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SCREW IT ... I'M GONNA TELL YOU EVERYTHING (almost)

The short version is ... I'm an Alt Country Singer with 2 Number one DIY Music Videos who lives in a house that I built out of recycled materials with my Dad, my partner Nick, Cat - Kevin Bacon, 2 dogs - Dennis & Winnie, 2 goats - Stanley & Ebony & a whole lot of love.

BUT I'M HERE TO GIVE YOU THE FULL STORY

It began after a long & painful breakup with my partner of 7 years.  We had 2 dogs together, we opened and owner operated a Mixed Martial Arts, Strength & Conditioning Facility and later a Cafe.  Turns out, running your own business with your partner can take its toll on a relationship.  We decided to part ways, remaining friends.  

I moved into a tiny one bedroom apartment in Ascot, Brisbane.  It was all I could afford at the time.  I was still running and working in a dying cafe, whilst also working part time to make ends meet.  That included Uber Eats driving.  I had since met my now partner, Nick.  He moved in and after leaving my 2 dogs with my ex-partner, I decided I needed a pet.  Enter Kevin Bacon ... the tabby cat who would steal the hearts of many.

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I was home alone one evening watching 'Tiny House Nation on Netflix (what a great show!). After spending weeks complaining about our new neighbour I was looking for an escape from this unit.  
 

LET'S BUILD A TINY HOME

I had always been a hands on, love to try figure things out myself, kinda gal.  I had renovated and moved the gym we owned at least 3 times.  I had fit out a cafe and I spent much of my childhood (when I wasn't dancing or writing songs) in the shed with my Dad.  
 

I was straight on the phone to him. 
"Pa, how much would it cost to build a tiny home?"
"Will you help me build a tiny home?"
"Ma, Pa, we can't live in this apartment any longer ... how can we build a tiny home?"

 

I'm very fortunate to have incredibly supportive parents.  They were immediately on board trying to help us solve this riddle.  When Nick got home from work I bombarded him with the plan and I'm very fortunate to have a pretty easy going and supportive partner.  He was on board. 
 

No more than 5 months later Nick and I had drawn up preliminary house plans, we'd found a caravan that we would set up near my parents house and we'd made arrangements to leave our apartment and live in the caravan whilst we built our new home, which by the way was no longer a tiny home - just over 100sqm to be exact. 

CUE THE GLOBAL PANDEMIC

We had just moved to the farm, approx. 1hr 15min SW of Brisbane and had just embarked on taking our music project full time.  I had left my part time jobs, closed the cafe and Nick was doing freelance photography.  We were playing cover gigs to get by whilst we wrote and released what music we could. 

Yes, we lost all of our work during the worst 6 months of the pandemic.  But for us, it was lucky timing.  Our plans were approved and we set about building our new forever home. 

CUE DENNIS AND THE BIGGEST LEARNING CURVE OF OUR LIVES

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My mum breeds Labradors to assist people with both mental and physical disabilities. She had a litter of puppies.  Kevin was awesome ... but he's no dog.  I needed one. 
So Dennis, Nick, myself and my dad spent the 6 months of the worst lockdowns building our home.  It took us around 2 years to complete, from submitting the plans to council to having it being signed off.  The 3 of us completed as much of the work as legally possible - yep - we learnt most things from my dad (who is not a builder or carpenter but a handy retired farmer and groundsman).  We learnt a bunch of things from YouTube, Google and through trial and error - like how to pour our own concrete sinks and kitchen benchtops.  We also got by with a lot of help from our friends and family.  My brothers, my 2nd cousins' husband (not even a joke) and countless others who lent us their time and knowledge. 

 

SO ... YOU'RE FREELANCE ARTISTS, WITH NO WORK ... HOW DID YOU POSSIBLY PAY FOR ALL THIS?

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We had to keep our costs LOW.  Our budget for the build was around $70k.  We borrowed some money, we took some money out of our super.  I already owned the land.  But the biggest point of difference was that we built with as much recycled, repurposed and free material as we possibly could.  Not just for the financial benefit, but also for the planet.  
 

WHAT'S ALL THIS GOT TO DO WITH ANYTHING

This period of time changed my life.  Nick and I dreamt of moving to the country to live among the gumtrees.  To create a quiet, creative space where we could write music and cultivate a conscious life.  It meant we could rely less on consumerism and the rat race and focus more on what was important to us.  Veggie gardens, minimalism, self sufficiency and music.  We're always learning and our journey is always evolving.  Since moving to the country our family has grown.  At the time of writing we now have another dog, Winnie the Jack Russell and 2 goats, Stanley and Ebony who have enjoyed snacking on the veggie gardens that fed us for a season.  It's an ok pay off.  We love them. 

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AND AS FOR THE MUSIC

We are proud, full time musicians.  Our main source of income is music.  We have released 5 songs now all of which have gained chart status.  'Things I'd Rather Do' and 'Leave It All Behind' reached the top 10 in the Australian Country Music Charts.  'Pretty' and 'Simple Girl' made it to Number one on the iTunes Music Video Charts.  We have played shows with a long list of incredible musicians. 
 

Yes, I've always been a bit of a DIYer but building our house has taught me that you really can achieve anything you set your mind to.  We didn't have the luxury of being able to hire staff to complete many of the tasks needed to release music.  So we looked at our strengths, outsourced our weaknesses.  We decided we could manage to create our own music videos.  With Nick's technical knowledge and a little bit of learning and creativity we have released 5 music videos that have been created from top to toe by Nick and I.  2 of those have debuted at number one - crazy!
I'm incredibly proud of what we've been able to achieve with a tiny idea, a little bit of creativity and a whole lot of hard work.

 

WE CERTAINLY AREN'T SLOWING DOWN

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There will be so much more to this story.  The journey is only just beginning.  So if you want to say you've been here from the start ... you better jump on The Frank Train now because we're leaving the station. 

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AND THEN THERE'S EVEN MORE ...

Sometimes we head out to Indigenous Communities around Australia and conduct workshops where we write and record a song and then film a video clip.  The program is called - OUTBACK TRACKS.  We've even done some work with SAFE 4 KIDS.  We have travelled to places like Kintore, Kalkaringi, Imanpa and more.  To stay up to date with the goings on follow my social media channels. 

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And sometimes we do some work for Brisbane based Theatre Company - indelabilityArts.  A company who provide employment for artists with disability.  I've been lucky enough to have been a part of the company since it's inception in 2015 and work with them in varying capacities - Production Manager, Tour Manager, Artist, Admin and Marketing.
Check out their work, it's incredible.