Australian country singer-song writer Amber Lawrence had a massive 2017 topping things off with six Golden Guitar nominations. Collaborating on an album for the first time together, Travis Collins & Amber Lawrence are celebrating their six finalist places with Our Backyard featuring in the Contemporary Country Album Of The Year, Toyota Heritage Song Of The Year, Regional Australia Bank Group Or Duo Of The Year, APRA AMCOS Song Of The Year, CMC Video Clip Of The Year, and Single Of The Year categories. If that wasn’t enough Amber is celebrating landing the number one spot on the kids ITunes chart with Aussie Aussie Christmas. Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles spoke to Amber about 2017 and what 2018 has in store with a new album release on the way.

Finishing the year off with six Golden Guitar nominations is a nice bonus?
Yeah, that was amazing and a nice way to finish off the year. It definitely wasn’t expected so now I’ll cross my fingers and hope that I can win one or two or three! Kasey Chambers got six in the same category so one would be nice.

When you look back at 2017 it has been a crazy ride with so much good stuff happening has it felt like it has whizzed past in a blur?
Not in a blur but it has been a very busy year and I have done a lot but when you look back and go oh wow I’ve done that in one year I guess it didn’t go that fast.

Have you thought much about how you’ll step it up again in 2018?
No, not really because every year is different and rather than step it up a little I might actually pull it back a little so that 2019 can be another big year. I don’t think you want the pressure to step it up but rather go with the flow, that’s what I’m going to do in 2018 and see what happens.

Does that make it that much tougher being in Australia as there are only so many places you can tour in Australia?
It has a lot to do with that as well and you have to give people a break, so they can miss you. There was no chance of anyone missing me in 2017 because I was everywhere and didn’t take much time off at all. I just kept pumping out new music and I do want to do a new album of adult material, so I need to starting writing that.

Are you stoked with how well Aussie Aussie Christmas has gone?
I’m so excited about that. It wasn’t really a pre-thought idea but obviously in time for Christmas and these songs trickled out of me during the year. It was a loose idea that I might do a Christmas album, so I thought if I’m going to do it I better record it. The title track Aussie Aussie Christmas I just love how well that has been received and how many schools are doing it as their end of year Christmas song. Things like that are really nice and hopefully that will be around for a long time.

Was it always your intention to slip in to the kid’s entertainment genre?
It always has been at the back of my mind as there are always lots of children who come to my shows. I always wondered why so many kids come to my shows and I think that is because I’m quite animated and fun on stage. I thought I might as well do something for them, kids resonate and connect with me and I love singing for the kids. I thought let’s do a side project but I don’t want to be only a kids entertainer because I love the story telling and the serious side of what I do as well. I wouldn’t want to give that up to just sing kids songs but you never know the direction it is going to take you but I do love that I’m able to juggle both at the moment.

Are you staggered when you look at the YouTube views and interaction on other social media platforms the clip is getting?
It is great, and I think there is a lack of Aussie kid’s music out there. Of course, The Wiggles have got it covered but only up to a certain age. Kids five to ten like songs that are real to them and they can connect with the singer, me, fun and on their side. I think adults liked it as well and that is the fun part and probably why I get so many views.

Is there more planned or is it wait and see?
Not for 2018 but maybe the year after. In 2018 I will be focusing on being a songwriter, telling stories and I am looking forward to that. I’m going to Nashville in February and hope to release some really good songs. I was blown away with how Our Backyard was received. Nearly every song I have written this year has some connection to Australia in it. My first few albums I wasn’t that kind of song writer and patriotic kind but more heartbreak and all that. I’m past that and have done those songs and I think I want to write more stories and be a bit more connected to the land.

What is it about Nashville attracting musicians to go there and write songs?
It is the creative time, when I’m at home it is all business and you don’t really allow yourself the time to go and write songs. I find I’m off to do a TV or radio interview or prep for a show so you don’t actually think about the songs. Being in Nashville you are in isolation and in a different time zone so even if you do a little bit of work you’re doing that at midnight because during the day you have the luxury of working on songs being able to tap in to many different creative forces over there. I was going to be writing songs about Australia and Australian things but it would be good to do it in Nashville and have that time to think about writing. It’s a short two week trip, get there, write some songs, come home and start on the next project.

Have you got ideas floating around in your head about how the album might sound?
Not really, I definitely have ideas and I know the kind of vibe of the song writing but I don’t know about production yet… still thinking about that! 2018 will be about releasing a new album much later in the year though and releasing the best possible album I can. I don’t want to rush it out and AI want to release something I am really proud of and take my career the next step along the way.

Interview by Rob Lyon