Rodeo queen finds her voice
TEXAS singer Heidi Sullivan will represent Queensland when she goes head-to-head with some of the biggest country music acts next month.
Hailing from Tenant Creek in the Northern Territory, Ms Sullivan will be the only up-and-coming country music artist to represent the state at Tamworth Country Music Festival.
"I'm thrilled to be in it. It's so much fun," Ms Sullivan said.
"I'll be opening two showcases for Lindsay Butler and Ashley Cook, who does a lot of old Brian Young stuff from the 40s and 50s.
"It's fantastic everywhere I go and if I go to any festival, (people) come up to me and help me out.
"There's that real camaraderie there and it's wonderful."
Growing up in the Northern Territory, Ms Sullivan has a lifelong experience with living on the land, an experience she said propelled her into country music.
"I'm an ex-rodeo queen and barrel racer, and I competed in Tennant Creek and others areas as well as in the Miss Rodeo Australia quest," she said.
"My father (Jack Sullivan) was the number one saddle bronc director on the board of directors of what is now the Australian Professional Rodeo Association.
"As a teenager I used to break-in horses and would go mustering with indigenous stockmen on friends' properties.
"I've been singing my whole life and grew up listening to country music.
"I learnt to play guitar from age of seven and went to lots of social country music groups in Goondiwindi, Tenterfield and Warwick because I loved singing with the bands, but I never really got professional.
"And then I thought I'd get into this and I started singing around country shows and pubs and it all started happening."
Also an accomplished artist, Ms Sullivan said her passion for music was what kept her going despite what was fast becoming a hectic schedule.
"It's really about the freedom of being able to get out there and do what you love to do," she said.
"I've had a lot of influences such as Dwight Yoakam, Dolly Parton and Patsy Cline - I love to do that old traditional style of country music as well as a bit of country rock, and I write my own songs as well.
"I love singing and it makes me feel good when I sing and wherever I travel I meet amazing beautiful people.
"I haven't had rotten fruit but it's just so incredible - I never thought I'd be able to do this and I'm just so excited."