Bringing the sunshine

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Fresh from a whirlwind stint in the home of country music, Kiwi songstress Jamie McDell is bringing the sunshine to Queenstown.

The 25-year-old hit-maker was signed to EMI at just 16, and went on to climb the charts with her debut album Six Strings and a Sailboat, which featured the summer anthem Life in Sunshine.

She went on to achieve Gold album sales and received three NZ Music Award nominations, winning Best Pop Album in 2013.

She’ll play her first public Queenstown gig at Sherwood tomorrow night, where fans will get to hear tracks from her new album, Extraordinary Girl.

The album was recorded at the famed House of Blues studio – but Nashville wasn’t always the plan.

“It was a really surreal experience,” she says.

She’d originally headed to Nashville to get a little closer to the roots and country music she grew up listening to.

While there she met Australian music producer Nash Chambers, who suggested they make the record there.

McDell says they only had access to their Nashville session musicians for two days – meaning they had to record the whole album in that time.

That had the benefit of giving the album sound”, which was “really cool”, she says.

It was also good for her leadership skills.

“I had to fake it til I made it.”

Her tour has her playing as part of a duo, with Nick Dow on keys, fiddle, and vocals.

“It’ll be a more intimate set, you can expect to see me trying to be funny, and enjoying sort of telling a few stories,” she laughs.

She’ll be playing tracks from all her albums, so fans of her older material will hear a few songs they recognise, she says.

The show will be her first public gig in Queenstown, something she seems surprised about.

“I said ‘my gosh, how have we never played Sherwood before?”‘

She did play at The Hills golf course about five years ago for a golf event, but is looking forward to belting out some tunes for her fans in the resort.

She’ll be joined on tour by Dunedin-based singer/songwriter Jenny Mitchell.

To catch Jamie McDell, head over to Sherwood tomorrow, 9pm, tickets $28.20