Lyn Bowtell may be a nine-time Golden Guitar winner but she says learning to accept rejection is also part and parcel of a career in country music.
The singer-songwriter, who has a Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education, is seen as an inspiration and mentor especially to industry newcomers. She sees many aspiring musicians come through the sessions at the Academy of Country Music, where she is musical director.
"My advice for anyone young starting out ... when you get nominated [for an award] celebrate the heck out of it. The music industry is full of 'no's, it's an industry full of rejections. And that's just how it goes. If you're not getting lots of rejections you're not putting yourself out there enough," she says.
"Always celebrate your wins, even if they are small, you must celebrate them and live in that moment.
"You've got to remember why you picked up a guitar or started singing or playing the piano in the first place."
Bowtell is returning to her happy place with her latest album, produced by fellow country music star and friend Shane Nicholson.
The album has a retro feel, harking back to the 1970s and 80s, and combines her love of soul and blues in what she describes as an alt-country style.
Some of the songs have been in Bowtell's "back pocket" for 10 or 15 years, she says, just waiting to find the right space to emerge, while others were written fresh during COVID lockdowns.
The farmer's daughter has come a long way since first performing in country music clubs in her home territory, the Darling Downs in Queensland, aged just 13.
Her win at the 1995 Queensland Champion of Champions event was the first of many.
Bowtell has been a Star Maker winner, won Alternative Country Album of the Year in 2015, has twice been awarded Vocal Collaboration of the Year and in 2020, just before the pandemic hit, won Heritage Song of the Year with Luke O'Shea for the single Sing Me a Story.
Bowtell is well known for her collaborations, including with Kevin Bennett, Felicity Urquhart, Adam Harvey and Catherine Britt.
Her partnership with fellow singer-songwriter and sound engineer Damon Morton has kept Bowtell happy and supported.
He's an introvert, Bowtell is the extrovert, and they strike a successful balance personally and professionally, she says.
"He's a great lyricist. He's really good at putting on those 'high intensity' glasses, where he looks at every single syllable, and he looks at what the meaning behind each lyric is. And he's very aware of things that I would miss sometimes."
Bowtell describes the Tamworth Country Music Festival as her "second home". The festival has been postponed from its regular January timeslot this year, due to surging coronavirus cases. It is now scheduled for April 18-24.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the iconic Tamworth Country Music Festival, ACM (publisher of this website) created a new podcast, Celebrating Aussie Country.
The podcast was recorded and released before the recent surge in coronavirus cases that forced the festival's postponement. We are sure you'll still enjoy the interviews and the music. Just bear in mind any references to performance dates are no longer current.
In the 10-part series, available only on Spotify, you'll hear from established and emerging artists and their music.
To listen, you'll need to download the Spotify app on to your mobile phone and search for Celebrating Aussie Country. If you already have Spotify - and you're reading this story on your mobile - click on the banner below and your phone will take you direct to the podcast.
Each podcast episode includes an interview with the artist and some of their music. People with free Spotify subscriptions will hear a 30-second snippet of the song, while those with premium Spotify subscriptions can enjoy the full version.
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