THEAUSSIEWORD.COM special interview with singer/songwriter Courtney Keil.
How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?
It all started as a little girl who loved to sing. I’m so lucky to have been raised in a very music focused family. I recall road-trips listening to all genres of music, especially fond memories of hearing The Eagles, Shania Twain, Cold Chisel, Norah Jones and Fleetwood Mac records. I knew very early on that I wanted to be a singer, thankfully with my parents sending me off to vocal lessons at the age of 9. I didn’t look back after that, it’s all I wanted to do.
What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?
I just try to be authentic and make music that I absolutely love. I listen to lots of music, all genres really to draw inspiration from everywhere. I’m passionate about what I create and hope that translates across to whoever is listening!
What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish?
There’s a few ha! But the main one is getting to travel the world, performing my music to anyone who will listen on festival stages, iconic venues and TV. I hope my music brings connection to people, unites them and shows we’re all in this together. I’d also really love to perform at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, it would be a dream come true!
What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?
There’s always plenty in the works at any given time, I have a couple more shows coming up before the end of the year. I’m heading on Cruisn’ Country in November to perform in the role of June Carter in Johnny Cash The Concert which I’m thrilled about! Then upon return, I’m opening for The Whitlams at Avoca Beach Theatre on 26 November – I can’t wait, they’re such a legendary Aussie act with incredible music so I’m very grateful for the opportunity.
Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music?
My latest single is all about navigating life by putting your heart ‘Always First’, as the song says for better or for usually worse! That’s how I live my life and really wanted to release a song that sums me up in a nutshell! I best describe my music as stories set in contemporary country tracks, keeping it fresh, but with essences of 90s country in there – my favorite decade of country music.
Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?
I really love collaborating with others, nothing brings me joy more than getting to work with people I love. I always aim to work with people who are more skilled than I, because I love learning and watching how others craft songs. Don’t get me wrong, I do also love writing on my own but co-writes are my favorite! I try to take inspiration from anywhere and keep a running list on my phone notes of thoughts, title ideas or things I hear that might find their way into a song!
Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music?
I wouldn’t say hidden but I do try to keep a positive slant on my music as much as possible. There’s so much negative in the world that I like to lift the mood, help put smiles on people’s faces. There’s a time and place for a good country heartbreak track, and I have some of my own but I like to balance it all out.
Success, what is the secret to it?
Having a great tribe around you, finding people that believe in you even in the moments when you don’t! I’m also a strong believer in lifting up others around you, sharing knowledge and helping each other. There is plenty of success and room for everyone!
What has been your biggest career highlight so far?
A couple of special ones come to mind, getting to tour with my hero’s Gina Jeffreys and Tania Kernaghan, performing the national anthem on TV at Bathurst ahead of the Supercars race in 2021 – now that was nerve wracking!
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?
I find anyone who has listened to their heart and followed their dreams inspiring. People who have paved the way for young artists like me. Gina Jeffreys has had a huge impact on my life and career by mentoring me these past few years, I’m eternally grateful for her love and support.
Are there any new projects in the pipeline?
There *hint hint* might be an album in the works for 2023. More news to come on that front very soon!
The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself a few years?
Still doing what I love, creating music and touring. A couple of successful albums out in the world and headlining big country festivals around Australia and overseas. Also just adapting to whatever is thrown my way!
What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?
I think at times it can be a little isolating, you tend to carry it on your shoulders and feel like people don’t understand what it all feels like! But on the other hand it’s a pretty incredible thing to be able to say that this is my job, I’m doing what I love!
Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.
Too many to name, but specifically Gina Jeffreys – (already mentioned above!), Delta Goodrem, Kasey Chambers, Ian Moss, John Farnham and Keith Urban of course…the list goes on and on!
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?
These past few years have been challenging for everyone, I’ve learnt to be flexible and go with the flow a lot more that’s for sure! I feel very lucky that we live in an age where we have access to social media to promote our work and build connections with people. I find that it means everyone and everything is a lot more accessible!
How will you continue appealing to the international market?
I hope to get back over to Nashville, such an incredible city filled with music. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting twice before and every time have learnt so much! I think traveling, putting yourself out there and meeting new people us key. I’d also love to collaborate on some tracks with artists from other countries too!
Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?
The number one spot will forever be held for Dolly Parton, she’s the dream colab! Others on the list are Trisha Yearwood, Keith Urban and Taylor Swift!
What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Go for it! It can be scary to take the leap but it’s so worth it. Try and meet like minded people!
A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans?
I love people getting in touch, saying hello and connecting with me. Super thankful for anyone who joins me on the journey with me and support my music. If you come to a show be sure to come say howdy! I say a big thank you!!
Any last words?
Thanks for having me for a chat!