Emma Terry- from Ballet to psychology

Emma Terry graces the stage with pure elegance. Although she is only 22 years old, her career so far as been as stellar as her dancing.

Emma first began dancing at the age of 5. “I started doing the usual styles- ballet, tap and jazz”. But it was ballet that became her true passion.

The first dance school that Emma attended was the Lisa Williams Dance Studio. Emma tells me what it  was like to be so young and doing dance exams. “I was 5 and I still didn’t know my right from my left. Mum (Donna) took me in beforehand and said ‘See that window? When she says to go right you go that way. When she says to go left, you go towards the door'”.

But Emma’s passion for the art form began a year earlier. Donna took Emma to see The Australian Ballet perform Swan Lake. At only 4, Donna was surprised that Emma knew and understood the story line, even though she herself didn’t entirely understand the premise. It was then both Emma and her mum knew that she had fallen in love with ballet.


From the Lisa Williams Dance Studio, Emma went to various dance studios before coming across Classical Dance Academy in 2005. This is also the year that I first met Emma and began taking classes with her. The dance studio ran by the amazing Kelly Edwards (nee Watson) was ballet based so was a dance studio that both Emma and I thrived at. “I loved dancing there. I loved and gained so much knowledge about ballet there”.

Emma became such a wonderful dancer that she decided to audition for Sydney’s most prestigious Performing Arts High School, The McDonald College. “My stepdad took me to their open day and I fell in love with all of it; the dance studios (all 12 of them), the entire vibe of the school environment was amazing”. And so Emma auditioned successfully and began attending the school. She felt accepted and for the first time in a very long time, Emma felt that she finally fit in and could be herself and not what she felt she had to be to fit in.

At the age of 15, whilst she was attending The McDonald College, Emma decided that she wanted to start auditioning for companies in the USA. “I don’t know what drew me to there but it was where I wanted to go”. So, Emma sent off an audition tape to the Boston Ballet and got accepted into their Summer Program. Originally, Boston was where Emma envisaged herself performing for awhile, but once over in the US she decided to take a trip to Florida. On a whim, she decided to audition for the Orlando Ballet School.

It was also during this time that Emma realised the career she could have in ballet. “You want it badly before of course, but once you are one of the few left getting interviewed for the final audition process, it kind of hits you”. Of course, it has been a dream of Emma’s for many years so getting accepted was really a dream come true.

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During her time with the Orlando Ballet School, Emma got to perform many times and being only 16 years of age, that sort of opportunity is rare in Australia. “I was at Orlando for a few years. I had my eyes on the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago for awhile. I flew up with my parents and saw the company and studios. I was in love”. And so the audition process for the Joffrey Ballet begun. It started with Emma attending their Summer program and whilst there, auditioning for the Joffrey Ballet Trainee Program. It’s no surprise that Emma was delighted to receive the news that her audition had been successful.  “It was a dream that had literally become a reality. Chicago still is to this day one of my favourite cities in the world”.

Emma enjoyed her time in Chicago and tells me that she learnt a lot dancing in the U.S. “Dancing over in the US taught me to step outside my boundaries and comfort zone. I was constantly evolving seeing dance styles I had never seen before and learning new things from people all over the world”. She also says that whilst over there she met lots of great people and formed friendships with dancers from all over the world. Some of these friends became more like family and would even host Emma at their house over special holiday periods such as Easter and Thanksgiving.

In a way, Emma never got a chance to be a regular teenager as she was constantly busy dancing in a foreign country. “I never had the normal, crazy teen years”. Emma continues to tell me that being over there without her parents forced her to mature and become an adult sooner that she would have if she danced for a Sydney based company. The U.S taught her to be courageous and independent; how to push for her goals and work hard towards something; along with dedication and passion for what you do. With all of these Emma believes that you can conquer the world like she did.

Of course with the highs comes the lows and because Emma was so young and living on the other side of the world to her family, there were of course difficult times for her. The first night after her mum left was one of the hardest Emma tells me. “I watched mum go outside and get in a cab in the pouring rain. I bawled my eyes out into my pillow which mum had secretly sprayed with her perfume”. It is indeed amazing that Emma was able to do what she had done at the age of 16, a time when most teenage girls need their mum the most. “I think the absolute worst was when I was sick, and even though I felt like an adult for sure, it brought heartache for home”.

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Emma feels that the downs helped prepare her for many things in life that the ordinary person wouldn’t necessarily know how to handle, a true sign of her maturity. “I know what it’s like to be turned down from a job you desperately want. I know how competitive the world is out there. In ballet you turn up to an audition with over 100 girls all wanting the one position”.

Sometimes Emma feels that young people tend to forget that there is always another opportunity around the corner so if you want something so bad, don’t ever give in. Emma has learned along the road not to take rejection to heart, as most performers have also learned, because there may just be something better down the road.

Although dancing can seem like it’s all glitz and glamour in certain Hollywood depictions, there is also a very competitive and hard side to it. Not necessarily as dark as Black Swan but definitely more cut-throat like in Centre Stage. This is something that I feel many young dancers may be disillusioned by which can lead to severe mental illnesses. Which is why Emma’s experiences have now lead her to the path of psychology.

Since her return to Australia, Emma has begun studying Psychology at Wollongong University. “There was a long time where I felt lost after finishing dancing in the US. I think that’s something many dancers go through at some point in their life. You go from doing something 6 days a week for many years of your life to trying to be a normal person and it’s really hard”. This loss Emma describes is felt by many dancers when they retire either due to injury, illness, age or any other serious issue. This is now why Emma wishes to be able to help dancers deal with certain psychological illnesses they face during their time performing. Dancers have to be both physically and mentally tough and in a lot of cases the latter is more difficult than the former. “I wish I had someone to turn to and talk to who could understand, other than a teacher or parent”.

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As Emma describes to me, the show must go on so more often than not, dancers push any anxiety, stress or depression aside and continue performing to their highest ability. “But in all honesty, it needs to be talked about. In ballet you are rewarded for your ability to ignore pain. If you have a mental breakdown, you are strong enough to do it”. Emma goes on to tell me that in elite ballet, it’s all about mental toughness which comes at each dancers wellbeing. Those performers who are mentally tough and have the ability to shut everything out get promoted but those who show any sign of weakness are replaced. Yes, it really isn’t all tutus and pointe shoes!

“I suffered from anxiety as a dancer and I’m not afraid to hide it. I always just thought I was weak, not capable, and not normal because I felt this way”. That simply isn’t true though, Emma stresses to me. This is why psychology is now her calling. Why should other dancers suffer or go through the same thing that Emma did? “Dancers need to know that they aren’t alone. You’d be surprised how many of them are just good at hiding it. The truth of your pain and suffering does not negate your talent or drive as a dancer. It merely means you are human”.

So although the curtain has closed on Emma’s career as a ballet dancer, a new and exciting curtain raises for her. It gives her the ability to help others who may be facing a similar situation to what she did. But above all, it lets these dancers know that they actually aren’t alone in the big, exciting but exhausting world of dancing.

©Creative Collections 2018

King Brian- Western Sydney Legend part 2

Brian Mcombe has been a prolific entertainer for over 40 years, worked in electrical retail for over 50 years and is a valuable asset to the greater Blacktown area and an even greater asset to those who know him.

In part one of my interview with Brian last week, we discussed his charity kidney golf day event. Although the amount raised is not yet known, Brian has since informed me of the day’s success. With 120 attendees, the day was a hit. “We had the best day. Everyone had a great time,” he tells me over the phone. Brian is still adamant that this is his last charity golf day after 13 years of hosting it, but time will  only tell.

This week’s article will focus more on Brian’s successes and achievements in the industry as well as his Facebook fame.

From his days as King Brian on the TV commercials, to his work within the Blacktown Community, Brian’s career has been honoured with many different awards. To the left side in his living room is a tall trophy cabinet filled with various accolades from over the years. Some are more special than others he tells me as he takes me through a few of his most honourable ones.

Brian McCombe and trophies

Sitting in a black frame is an Australian of the Year award, which Brian received in 2014 for his efforts in the Blacktown community and services to charity. These awards are only given to those people who have made a big impact in some way, so I am not the least bit surprised that Brian has received one. There’s several Blacktown Sydney Business Awards trophies that Brian has won through the years. He has even assisted other businesses in winning their awards such as Anytime Fitness, which he visits on a regular basis and the Stanhope Fitness Centre where he was an ambassador for 5 year. “All these lovely people I know. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”.

In 2016, Brian was also nominated as a Legend of The West for the Nepean News paper. This is something that Brian holds close to his heart and is very thankful for. He was the first to be nominated as a Legend of the West for the newspaper.

I can’t help but notice an oversized drum kit trophy at the top of the cabinet, so of course I am intrigued to know more about this. The ‘Drum Beat’ award was presented to Brian last year by the debonaires. “That was fabulous actually. I didn’t think I would get to keep the drums. I thought they were just for on the day. But I got to keep it.”

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Last year, Brian received the most outstanding citizen award for the Blacktown area. “That was a great award because the guy that introduced it to me, that was the first award of the night in front of over 700 people at Blacktown Workers Club, and he announced it as meeting me all these years ago.” Brian continues to tell me that they met on the main street of Blacktown in the 1980’s when Brian was still at Chandlers. “He approached me for a gift for the business awards and I came up with a coloured television for them and he said if that’s the way the people in Blacktown are gonna be, how friendly I was towards him, he said he’s gonna enjoy doing the awards in Blacktown.”

In recent years, Brian has become known as the most photographed man on Facebook, even receiving a trophy for this. Every day, Brian posts several different photos on Facebook with different faces at different places. Everybody seems to know him. In fact, when I take a short walk with him through the Rouse Hill Town Centre, several people stop to say hello to him and ask how he is. Even on his recent cruise, people had recognised him from Facebook and wanted to get a photo with him. “When Sue and I boarded the ship recently, I had a lady come on, Diane, and she sent me a message ‘it sounds like you’re a fun guy Brian. I’m looking forward to meeting you.’” Diane got a photo with Brian, as did her two children. It seems that everywhere he goes, photos are always taken which he enjoys, although not everyone enjoys it as much as he does. “Some people get a bit upset cause they think I overdo it,” Brian tells me but I can sense the enjoyment that it brings him.

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Brian will often get photographs with his satisfied customers at The Good Guys and with the staff of restaurants and pubs that he frequents such as The Brewery and The Fiddler and he tells me that they are always very obliging to it.

Sue, for the most part, enjoys the impact that Brian has on people’s lives and how happy he can make them with one photo. She is often with Brian when these photos are taken. “Strangers come up to me all the time and hug me and she’ll say ‘who was that?’ and I say ‘I don’t know’ but they knew me”. Brian and Sue have been together for 5 years and Sue tells me that those 5 years have been so amazing because of all the things she has had the chance to experience with Brian. She counts tickets to see Celine Dion as one of her favourite moments. “She’s a cougar” Brian laughs because Sue is 5 years older than he is. “In the last 5 years we’ve been together I’ve taken her to so many shows and introduced her to so many people which she’d never done before.” Sue loves every minute of it, especially making the Cupie Dolls for the Westmead Children’s Hospital.

Brian puts his successes all down to hard work. He would never have achieved what he has and been where he is today if he didn’t work hard for it. Working in electrical retail for over 50 years has introduced Brian to many different faces and different events. He still works for The Good Guys and loves the enjoyment that he gets from satisfied customers who keep coming back. He also loves the opportunities that are presented to him, which come from being so successful. Straight after our interview and lunch, Brian heads to the Echidna’s Show at Croydon RSL. He’ll usually attend Studio 10 twice a week and then works 4 days a week, whilst also fitting in shows, dinners and awards evenings. Brian attends the Debonairs Luncheons at Sails Waterfront once a month. “They love me there and always take the mickey out of me,” Brian smiles. In April, he will attend the Australian Club Entertainment (ACE) awards.

For now, Brian will continue working, entertaining people and uploading hundreds of photos to Facebook. His positivity towards life will keep shining through. As our lunch comes to an end, it’s clear that Brian McCombe has left an impression on me- one that’s positive, good-natured and caring. Brian takes pride in all that he does and doesn’t see his lifestyle slowing down or stopping anytime soon. “I don’t drink alcohol and I don’t smoke and my heart’s still pumping so touch wood.”

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I would like to say a thank you to everyone who has supported this blog over the last week and for all your kind comments regarding my first article with Brian. I hope you all enjoyed this one just as much. Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or via the Facebook page. To read more articles like Brian’s, sign up for email notifications below, or ‘Like’ the Facebook page.

© Creative Collections 2018

King Brian- Western Sydney Legend Part 1

It’s a warm day in the Western Sydney suburb of Rouse Hill. I am not familiar with the area, so when I pulled up to the address that Brian McCombe had given me for his apartment, I surely think I’m lost. I’m surrounded by shops and restaurants. Surely this isn’t where he lives? I turn around and see my subject walking towards me with a big grin on his face. As Brian approaches, I know that I am in for a wonderful interview.

I wasn’t in the wrong place, as it turns out. There are apartments above the Rouse Hill Town Centre where 67-year-old Brian resides. I am amazed as I walk into his apartment and see his impressive trophy cabinet, which I will get to in part two. There are many signed canvases and framed images on his wall along with framed photos of Brian with many different famous faces.

Brian grew up in Riverstone. He is the son of Lillian and Sam who have both passed away. Growing up, Brian had a fairly ordinary childhood until his entertainment story began when he was 13 years old. He started to play the drums in his school band and continued to do so for 17 years. “I love entertainment and keeping others entertained,” Brian tells me. He gave up the drums at the age of 30 after his son was born but he doesn’t miss it because he has found other ways to fill that entertainment void.

Brian married at the age of 26. The marriage resulted in two children together Melissa and Matthew and  2 grandchildren Olivia and Ava. Sadly the marriage ended after 27 years. But since then, Brian has met Sue and they have been together for 5 years. I meet Sue during my interview with Brian. I can tell just how much she enjoys the entertaining life of Brian McCombe. “I’ve introduced her to so many people and taken her to so many shows. I always get asked to go somewhere on the weekend and bring Sue along,” he tells me.

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Brian and Sue

Brian often talks in tangents, but it affirms his passion for life and entertainment as well as his energetic personality. Brian’s real career began in the 1990’s when he started doing ads for the electrical company he worked at, Chandler’s.  It was not too long before Brian became synonymous as ‘King Brian’. “The lady who owned the business didn’t really want to be on TV, so I started doing it.” He enjoyed the ads and the sudden fame that they brought. “Being an ex-musician, it didn’t bother me so I really enjoyed doing them.”

So how exactly did the ‘king’ come about? “They thought of the idea on the Queen’s birthday and they gave me a crown to wear. We went through different kings from Elvis to Neptune”. The ads were mostly broadcast on Channel 10 and radio stations 2UE and 2GB. To this day, many customers still refer to him as ‘King Brian’. The ad campaign was Brian’s first foot in the open door to the world of entertainment.

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Brian and Ita Buttrose

Since then, Brian has met many people and done many different things for the entertainment industry and charities. In fact, it is rare that a day goes by when he isn’t attending an event. So it’s only fitting that our next topic of conversation happens to be Brian’s charity event.

Coming up on the 2nd March for the 13th year in a row, Brian will be hosting his annual Kidney Fundraising Golf Day. 13 years ago, he was invited as an ambassador to the day. “When we finished, I asked the crowd if they all wanted me back next year.” The unanimous answer was yes. It is held at Fox Hill Golf Club. During the time that Brian has been involved in the charity day, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised. The big money maker of the night are the auctions along with the raffles. The raffles bring in around $1600 on the night. One year, they made $25,000. Due to his connections, there are some pretty big ticketed items up for auction each year. During our interview, I notice a large canvas that is signed by radio hosts Kyle and Jackie O. This will be going into this year’s auction along with a meet and greet and tour of the studio with Kyle and Jackie O. There are also a pair of very high, bright yellow pumps sitting on his bench. These are signed by Ita Buttrose and are expected to go for a sizeable figure on the night. “There’s 22 teams booked in this year,” Brian tells me. He also tells me how each year there is an Elvis impersonator who entertains the audience. Unfortunately, the usual Elvis, John Collins, is unable to perform this year but Brian assures me that there is an excellent stand in for him.

Brian intended to give the charity day up after 10 years but 3 years later he is still hosting it. “This year will be last. But I don’t know because I love doing it. We’ll play it by ear.”

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Brian is also involved with work for the Cancer Council and Variety Club and holds charity work close to his heart. Later, over lunch at the Griddle Restaurant, he and Sue tell me about the Cupie dolls that Sue makes and hand delivers to the sick children at Westmead Children’s hospital. I’m not the least bit surprised to learn that even the security guards there know Brian. “I’ve always believed that what you give out, you get back. I’ve always been like that. It’s a great way to live.”

Our conversation continues to flow as Brian tells me more about his entertainment life and being so widely recognised. Although he still works part-time at The Good Guys in Blacktown after more than 50 years of service in electrical retail, Brian always manages to find time to do and see things.

Brian regularly visits the Channel 10 morning show ‘Studio 10’. “I know a lot of the entertainers on board. I have a photo with them at the end of the show. I’ve also made friends with a lot of the regulars who go to the show.” In fact, when Brian and Sue recently took some time out to go on a cruise, the crew from Studio 10 kept asking him when he would be returning, a sign that Brian’s presence is most welcomed.

Before Studio 10, Brian used to be given 16 tickets for ‘This is your Life’ each week. He has also attended ‘Dancing with the Stars’. With Brian, it really is a case of who you know not what you know. Having met the likes of Celine Dion, Tim Webster, Ray Hadley and Rove McManus, Brian certainly knows a lot of people, but he never forgets those within his community.

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Brian and Rove

Being a local to the Blacktown area and community and having worked in the area for so long, I’m not surprised when Brian tells me that he has a hosting spot at the Blacktown City Council Show. “I do the Showgirl quest. For a few years I was the judge and now I ask the questions. I get a lot of enjoyment out of that and it keeps you in touch with the community.”

Brian is always sure to give local businesses a shout out too. Whenever he attends an event or a restaurant, he is sure to give them a mention on Facebook. He is always very happy to help with the exposure of people with up and coming talent. When he attended Dancing With the Stars, aside from getting a photo with his look-a-like Darryl Somers, Brian introduced them to a young dancer Natasha, who now owns her own dance studio. Because everyone knew who Brian was, they kept asking who this beautiful young woman was that he had brought with him.

Brian says that meeting people and families in a round-a-bout way through his work is something that he enjoys. “I promote them all, anyone new. They love it. I like the enjoyment they get out of it,”. This is probably why he suggested we go to his friend John’s restaurant ‘The Griddle’ in Rouse Hill for lunch. Brian frequents this restaurant and the staff all know him by name and ask him what he has planned for the day. It’s not hard to see why Brian promotes this business so much because both the food and service are impeccable.

With all the success that Brian has had, it’s only fitting that he has an impressive trophy cabinet. Known as the most photographed man on Facebook, my discussion will continue with Brian next week as he takes me through his trophy cabinet and more of his achievements.

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Brian and I during our interview at The Griddle Restaurant

To keep updated when part 2 is released, be sure to ‘Like’ the Facebook page from the link below.

© Creative Collections 2018



Christine Shaw makes yummy cakes

Frosting, fondant, naked. Whatever cake you desire, Christine Shaw will make it. This cake baker, or should I say cake artist, is extremely talented and can make absolutely anything.

Christine Shaw first discovered her love of baking and crafting cakes when she was studying as a mature age student at Emily MacPherson College, which is part of the Melbourne University of Technology. As part of the electives for this course in her fourth year, Christine decided that she would try her hand at the patisserie, continental chocolate work and cake decorating courses. And she was loved it from the start.

It was during this degree in her second year that Christine would meet her husband Michael. “I married him in the 3rd year and fell pregnant in the final year”, she laughs. And having children early was planned Christine tells me. This meant that she could specialise and work from home with children around and having a newborn baby didn’t stop her. She and Michael are now the parents of three sons and have one grandchild.

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Christine was working at CRA Mining Company in their kitchens and had her first major project when she was asked to decorate 200 chocolate plaques for the entire International Olympic Committee during the Melbourne Olympic bid in 1989. She describes this as a dream job and was amazed with what she could do, even with having a newborn to care for.

From there, Christine’s cake artistry continued to grow and she now makes cakes for all different occasions at a very affordable price. With the process that Christine goes through to bake and then decorate a cake, I really am surprised that her prices are so modest.

I ask her about her cake process and how long one cake takes to make. 5 hours? 10 hours? Maybe 15 hours? No, it’s actually between 20 and 30 hours depending on the requirements. “The first thing I do is consult with the client to work out their requirements, flavour and vision.” Christine then tells me that her next step in the process with the client is to consolidate the cake design, quote and gain approval from the client to continue the process. “After the client is happy, I begin to source or make the required decorations,” Christine continues. Such decorations may be flowers, figurines, chocolate curls, biscuits, meringues and signage. Once these are sourced, Christine can then start baking the cake. “Because I rarely get asked to do a fruit cake nowadays, I have to make the cakes as close to the function date as possible. This usually means sleepless nights on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights to ensure on time delivery on Saturday.” I ask her to go further into detail about what she does on these sleepless nights to ensure these cakes are perfect. On the Wednesday, Christine will bake the cake/s and allow them to cool. On the Thursday she will fill the cakes with whichever filling is required (usually buttercream or ganache) and do an initial cover of the cake. Friday is where the magic happens and the cake comes to life with the final covering, usually with fondant, and decorating. Then the cake is delivered to the clients ready to be enjoyed.

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Christine, who has been baking cakes for 30 years, has had her fair share of unusual requests, but being the highly competent and amazing cake artist that she is, she delivered on all occasions. Christine was asked to model the bride, groom and their pet dog sitting on their favourite couch to top their wedding cake. As far as flavours are concerned, Christine says that the most odd one she has had was a caramel cheesecake filling for a cake. It was a first, but Christine assures me that it actually turned out to be quite nice. But the one that makes really makes Christine smile, and probably one that she is most proud of, is when her client requested a gluten, lactose and egg free cake. “I did consider giving them a lettuce leaf,” she laughs. “However it did turned out to be quite tasty. Who would have thought?!”

Like all artists, Christine finds inspiration from a few things. She draws inspiration from cakes she might see in a magazine or book; something she may findonline across various platforms; pieces of art; her own imagination; and the most easily accessible thing of all: nature. Inspiration can do great things for an artist like Christine and help make her cakes look (and taste) stunning.

What really draws people to Christine’s cakes, apart from the fact that her prices aren’t extreme, is the amount of flavours that she offers. Of course there’s the usual chocolate, caramel, vanilla, banana, strawberry and white chocolate, but there are also many other different flavours. Christine offers Greek Style Yoghurt cakes in chocolate fudge, mocha, chai and hazelnut flavours. She also offers lemon sour cream cake; sticky date; orange and coconut; orange poppyseed; lemon poppyseed; lime poppyseed; carrot; hummingbird; red velvet; caramelised apple cake; and pear lime and almond cake. She even makes a Nutella cake (my favourite).  But she is always happy to experiment with flavours too, especially for the fillings. Christine offers a variety of fillings which can be tailored to your taste. These fillings might contain alcohol or may be just a standard chocolate or caramel ganache. Or you might prefer to be more traditional and go with jam and cream.

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So what still draws Christine to baking after all these years? Passion. “It’s a sense of satisfaction that it looks and tastes great and the thought that people are excited to eat and enjoy it too.” Repeat customers and word of mouth ensures that Christine is always baking cakes.

Aside from baking, Christine also enjoys cooking. “I love creating and I love making food look appetising. I love making food that people will love eating and get great satisfaction out of it when they do”, Christine tells me. Among her favourite cuisines to make are Asian, Greek and Italian, especially pasta. With her cooking, Christine offers catering to parties and different functions. She also works as food tech support, canteen supervisor and breakfast club coordinator at St Mary’s Catholic College in Gateshead, a suburb of Lake Macquarie.

I’ve had the pleasure of tasting Christine’s cakes and they are very delicious. The mud cake isn’t too dense, and the fondant is just the right amount of sweetness. The filling is delectable and adds to the taste. Her cakes always look finished and she is capable of making anything you desire, which is why she has become so popular. Christine’s cakes are made with love which really shines through.

Christine Shaw is a talented and crafty cake extraordinaire.  Nothing is too hard for her. However you like your cake, Christine can surely make it.


Jordan Pannowitz- Photography and everything in between

Jordan Pannowitz is bubbly, friendly, talented and extremely busy. And, as I soon found out, she is caring. The 26 year-old photographer from Newcastle is more than just handy with a camera.

Jordan’s passion for photography began when she was 16 after her Aunty got a professional camera and taught Jordan how to use it. So that Christmas, Jordan’s parents got her a camera so she could start fulfilling her love of photography. “I started off with taking free photos for my family and friends. By the time I was 19, I started doing weddings for them as a back-up photographer”.

Jordan created her photography business JPannowitz Photography when she was 23 and began to charge people for her services. Since then, her business has only continued to grow. Last year, Jordan was shooting roughly 8 weddings a month and is already nearly fully booked for weddings this year. “I have a lot of loyal clients who just kept recommending me to people. It just kept going,” she tells me during our phone conversation. I can hear the passion in her voice whenever she speaks about her photography work.

I ask Jordan about her photographic style, something that is an important aspect to know when choosing a photographer to cover your shoot. She explains to me that her style is what is known as high contrast, meaning that the blues and greens stand out more. Given that a majority of Jordan’s photoshoots occur either on the beach or in the Hunter Valley, this chosen style is very fitting. Although the moody style is becoming very popular, and Jordan is happy to edit a few photos this way, she prefers to be a little different and stick with this high contrast style for all her photo shoots, and they certainly look amazing.

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Photo: JPannowitz Photography

Unlike other photographers, Jordan does not put a limit on the number of photos that her clients receive. “I edit every single photo, and you get every single photo. I believe that you are paying for a photography service so I don’t think that you should be limited”. As Jordan continues to tell me, there really would be no point in her keeping all these photos to herself rather than showing them to the world. “I try to differ myself from everyone else. So at the end you could have 1600 photos.”

Another thing that sets Jordan apart from other photographers, and something I think reflects Jordan’s personality, is that she doesn’t charge an arm and a leg for her wedding services. Whilst most wedding photographers price their packages around $4000, Jordan’s most expensive package is under $2000. I am curious about this and ask Jordan just how and why she does it so cheap. “I do it because I love it. I don’t do it to become rich. I use the money to pay for my equipment.” Jordan’s photos are of an amazing quality but she can’t justify asking people to spend an obscene amount on photos for their special day and believes that there are better things they could be spending their money on. I can’t help but agree with her.

One of the reasons why Jordan is not fussed with making a huge profit from her photography is because she has another job- one that she worked very hard to achieve. Jordan has a degree in Medical Radiation Science and works at Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital in Radio Oncology. She works down in Sydney 4 days a week so between that and her photography, her schedule is usually full.

Still, Jordan finds time to volunteer for children’s cancer charity Camp Quality, something she has held close to her heart for the last 5 years. “Working in oncology, I get to see up close what adults as well as kids go through when they are diagnosed with cancer. It’s hard enough being an adult, let alone being a child and being 2 or 7 with cancer,” she tells me and I can hear the passion in her voice. Camp Quality does amazing work to help children who are suffering from cancer, but they also help their families as well. I find out from Jordan that siblings of those battling cancer have a 200% increased risk of becoming depressed. “We have family camps where the whole family can come along.” Through Camp Quality, Jordan travels around Australia and visits different schools with a puppet show that helps educate kids about cancer and what to do if one of their class mates has cancer. “It’s very rewarding”.

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Photo: JPannowitz Photgraphy


Although Jordan is busy with her radio oncology work and Camp Quality, she wouldn’t change her work for anything, and that includes her photography. “It’s a great way to balance out of my life and to see people crying happy tears instead of sad tears is what I really like”. Jordan’s photography is all about her clients, so naturally, seeing her clients reactions to her images is a reminder to Jordan about why she does what she does. “It’s nice when they see their family all together in the one photo”. Jordan tells me how even in this day and age with camera phones being so popular, it’s actually really rare to get a whole family together in the one photo. “They may have a huge family that they don’t often get together but they do for the photo and so when everyone is together it’s quite emotional and just, to see that on their faces, I really love that”. And weddings are an excellent occasion to bring everyone together for photos which is probably why Jordan loves covering weddings so much.

One of the weddings that Jordan has covered, and possibly one of her most memorable one, was a cultural experience which is why it stood out so much. It was a Fijian/New Zealand wedding and was completely different to anything Jordan had shot before. Of course there were cultural dances, both Fijian and New Zealand and the groom and his groomsmen performed a choreographed routine to Bruno Mars. Jordan tells me that as per tradition, all the male guests danced around the bride and put money down her dress. “It was just amazing. I’d never been to anything like that before”. Jordan had previously done a Scottish wedding where the father of the bride wore a kilt, but never had she done a wedding that was completely culturally influenced. In fact, this wedding made Jordan feel like she was in Fiji herself. There were prayers in a different language and the dances were performed by family members of all ages from little kids to grandfathers. “It made me want to get up there and dance with them”.

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Photo: JPannowitz Photography

Jordan Pannowitz may have only just begun her photography career but she is already very popular and I have no doubt that, with amazing images like hers, her career will only continue to grow. Her generosity with Camp Quality really shines through and sums up her personality. And her work in Radio Oncology shows that there are things other than photography that interests Jordan.

As our phone call wraps up, it becomes clear to me that Jordan is a very caring person. And that is probably the best quality to have.

Lili Crane- From Nashville to Tamworth and everywhere in between

Talented is the first word that springs to mind when I think about 16-year Newcastle singer/songwriter Lili Crane. Freshly returned from the Tamworth Music Festival, this girl is shooting goals.

My time with Lili begins over a casual drink-Lili a hot chocolate and me a chocolate thickshake. I can tell she’s nervous, perhaps a bit giddy, for she hasn’t done many interviews. But as soon as our interview begins, all that goes away.

Lili tells me that she has been singing for basically as long as she has been talking, but the guitar playing didn’t come until a little while later. “I started playing the guitar at age 9”.

Song writing followed soon after, something which Lili has a clear talent for. “Once I got better at the guitar at 10, I started writing heaps.” I ask Lili where she gets her inspiration. Of course, like all songwriters, life itself becomes inspiration. But for Lili, being so young, one particular thing was her influence for a while. “I got inspiration from boys that I’ve had crushes on,” she says with a smile before telling me about her subjects. “I dropped in on a guy in the surf once and he yelled me at I got heaps embarrassed. So, I wrote a song about it”.

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Photo: Bob McGahan

Lili’s song writing process is spontaneous and draws largely upon improvisational techniques. Lili will grab her guitar, play around with chords and record what she is playing. She then begins to sing to try and create lyrics. “A lot of the time, when I’m playing around, I’ll set an alarm for 5 mins to then write down what I had just experienced. From there I will record again and make up some lyrics”.

Like a large number of country singers, Lili has always dreamt of going to Nashville to record and jam with other musicians. In fact, it’s been a dream of hers since the age of nine. In 2016, Lili was fortunate enough to have that dream become a reality when she won Rising Star and in turn, a trip to Nashville. Lili knew that it would be a fantastic opportunity to write with some quality writers and sing with some really big singers. “When I was over there I had an aim to write a lot with people and try and network, get heaps of connections over there for the future when I go back”. That’s just what Lili did, performing at a few open mic nights which grabbed the attention of Greg Hudile, whose house she ended up recording at. “That wasn’t planned. He booked me that day, because it was my last day there, to record vocals”.

Also, during her time in Nashville, Lili recorded the tracks for her EP All the Sweet Things, something she had planned before travelling there. Lili’s EP contains three tracks, all written and performed by her. “It’s just me and my guitar because I couldn’t afford to bring other musicians in. It’s really raw.” Of course, being so young, there’s 2 tracks on the EP about a boy. ‘High Speed’ was written about the boy in the surf. ‘All the Sweet Things’ and ‘What You Did To Me’ were written about a boy that Lili had a crush on. “’What You Did To Me’ is about me trying to get the boy and going through all this pain and the other song is about ‘oh my god he actually started to like me back now’ but it’s not fully that sort of thing yet.” ‘All the Small Things’ was Lili’s first foot in the door as a musician and her step towards selling her own music.

Coming back to Australia with the influences from Nashville has been a positive impact on Lili’s music career. Nashville motivated Lili in a way that she had hoped it would. She tells me that it’s made her write a lot more upon her return. “I know that I can achieve anything that I want to so I’m trying really hard to do that”. She hopes to return there again this year. “That’s my number one priority and there’s a good chance I might be”.

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Photo: Eddie Cross

Prior to our interview, I had found myself watching Lili’s YouTube video and I was fortunate enough to come across her latest masterpiece ‘What Did I Do’. “It actually gave me shivers and I really felt the emotion in your voice”, I tell her. I can see that Lili is more than pleased to hear this compliment. So I ask her where her inspiration came from, out of curiosity more than anything. I couldn’t quite believe that a 16-year-old had written such a song. “It really came from that feeling of being excluded for whatever reason. I think there’s so many people that go through that whole exclusion thing, so I wanted to write a song that people could relate to what I could”. The video has amassed over 14,000 views on Facebook, the most watched video that Lili has ever posted. “It’s going so well. I promoted that. It’s the biggest promotion I’ve ever gotten. I couldn’t believe. I’m so happy”. Due to its success, Lili hopes to record and release it as a single this year with musician Bill chambers offering to play on it.

But that’s not all the excitement Lili has had this year. She has just returned from performing at her very first Tamworth Country Music Festival (CMF), a huge experience for her. “It was awesome! It was such a big week. I’m exhausted but I feel like I achieved and learnt so much”. During her time there, Lili got to play a few of her songs with Bill Chambers and his band which was definitely the highlight of her time there. She was also interviewed by Prime7, which she couldn’t believe.

But of course, one can’t perform at the Tamworth Country Music Festival without a competition (and I’m not talking about the Golden Guitars). Lili competed in the Coca-Cola Battle of the Youngsters and finished in the top 3. “I also got runner up for the CCMA battle of the song stars”. From what she tells me, it’s clear that Lili very much enjoyed her time in Tamworth and hopes this is the first of many CMF she attends there.

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Photo: Bob McGahan

Now that she is back in Newcastle, Lili will go back to surfing and school, where she starts year 11 at St Francis Xavier College in Hamilton. She will continue to focus on her music this year, hopefully with some new music out for us to hear. I have a feeling that 2018 will be Lili Crane’s year. Her career is only just beginning.

Sami’s Every Passing Minute- life on tour

It’s a warm but windy summers day in Maitland, NSW. I watch the cars go by one after the other until one catches my eye. It’s a white van with the words “SAMI” sprawled across the front, side and back. The driver gets out and walks towards me. She greets me with a hug and says, “It’s so nice to finally meet you”.

The driver is 21-year old singer/songwriter Sami Cooke from Young, a country town in New South Wales. In those first few seconds, I can see just how friendly Sami is and how passionate she is about certain things in life.

As we walk towards ‘Outback Jacks’ restaurant we pass a motorbike shop. She tells me that she recently bought a helmet there and wants to buy a bike, already having her learner’s licence. The conversation is easy and relaxed, the kind of person that Sami comes across as.

We are offered table water as we are seated, and I begin to talk to Sami about her music career.  But we are interrupted by her phone alarm. She apologises profusely and explains that she sets an alarm to remind her to drink water to keep her voice hydrated. Her voice is slightly husky, a result of the 3 gigs she had just performed on the weekend. She begins to take me on her musical journey.

Sami began her music life with a saxophone in primary school. She tells me how she and her brother, who played the clarinet, used to busk together to earn some money and practice their instruments. “We loved it because we were making money and it was great. After we went busking we would get ice cream from Wendy’s and the rest of the money would go to mum and dad for tuition.” Once Sami got to high school, she gave up playing the saxophone. It just wasn’t cool anymore. But, after discovering her talent for singing in year 6 and winning her school’s talent quest, Sami decided to focus on singing.

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Photo by Meg Bailes

After trying out multiple singing teachers, Sami found one that was best suited to her. His name is Mark Brooker. Sami tells me that he was, and still is, an amazing singer who really brought out the best of her ability. “He was a trained opera singer and taught me heaps of great techniques and if I didn’t have him, I wouldn’t be able to do 3 gigs a week”. The classical lessons helped Sami so much that she decided to enter several different Eisteddfods, winning at each one, something which really boosted her confidence.

However, living in Young and aspiring to be a singer was not the easiest. As Sami puts it, unless you were interested in sport or farming, you were pretty much an outsider. The bullying that Sami received at school almost caused her to quit a few times, but her success at eisteddfods and her determination helped her to keep going.

Sami continued singing, performing and enjoying what she was doing but never really thought of it as a career until she was in year 11. It was around about this time that she started doing a few gigs, something that she now performs over 100 of. “I did a few gigs prior to finishing school but I was at school and a lot of places you had to be over 18 to play there so I started doing a few gigs every now and then when I could”.

Once Sami caught the gigging bug, it became a massive part of her life. In 2014, Sami travelled around in a camper trailer for the whole year, performing at various places. “The whole experience was incredible”.  

Sami’s second year of touring took her to both New Zealand and Canada. “It was a couple weeks over in New Zealand just doing gigs and I felt famous because the promotion people paid for me to go over there and everything was paid for. They just wanted me to sing 3 shows. It was the first taste of what it was like going international”. Sami tells me that the people in New Zealand were very welcoming and treated her with respect for choosing their country to perform in. She also noted that all her gigs were full of people wanting to hear what her beautiful voice could do.

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Photo: Sometimes Alice Photography

Though Sami’s mum suggested that they next go to America, Sami felt that she was her own person and therefore didn’t want to follow what everyone else did. My time with Sami demonstrated that she is proud to be her own artist and do her own thing, something I think is admirable.  Instead she decided she would go to Canada, as her father had history with the country. They purchased an RV and drove from Calgary to Vancouver and back again over a period of 6 weeks. Sami smiles as she tells me how welcoming the Canadians were. “The people over there are incredible. Every single one of my gigs, packed. They’re all there to watch me which is just incredible. The musicians as well. Out of 18 shows, I had probably 4 solo, everyone plays. They just randomly jump up and jam with me. I get guitarists, harmonica players, I had a Trombone player, another singer, a bassist, an electric guitarist”. It’s true the people of Canada love Sami just as much as we do. Which is probably why she returns there every year.

In between completing her schooling and various gigs, Sami managed to release her debut album ‘Every Passing Minute’, which features 14 tracks. Sami wrote 13 tracks for the album, most of which were written whilst she was still at school. Her writing ability is incredible, with each song telling its own story. It’s not hard to hear Sami’s heart and soul in each song. Her country voice powers through. When I ask Sami what releasing her own album was like she tells me bluntly that for her it was like giving birth. “It’s your own baby, all your own emotions. It’s a very private thing to sort of take me and give it to the world”.

 ‘Every Passing Minute’ proved to be a success for Sami, with the singer being recognised for various accolades. Her powerful anti-bullying song ‘Still Searching’ hit number 10 on the Australian charts, and the track that she penned titled ‘You’re Inspirational’, which was written for people with disabilities, also reached number 10. The success of her album has lead to over 50,000 YouTube views.

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Cover photo: Raymond Mac Neill Photography

Sami is in the process of finishing her new album, having only one song left to record and the final production to be completed. “I’m hoping to have a cd launch on April 7th in Newcastle”. Sami has invited fellow musician and friend Georgina Grimshaw along to perform at the launch. After nearly 400 fans turned up to her debut album launch in Canberra, where Sami lived for 3 years, she hopes that this album launch will be as successful. Sami moved to Newcastle in 2016 and now resides in Branxton, west of the city with her boyfriend of over 3 years.  Because she isn’t a local, she doesn’t think 400 people will come to her album launch. She estimates the number would probably be around 150, but I think she is being too modest.

Aside from the album launch, 2018 appears to be a big year for Sami. She’s currently performing at the Tamworth Country Music Festival and will continue to play over 100 various gigs around the Newcastle and Hunter Valley areas. She also tells me that she will be studying a Bachelor of Communciation, majoring in Media Studies at Newcastle University this year. Sami loves to write and keeps her fans up-to-date with her tours and music via her blog. She also keeps busy by doing various modelling jobs and will continue these various projects throughout the year.

As our interview comes to a close and we part ways, I walk off smiling, completely awestruck by Sami. Not only is she multi-talented and an amazing singer, she is also friendly and confident. These attributes make her the artist that she is- an artist to be proud of. Her 7,000 Facebook fans can’t be wrong.

Sami feb gigs

Kate is ready for the ride

Talented, friendly and inspirational. These are the three words that come to mind during my time with West Australian musician Kate Hindle. With the release of her brand new EP ‘Ready For the Ride’ on Friday, and after a challenging 2017, Kate’s music career couldn’t be any better right now.

21-year old Kate grew up in Collie, a small country town in Western Australia. From a young age, she knew that music was for her. Beginning with piano at the age of 7, Kate and her parents realised her talent for music. “My mum put me into guitar lessons when I was 8. Once I was really getting the hang of it, I started to sing whilst playing the guitar when I was 9”. From there, Kate’s career started to evolve, learning more instruments along the way. Kate tells me during our phone interview that she can play the bass, drums, mandolin, ukulele and the penny whistle. “I was in a Celtic band for a little while”. I can hear a smile on her face when she tells me that.

Of course once she perfected her instruments, she began to write songs, well dabble with silly lyrics as she puts it. But one day she wrote a song that she was proud of. She penned the song at 12, called it ‘Unknown Love’ and even recorded it, though the recording is no longer available. But it was in that moment that Kate realised her potential as a songwriter. “I realised that I could write about family and things happening at the time.” She is now a full-time singer/songwriter.

Around the same time that she wrote ‘Unknown Love’, Kate really began to see music as a career. She had heard about a school, Senior College of Country Music (formerly Camerata Country Music School) and aspired to attend. But unfortunately for Kate, at that time they weren’t taking applicants that young. But being determined, she started working hard to achieve her goals, eventually ending up at WAAPA. The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts offered Kate a position when she was 17, something that she is immensely thankful for. “From there I attended the Junior College of Country Music on a scholarship in 2014 and the next year in 2015 I received another scholarship for the Senior College”.

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Photo: Georgia Maloney Photography

After graduating with her music degree from WAAPA in 2015, Kate released her single ‘My Home’ on iTunes, which made it into the Top 40 Country Music Chart. But her star was only just beginning to rise. In 2016, Kate finished in the top 10 of Autralia’s highly prestigious country music competition, the Toyota Star Maker. 2016 also saw Kate perform at big music festivals such as the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival, the Gympie Muster and the Mildura Country Music Festival. In 2017, Kate visited the Tamworth Country Music Festival once again, this time performing with Golden Guitar award winner Travis Collins.

From our interview, it’s clear that Kate aspired to live in Tamworth from a young age and that aspiration turned into reality. “Living in Tamworth was a dream. I was pursuing my career as a country music artist.” Kate was making a name for herself in Tamworth for a year, when her world started to slowly crumble. She had her heart broken, but that was the least of her worries. Kate’s ever increasing back complications would suddenly put a halt to her career.

Kate had a spinal disc push through her spinal canal which almost paralysed her and caused her unbearable pain. But through her darkest days, and her doctors telling her that all her pain was psychological, Kate remained as positive as she could be. “One day the negativity just pushed me to go ‘You know what? I’m gonna get through this and I’m gonna prove to you that it’s not in my head. I’m gonna keep positive. Keep pushing everyday.’” And Kate continued to have that mind focus until one day her bladder stopped working. Suddenly the doctors realised the damage to her body. Her injury was affecting the nerve to her bladder. Following successful surgery in Newcastle, Kate was finally starting to get better but moved back to Western Australia to be closer to her family.

Although Kate’s spinal injury hasn’t stopped her, it did cause her to miss out on a few massive gigs. But Kate found inspiration in what she had been through to write music. “Being in a wheelchair really brought this determination that ‘I really want this’ and I got to write about the really positive journey. I get to write about what I’m feeling and how it affects me and music is definitely a remedy of mine.” So whilst she was in hospital, Kate started to create lyrics for a song to a melody that she had had in her mind for a few years. Kate penned the lyrics ‘I’ve gotta learn. I’ve gotta try to keep getting by’ and thus became her track and eventual EP title ‘Ready For the Ride’.

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Photo: Georgia Maloney Photography

Releasing on Friday the 19th January, the EP features 7 tracks; 4 originals and 3 covers. “All of the songs that are on there have played an important role in my journey,” she tells me. There’s a song from Canadian musician Anne Murray who has always uplifted Kate. Another cover is from country music legend Slim Dusty, who’s Bush Balladeer style has always inspired Kate’s music. The last cover is Patsy Kline.

Kate co-wrote 3 songs on the EP, and penned the remaining track solo. “The songs just symbolise life to be honest.” There is a track on the EP titled ‘Whiskey Lullaby’ which Kate co-wrote with fellow WA musician Johnny Taylor. “It’s about an alcoholic, which isn’t about me, but I just expanded my songwriting skills for this song and I thought it was very important and kind of about my journey.” Kate also co-wrote a song with Felicity Urquhart in Nundle, New South Wales. The song is titled ‘Loneliness’.

Once Kate had written several different songs for the EP, she travelled three hours to Perth to meet with Mark Donohoe, the co-producer of the EP. “We started doing demos. We worked out which songs would make the cut and which wouldn’t.” After looking at different options for the feel of the album, the two decided that the album would be positive and one that people could relate to. Mark Haggerty Jr., a drummer, joined Kate in the recording studio, an experience that she describes as “an honour. He put a twist on some things which was awesome,” a twist which Kate feels actually made the songs better. Kate also worked on the guitar lines with Tamworth musician Rusty Crook for two full days. “We worked on the guitar, the mandolin, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, lead guitar. All of it.” Kate tells me that Rusty had a big input into the album, doing an incredible job. The producer Mark then put the bass line down and then spent the next few weeks tweaking the songs. “I then went back to record the, let’s just call them, end vocals. We spent the next few weeks recording harmonies and mixing and checking the balance of everything.” A long process indeed but Kate assures me that it was all worth it.

With the songs recorded and mixed, Kate was nearly ready to produce the album. But before that she had to come up the artwork, something she did herself. “I sent it to one of my friends who is a designer and she fixed it all up for me.” The CD was then ready to be manufactured, ready for release on the 19th January.

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The complete album cover

As my phone call wraps up with Kate, her gentle voice tells me about her busy year ahead. She’ll be performing 13 gigs over 10 days at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, then touring with her friend Trevor Tolton to Victoria before spending a weekend in South Australia performing. They then head to Western Australia, performing at a country music festival there. She then heads to Bundaberg, Queensland for another festival “I have 4 festivals within the first 5 months of the year”.

As Kate thanks me for the interview and I thank her for the time it’s not hard to see why Kate is so popular. With over 3,500 Facebook fans, Kate’s friendly nature and inspirational talent creates a real country music artist that I think so many people can relate to.

Talented, friendly and inspirational. This is how I describe Kate Hindle.

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Photo: Captain’s Eye Photography

Kendall’s King Tide

Sun, sand and waves. This is the back drop for the debut video ‘Tide’ from local Sydney artist Kendall King.

Kendall has always had a feel for music, beginning at the age of 5. But it wasn’t really until nine years ago when he began to produce his own music. “I started writing in 2008 and recording myself on the PC with a cable I used to plug straight into my guitar amp,” he tells me before saying that he can actually play 10 instruments. These include the piano, drums, saxophone, flute and violin along with the guitar and vocals.

I wonder if having the ability to play so many instruments makes it easier to create different sounds for each song? Kendall tells me that he creates all the sounds, excluding vocals, on a computer. “It’s rare I’ll actually record an instrument. Even when I track a guitar part, it’s plugged directly into the PC through an audio interface and I’m using emulated guitar amps and effects”.


There’s a lot that goes into creating and, later, producing a track. The melody is first, which is usually created on a piano by Kendall. From there he will draw the MDI notes and start layering sounds, adding in harmonies and chords. “It usually takes me 5 minutes to come up with a song and then another 6 months of producing and re-editing until the final song is ready.”

Wanting the freedom to be his own artist and create what he visualised, Kendall started to develop his own label SKYLLA about 2 years ago. Creating a label meant that Kendall would have independence as a musician along with creative individuals working alongside him that he has a deep connection with. But SKYLLA has become more than just about music, as Kendall tells me during our interview. “We are a 360 company. We don’t just make music. We do photography, videography, artworks, bookings and promotions. We make our own rules. We are free to express ourselves the way we want to express our art.” Kendall feels that this approach is more authentic, as he isn’t owned by anyone or locked into a particular contract, something a lot of artists strive for.

Although beginning out with just music, Kendall is now involved in the visual aspects of it, because music is more than just audio. “It’s become a visual medium and that forced me to become a photographer, a videographer and a graphic artist.” Essentially, when Kendall is creating the music, he is picturing the finished  package with the cover art and music video.

Kendall put his video skills to practice during production for his music video ‘Tide’. Filmed at Manly and Stockton beaches, the video offers a visual journey for the viewer. Before ‘Tide’ was filmed, Kendall had planned out exactly what vision he had for it. “I was part of the lyric writing process so I instantly had visions of sand dunes and the ocean.” Kendall also produced, mixed and mastered the track. Although Kendall is seen to be singing in the film clip, the vocals are actually performed by Jacob Michael.


‘Tide’ was shot in two days with Kendall doing a majority of the camera work. This included him setting a drone on autopilot to follow him through the sand dunes. He did, however, use a cameraman for a few shots. The shooting of the video was followed by two solid days of editing and producing the final product before it was ready for release.

‘Tide’ was released less than a week ago and has already amassed nearly 80,000 views. That is an incredible effort for an independent artist releasing their first film clip.

Having already released ‘Tide’, Kendall is planning to release an album, with 15 songs ready to go. “It’s just a matter of putting all the songs through the final production process. Mixing, mastering, film clip, art work and then release.”

In total, Kendall has been working on this album for a year now. 2 years prior, he conceptualised the idea of SKYLLA and created a full album last year but decided to scrap it because it wasn’t up to standard. “I’m very happy with this new collection of songs. I’m happy with how each song is sounding. I’ve had the chance to work with some amazing vocalists.”

Whilst Kendall works to release this collection of his work, and as such has no release date just yet, his vision for SKYLLA as a brand remains clear. “Me and the team have discussed starting a clothing line.” But Kendall explicitly states that they only do what they love and want interests them. “We want to make a clothing line because we want to wear the clothes. We make music that we want to listen to. If people out in the world enjoy what we do as well that is a bonus.”

For now, ‘Tide’ is just a taste of what Kendall and the team at SKYLLA have to offer, and if the track is anything to go by, the future looks very promising.

You can view the film clip for ‘Tide’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhVY94G7Y-I

To keep up-to-date with what Kendall is up to , check out their social media pages.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kendalldking/

Instragram: https://www.instagram.com/kendalldking/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kendalldking

Spotify: Search ‘Kendall King’

Itunes: Search ‘Kendall King Tide’

The Aussie Coeliac- how Ashlee turned her struggle with the disease into a top 50 blog

Ashlee Adams is a coeliac. She is a marketing manager and graphic designer. She is also within the top 50 food blogs in Australia.

Ashlee was diagnosed with Coeliac disease at the age of 6 in 1998. For ten months prior, she had seen her mum be diagnosed with the disease and readjust her life. So for Ashlee, being a kid was tough at times. “The disease gave me social anxiety and I got bullied because of it.”

Such problems lead Ashlee to a period in her teenage years where she just didn’t care about the disease anymore. “I got sick of it all. I pretended I didn’t have coeliac disease and ate whatever I wanted”. One day, Ashlee collapsed at school, ending up in hospital because she had fed her body so much gluten. “I had damaged my internal organs so much that I couldn’t get nutrients and I had a baseball sized ulcer”.

Although struggling with disease at times, Ashlee has now taken it in her stride and has created a blog “The Aussie Coeliac” that is within the top 50 food blogs in Australia and the top 50 food blogs for that particular niche in the world, something which hasn’t come easy.

Ashlee tells me that her main motivation behind her blog was realization that she wasn’t alone in being a coeliac. In fact 1 in 70 Australians suffer from some form of the disease. “I wanted to share my years of knowledge and help them.” Having to learn to cook at a young age so that her food was safe to consume, she has begun to share the recipes with others so they can (safely) indulge every now and again too. “I had a lot of recipes that others hadn’t figured out yet”.

So what exactly is coeliac disease? Well to put it simply, it’s where the immune system cannot handle gluten and therefore reacts abnormally, over time causing damage to the bowel. This means that the bowel can become inflamed and flattened when gluten is consumed which, overtime, may lead to gastrointestinal and nourishment absorption difficulties.

So Ashlee’s blog is essentially dedicated to eliminating and replacing certain foods that are toxic to those suffering from coeliac disease, something that she has worked on over time.

Like any blog, getting ‘The Aussie Coeliac’ up and running was a slow process. “Posting quality content on a regular basis was a good start. Finding likeminded groups and reaching out to companies or influencers was a big part.” Ashlee also credits The Social Media podcast as helping her boost her blog by offering great tips and tricks.

Although the process was slow, with Ashlee having been writing her blog for 5 years, this year her blog was finally recognised in the top 50, something which she is very proud of. “It took me time and money to get where I am now.”

For her blog, Ashlee’s research included dining at many different restaurants and food spots that boasted gluten free options. “I spent money at these places and reached out to people, leaving my card with them.” From there, Ashlee put reviews on sites like Trip Advisor, Zomato and local groups. “If you tag the restaurants or brands in your social media share, I’ve found most would reshare or even sponsor.” Basically, the more people that share your post, the more it is out there and the more reputable you become.

However successful her blog has become, the success of it all is still sinking in. “Every time somebody shares something, I get really surprised,” she tells me.

“I was at an expo and Olympic Gold medallist Jacqui Cooper came up to me and asked me for a photo.” She further tells me that hearing how her blog has helped others really satisfies her.

The self-proclaimed perfectionist says her life revolves around food, something which is an integral part of her life. Aside from completing a Bachelor’s degree in literature, graphic design and web development plus a certificate 3 in marketing and journalism, Ashlee’s passion for food is what really defines her success as a blogger. “Food is a science, and I love mixing and meddling with ingredients to find new techniques,” she says.

Ashlee’s blog has led to her write a cookbook, something which she is in the process of writing now. Titled ‘RSVP Gluten Free’, the book focuses on gluten free and allergen free entertainment. Whilst there is no release date yet, ‘RSVP Gluten Free’ is likely to be the ultimate cookbook Bible for any person who suffers from Coeliac Disease or gluten intolerance or for those of us, like me, who want to cut a little bit of gluten out of their diets.


For now Ashlee is enjoying her success and writing about what she loves. You can read more about coeliac disease, coeliac friendly restaurants and Ashlee’s life by visiting: http://www.aussiecoeliac.com.au