Gig of the week: The young hearts of festival

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Hot duo The Heartleys will take time out from polishing their awards to debut at the Arrowtown Autumn Festival.
The girls from Gore have collected a hatful of national honours for their catchy songs and spirited live performances, in the past few years. 

As The Heartleys, Taylor Cairns and Kayla Mahon triumphed at the 2008 Gold Guitar Awards – one of New Zealand’s top country music accolades. 

Before that, 19-year-old Cairns got gongs at Gold Guitar intermediate and junior levels, while Mahon, 24, is also a previous intermediate winner. 

“Being so young, I suppose it’s pretty cool having those kinds of awards under our belts already,” Cairns says. 

“But it’s difficult to earn a living from the music business in NZ and we never take anything for granted or expect things to happen overnight. 

“We simply set ourselves realistic goals and tackle things one step at a time.” 

As well as finding success on home soil, The Heartleys’ music has also travelled well across the Tasman. 

Their self-titled debut album was recorded at the Blue Mountains, near Sydney, and last year their first proper single No Man’s Land shot to No 10 in the Australian country music charts. 

Follow-up song Hands of my Heart and new release Leaving Home have also hit the spot with Aussie fans. 

“We’ve had a lot of help in Australia from a team of people working on our music and we want to keep that link 
going. 

“It’s possible we’ll go over there for a while and build on the interest.” 

The Heartleys are also set to go international and will perform at a big country music festival in Norway in August.
In between gigs, Cairns helps out at her dad Peter’s music shop in Gore while Kayla works as a nurse. 

“My dad is a music teacher and a former Gold Guitar winner himself so I’ve grown up with music my whole life,” Cairns explains. 

“Kayla has a full-on life at the moment with her nursing and performing careers.” 

The girls will play a mix of originals and covers just before the street parade in Arrowtown on Saturday afternoon.
“It’s the first time I’ll have been at the festival and I can’t wait,” Cairns says. 

“It’ll be good to make ourselves known to a different audience.”