when I was 21, Mum bought me a series of 10 lessons from Rhonda Loizou in Melbourne. I never looked back!
So, at what stage did you realise you could use these skills professionally?
I was offered a job with Ray’s Academy of Singing, teaching their students how to accompany their own singing with guitar or piano. Since then, I began recording with various professional recording companies. I’ve been recording professionally since 2008. I graduated from the Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA) in 2009. They run the Golden Guitar Awards, and I was fortunate to be a Star Maker Finalist, which means I was in the top ten artists for that year. Keith Urban, Lee Kernaghan, Beccy Cole and Gina Jeffries all won the Star Maker, But I was up there with them! Then in 2010, along with Vaughan Baker, I received the Tamworth Song writers Award.
You have several albums out, and many youtube clips, some of which are clearly filmed in Murchison!
Yes! There are many great locations in and around this town and we’ve used many of them for the film clips of my songs. Several friends have helped out with the narratives of the film clips by acting the role of the bad boyfriend, the old lady, the girl pal, me as a child and that sort of thing. Its a lot of fun making the clips but a lot of work too.
You must be incredibly busy!
Paramedics and music complement each other. They enable me to maintain a sustainable work/life balance, because each on their own could overwhelm my life and take up all my mental headspace as well as my time, and so one counteracts the other, allowing me to breathe and maintain perspective.