Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page - JAMES WIGNEY

Rec­on­cil­ing fam­ily with ca­reer.

WITH nine ARIAS, 12 Golden Gui­tars and a stack of other writ­ing and record­ing awards un­der her belt, Kasey Cham­bers is the undis­puted queen of Aus­tralian coun­try mu­sic. The mother of three spent late Jan­uary at the Tam­worth Coun­try Mu­sic Fes­ti­val, 20 years af­ter she first per­formed there as part of the Dead Ringer Band, with her par­ents, Bill and Diane, and brother Nash. Mar­ried to singer- song­writer Shane Ni­chol­son, Cham­bers had her first daugh­ter Poet Pop­pin ( both pic­tured) last Oc­to­ber, a sis­ter to sons Arlo and Talon, and also re­leased her au­to­bi­og­ra­phy,

A Lit­tle Bird Told Me, which de­tailed her un­con­ven­tional up­bring­ing on the Nullar­bor Plain and her bat­tle with an eat­ing dis­or­der at the height of her fame.

Q. How has Tam­worth been this year? A. It’s been re­ally good. Num­bers were down last year be­cause of the Queens­land floods but it has re­ally picked up this year. It’s ab­so­lutely packed. Q. Is there a real ca­ma­raderie in the Aus­tralian coun­try mu­sic scene? A. I love it. It’s like any in­dus­try – there is an el­e­ment of peo­ple who just want to be fa­mous and peo­ple who want to drag other peo­ple down but that’s not the main part of it. Most peo­ple are there to have a good time and a lot of us are re­ally good mates and we love get­ting to­gether and singing to­gether and go­ing to each other’s gigs. And if you don’t get an award, you usu­ally see it go­ing to one of your mates. Q. You al­ready have a truck­load of ARIAS and Golden Gui­tars. Do you still get a kick out of win­ning awards? A. Peo­ple of­ten think, ‘ Well you have tons of them’ but the thing for me is that each ARIA or award rep­re­sents a dif­fer­ent al­bum or song and they are all so spe­cial to me. I don’t re­ally com­pare one al­bum to an­other. They are kind of like my chil­dren – you’re not sup­posed to have a favourite. Q. Writ­ing seems to be feast or famine for you. How do you know when the muse is strik­ing? A. Some­times it’s when I am sit­ting at home cook­ing din­ner. Some­times I feel, ‘ I have a day off to­mor­row, I might do some writ­ing’. Some­times I think I should do some writ­ing and then never get around to it. I wish I had more con­trol over it and could turn it on and off and make sure it hap­pens when I have enough time. But it has a mind of its own. Q. Who has been your big­gest mu­si­cal in­spi­ra­tion? A. Out­side of my fa­ther, I would have to say Lucinda Wil­liams. She has been some­one I have looked up to for a while. She still makes some of my favourite mu­sic and I al­ways loved her ca­reer, as well. It was all about the mu­sic and her putting her heart on her sleeve and be­ing her­self. I have tried to take a leaf out of that book. Not ev­ery­thing in my life I am proud of, but it’s all me. Q. With its hon­est rev­e­la­tions of your eat­ing dis­or­der and abuse and some dark pe­ri­ods in your life, how has your re­cent au­to­bi­og­ra­phy been re­ceived? A. I do put my heart on my sleeve and I put my faults and mis­takes and down­falls out there, es­pe­cially in the book, but at the end of the day, these are all the things that make up who I am. I’d have loved to have writ­ten a book that just listed all the awards I had won but I don’t think they would have much of a bear­ing on who I am as a per­son. Un­for­tu­nately, it has been a lot of the hard times and bad de­ci­sions I have made that have cre­ated the per­son who I am. Q. How did you end up rec­on­cil­ing your ca­reer and your fam­ily? A. My fam­ily saw all this hap­pen­ing long be­fore I did and they were with me the whole way. My man­ager also hap­pens to be my brother and he cares more about his sis­ter than he does about his artist. He is al­ways the first one to say, ‘ You don’t need to say that, go and have a week off’. It’s great to have those peo­ple work­ing around me.

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