John Healy wears the pants

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Gigging with his missus most nights has one big plus for Queenstown-based muso John Healy. 

“It’s the only time I ever get to be the boss,” he jokes. 

Healy and his partner Gemma Carroll have been wowing Queenstown crowds as acoustic duo Calico since arriving in the resort 18 months ago. 

Originally from Northern Ireland, he first met Welsh girl Carroll while they were working in Spain in 2004 but never dreamed they would eventually make a living out of singing on the other side of the world. 

“When Gemma and I got together she was a ski instructor and I was gigging in the bars in Spain,” Healy explains.
“We got into a relationship but weren’t doing music together. 

“Gemma played guitar and sang, but not with me – although that soon changed.” 

It was when the couple took a year out and travelled to New Zealand and Australia that they first fell for Queenstown. 

“We soon realised we wanted to be down here and by then we already had Calico on the go,” Healy says. 

“Queenstown seemed like the ideal place to be as there is a good live music scene going on and we wanted to have a crack at it. 

“Thankfully, things have been working out well for us and we’ve never looked back.” 

There’s hardly a bar or cafe in the resort that Calico haven’t played and they’re busy blasting out a diverse set of cover songs by the likes of Bob Marley, Lady Gaga and Pink Floyd most days of the week. 

Healy says he sees the Queenstown area as being their base for the foresee-able future. 

“We’ve been delighted at how much work we’ve been getting and with the Rugby World Cup happening later this year, it’s only going to get even better. 

“There aren’t too many towns this size where you can make a full-time living out of playing gigs, so we consider ourselves pretty fortunate to be doing something that we love and long may it continue.”

Catch Calico live at the Pig and Whistle tonight from 9pm, Dux de Lux on Sunday (4pm), the Boiler Room on Tuesday and Pogue Mahones on Wednesday (both 9pm)