My favourite things

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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.

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