How I Got To Sing With John Fogerty
I tell this story often in my interviews because I love how things unfold in life sometimes and I still get chills when I speak it out loud.
In December 2017 I made the move to live in Los Angeles as I found that I was travelling to the U.S. from Australia every year to work with various artists, writing recording and touring.
2018 was an exciting year as I got to tour as a Malonette (back up singer for Bob Malone) to Italy and China for the Umbria Jazz Festival in both countries.
As is often the case however for professional musicians, Christmas came and my 2019 diary was yet to be filled in. I realised that if nothing came in before the beginning of April, I would have to give notice to my Landlord and move back to Australia where I could safely be with my family and wait for the next wave of work to magically appear.
I didn't want to have to leave, but at the same time I had no choice but to surrender to the idea and be ok with it. I sat and closed my eyes and I asked myself "what do you want, what would your ultimate dream be right now?" The answer was immediate and very clear. "I want to stay in the U.S. and tour as a back up singer with a big name artist (must be arenas), but I need to be available for Bob Malone tours as well." It felt good to have a clear picture but I also had to stop any negative thoughts and doubts about why I should be granted something so wonderful. I said to myself, "you have three months to manifest something so give it a go and see what happens, what have you got to lose?"
From the 1st of January 2019, I sat on my bed first thing in the morning with my coffee, closed my eyes and did my morning gratitude. Then I pictured myself touring the world as a back up singer, playing arenas and huge festivals and it made me feel really good. I did this every day for three months and on the 1st of April, nothing had come so I conceded to the idea of going back to Australia and that was that. I had given it my best shot.
On Tuesday the 2nd of April, I received a text at around 4:50pm from Bob Malone (who is also John Fogerty's "keyboard wizard") and it read something like this. "John Fogerty needs a couple of back up singers for his tour, get ready to come to the studio for rehearsals tomorrow and we leave for Vegas on Friday". Needless to say I was stunned and actually I thought it was an April fool's joke, but I knew Bob wouldn't do that to me and also it was the 2nd of April, not the 1st.
So that's exactly what happened and when I recovered from the shock of this manifestation and the timing of it, I also realised that I got both things that I had asked for. Big name artist, and Bob Malone being in the Fogerty band meant that there should be no conflict with my being available for his personal tours as well.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think that even if I got such a tour, would it be John Fogerty as he is not really known for touring with female back up singers.
That tour with John Fogerty in 2019 was the most exhilarating year of my career to date and I feel truly blessed to have had that incredible opportunity and experience. Being a landmark year for John, the entire forty-seven date 50 Year Trip Woodstock Anniversary Tour included performances at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Radio City Music Hall, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts on the original Woodstock site, and ABC’s Good Morning America. Another dream come true for me was getting to play at Red Rocks Amphitheatre Colorado and that concert was recorded, filmed and released this year on DVD, DC and vinyl, and was shown on several major television outlets, as well as a debut screening at AMC movie theaters worldwide.
Take it from me. Never be afraid to ask for what you want even if it feels like a pipe dream. What have you got to lose?
I hope you've enjoyed this true story. Please leave your comments below as I love to hear your thoughts and check out my PHOTO GALLERY for some amazing shots from the tour.
Until next time.
Love and Gratitude.
We’re nearing the pointy end of my monthly cover project for 2016. What an amazing experience this has been. So far this year I’ve recorded nine cover songs in nine different studios both in Australia and the United States.
I’d been thinking about adding an Aussie cover to the mix and when I opened up the suggestion box to my team of Patrons over at Patreon.com, a wonderful thing happened. Michelle Whitby, who grew up in the same town as me, Grafton NSW Australia, suggested Flame Trees by Don Walker and Steve Prestwich from one of Australia’s most iconic bands, Cold Chisel.
This was such an exciting idea and I’m stunned that I hadn’t thought of it myself lol. This being because Don Walker grew up in my town too in fact, our families knew each other quite well.
The Flame Tree lyrics are inspired by our hometown of Grafton and this made the whole recording experience quite a nostalgic one for me. I feel that the people you grow up with and share childhood memories with, directly or indirectly, forever hold a special place in your life. It’s an unspoken connection like no other.
Adding to the synchronicity of this whole thing, when I rang Angus Woodhead to enquire about his Glasshouse Studio for the recording, I asked if he had an acoustic piano. I didn’t tell him the song that I was recording but his response was, “I have a Yamaha CP70 which is the same as the piano that Cold Chisel used on their Khe Sanh recording” I squealed and said “OMG I’m recording Chisel’s Flame Trees!” That was it. I knew I had to record with Angus and his CP70.
I’m extremely proud of this track and I really hope that I’ve done the Cold Chisel boys proud.
Below is a Behind The Scenes look into my day recording Flame Trees. Thank you Michelle for the suggestion and thank you to Angus for such a great day in the studio.
To Find You - Sing Street
I arrived home safely a couple of weeks ago after an unexpected visit to the U.S. to visit a dear friend who received some news about her health. She's been undergoing chemotherapy now since the beginning of June and I'm so happy to say that she's doing really well.
I can't believe how this year is flying, and this cover song was for August - already! The song was introduced to me by my sweet friend Karen Nash. She'd seen the movie Sing Street and fell in love with the track To Find You. She played it for me and immediately I wanted to record it. Bonus, Karen also suggested I record it in her and her husband Bob Malone's home before I left L.A. to come back to Oz!
The lyrics are so powerful in this song, and I think that everyone feels this way when they fall in love with someone. I don't mean just infatuation although I'm sure we still believe this to be true at the time, but when you find someone that makes your heart sing and continues to do that through the good and bad, well that's when you can listen to these lyrics and tear up with feelings of love and joy and deep connection.
"So bring the lightning bring the fire bring the fall, I know I'll get my heart through, I got miles to go but from the day I started crawling I was on my way to find you"
Aaargh! Just beautiful.
I'll leave you with a little Behind The Scenes video below, and I'd also like to say thank you to Steve McDonald, Bob DeMarco, Ann Rinaldi, Karen Nash, Bob Malone and my Team Trizzie over at Patreon for making this recording possible.
Love and Gratitude.
As my time in the States draws to a close in the next few weeks, I'm feeling blessed to have been able to spend this precious time with my friend Theresa and help her through this difficult time with her chemotherapy treatment, and I'm also feeling very grateful to have been able to continue my recording project at the same time.
Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" was chosen by one of my Patrons, Ann Rinaldi for me to record as my July cover. I want to thank Ann for this wonderful choice and I want to dedicate this track to Theresa Beebe. "You are beautiful, in every single way" and I love you my sweet friend.
When I knew I was coming to visit Theresa, I put a call out on facebook to find a studio in L.A. with a piano so that Ann Rinaldi could attend the session. I found Fernando Perdomo's Reseda Ranch Studios, and it felt like such a great fit for this recording.
On the day, I asked Fernando if he'd add some guitars to the track which he did with so much love and respect for the song, and I also surprised Ann by asking her to add the whisper line at the opening of the song. She was thrilled and stepped up to the microphone like a pro!
Below is a little look into our recording session. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did on the day.
I'd Rather Go Blind
'I'd Rather Go Blind' is an Etta James classic that was chosen for me to record as my June cover song by one of my Patrons. Thank you to Troyce Walls for this wonderful suggestion.
When I first listened to this song, I wondered how I could make it my own as I don't really consider myself a blues singer and let's face it, Etta James is quite an act to follow.
I decided however, to take it in a whole other direction while respecting the original and making sure I didn't accidentally re-write the song making it unrecognizable.
As I'm in the States at the moment, I was lucky enough to be able to record this track back at the studios where I recorded my Feel So Pretty album. Steve McDonald engineered once again, and my good friend Bob Malone (Fogerty band) offered to play some Rhodes and Hammond Organ for me. What a treat!
Below is a sneak peek into the recording session as we listened back before mixing the track down. It was such a fun day and I hope you enjoy what we created together.
p.s. this track will be available for purchase when it's released later in the year along with all the other covers that I'm recording in 2016.
My Tangled Journey
2016 is turning out to be another very interesting year! Even when you think you've got it all planned out, I've learned to expect the unexpected.
I decided at the beginning of the year to take a year off from touring to concentrate on other things like making music videos, recording covers and spending time alone to meditate, read, walk, and enjoy living in the moment.
I settled in to my digs in Australia, not hard when it's close to the beach and family, and everything felt so right and good.
Then just after my Birthday later in May, I got a message from one of my closest friends, Theresa, in the States to say that she'd been diagnosed with Breast Cancer and was to start chemotherapy almost immediately.
I was devastated and straight away I was making plans to fly over and be with her. I didn't know what to expect when I saw her. I've not been through this with anyone before and I have to admit I was terrified. Then I thought, if I'm terrified, what must SHE be feeling. When I spoke with her on the phone, she put my mind at ease with her uplifted attitude and I just couldn't wait to get on that flight.
I'm here now with her in California, and I have to say, I feel very blessed to be able to go through this experience with her which is turning out to be a surprisingly joyful one. Watching her accept and embrace this thing is inspirational. She's so full of love and laughter and the time we're spending together is healing in itself in so many ways.
Having said all this, my purpose for this story is to show you her artwork which she refers to as 'My Tangled Journey'. Just over a year ago, Theresa began drawing Mandalas and I watch as she churns these out on a daily basis. I'm captivated by these stunning pieces of work and I'm in awe of her skill. Since she began she's published two full books through Amazon and she has a third in the making.
I asked her if I could make a video collage of her work and she loved the idea. She chose one of my songs that she thought would go well with the mandalas, 'Celebrate It' from my Here On In album, and below is the result of this project.
I hope you like it, and if you'd like to follow Theresa's progress this year you can join her on her Caringbridge Page.
Thank you for reading my story today, and don't forget, I always love to read your comments below.
One thing that I'm really grateful for is the continued love and respect that my ex partner and I have for each other. How else would I be able to write about this song that represents such a significant time in my life.
If you're in love with someone, then there must be things about them that make you melt right? Little things that stay in your memory forever because of the way they made you feel.
One of those things for me was the fact that he would stroke my face so gently and his fingers were really soft and silky. This was magic to me. I never asked him to do it, he just did it which made it all the more special.
Towards the end of our relationship, we spent some time in a ski resort in Northern Italy where his band had a contract to play for a few months. Each night, I would go and listen to the band and each night they would play 'With Or Without You' by U2. What struck me about this song was it's simplicity and repetition, and the effect it had on the audience. Every night, they put their hands in the air and swayed from side to side. No other song had this same impact and I just wanted to go home and see if I could write something that was purposefully repetitive and simple in structure.
You would think this would be an easy task, but it was a challenge for me because I had to keep reminding myself to "keep it simple, keep it simple". The temptation is always to add more, more lyrics, more chords, more tricks.
So anyway, I just sat and thought about the love in that U2 song, and I thought about how those silky fingers stroking my face made me feel, and once I convinced myself that this song was to be an exercise in simplicity, I dropped all expectations about producing a potential hit song, and then it was all done in about 20 minutes. I was shocked!
To my surprise, Silky Fingers has managed to touch a lot of hearts, and on the flip side, it's also been reviewed as being too simplistic. Well, either way, it's a win win for me right? Whether it will ever cause people to throw their hands in the air and sway, probably not, but I'll keep trying for that song, because THAT would be quite an achievement I think.
Below is the only video that I have so far for Silky Fingers, and this is the acoustic version which can be found on my Silky Fingers album. If you like a more produced sound, you can find that version on my Le Cafe Ancien album.
It's A Small World Afterall
This week I want to tell you about a funny thing that happened a few years ago while I was on tour in the States with Fiona Joy.
The world seems to be getting smaller and smaller as more people are travelling these days but it's still a minor miracle when you meet someone in a whole other country who has a direct connection with you in the most unexpected way.
Fiona and I were doing a show in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and before I went on to play, a man named David Sorensen walked up to me and wanted to chat about Australia. This is not unusual lol! A lot of people in the U.S. ask about where I'm from and when I tell them I'm from northern NSW do you know it, they say, oh no I've never been to Australia and I don't know it at all.
On this occasion, David wanted to know exactly where I was from so I told him that I was living near a town called Byron Bay, Ballina, Lismore etc. He said, "oh I know it well. In fact, I was there last year and I broke my foot while walking on rocks at the beach". He said "in fact I was taken to the local hospital there and the ER doctor was so nice and very thorough and really looked after me. I was very impressed". I said, "oh what was the doctor's name" but David couldn't quite remember and knowing that it was a hospital in my area, I said, "um it wasn't Guy Loosemore by any chance was it?" and he straight away said "yes it was! Oh of course, I thought I recognized your last name". That's my brother! What are the chances!
Well we giggled about that for a bit and I thought to myself, phew, just as well he only had good things to say about that doctor. I probably wouldn't have dared to ask who it was if he was not so impressed (wink wink).
David and I have remained friends and in fact it turns out that he is a wonderful artist. He actually spends quite a bit of time in Australia touring his paintings which reflect his love affair with the Australian wilderness. You can see more of David's work HERE!
Enjoy and thank you for reading my story today.
Shadowgirl's First Kiss
Some of you will know that last year I put a couple of shadow pictures up on my facebook page and my friends there thought it was really fun, so they started to get involved. Of course I'm not the first person to do this, but for some reason, it has become a thing on my page and my pictures have been dubbed Shadowgirl. She's more popular than me lol!
What has ensued is a regular contribution of shadow art from some of my facebook community which is so cute and wonderful. People post their shadow pictures to my page and I then put them on my Shadowgirl page here on my website. (See the Shadowgirl tab for the whole collection to date).
All this enthusiasm gave me an idea. I thought it would be fun to put together a new music video based on shadows in motion. I just happened to have a really funky little song just sitting around that I'd recorded for my Feel So Pretty album, but it didn't get added due to the fact that it was so different. I'd been wanting to release it but I was waiting for the right opportunity. Here it was!
I put a call out to my facebook community for anyone who'd like to be involved in my new music video but I didn't say publicly what it would entail. I didn't want to give the idea away too soon.
I had a number of people jump on this opportunity and after giving them the brief, they began to send me snippets of their shadows dancing to my new song. This whole process was such a giggle for me and I'm so appreciative of everyone who got involved.
An unexpected surprise came, when a good friend of mine in Los Angeles, Jeanette Elaine Dubois, emailed me and asked if she could edit the video. She loved the concept so much and her excitement got me really excited too. I handed all the video footage over to her immediately and she went to work. I am so impressed with Jeanette's creativity and I feel so honoured to have had her work on First Kiss, especially since she had to fit it in around her busy schedule working on Oprah's Super Soul Sessions! Yes! That's our girl! Jeanette also features in the First Kiss video but what I love about the Shadow concept is, you don't actually know who's who (wink wink).
Please enjoy my Team Shadowgirl's creative project below, and a HUGE Thank You to everyone involved including producer of the track Steve McDonald, Bob DeMarco at DeMarco Productions, Lionel Richie's long time guitarist Ben Mauro (that's right!) and all my shadow dancers: Shadowgirl, Jeanette Elaine Dubois, Doon-Louise Loosemore, my Mum and Dad, Kythese Kolodzinski, Ebony and Nixon Kolodzinski, Oren Loosemore, Bruyere and Charlygirl Williams, Rubydog, Adel Welty, Scott Thompson, Jeffery Barnes, Adam A Waltemire, Pam Follett, Yvette Lohnes and Martin Enock.
Last weekend marked the third month of my covers project and I chose to record Landslide by Fleetwood Mac.
I had decided on the studio months ago for this song which meant a flight from Brisbane to Sydney followed by a two and a half hour train journey west to the Blue Mountains.
My friends Lexi and Scott who I studied music with at university, own an 1830's convict built sandstone house at Mount Victoria. They live upstairs and they have an old wares shop downstairs which is very popular with the locals and tourists. The Blue Mountains is a go-to weekend destination for many Sydney dwellers.
Lexi is a beautiful pianist and composer and she has an 1895 restored Steinway Grand, so I was very excited to be recording Landslide in her home studio.
I've put together a Behind The Scenes video for you below, and I hope you enjoy my recording. There are limitless options for songs when it comes to recording a cover, but I'm finding it interesting to realize how very few songs completely resonate with me when I sit down to actually learn to play and sing them. I can be totally in love with a song, but when I try to translate it via the piano and my voice, there are so many elements that need to fall into place in order for me to feel that I've truly done the song the justice it deserves.
Enjoy, and please leave a comment below as I love to hear your thoughts.
This Should Be A Good Thing..
A friend of mine asked me today to explain the meaning behind the lyrics to my song 'This Should Be A Good Thing'. She said that it's one her favourite songs of mine and that it makes her cry sometimes. There's nothing better than to hear those words from someone about a song you've written, so I told her that I'd write a blog about it and send it to her.
I wrote this song as I was finally coming through the worst of a broken heart after a long term relationship split. I generally find solace in writing songs and on this day, I wanted to write, but I couldn't find the inspiration. I thought to myself..... Ha! .... my heart has healed and now I have nothing to say. This should be a good thing (having nothing left to cry about), and yet, I'm frustrated that I now cannot find any words to put into a new song. Dammit, why can't I just write a happy song? lol!
I scoured my iTunes library for a spark as I do when I want inspiration for a new song. I looked around the room to see if there was an object that might inspire an idea, and I searched my memory, cautiously, for some kind of jolt that might bring forth an opening line and after all this, I got.... wait for it.... "Looking all around the room, looking for some clues" lol. I went with it and the whole song became a story about the kind of day I was having trying to write this song.
I was interested in the irony about actually coming to a good place in my emotions, (for most people this would be a good thing), but for a songwriter, not so much. Don't get me wrong, I don't truly believe that I need to have a broken heart to be able to write another song, but it certainly did provide me with a swag of lyrical content back then ;)
Below is the audio track for 'This Should Be A Good Thing' and I've posted the lyrics as well for you. I hope you enjoy it and please leave a comment below. I love to hear your thoughts. Thank you Caren Conrad for the request.
This track and the whole album 'Feel So Pretty' is available on iTunes and Amazon or directly through my website.
If you’ve been reading my blogs up to now, you’ll notice that I’ve done a lot of different things in my life leading up to this point where I can now call myself a full time musician. I’ve been a travel agent, a nanny, a hostess on safari, a waitress and the list goes on. I really only began to pursue my musical journey at the age of 28 when I enrolled in university for a Bachelor of Arts Contemporary Music Degree.
Today I was reading a book called “Successful But Something Missing” by Ben Renshaw, and when I saw this following statement, I was blown away. It spoke to me BIG TIME and I’ll explain why, but first, here's what I read:
"Once you learn what your life is about, there is no way to erase the knowledge. No matter how afraid you become you have no choice. If you try to do something different with your life, you will always sense there is something missing" James Redfield
Holy Cow! Here’s why it spoke to me. A while back I was asked what it meant to me to continue pursuing my musical journey. My response was, "I have no choice, it's all I want to do and I feel physically sick at the thought of doing anything else, even though I've loved everything else that I've ever done in the past".
But here’s the problem with all of that.
A couple of years ago, I had returned from the States after a lengthy tour and I had exhausted my funds. Up until that point, I had been living off my savings in order to build my music career. Fear now engulfed me, as I was no longer able to support myself.
Ok so get a job I hear you say. But unlike all of the years that went before where I would happily get a job and love every minute of it, I now felt physically sick at the thought. I also felt like I would be betraying myself as I’d promised to commit to my purpose 100% and put ALL of my time, resources and energy into it.
But with seemingly no choice left, I panicked and applied for nanny jobs which I knew that I would at least enjoy as a short term solution.
I landed a six week contract in Brisbane and I moved to the city to join the family in their home. The timing was perfect as I was due to go back to the States in three months time.
What do you think? Did I do the right thing by choosing to work when I had promised myself to not waver from my focus NO MATTER WHAT?
Well, guess what happened. First day on the job, I fell over and fractured my elbow. Boom! Six weeks recovery time required. You have to be kidding me!
I was taken to the hospital to have my elbow ex-rayed and strapped, and then I was sent home to recover. Just as well my parents have a beautiful place in the country where I could keep myself out of trouble. What I did do in this period of time however, was to seek out a way back to my joyful, fearless self. Through my seeking, a good friend sent me a link to Esther (Abraham) Hicks. I obsessed over these youtube videos, and here began my physical, emotional and spiritual recovery.
In six weeks time, I moved back to Brisbane to fulfill a commitment I’d made to another family, and you guessed it, first day, AGAIN, I fell ill and couldn’t continue. Time to re-assess my motives I thought to myself.
This is why the above statement that I read, touched me so deeply. In the face of fear, I had to learn to trust in myself and other forces unseen and I cannot tell you how difficult that is, but boy am I glad that I chose to stay the course and continue to let go and allow myself to be guided. I now have an intense knowing that I am right where I am meant to be and I have developed the skills to help abate any fear that threatens to creep back in.
Thankfully, I’m also a bit of a minimalist, so I don’t need material stuff to make me happy and today my life feels richer than ever. What I DO have is an enormous support system through my extended family and friends all around the world. I definitely appreciate that I could not be living my purpose without that kind of support. I look at other artists and I take my hat off to those who are out there honouring themselves. I now understand exactly what that takes.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my story this week and I look forward to continuing this journey with you.
Last weekend I travelled about 2 hours south west from Brisbane QLD to a little town called Boonah where I had booked Studio 446 to record Carole King's Natural Woman, the second cover of my 2016 Patreon Project.
The studio belongs to Cameron Mitchell and it was actually recommended to me by a new facebook friend in America can you believe it! Thank you Kath.
I'm really enjoying finding quirky little out of the way studios for these recordings. The only criteria is they must have a gorgeous piano.
Cameron's studio houses a vintage Australian Upright Grand Beale which was a thrill to discover and play. It was a little funky and perfect for Natural Woman.
I was really nervous going into this recording. My first cover, Fix You by Coldplay, is easier for me to sing as it sits comfortably in my range, but Natural Woman is more vocally challenging for me. As well as this, it was one of the first songs I ever taught myself to play and sing as a teenager, so it meant a lot to me to do a good job of it.
I took my niece Bruyere Williams to sing backing vocals for me because not only does she have a beautiful voice, I knew she would do the job perfectly and without any fuss. There is no need for rehearsals with Bruyere, she just listens to the song a couple of times and then steps up with her natural ability. She also sings backing vocals with me for Bob Malone when he tours in Australia. We are his "Aussie Malonettes".
I’ve put together a Behind The Scenes Video for your enjoyment (see below) and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section as well.
You can join the support team and enjoy the rest of the project with us at PATREON and just a reminder that these covers are only available through the project at this point in time. I will, however, be releasing all the tracks at the end of the year as a full album.
Thank you for joining me today.
Having recorded my most recent album in Los Angeles, and having had the thrilling opportunity to work with some musicians whom I would never have dreamed of ever meeting let alone sharing a studio session with, I am now in love with the place.
Today I want to introduce to you one of the sweetest people you'll ever meet. He's a world renowned musician, worked with Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Glen Campbell, Jewel and the list goes on.
His name is Marty Rifkin and he played pedal steel on track 12 of my Feel So Pretty album, Under My Skin (Intimate Version).
One thing that I noticed about ALL of the musicians who played on this album, was their humility and genuine niceness. These people are at the top of their game, they've worked with some of the most famous artists in the world, and therefore you would be forgiven for thinking that they might be a little, let's say, unapproachable. But no. Exactly the opposite. In fact, it seems to me that the more successful they are, the more humble and grounded they are as well. They are just doing what they do best, and getting on with the job that they live, breath and eat for breakfast. What an honour for me to have had this experience.
Below is a video of Marty playing pedal steel on my song in his own studio. I just came across this footage yesterday and I'm so glad that I captured this moment to be able to share it with you now.
Enjoy, and please leave a comment below as I love to hear your thoughts.
p.s. The finished product also features a gorgeous backing vocal by my good friend Karen Nash. You can purchase it HERE.
In one of my earlier blogs, I talked about how I met my dear friend and photographer, Robin Craig in NYC where she lives most of the year (click HERE for that story).
Robin also spends a few months each year back in Arizona, so when it came time for me to get my photos done for the release of Feel So Pretty, I headed out to Arizona for a week long photo shoot. What a luxury to have so much time with a good friend to capture something special for an album cover.
In fact, it was on the last day of the shoot that we actually got the magic shots. Don't get me wrong, Robin has a way of capturing the most beautiful images no matter the circumstances, but with a title like Feel So Pretty, I was very particular that the shot needed to convey the right message ie. come on ladies, let's embrace our natural beauty. It can take a lot of women a very long time to feel comfortable in their skin (I was one of them) and it's such a relief to get to a point in life where you can honestly look in the mirror and click the "like" button.
Anyhow, this week, I just wanted to give you a little fun peak behind the scenes of that photo shoot, so please enjoy the video below which also features other members of my "photographic team" Robert Craig and Virginia Kirnberger.
Thank you for joining me again this week. Please leave a comment, and if you haven't already, join the mailing list for a free download of my Chasing Cars cover.
Last week I told the story about turning down an opportunity to work with an iconic Australian rock band, and I promised that this week I'd let you know where I ended up when I got in my car and drove north from Sydney with no real goal in mind.
I was a very restless girl in my twenties. Growing up I was kind of like a second mum to my younger siblings (there were five younger than me), and so my focus as a teenager was on their well being rather than my own dreams and aspirations. When I left school, I had no idea what I wanted to do, I simply had the travel bug. The world called me and I followed, blindly, without fear or hesitation. I still do, but I have a whole lot more purpose in my wanderings these days.
So I travelled north from Sydney in my car, visited my parents and sat for a little while to contemplate my immediate future. I asked myself constantly, what do I want to do? What would be a really fun job for me to do? Clearly, I was still not ready to go out and play music.
Very soon an idea came to me. I remembered from working in the travel agency, that I'd at some point thought it would be fun to work on those camping tours as a guide/hostess. I looked them up in the phone book and rang a couple of companies. The first one I called was at the very top of Australia, Cape York Peninsula, operating out of Cairns. They actually told me that they'd just hired someone but if I wanted to take the three day drive up there, I'd be sure to pick up a job before long.
I loved the sound of Cape York, but wasn't sure if I wanted to risk going all that way and being stuck without a job. I tried a company closer to home which ran tours up and down the East Coast between Sydney and Cairns. They asked me to come into the office, which I did, and immediately they offered me a job. Goodness, this was easier than I thought.
Once again however, I was being called in a different direction. I couldn't get Cape York out of my head. I imagined sleeping under the stars in a swag every night due to the remoteness of the area. This appealed to me more than tourist parks on the coast. So you know what I did right? I told the East Coast company that I was going to Cairns to try my luck up there and off I went.
I checked into a hostel in Cairns when I arrived, and I phoned the lady that I'd spoken to on the phone previously. She said to come to the office and introduce myself which I did.
She didn't have a job for me, but a man named John Hardaker walked in at that moment. He owned a tour company called New Look Adventures, and when the woman asked if he needed a hostess, he said yes! We're going out tomorrow. Can you start tomorrow? I was beside myself with excitement. How could this be happening!
For the next two years (in the dry season), I worked on those safaris, sleeping under the stars in a swag, cooking for up to 24 people, swimming in remote rivers (the ones without the crocodiles... I think hehe) and snorkelling on the Barrier Reef with the guests. Don't get me wrong, it was 16 days each trip of dusty, corrugated roads. It was hot and we'd drive all day just to get to the next watering hole where we'd camp for the night, but It was the most amazing experience for me and just what I needed at the time to work out who I was and what I wanted to do with my life.
The lifestyle was so raw and wild, I even got kissed by a wild horse one night as I lay sleeping in my swag. We were camped on a remote airstrip (airstrip in Cape York means a flat stretch of grass where the mail plane can land). I was just dozing off to sleep when I felt whiskers on my face and some very large lips on MY lips. I'm not kidding. As I woke to find a wild horse checking me out, I was surprised at how calm I was. He got more of a fright than I did I think, and he took off running.
It was after these two years that I enrolled in university (at age 28). I was ready now to begin my inevitable journey in the music industry.
I hope you've enjoyed my story this week and please leave a comment below the photos that I've posted.
You can also join the mailing list by downloading my cover of Chasing Cars.
Until next time.
Top left: Crazy fun jumping into a waterhole.Top right. Traversing a flooded river. Middle right. Cooking pancakes on the sandy river bank where we were camped. All the cooking was done this way. Bottom right: Swag. Bottom left: Map of Cape York Peninsula - referred to as Australia's last frontier.
You would think, knowing me now, I would have jumped at ANY opportunity along my path to position myself closer to those in the music industry that I respect and admire. That's the smart thing to do right, if you're an aspiring artist wanting to "make it" in your chosen field.
Of course. So why would I turn down an opportunity to work with one of Australia's most influential and iconic bands of the 20th century? I'm almost embarrassed to tell you this story, because my actions surprised even me, but looking back, I can only explain it as perhaps the right opportunity at the wrong time. You know, like when you meet someone you're really into but the timing is all wrong? Who hasn't had that happen.
So here's what went down.
I was 20, fresh from the country and now living in a beautiful beach suburb of Sydney. I was looking for work and had an unconfirmed offer to work at a travel agency in the city, which I would have liked. At that age, all I wanted to do was travel. In my Geography classes at school, I used to stare out the window and dream about seeing the world. I just couldn't wait to leave school and get on a plane or a bus or a train or whatever as long as I was going somewhere.
I went down to the job centre one day and noticed a card saying something about a position vacant in the Entertainment Industry. Of course I inquired about it, since music was definitely a part of me even if I wasn't in a hurry to follow that path.
The guy in the job centre told me that he was about to call me regarding this position as he thought it would suit me down to the ground with my musical bent and all. He explained, "just quietly", that Midnight Oil were looking for a personal assistant, and they lived in MY street! "Holy Cow", was pretty much all I could say hehe. Not really, I'm sure I was very composed and behaved in a professional manner at all times. :)
So off I went for my interview with the Oil's manager Gary Morris, and yes, I did meet the very awe inspiring Peter Garrett with his piercing blue eyes and very bald head which he had to lower to get through the doorway that wasn't quite tall enough for him. Gary offered me the job at the end of our chat and what did I do? I said I'd have to get back to him!!! Oh dear. I can hear your gasps of horror!
My issue was, and believe me, I understood the enormity of the offer, but in my heart I wanted to travel. I remember Gary saying in the interview, and I'm sure this was the defining moment for me, "we need someone who can handle the incoming media calls with discretion while we're travelling around the world". But hang on I thought, I want to go with you!
I could have done that job and I would have done it well, but I didn't want to be left behind.
Anyhow, before giving Gary my answer, I rang the boss of the travel agency just to check if his offer was going to come to fruition, and he said "yes, can you start Monday?" Aaaaaargh. I was happy and disappointed at the same time. It would have been easier if he'd said no, and then I would have gladly taken the Midnight Oil job, even without the travel. Clearly, for reasons I still, to this day, have not been able to fathom, that was not my destiny.
A year later, I rang Gary to inquire about something for someone, and he asked me how my job was going. I said "oh I love it". He said "well, the girl we hired has just left so the job is yours if you want it". I couldn't believe it. He was torturing me, and he was serious. I had to turn him down! AGAIN! And it was just as difficult as the year before. What the hell?
I did mention that I'd love to see their show though, and what a guy! He said "come to the office and pick up a couple of passes" So I did! I LOVE him! And what a rocking show!
I worked in travel for a few years and enjoyed quite a lot of travel opportunities. In the end, I became restless and realized that working in an office was not for me. I packed up my stuff, got in my car and drove north. I had no idea where I was going, I just needed to get on the road and go somewhere.
Next week I'll tell you where I ended up.
I hope you've enjoyed my story this week and as always, I love to hear your thoughts if you'd care to leave a comment, and be sure to join the mailing list for a free download of my Chasing Cars recording.
Below is a video of one of my favourite Midnight Oil songs.
Discovering The Joy Factor
I was always that artist that ardently refused to be a covers singer. I would perform MY songs or nothing. This may sound conceited to some, but I felt that it was important to choose a career path and follow it without compromise in order to be true to myself. It would be somewhat easier to make a living singing covers as opposed to originals, and tempting at times to go down that path, but it was never fulfilling for me. I chose to do other jobs to make my bread and butter whilst continuing to write, record and play the obligatory door deal shows that were just about the only option for indie artists trying to get established. These days house concerts are a great option.
Only now, after five albums of original material, and having been talked into recording a cover on my latest album Feel So Pretty, am I feeling joyful about the idea of recording songs other than my own. I explained in an earlier post how I came to record that cover and why. (Read about that HERE).
I never really understood in the past why anyone would want to hear ME do a version of a really great song when it's been done by a million other artists. I just didn't feel that I would have anything new to add I guess.
Well, evidently I was wrong. The feedback from my fans for my first cover recording has surprised me and warmed my heart, so much so that I've discovered a whole new avenue for delivering joy through music that I wasn't prepared to venture into in the past.
This fresh new feeling inspired me to make a plan for 2016, which would involve recording one cover song every month, and get people involved in the whole process. I launched a crowdfund campaign via Patreon and once again, the response has been surprising and thrilling. So it turns out, the girl who wouldn't sing covers, is now ALL ABOUT the covers in 2016! So shoot me.... hehe!
I'm also learning more and more about the magic of sharing. It was initially a daunting prospect for me to "dare to ask" people to contribute to something that I enjoy doing. I had to push through some pretty deep fears to allow myself to do that, but having "dared" to go there, the rewards are immense, and I'm not talking about money.
I'm talking about the bonds that are being formed between myself and those who love what I do. I'm talking about personal connections and interactions with pretty much perfect strangers who are quickly becoming treasured friends. I love the way social media and internet platforms like google hangouts have changed the way artists can now interact with their fans.
Through my new recording project, I'm able to involve people in every step of the process from choosing the songs that I record and discussing production ideas, to helping find studios and being present via live webcast, at the studio, and on the recording day. This is extremely exciting and fun for me and for everyone involved. What great times we live in.
Below is a Behind The Scenes look at the recording of Fix You by Coldplay.
Enjoy, and thank you for reading my blog today.
p.s. if you'd like to learn more about the project, click HERE. You'll receive a copy of each new track and more when you sign up to become a patron.
Locked Up At London Heathrow.
Having finally embarked on my solo career in 2009 (read more about that HERE), and a short stop in NYC for a couple of debut solo shows, I boarded an overnight flight bound for London.
I was heading there to finish an album that I'd previously begun when living in the U.K. a few years prior. My good friend and producer of the album, Chris, would be there to meet me.
On arrival at Heathrow, I approached the customs officer who would give me the usual line of questioning, but this time things didn't pan out in the "usual" way. You know that feeling you got as a child when your parents punished you for something your sibling did? You know you're innocent but it's your word against theirs?
Well this was starting to feel a bit like that as I noticed the officer quickly writing down my answers to his questions as to why I was visiting the U.K. again. Before long, I'm being escorted to a lock-up lounge area and politely told to wait there. Indefinitely. I was not allowed to use my phone so I couldn't contact Chris to let him know I'd been delayed.
After several hours of waiting, being questioned, asking for answers that were not given, drifting in and out of sleep face down on the bench seat, a female officer came to the door, opened it just enough that I could hear her, and said to the officers guarding the door, "can I do this out here, 'cos I can't be ass'd going in there".
I beg your pardon? She was talking about MY fate like I wasn't even there. Of course I knew she was going to let me go because this had all been a terrible mistake, but her level of disdain for me, a perfectly good human being whom she'd never met in her life, was astounding.
She signalled for me to come outside, and in the next 30 seconds my whole life did a 360 turnabout.
Here I was, I'd left a perfectly good job in Sydney, packed up the apartment I'd been renting, sold all my belongings to go conquer the world as a solo artist, and in one foul swoop, after 14 hours locked up at London Heathrow Airport, (not to mention the overnight flight from NYC) this "can't be ass'd" cranky female officer waved her magic bunch of keys hanging from her belt and changed the course of my life, AGAIN! I was in shock.
With no logical explanation, no apology for the inconvenience, no "gosh I hate to tell you this" no nothing, I was escorted through the airport like a criminal and shown to my seat on a Qantas plane bound for Australia, while our cranky friend handed my passport over to the Cabin Manager. Really? What, am I going to do? Try and make a run for it when we land in Singapore? Please!!!
I have to say, sitting on that plane with 22 hours to reflect on what just happened, I could only stand outside of myself and shake my head in awe. "Well isn't this interesting" I thought. What the hell is going on in my life? Remember, this was just 18 months after my life-changing relationship breakup (Not Waving, Drowning).
Landing back in Australia, dazed and a little confused to say the least, I realized the enormity of my situation. I knew there were forces at work in my life, and I could only wait and see what it was all about.
I moved in with my parents until I could find my bearings, and after a few skype sessions with Chris, I was on a plane over to France where he said he'd meet me with his portable studio to finish the album.
We spent 3 glorious weeks in the South Burgundy Region recording in a beautiful old building called Le Cafe Ancien. This of course, became the name of my album. What a wonderful gift and outcome considering the drama that had unfolded to make this happen.
I hope you've enjoyed my story this week and before you leave, I love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below.
You can also subscribe to my blog by entering your details in the box to the right of this page and bonus, you'll receive a free download of my Chasing Cars cover.
Until next time.
Some of you will know that I have an album called French Kiss which I named after the title track. Why did I write a song called French Kiss? Well thank you for asking.
It was not too long after the movie French Kiss came out with Kevin Kline and Meg Ryan in 1995. I was living in Sydney and looking for a guitarist to join my band. I received a phone call from a young Frenchman by the name of Jerome Allard, saying he was living in Australia and he'd like to audition. He turned up at my door and at first sight I was praying he could actually play guitar. He was petite, ruggedly handsome and just oozing rock star sex appeal.
He opened his guitar case, took out his guitar and Hallelujah, he could play AND he could sing! Let the rehearsals begin.
Ok so what does this all have to do with French Kiss? Well, as it turns out, Jerome was in Australia with his girlfriend Florence Soyez. Florence was modelling at the time for Jacqui E, and I kept seeing her face in magazines and on larger than life posters all round the city and in department stores. But more interestingly, she featured in the French Kiss movie as the stewardess who asks Kevin Kline to put out his cigarette early on in the film. She plays it down when Jerome talks about it and she poo poos the idea of being a model. "It pays the bills" she says in her to-die-for accent.
Jerome and Florence were so much fun. They smoked and drank as only the French can, and we hung out a lot over the next 12 months until sadly for me they had to return to Paris.
Jerome and I co-wrote a couple of songs on my French Kiss album, (Insane and My Eyes Are Dry), but after he left Australia I wrote a song about he and Florence which of course became the title track. I'm sure the lyrics have made no sense to anyone who has heard the song over the years, which is why I really wanted to tell this story. Lines like "French Kiss, Miss Jacqui E, picture perfect poise" and "Florence on the wall, large as life I can touch you" will now be like "oh yeah that's because she was plastered all over the city on enormous Jacqui E posters and also played the stewardess in the movie French Kiss".
I have no idea what my French friends are up to these days, but when I think about that year we spent together, it's as vivid as yesterday and always brings a smile to my face.
I hope you've enjoyed this week's story and as always, please leave a comment below as I love to hear your thoughts.
If you'd like to join my mailing list for news and tour updates, please enter your details in the download box to receive a free download of my Chasing Cars cover.
Until next time. Thank you for joining me.
From left: Michael Malouf, Me, Jerome Allard and my Reggiedog front and centre.
It's been a wildly exciting and emotionally challenging journey getting to where I am now as an independent artist.
I feel extremely lucky to be able to do what I love but I'm learning as I go, that what we start out thinking we're trying to achieve in our lives, can be far different to the outcome. When I set out on my journey to share my music with the world, I was really just bumbling around learning how to become a better musician and performer.
The biggest surprise and most welcome reward came for me when people began to tell me how my music touched their lives. Whaaaaaat? Music touches my life for sure, but I didn't expect that MY music would do this for others.
I had no idea the power of my gift and for a long time I felt like I was on this journey all by myself (except when I was touring with Fiona Joy........ and Yoda on her GPS telling us to go right, but not to the dark side). :)
It might surprise some of you to learn that last year when I returned home to Australia after finishing and releasing my Feel So Pretty album in the States, I was completely directionless and out of ideas as to how to keep going with my music career.
I knew I MUST keep going because evidently I was "touching lives" and to be honest, there is nothing else in this world that I want to do more than keep making music and sharing it with you.
So, I literally surrendered my life to the powers that be and gave myself an emotional break to await some new inspiration. I walked, read inspirational books, slept, did yoga and spent time with family and friends just enjoying rather than worrying about what next.
Before long, a trickle of new ideas and opportunities came into my life and I jumped on the things that felt good and right. I gained a few important mentors and by default (I thought I was getting some lessons on how to improve my social media skills) I gained a life coach by the name of Anthony John Amyx
Here I was thinking I had it all figured out. I had five albums under my belt, I'd been touring in the States and having fun beyond my wildest dreams. So why did I feel like I'd slammed head on into a brick wall?
Turns out we hold OURSELVES back from achieving our dreams in life. Why the hell would we do that to ourselves? It all comes back to fear. I had fears buried deep in my brain and Anthony just gets in there and pulls them out. It's painful, it's terrifying and it's soooooooooooo liberating when you finally let them go.
So I'm ready to rock 'n roll into 2016 and now I totally get it! We're all on this journey together and how comforting that is to understand. I'm no longer just trying to be a better musician. I'm touching lives and it feels so good!
I hope you've enjoyed my story this week and please leave a comment as I love to hear your thoughts.
You can also join my mailing list by entering your details in the download box on this page and receive a copy of my Chasing Cars cover.
Until next time.
Not Waving, Drowning!
This is a very personal story but so intense and fascinating for me that I wanted to share it with you. Sometimes when emotionally traumatic things happen in my life, I seem to be able to step outside of myself and just watch things unfold. Usually I can say to myself “well isn’t this interesting, I wonder where this is going”.
This time however, I felt the force of the whole world caving in on me and it didn’t let up for a very long time.
Of course I’m talking about a significant and long-term relationship break up. It had been, in my eyes, a very successful relationship which might sound odd given that it ended. While it lasted though, for the most part, it was very loving and sweet and easy and respectful.
So I’ll cut to the chase, and get right to the part where it all went belly-up. We’d been living in the U.K. for a couple of years when my partner scored a gig (he was a bass player) in a gorgeous Ski Resort in Northern Italy (a 3 month residency). This was very exciting for both of us and I thought I’d easily get work as well. I was wrong. I was too late. I should have gone over a couple of weeks earlier to secure something.
So after a few fun weeks of staying up late, listening to the band and enjoying the majesty of this beautiful place, I became restless and a little bored not having a job to keep me busy. Also, there’d been an incident which frightened me a little and left me feeling uneasy, so I decided I’d go and visit my sister in Uganda as she had created a very successful Guesthouse in Jinja on Lake Victoria (head of the Nile). I’d wanted to go for so long and this seemed like a perfect opportunity.
As I left, I saw a light go out in my partner’s eyes. He wasn’t happy about me going without him, but my efforts to get him to go to Uganda with me over the past couple of years had failed. It takes years for a relationship to fall apart and I have to admit that I’d felt that I was losing my grip on this one for some time now. It had always been so good and so easy, we’d never had to work at it, and I think when the boat started to rock, I/we didn’t have the skills or the understanding of how to put it right again.
While I was in Uganda, I went on a white water rafting trip and while I chose to go on the “mild” raft as opposed to the “wild” one, the river conditions had changed and there was one rapid that the guide told us was now unpredictable. “Hands up if you’d like to go on the safety boat for this one. Oh, but we can’t guarantee the safety boat won’t tip on this rapid either……so……….…” Holy Hell! I hadn’t planned on getting wet lol!
Long story short, after a brief from the guide informing us that if we could hold our breath for 10 counts we’d be ok. Shit! Wait! I’d been coughing for 6 weeks with a cold and my lungs weren’t quite so strong. My sister had actually asked me before I went “do you think you should go since you’ve not been well”? I would have pulled out but one of her friends was going and I didn’t want to let him down.
Ok, so I could count to ten, but was I counting too quickly? Oh never mind, the boat wouldn’t tip. We’ll be fine. And down the rapid we went, and over went the boat. I’m at the back of the boat by the way, back left corner which was pushed down into the pounding water as the rest of the boat flipped over me.
No problem, count to ten, don’t put your feet down or try to stand up, if you come up under the boat there’ll be an air pocket. I’ve got this! So I’m counting, and I’m counting and I’m counting and.......... oh……...... I’m not coming up. When can I expect to come up? 8…. 9… 10….. and then I said goodbye to my partner, and I said………I’m sorry. (phew, this is difficult to write).
As I reached for my last breath, my lungs took in a truck load of water and my life jacket propelled me to the surface, coughing and spluttering and in shock and panicked. I was so ashamed to be panicked because I could swim well. This had nothing to do with being able to swim though. I was waving and screaming to the safety guides in their kayaks, because I still thought I was going to drown. I couldn’t breath and the waves from the rapids were washing over my head. I guess they figured that I wasn’t face down, so there was no need to come to me. They were looking for upside down bodies.
My sister’s friend, washed past me, and when he saw my panicked state, he grabbed me, spun me round, held me really tight and told me I was going to be alright. He was amazing. Everyone from our boat had clearly had a time of it as they all looked stunned when they climbed back in the boat, even the guide. We still had 7 rapids to go.
The significance of this experience was not lost on me, as it made me re-evaluate my life. Nothing seemed to matter anymore. Not the stuff that we tend to spend our time and energy worrying about anyway.
When I arrived back in Northern Italy, my partner was involved in a terrifying car accident. Everyone in the car survived, but only because it rolled over towards the inside of the icy, snowy, mountain road, rather than the edge.
I thought to myself, what the hell is going on here. Something big is happening in our lives. We’ve both come close to dying in the last few weeks and you know that death can also mean a new beginning.
How right I was. It was the end of our relationship and though he instigated it, they say that when a relationship ends, both people want it and both have made it happen. I wouldn’t have said that at the time, but in hindsight, I’m sure that’s right. I wasn’t following my passion in life. Not really. I was content and probably complacent.
The last 7 or 8 years since we split, have been the most creatively fulfilling years of my life (See my Love Affair With NYC post). It’s almost like he was setting me free to force my hand. I didn’t fight it either. I think that I set him free too to have the life that he is now having. I would never have chosen to leave that relationship but am I grateful that it ended? Definitely, but not because I didn't love him. In fact, we're still good friends and he will always have a special place in my heart.
I hope you've enjoyed my story this week and thank you for taking the time to read it.
Below is a live video of my song 'Like Water'. This song came from the depths of my emotion after our break up.
Please leave a comment below as I love to hear your thoughts, and if you'd like to receive news and tour updates in the future, enter your details in the download box and receive a copy of my Chasing Cars cover.
Until next time.
I've been a traveller since I was 19 and I guess the more you move around the world, the more you open yourself up to extraordinary experiences, good and bad. I have so many, and thankfully, to this date, they all at least have a happy ending.
I was living in the U.K. in my early twenties. My sister, Merryde, joined me after about 6 months, and after travelling around together for the next twelve months, we were to fly home to Australia. Since she'd flown over separately, she was on a different airline and had to take a train to Paris from London first. I was flying directly from London, but we'd decided to spend a few weeks in Asia on the way home. First stop would be Colombo, Sri Lanka.
The arrangement was that since Merryde's flight was to arrive in Colombo four hours after mine, I'd just wait at the airport for her and then we'd go off and find somewhere to stay using our trusty 'Asia On A Shoestring' guide.
So we said goodbye to each other in London, and as I approached the top of the escalator which led down to the platform that my train to the airport was to leave from, I saw my train slowly pulling out. I watched in disbelief. I knew I was pushing it for time, but I couldn't believe I'd missed it.
I ran as fast as I could with my 18kg back pack to the taxi stand where there was an endless queue of people. I burst into tears and fully aware of how pathetic I must have looked, I begged them all to allow me to take the next cab! Horrified and sympathetic, they stepped back as one to let me in.
Sobbing in the back of the cab, my mind was racing. What if I miss my flight? My sister will arrive in Colombo and won't know where I am. I can't contact her (there were no mobile phones back then). We hadn't even thought to book a hotel so that we'd know to just get ourselves there and wait for the other. Aaaaargh I was beside myself. As well as that, the cab fair used up the equivalent of 1 week's travel money. Asia was very cheap, but now my budget was depleted by 7 days.
Well I did make my flight, within minutes, and I felt extremely relieved as you can imagine. But little did I know that the worst was yet to come.
I arrived in Sri Lanka, collected my bags and was wandering around looking for somewhere to sit and wait the 4 hours for my sister's flight, when a rather large, gold chain wearing Sri Lankan man asked me if I needed assistance. I replied that I was fine thank you, and just waiting for my sister coming from Paris. "Oh", he exclaimed, "that flight has been delayed indefinitely! Maybe it will arrive tomorrow or the next day, but not before". He must have seen the blood drain from my face as I realized I had no accommodation booked, I had no way of contacting my sister, and I had no idea when she would be arriving. All I could think was, what if she arrives tomorrow and I'm not here to meet her? She'll be panicked. She won't know where I am! Was this man even telling the truth? I mean, here I was, a young, vulnerable female travelling alone in a 2nd if not 3rd world country at that time.
So long story short, (I verified this man was a staff member at the airport), and I reluctantly allowed him to drive me to a nearby hotel. Without going into detail, he tried a few things on me including the old "I'll take you to a jewellery shop and you choose anything, anything you want and don't look at the price" trick, but it didn't work of course. I wasn't THAT vulnerable or naive (wink wink).
After a sleepless night, strung out and anxious, I made a few trips to the airport the next morning with my man friend, but we were not allowed past the entry gates without a ticket and were turned away each time and told to come back later. Finally, we got news of an arrival time, and this time we were allowed in. I saw my sister coming through customs, and as she approached me smiling, laughing and waving, I broke down with relief and bawled my eyes out. While I'd been living my nightmare, SHE had been swanning around in a Hilton Hotel in Paris, partying with others from the same flight - COURTESY OF THE AIRLINE THANK YOU VERY MUCH! I don't think she'd even given a second thought about HER sister!
So all's well that ends well and boy was I ever happy to see her. I was also very grateful to my man friend, though a little shady, he turned out to be harmless, and really went out of his way to help me out.
I hope you've enjoyed this week's story and as always, please leave a comment below as I love to hear your thoughts.
If you'd like to join my mailing list for news and tour updates, leave your details in the download box and receive a free copy of my Chasing Cars cover.
Until next time. Thank you for joining me.
On a train in Sri Lanka eating frozen pineapple pieces.
Two Grand I'm Yours.
I feel it's time to re-visit a period of my life that was not only very recent, but life-changing. It was a three year whirlwind experience that came about after I sent one email to a woman named Fiona Joy.
I was sitting on my bed, (my office), with my computer one day in early 2011. I was listening to an on-line radio show by Lisa Aston of House Concerts Australia, and when I heard the beautiful piano music of Fiona Joy, I thought to myself, I wonder if she'd like to tour with me? I'd been wanting to put together an Australian tour playing theatres, performing arts centres and jazz clubs, but it all seemed very daunting until I thought about teaming up with another artist.
With nothing to lose I shot Fiona an email (she wasn't hard to find) and she immediately wrote back with a big fat YES! Goodness. I wasn't quite expecting that. So.... ummmmm, what now? I quickly put my thinking cap on and came back to her with a few of my personal tour requirements which were 1) venues must be gorgeous 2) venues must have a grand piano and 3) we must play solo. That was it. Fiona was agreeable, (though a little unsure about the 'playing solo' bit since she had mostly only played with a full ensemble at that point), but after a not so gentle pep talk from me (a newly reformed soloist - see my 'Love Affair With NYC' blog), she CAVED, and promised to NEVER question my guru-esque wisdom EVER again! And with that we were bonded.
Before we knew it, we were staring down the barrel of an East Coast Tour for October that same year, having pooled our resources, put our heads together and enlisted the services of Lisa Aston and Deborah Gann to help with bookings and publicity. I could hardly believe what was happening even though I'd lit the fuse.
A friend of mine came up with the tour name 'Two Grand I'm Yours' which we embraced and ran amuck with. We thought it was clever, and cute and a little bit cheeky. This inspired me to think about a promo video, and after a sleepless night with silly ideas running through my head, well, a video was born (see below)..... and then...........there were two.
So off we went, green and nervous on our very first show of the tour, which was the Brisbane Jazz Club. As we steamrolled and giggled our way down the coast, we felt pretty happy with ourselves and decided we'd take it to America!!! What? What the hell were we thinking?
Sometimes, it pays to be a little naive when it comes to getting the job done. In the absence of fear and hesitation, Fiona and I reached out to everyone we knew in the United States, and with the help and generosity of so many of our friends, once again, we had a tour lined up for 2012 but this time it was America!!! Yikes! What would they think of us? What were we doing?
Well, I'm happy to say that the Americans embraced us with their enormous hearts, their overt warmth and kindness, and we managed to accomplish another two U.S. tours over the following years. To our surprise, all this touring together made us realize we had a positive contribution to make in the world. We seemed to be touching peoples' lives in a way that we never imagined. We were just having fun, but out of it came a sense of purpose that I don't think either of us totally understood at the beginning of it all.
Though we've finished touring together as Two Grand I'm Yours, Fiona and I remain great friends and we still work together to help support each others' careers. I've learned so much from Fiona over the years and she's a very kind hearted and talented artist. I'm eternally grateful for her having come into my life and for all the people who have come with her as a consequence.
I hope you've enjoyed this week's story and as always, please leave your comments below as I love to hear your thoughts and remarks.
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Until next week. Thank you for joining me.
Well you're not going to believe THIS story but it's absolutely true!
I was in need of accommodation in NYC for about a month on another visit, so I put a post on my facebook page asking if anyone knew of a room to rent. A friend of mine, Graham (in Australia), messaged me and gave me the contact details of a friend of his in NYC, Annette. Annette wasn't able to help with accommodation, but she asked me to get in touch when I was there so we could meet up for a coffee (or was it a cocktail) .... more likely.
So I eventually secured a room in a very tall building, on about the 17th floor on East 38th, and when I rang Annette, she asked me where I was staying. I told her the address and she remarked "are you serious"? I'm right across the street on the 21st floor" I said "get out of here! I'm going to put a yellow post-it note on my window and if you can see it, wave". I put the note on my window, a woman came outside onto her balcony high up in the building across the street and began waving her arms madly! We've been really great friends ever since.
On that same visit (I think it was 2010/11), I got invited to a party at the apartment of a couple of guys who played the piano and sang. They were so passionate about their music career and were obviously on there way to becoming very successful. It wasn't only the songs and their voices that made me feel this way, but there was an energy about them that was palpable. Their names were Ian and Chad. Well they were definitely on their way, because last year I kept hearing a new song on the radio, on the TV, in shopping centres etc. It was so beautiful and powerful that I was compelled to go looking to see who this band was. Blow me down if it wasn't my new friends Ian and Chad. The song was 'Say Something' and their new band name was A Great Big World. What can I say! It just feels like anything can happen in New York City.
In conclusion, as I think about the Big Apple and what it means to me, I think that no matter how vibrant and exciting a place can be, it's ultimately the people you meet that make it an even greater experience for you or not even an experience you'd care to revisit. I know plenty of people who've visited NYC and though they appreciate it's finer qualities, their experiences were not the same as mine or anyone else's for that matter, and they feel satisfied with the one visit. Isn't that the fascinating thing about life! Our experiences are so uniquely our own.
Thank you for reading my story today and before you leave, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. If you'd like to be notified in the future of new postings and happenings, please put your details in the box to the right-hand side of this page (or scroll down if you're on a mobile device).
Until next week.
My photographer and dear friend Robin Craig. Click on the photo to check out some of our very first moments together around New York City.