Stanthorpe's queen of country song
ASK Australian country musician Amanda Halloran if her hometown of Stanthorpe has inspired her song writing and she laughs.
"Honestly? Well, of course it has."
Her first album - released in 2009 after she was a Toyota star maker finalist in Tamworth - was about jilted love and a Granite Belt boy who broke her heart.
I guess what it has really taught me is you can be a great singer however the reality is you have to be able to market yourself first.
"You live, you learn and you write a song about it and you get over it. Although, in my case, he managed to get a whole album."
This week she spoke to the Bush Tele as her second album hits the shelves and ahead of her Stanthorpe performance on Saturday.
For this multiple Toyota Star maker finalist, who also won QUT's Voice of Urban Country title, it has been interesting journey to the front of the stage.
She credits her rise through country music's ranks to the support of her extended family and a work ethic she learnt growing up on the Granite Belt and working on her father's family orchard at Cottonvale.
Today the personable performer retains a tangible link to the region's fruit sector as a marketing and sales person for her family's Iventure Orchards.
She believes the connection keeps her firmly grounded, while allowing her the job flexibility to pursue her career as a professional musician.
"As a child, I divided my time between my mum's place on the coast and my dad's family property at Cottonvale," Miss Halloran said.
"I had musical inspiration on both sides of the family.
"My grandad on my mother's side had a lovely voice and used to take me to my music lessons.
"While my grandmother, Fay on my dad's side, used to sing too."
Growing up she spent holidays on the Granite Belt, finally shifting there permanently in 1998 to finish secondary school.
On graduation her dad, Stanthorpe orchardist Shane Halloran, bought her a sound system and the rest is recent history.
In 2006 she graduated from the Australian Country Music College and two years later she was a Toyota Star Marker finalist, an achievement she has replicated nearly every year since.
Now as she releases her second album, White Horse White Knight, she admits to being more comfortable in the spotlight.
"But I am still a farm girl at heart," Miss Halloran said.
"I sell fruit each week for my dad's orchard at markets along the coast.
"So I have become pretty good at promoting the benefits of pesticide-free strawberries.
"The experience has been really good for my confidence and given me a better understanding of business.
"I guess what it has really taught me is you can be a great singer however the reality is you have to be able to market yourself first."
She said her parents' support and her father's willingness to give her a job while she makes her way as a musician proved invaluable.
Her father has also been instrumental in ensuring she understands the profit and loss aspects of business and can apply it to her music career.
"My dad runs Iventure Orchards with the rest of his family and they grow pesticide-free strawberries, plums and cherries, as well as heritage apples and pears," she said.
In her latest collection of songs she draws on her growing life experience to create a complex offering.
Tracks include material written after the devastating floods of 2011, as well as family and love.
"I think my message is you have to make the most of even a bad situation," she said.
"You have to make the most of your life."
It was a line she used when she worked for a while in wrecking yard in a role that included helping customers "find" specific treasure among the wreckage.
"It wasn't the worst job, it had its good points and, like most situations, it's about your attitude and how you deal with what happens in your life."
From here she plans to keep writing songs and hopes to film yet another music clip on the Granite Belt.
"My film clip I Wanna Know, available on CMC countrymusicchannel.com.au, was shot at the Granite Belt Maze and our family orchard," she said.
"I would definitely like to do more clips for this second album."
Then there are plans for a national tour and concerts through Europe.
But first there are her commitments this weekend back on home ground performing locally for the first time in about five years.
She is one of the headline acts for the inaugural MountView country music muster at MountView winery, Glen Aplin.
Tickets from 4683 4316 or mountviewmusicmuster. com.au.