Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - Q & A - Rachel Daw­ick is tour­ing un­til late Oc­to­ber. See rachel­daw­ick.com

spent two years trav­el­ling the coun­try re­search­ing the sto­ries of New Zealand women in the 1800s for a col­lec­tion of mu­si­cal tales called The Bound­ary Rid­ers. What in­spired The Bound­ary Rid­ers? A few things led me to re­alise there was a gap that needed to be filled. Part of this was search­ing for songs by women in New Zealand in the 1800s and com­ing quickly to a dead end. Was any­one par­tic­u­larly hard to write about? They were all com­pli­cated. Each character took at least three months of pulling the re­search to­gether un­til I felt I could imag­ine the per­son stand­ing in front of me. Tell us about a mem­o­rable mo­ment on the road. The high­light has been the peo­ple I’ve met, their gen­eros­ity, their in­ter­est in the sto­ries and de­sire to tell their fam­ily his­tory. Record­ing with amaz­ing mu­si­cians who brought all the songs to life was very spe­cial. What ob­sta­cles did you en­counter? The main one was try­ing to find enough in­for­ma­tion. Then there were the tour­ing lo­gis­tics – my first van over­heated and I lost all my sav­ings; I went through a re­la­tion­ship break­down; I spent many months strug­gling to find enough money to af­ford to live and re­ly­ing on friends to help out with a place to stay; I snapped my Achilles ten­don and be­came com­pletely house­bound for three months. All th­ese things caused me great emo­tional strain and I was close many times to giv­ing it all up. I over­came all th­ese ob­sta­cles from this deep belief in what I was do­ing. My strug­gles were noth­ing com­pared to what [th­ese women] had been through and that gave me strength. What have you taken away from putting the project to­gether? An aware­ness of the sto­ries of women in our his­tory and their strength in the face of ad­ver­sity; a new love for New Zealand; a mu­si­cal joy in writ­ing; and sat­is­fac­tion at the fi­nal prod­uct – the al­bum and the book. What per­son or thing would make your life bet­ter? A van – I still don’t have trans­port or a place to lay my head at night. Tell us some­thing about your­self few peo­ple know. I have four de­grees. I in­structed aer­o­bics for 10 years. My first real au­di­tion was when I was 10 for the part of a 200-year-old dragon. What were you like in high school? I just got on with it and played lots of in­stru­ments, made some good friends, but I found it cre­atively unin­spir­ing. If you could edit your past, what would you change? I would not have gone straight to univer­sity after school but in­stead spent a few years trav­el­ling and work­ing, and fo­cus­ing on my mu­sic. Which of your own traits do you most de­plore? The in­ter­nal ques­tion­ing – it can be­come quite de­bil­i­tat­ing at times. Which of your own traits are you most proud of? More and more I re­spect my abil­ity to let go and to trust my­self to face chal­lenges. Do you have any re­cur­ring dreams? Yes, I travel a lot in my dreams, dis­cov­er­ing places I haven’t been to yet, and I have that fall­ing dream quite reg­u­larly. What’s the best pud­ding on earth? I love ex­otic fruit, so a mix­ture of fresh pineap­ple, mango, pa­paya, ly­chee and melon.

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