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With a new album out, Jenny Mitchell has joined a flood of women singer-songwriters making some of the country's best music.
Mitchell, who is also studying fulltime at the University of Otago, has released Wildfire, an album of self-penned songs that has been nominated for a Tui Award in the country music category.
You can catch her live tomorrow night in the first show on her Troubadour Tour.
Q Balancing a music career with fulltime study at Otago is a challenge. How do you do it?
I was lucky, I guess, that I grew up in a music oriented family, especially my dad, but also my sisters, and, of course, everywhere around me in Gore there's musicians aplenty. In fact, that can sometimes be a problem as all the guys in my band are farmers, which can make it difficult for us to get together. I have been singing for what seems like my whole life, and then, a few years ago, I started writing songs, and I have grown more confident with that as I have gotten older. Coming back to your question about balancing my university studies with my music career. Yes, occasionally it can get pretty crazy, but I am in my third year now studying communications, and that's working out OK. I might regret saying that, as I am about to embark on a tour, which we've called The Troubadour Tour: 13 shows in all starting here in Dunedin, at 50 Dundas, tomorrow night. I also have support from Joseph Dalfe, a finger-style guitarist, who is really good. This will be my official debut performance in Dunedin, so I am pretty pumped about that.
Q I understand that you have made quite a few visits to the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
Yes, that started through my dad and it became an inspiration to me, hearing all those talented country and Americana artists. It has certainly played quite a role in my development as a singer and songwriter. And more recently I've been able to perform there myself, alongside the likes of Kasey Chambers.
Q Alongside the tour, you've had a busy year with your nomination for a Tui Award and the release of Wildfires. That must feel very good.
I had been writing songs for the album for quite a while, but I wanted to make sure I had a strong set of songs to work with.
I had already done a little bit of recording before Wildfires, so I had an idea of how it all works.
The other thing that was very important to me was finding the right producer. I asked around and I kept hearing the name Matt Fell. He used to be in a band but made the move into producing awhile ago, so I was able to check out the sound he had created for quite a few artists.
We did the recording for Wildfires in Melbourne and it worked out really well. Matt was great as a producer and I'm really pleased with how we developed the songs I had written, and with the overall sound of the album. I think it's a big step forward.