Q & A WITH TANIA KERNAGHAN
Tania Kernaghan is Australia’s most recognisable and loved female country music recording artists. One of the Kernaghan ‘dynasty’ – Tania has achieved great success beyond the recording studio. She is also a familiar face as a successful presenter on TV and a highly accomplished emcee. We sit down with Tania to find out what inspires her and her creative process.
How did it all begin for Tania Kernaghan? Tell us the story.
I was 4yrs old when I first got up on stage and sang in front of an audience, it was at the Boomerang Hotel in my old hometown of Albury. I remember the audience giving me a warm round of applause and the joy I felt at the time. From that day, all I wanted to do was to sing and entertain people! My Dad, Ray Kernaghan was making records in the late 1970's and 1980's '90's so music was always being played in our family home. My brothers, Lee and Greg along with my little sister, Fiona formed a band when I was about 9 years old. We performed all around the Albury Riverina area, Mum and Dad would cart our musical equipment around in our horse float just so we could do our gigs! As a family, we also travelled to every State and Territory of Australia watching our Dad performing 6 nights a week as part of a travelling country music tour. Then in the '80 and early '90's we spent much of the time on the road touring and performing with Dad and Mum as part of Dad's country music show. I truly believe these early years of travelling with my family created a strong bond that we share today and it also gave us a great love and appreciation for Australia and its people. I credit these early days of travelling and seeing much of the country to the reason behind why I love to write songs about Australia and the folks I meet along the way.
When my High School friends were applying to various universities to further their careers they asked me which Uni I was going to apply to. I said without hesitation, I am going to be a Country Music singer! They laughed and said yeah but what are you going to do for a 'real' job! I replied, adamantly, that is a real job! As they say, the rest is history!
What have you learnt in the world of making music?
Music has taught me many things. With songwriting - it's important to write about stuff that you know and understand and it's OK to wear your heart on your sleeve if it makes for a good song! As a performer - I have learned to be yourself and be comfortable in your own skin, find your own unique style - don't copy other artists - people can see a 'fake' a mile off lol... Music has also taught me that there are many highs and lows in the music business and it is important to learn from an early age how to enjoy the highs but also bounce back from the lows. To quote my Dad, It's not all easy behind the scenes. And another piece of valuable advice Mum and Dad taught us kids from an early age is, never forget where you come from and never believe your own publicity lol!
Do you feel your taste in music heavily influences your fashion sense?
I love country music, I was born to sing and it just so happens country music is all I can sing! Nothing makes me happier than pulling on a pair of Pure Western jeans, a Hardslog shirt and a pair of TC boots! So I guess my fashion sense goes hand in hand with my style of music.
How would you describe your sound?
100% Australian Country.
Who/what have been the biggest influences on your music?
If you could travel to one place in the world right now, where would that be?
My first choice would be anywhere for me in Australia. If I had to choose an area I have to say I am a big fan of Tasmania, I just love the people, the fresh air, the great diversity the little State has to offer from the countryside to the culture.
Creative process… talk us through it!
I find I am most creative when I am travelling. It's the people and places I visit who I find the most inspiring. For example, I might meet someone after a concert or backstage a one of my gigs and be talking to them and they happen to mention a story or say something about their life, it may just be as simple as a line or saying that gets my creative juices flowing and my next song idea! Then I find myself back in my motel room scribbling down lines and before too long a song is born. Sometimes the melody comes first or sometimes it's the lyrics.
Most memorable live show moment?
I have had many wonderful moments on stage however a stand out for me to date, was when I sang at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. It was in front of 2000 people and going live on radio across America. I sang a song my sister Fiona wrote called The Verandah. I was only a bar or two in when the entire audience started to clap in support. It was an incredible feeling knowing I was performing on the same stage as people like Patsy Cline, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, even Elvis Presley had performed. I still get goosebumps thinking about this!
What makes you feel alive?
Performing on stage, bringing joy to the audience and when I am horse riding, definitely two of my greatest passions!
If you could go on a road trip with any artist, dead or living, who would it be?
George Strait - I just love his music and love the fact he has a great seat in the saddle!
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