As a young singer, Kaylee Bell knew her roots.
She’s been performing on the country music circuit since the age of four.
At seven she picked up the guitar, started writing music at 14 and won her first New Zealand Gold Guitar Award in Gore at 18.
Fast-forward a few years and she’s just shared the stage, for the second time, with country heavyweight Keith Urban during his first NZ tour.
She feels “pretty bloody lucky” to get the call-up and never thought she’d get a chance to sing with him in front of a home audience.
While the country industry in NZ is growing, she moved to Oz to make her mark on the scene.
She also pops across to Nashville, the home of country music, a couple of times a year.
“It is amazing. As soon as you land it feels really right but being over there is on a different level. To get the chance to play is rare because it is so cut-throat. Playing was amazing but also makes you realise how lucky we are to be this side of the world and do what we do.”
Bell, now 28, hasn’t played Queenstown before. It’s been a goal of the year to play as many nooks and crannies across the country as possible. She’ll be joined in the resort tonight by Kayla Mahon and Jody Direen for a country gig at Pub on Wharf.
It’s described as a songwriters’ round, something popular in Nashville.
Bell: “It gives people a chance to get to know us. Kayla, Jody and I, we all have stories to tell that have stories behind them.
“It will be nice to connect quite intimately with people through our songs and show a bit of our personality. We want them to walk away and feel like they know us and relate to us all.”
Bell’s a passionate songwriter with ideas coming from life and relationships. She is always on the lookout for song titles or lyrics and has loads of recordings on her phone — jotting things down and humming as they come to mind.
Writing is also what comes most naturally to her and she says melodies are a constant.
“They usually start with a song title and then go from there.”
Pure Acoustic Songwriters in the Round, featuring Kaylee Bell, Kayla Mahon and Jody Direen. Tonight, Pub on Wharf, 9pm. Entry free.