When the Country Music Festival kicks off at Tamworth today, Maroubra girl Amber Lawrence will be hoping for more success after last year’s Golden Guitar award.
The Newsroom caught up with the singer/songwriter to discuss her career, the music festival and her next album.
Her love of country began by accident: she just happened to come across an album by Leann Rimes while shopping in the city 14 years ago and decided to have a listen. She bought the album.
“I loved the stories and the realness of the music and that’s when I realised I wanted to be a singer,” she told The Newsroom.
Her inspiration comes from artists that have done the hard yards, battlers who keep trying to entertain others no matter what. “Artists that have worked the hard way without any assistance from major record companies, who have faced rejection along the way through their careers artists like Troy Cassar Daley, Kasey Chambers, and The Waifs. They are a true inspiration…”
She’s discovered, as they did, that music is a tough gig, with lots of touring, busking, testing the waters to see if people like what you are doing. Her lyrics are solely based on her experiences through life, good, bad and indifferent.
Lifesaver, for instance, featured on her last album Superheroes, was about her dad, once a Maroubra Beach lifesaver, who suffered a stroke when he was 40.
“It was really traumatic, It really changed our lives but my mum turned things around and looked after dad. He was able to stay alive for another 20 years and that’s where the song came about.”
Honeysuckle, another song from that album, recalls her own teen years and longing for love.
Last year all the hard work paid off when she won her award as female country artist of the year: “It felt amazing; it was such a validation for me and such a reward for hard work.”
Soon after that triumph she set off on her Girls of Country tour with up-and-coming artists Aleyce Simmonds and Christie Lamb as support. That tour made a pleasant change from the usual loneliness of the country road. “To be with friends, especially girls gave me the opportunity to talk about fashion, shoes, makeup and music.”. (The Girls of Country will reunite for a gig in the Blazes Showroom at West Tamworth Leagues Club on January 22.)
She finds songwriting harder these days, but still gets a buzz when sitting down with guitar and pen pays off and something worthwhile is committed to paper. Amber’s current project is a kid’s album featuring youngsters singing with her. She is also working on her fifth mainstream country album which will be released later this year.
“I have no regrets of becoming a singer, [of] following dreams. Having that burning desire of actually wanting to do it is the best thing,” she told The Newsroom.
The Tamworth Country Music Festival runs until January 24. Amber will make several appearances around the town including the opening concert at Toyota Park tonight. – Jesse Mullens
Photo of Amber Lawrence winning her first golden guitar in Tamworth last year from her personal website.