Local nurse Emma Dykes is busy juggling nursing with her career as an aspiring country music star.
After releasing her debut album at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, she has been touring the New England region, and will bring her music to The Union Bar on Saturday, March 4.
It was a momentous festival for the young artist, who also took home a prize from the cavalcade, where her float, on a Maybury Harvesting & Haulage vehicle, won third place in the commercial section.
Emma recorded her album, Pay It Forward, with producer Simon Johnson at his Central Coast studio, Hillbilly Hut, and she wrote nearly all the songs on the new album.
“I refer to my songs as my memory album, they’re all stories,” Emma said.
“(They’re) songs I’ve written over the last couple of years while travelling around and meeting different people.
I was the shy one, I went to singing lessons for a whole year and no one heard me.Emma Dykes
“I carry my phone around and I put little notes in all the time from things people say, and they will usually relate to an experience I’ve had.”
There is also one cover on the album, an acoustic version of John Farnham’s Burn For You.
Emma first started singing as a child, but it was only in recent years that she has seriously started performing and recording.
“I was the shy one, I went to singing lessons for a whole year and no one heard me,” Emma recalled.
“I did a little bit, but then nothing for about 10 years, so it’s only been the last three years that I’ve got back into it again.”
Last year she attended the Acadmey of Country Music, held just prior to the Tamworth festival every year to assist up and coming artists.
“That was probably the start of music again for me, I’d just been playing around the campfire before that. It was an intense two weeks but I learnt heaps and I have tried to put all of it into play over the last 12 months,” Emma said.
She wrote the title track, Pay It Forward, with Drew McAlister, which she admitted was daunting during her album launch, as she told the story of going to his place and seeing all the Golden Guitars lined up.
Following her Inverell concert, Emma is playing at at the Top Pub in Uralla on Friday, March 10, at Wauchope on Saturday, March 18 and then at Port Macquarie on Friday, March 24.
“I’m hoping I can get (the songs) onto radio, and enter the Golden Guitars next year,” Emma said.