Festival focus


She’s got four albums and multiple awards to her name, but Mel Parsons still has “pinch yourself’’ moments.

The Kiwi songstress had a massive 2018, touring the United States and releasing her fourth album, Glass Heart, to critical acclaim in November.

“It was pretty full-on,’’ she says.

She wrote a lot of the record on the road and recorded it with legendary American producer Mitchell Froom, who’s worked with everyone from Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsay Buckingham and Christine McVie, to Crowded House, Elvis Costello, and Missy Higgins.

“I was sitting in the studio thinking ‘what am I doing here?’, but you have to snap out of it.’’

After managing to nab a short break at the tail-end of summer, she’s gearing up to play a very special new festival in Queenstown next week.

Milk & Honey is the brainchild of Elemeno P rocker Lani Purkis and music manager Teresa Patterson.

The new event will feature five concerts staged simultaneously across the country next Friday, to mark International Women’s Day.

Parsons says she happened to be scheduled to be in Queenstown on the day, and called up Purkis and Patterson to see if the resort could be added to the festival line-up.

They jumped at the offer, she says.

“The concept is very cool,’’ she says of the festival, which aims to highlight gender imbalance in the music industry.
One of the most important aspects of the festival is increasing visibility, she says.

“While that imbalance is still so far skewed, the really important thing is to make that visibility better, even just for the purpose of showing the next generation of girls that there are people doing it, it is possible.

“Yes it’s male-dominated, but it is still possible.’’

It’s certainly been possible for Parsons, who’s racked up three NZ Music Award nominations and a Silver Scroll nod.

“Honestly, the biggest thing for me has always been that people are listening to it and they get something out of it,’’ she says.

“Without being too trite, as a music fan myself, I know how music can make you feel, and if I can make people feel things too, then that’s great.’’

The Queenstown leg of Milk &Honey will also feature Canadian folk musician Dana Sipos.

To catch Mel Parsons, head to Sherwood, next Friday, 7.30pm, $39.90