My favourite things
Winning the Golden Guitar Award for Female Artist of the Year in 2015 (at the Country Music Awards of Australia) for my fourth album, Superheroes, was the absolute pinnacle. It’s something I have dreamt of since I started writing songs 12 years ago. This is an industry full of so many fantastic, strong and talented women, so I really thought I’d be waiting another 10 years to win something like this. When my name was read out, it was mind-blowing. It was such a validation of my pure blind faith that, stupidly or otherwise, I had given up my job as a finance executive at Qantas to chase a dream. This was a symbol that my decision to leave that career to write music had paid off. The award is also a reminder of how much I love doing what I do. Watching the audience and seeing if I have brought joy to people is my measure of success. I really love the onstage part. I love the live performance because of the gift you get from the audience. When they are looking back at me, I feel like we are in it together. That’s what I love about it.
Being a songwriter, words are my favourite form of art. And so the words in this poster from Alice in Wonderland (“You’re entirely bonkers, I’ll tell you a secret, all the best people are”) speak to me because I feel like it’s about me. I mean, sometimes I think you’d have to be bonkers to do what I do; to drive around Australia, sometimes by myself, sometimes 800km at a time, chasing the dream.
This was a gift from my mum, Lorraine. I think the words on the cup (“She believed she could, so she did”) reflect something that someone should have said to my mum when she was young. My mum can sing and is very talented, but the opportunity never came her way. My parents always said similar words to me and encouraged me — made me believe in myself and that I could achieve my dreams. They were behind me the whole way. I think Mum bought the mug as acknowledgment of my achievements, to reflect what she sees in me. But the cup made me see these things in her, and what could have been.
This is the very last photo we ever took as a family. It was my mum’s 60th birthday. Dad wasn’t sick yet — he died nine months later. I had the photo printed on canvas and gave it to my mum, brother Adam and sister Peta. It’s one of my favourite photos. We are all carefree and happy and we are blissfully unaware of what is about to come with my dad. It was only a month later that dad was diagnosed with lymphoma.
My Aunty Michelle bought me this perfume as a joke because of its name, Sexy Amber. But that’s not how I see myself. But what is even funnier is that when I tried it on, I really loved the scent. With my name Amber, I have realised there’s quite a lot of products called Amber, from perfume to jewellery to face masks. I get a few Amber-named gifts as a joke.