Twelve months ago Jenny Mitchell stood on her home stage accepting the biggest award of her career.
Instead of talking about her achievements when accepting the Tui for best country music artist of the year, she spoke non-stop about her appreciation of fellow singer Tami Neilson.
“I was next to Tami and I just spent half of it talking about how much I love her,” Mitchell said.
“It was surreal and super humbling, from a very young age I watched her win Tui after Tui and she’s been such a huge support for me.”
Mitchell beat Neilson and Jamie McDowell with her sophomore album Wildfires to win the award at the New Zealand Country Music Awards in Gore last year.
“Awards are funny things.
“It represents that I can do it from a small town with support of an audience album was crowd-funded and about 80% of it came from Gore.
“It’s a sort of seal of approval that you can do it yourself.”
Her Tui propelled a whirlwind year for Mitchell as she went on to be the first New Zealand artist nominated for Alt Country Album of the Year at the Golden Guitar Awards in Australia.
“That was a huge thing for me expected to happen.
“There was lots of happy tears.”
She completed her first New Zealand tour after having toured throughout Australia for a number of years.
She described the national tour as a “real turning point”.
“Lots of the time it’s independent releasing an album.
“It’s months of admin and can be quite isolating . . . getting out and playing in place like Nelson where I’ve never even been before . . . they were packed small places and having people singing my words and knowing my music was fantastic.”
One of her favourite shows was at her cousin’s bakery in Wanaka where they created a “DIY” venue.
“If it’s not there make it there.”
Her final single Travelling Bones off her album sat number eight on Australian Country Radio at present.
“It’s the last track off it closing the chapter.”
She was supposed to be in Australia touring in April and recording more music with her producer in Sydney.
They were working through a plan to do it remotely due to Covid-19 and she hoped to have something released before the end of the year.
She was gutted not to be able to perform her “Tea at Three” show at the Tussock Country Music festival so instead she performed alongside her sisters at the Thomas Green Public House and Dining Room last Friday.