Fanny Lumsden is currently touring as part of her “Under Our Hills Hoist” Tour. Raised in Western NSW, Fanny has been described as a “breath of fresh country air”. She has had tremendous success with her second and current, crowd funded album (Real Class Act) and her recent ARIA nomination makes Fanny the only independent artist to top the charts and one of only eight Australian artists to reach #1 in 2017.

She recently took home the ‘Independent Country Album of the Year’ at the Australian Indie (AIR) Awards to add to her ‘New Talent of the Year’ at the Golden Guitar Awards, ‘New Oz Artist of the Year’ at the Country Music Channel Awards plus the ‘Professional Development Award’ for Country Music from APRA, all in 2017. Following up an ARIA nomination for Best Country Album for her debut album Small Town Big Shot.

No stranger to the road, Fanny and her husband Dan have clocked up 150,000km across regional Australia and have recently returned from showcasing at AMERICANAFest in Nashville TN. In the lead up to the ARIA’s Fanny answers some questions for Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles.

How excited were you in the lead up to the ARIAS?
I am an uncool level of excited for the ARIAs. It’s the glam 2% of this job/life so I’m overtly into it.

What was your reaction to being nominated for Best Country Album?
Shock initially. There were so many incredible albums put out this year, so I thought we were not really in with a chance this time around. Now it’s good old fashioned pride. I’m chuffed.

Do you think 2018 has exceeded your expectations?
Definitely. It’s been a whopper of a year. It’s been a hugely emotional year with some personal family things including the birth of our baby boy Walter. Touring has been a joy, and finding so many people have connected with our Real Class Act record and the stories within as we have toured all over the country side is really heartening. Also winning Independent album of the year at the Aus Indies was a massive buzz. Especially as we are 100% independent and run it all from our lounge room/caravan on the road.

Is there a message you hope people will take away from your new single Real Men Don’t Cry (War On Pride)?
Just that showing your vulnerability is the strongest thing you can do and that we need to teach both boys and girls that from a young age. Also just to start a conversation. Start a real conversation with someone about how they are really feeling.

How did you get Troy Cassar-Daley, William Crighton and Pete Denahy to appear in the film clip?
We just happened to be playing shows with all of them during the time period we were shooting the portraits for the clip. We have been lucky to get to know them all over the past few years and each of them represented a different part of rural Australia that we felt was important to share. They also all generously shared their thoughts on this matter and also feel like it’s something that is changing but needs to be encouraged to even more.

Were you able to be hands on for the film clip?
Absolutely, Dan (my husband) and I filmed all the portraits as we toured over the year and then we edited (when I say we – I mean he did and I just gave my, most likely unnecessary opinion a lot) in our lounge room. We also went digging through my family home videos.

If you had the chance who would you like to collaborate with most?
I would love to collaborate with Paul Kelly and Kylie Minogue.

How would you describe your album Real Class Act sonically?
I would say it’s primarily story telling and through my love of roots music (in its basic form) I worked with Dan (my husband) and Matt Fell (our producer) to meld my love of other sounds to help each story/song stand up on its own. I wanted each song to sound like its meaning, for example with Real Men Dont Cry (War On Pride) we wanted to keep it quite simple and by no means shiny, really have a gentle and emotional masculinity to it so we used an older upright piano and male harmonies and then that beautiful Dobro Solo (by James Church) to achieve that. Roll On is a driving, travelling song that needed to be gritty and fast paced and feel like you were driving across the plains. The album closes with a song called Here to Hear which is all about helping people find a light when they are struggling (with mental health). We worked on making it sound ambiguous and harmonic and almost indirectly ethereal.

Are you looking to spread your wings and tour more broadly overseas?
We just got back from a trip to Nashville where we showcased at Americana Fest. It was a great experience and something we are working towards. I would love to eventually take our Country Halls Tour over there and to the UK and Canada. We are just at the beginning on all of those future possibilities.

What’s next for Fanny Lumsden?
I am currently booking the next Country Halls Tour which is going to be its seventh tour, we have had nearly sixty halls apply to be a part of it, so working on that for 2019/2020. Also currently writing towards a new album. I am going to wind back the touring a little for a few months and really sink my teeth into writing (juggling that with a baby and all the rest).

Interview by Rob Lyon