She’s Dynamite! Q & A with our own Queen of Country, Tami Neilson

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Singer, songwriter, musician, wife, mother, even a Glory Days covergirl… Tami Neilson is one talented lady with a few strings to her bow!

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There can’t be many of you out there that aren’t yet familiar with this Canadian – who now calls NZ home, along with her Kiwi husband and two children, but just in case, here’s a bit of bio from Tami’s website:

“With a soulful voice straight from the golden age of country and rockabilly music, Tami Neilson has been described as “A red-hot honky-tonker, somewhere between Patsy Cline and Wanda Jackson with perhaps just a little bit of Peggy Lee sophistication.” (-Nick Bollinger, NZ National Radio)
Singing her heart out along endless roads and stages, from her days as a young girl in Canada touring with the Neilson Family band, opening for the likes of Johnny Cash, to her full blossoming in New Zealand as a formidable talent in her own right, Tami Neilson has won the Tui Award for each of her past three albums.

Now, in 2014, Tami has been awarded the APRA Silver Scroll, New Zealand’s most prestigious music award for excellence in songwriting, for her song “Walk (Back to Your Arms)”. Tami was also awarded the “Best Female Artist” at the National Country Music Awards and APRA’s “Best Country Song” at the NZ Country Music Awards. The release of her explosive new album “Dynamite!” has been receiving rave reviews, including 5 Stars in the NZ Herald, claiming “This world-class album is a major statement from an artist at the top of her lyrical and vocal game.”, while National Radio NZ states “I don’t reckon there’ll be a better country album released this year.”

Charting #1 on the NZ Music Charts, Independent Music NZ Charts and iTunes Country Charts, the album is well on it’s way to proving them right!

While already having made a solid name for herself here in NZ, Tami’s latest album “Dynamite” and her musical talent are making reviewers jaws drop all over the world. You can check out her banging new video for third single off the album and the title track “Dynamite” below – featuring Anika Moa, Miss Victory Violet and Ria Hall. I love the Tarantino-esque vibe and the never mess with a woman attitude!

One of the things that makes such a fan of Tami’s is her incredible live performances. If you haven’t been along to one of her gigs before, DO IT! The first time I saw her live (very  pregnant, rocking a wiggle dress like nobody’s business!), I was blown away. I had to buy and listen to her album and have been hooked since! Always a huge fan of old school country legends like Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton, I felt like I was really listening to something extraordinary. Tami plays with some of NZ’s best musicians, it’s always a show not to be missed! The originals sound as polished as on the albums, and if you’re lucky you might hear Tami play a cover from one of the legends she invokes, which will send tingles up your spine….

For a lady of such formidable talent, you couldn’t have anyone further away from being a diva! On stage, Tami’s easy going manner and infectious laugh make you really LIKE her, and in person she is just as lovely and friendly, always taking time after her shows to chat, sign albums and pose for photos. In fact, after one show I approached Tami, somewhat sheepishly, with an unusual request. You see, my four year old daughter loves Tami’s music, and seeing as she couldn’t attend the concert (past her bedtime)… she asked me to bring Barbie in her stead. Dressed especially for the show, of course. Tami didn’t bat an eyelid when I pulled Barbie out of my purse, she just laughed and posed for the photo 🙂 And my daughter was thrilled!

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Last year, Miss Tami was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions for me!
With wedding chaos now over, I can get back into my blogging and am excited to share her answers with you…

Who are your biggest inspirations?
My family.

Choose three words you think best describe yourself!
It changes on a daily basis, but, today it’s: Mother. Happy. Tired!

 What book are you currently reading?
 I used to be a 1-2 books a week kinda gal (Ah, so THAT’S what I did with my time before having kid…!). Now I’m lucky to get through one every couple months! I just started “Shoot the Moon” by Billie Letts, after having heard of her passing. I’ve read all of her other books and it saddens me that there will be no more. I love her quirky humour mixed with dark and disturbing situations. Her characters are so memorable and great. (Her son, Tracy Letts, the playwright of “August: Osage County”, definitely carries on her talent!)

 Favourite piece in your wardrobe!
Too hard to choose just one- I am a dress kinda gal, so, you’ll find me wearing one- either from Rita Sue, De Vol Clothing, Pin Up Girl Clothing or, most recently, a custom dress made for me by Devel Men & Women!

What comes into your mind when you picture “happiness”?
My babies laughing.

You juggle your successful music career, which involves plenty of touring, with being a mum of two! Do you have any tips for other multi-tasking mamas for how to make things work?
The secret to making this hectic lifestyle work is the support of an amazing husband, who jumps in and takes over the solo-parenting role and always encourages me to pursue my music. Also, lots of organizing well in advance!

 Is there any one song you enjoy performing most?
I think the sad ones are my favourite! I always love singing “She’s Got You” by Patsy Cline.

What’s your favourite way to relax in your spare time?
Spare time?? Haha. Um…snuggling up to watch a movie with my hubby, reading a book uninterrupted, or a real treat these days- a massage or a pedicure!

If you had to pick your top 5 albums (or artists) of all time, what (or who) would they be?
Damn, another tough one…
Judy Garland, Patsy Cline, Mavis Staples, Louis Armstrong, Loretta Lynn

What upcoming plans and projects can we look forward to seeing in the future?
I’m currently writing new material for my next album, being recorded in April 2015!

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Awesome, thanks so much to Tami! I’ll be looking forward hugely to hearing what she has up her sleeve for her new album!

If you want to get along and see this talented and inspirational lady perform next, check out her latest schedule here… I know I can’t wait for the Auckland show at the Tuning Fork April 10th!

Lorelei Louise xx

Friday Feature: Delightful Dolly

Happy Friday everyone! Well with wedding planning and kitchen renovations ongoing, it’s been a pretty crazy week! So instead of an interview, this week I am going to share a some quotes and a few fun facts about one of my favourite women ever – the incredibly inspirational Dolly Parton! There are not many people who’s quotes are so well known they have become part of modern lexicon. Or who have simultaneously made a name for themselves both as a larger than life big breasted blonde, modelled on the town tramp…. and a feminist icon.  If I had a theme song, it would definitely be a Dolly Parton track…

Dolly Parton in the 1970s

Earlier in the year, Bust magazine published a great article and interview with Dolly (July issue, highly recommended read!). They included an excellent compilation of “Dolly-isms” which I am going to include here, as well as a couple more I also love!

“There’s no such thing as natural beauty.”

“I’m not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I’m not dumb…and I also know that I’m not blonde.” 

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“If you talk bad about country music, it’s like saying bad things about my momma. Them’s fightin’ words.”

“I was the first woman to burn my bra – it took the fire department four days to out it out.”

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” I look just like the girls next door… if you happen to live next door to an amusement park.”

“I like to buy clothes that are 2 sizes too small and then take them in a little.”

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“I have little feet because nothing grows in the shade.”

“After Momma gave birth to 12 of us kids, we put her up on a pedestal. It was mostly to keep Daddy away from here.”

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“I always pattern my look after the town tramp. I swear to God that’s true, but I can’t giver her name.”

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Now if you are a Dolly fan this none of this will be news to you, but here are a few things you might not have known about Dolly…

  • She has recorded 42 studio albums, and recorded her first song in 1960 at only 14. She has had 46 Grammy award nominations and 8 wins.
  • Dolly’s original song “I Will Always Love You” went number 1 on the charts 3 separate times. When first released by Dolly in 1974, again in 1982 when she re-recorded it for her movie “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” and of course when it was covered by Whitney Houston in 1992.
  • Dolly has been married to her husband Carl for nearly fifty years, after meeting at the Wishy Washy laundromat soon after she arrived in Nashville, the couple were married in 1966.
  • She was born the 4th of 12 children and lived in a one room cabin growing up in Tennessee – her song “Coat of Many Colours” is autobiographical

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The latest issue of Glory Days features a Q & A with Dolly, get yourself a copy if you haven’t already, it’s a whole country themed issue!

Wishing you all a lovely weekend,

Lorelei Louise xx