Aleyce Simmonds established her country sounds at a young age in one of the most beloved country music scenes in Australia (Tamworth) and she’s been rocking ever since. Whether it be in country towns of Australia or townships of Norway and England, Simmonds knows how to tune her audience. I was lucky enough to have a chat with the seven times Golden Guitar winner ahead of her upcoming performance in Geelong.
Growing up in Tamworth, you would have been brought up amongst a pretty strong country scene – has this played a big influence on your music?
I moved to Tamworth when I was about 12 and the live music scene here is really great. There’s lots of opportunities for people to get up with the band and stuff like that. It wasn’t until that point – until I truly found the courage to get up in front of people and I got my first guitar – that being immersed in that culture was really great and inspiring.
You’ve taken out an array of awards, from Golden Guitars, to APRA awards, to CMC awards – would you have ever thought you’d get to where you are?
No definitely not. I think you set out doing something because you love it and then it turns into a job or whatever. Everyday I see my Golden Guitar and I look at it and think, ‘that’s that thing I thought about or dreamt about when I was 12’. I never thought that would be where I am now; I’d be looking at one in my own house. Not that it hasn’t taken a whole lot of work, but it’s still really amazing to think that you can achieve your dreams and make them happen.
We see that you live for and on the road, which would obviously be hard at times I’m sure – can you tell us a little bit about living on the road?
Living on the road can really have its trials and tribulations and it can be really amazing as well. It’s lonely at times – you’re on the road a lot without family and friends and it does get too much sometimes. At the same time, you see things and meet people that you just wouldn’t if you weren’t in that job so it has its ups and downs.
And you’ve travelled the world with your music – what sort of response do you find country receives across different cities and countries?
The thing that I really love in particular about taking country music to different areas is that a lot of people don’t actually know what country music is. They label it in a certain way but then when you open your mouth and start singing these songs they go, “oh is that country music – we like that…” It’s a really wide-ranging genre and especially overseas – in Norway and in England; our Australian country music sound was much more successful than the guys that I was touring with. In Norway the audiences couldn’t even speak English but they were requesting a song of mine in the encore, even though I already sung it, just because Australian music really connects with them, which was really cool.
After such a busy year, it’d have to be asked – What’s next on the agenda for you?
Well this tour is wrapping up at the end of the year and we’re gearing towards Tamworth festival. And then next year we’ll try and figure out who to tour with and where we’re going to go. But I’ve been particularly looking forward to coming to Geelong because – I’ve been coming to Geelong for about 10 years now doing gigs – but there’s a great country music following in Geelong and it’s really lovely to catch up with them. Because I have been coming for so long now, the people that were originally music followers are now friends – I’m really looking forward to it.
When & Where: Pistol Pete’s Food N Blues, Geelong – Thursday, September 13.
Written by Aine Keogh