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      SINGER/SONGWRITER/ROOTSY/FOLK/
      Catherine Britt has come a long way. No longer the innocent teenage girl – who won the praise of Elton John after discovering her during a tour of Australia in 2002 – she’s now an accomplished and mature singer-songwriter. Six years on, this stunning Newcastle-born woman is living an amazing life... read more

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      Catherine Britt has come a long way. No longer the innocent teenage girl – who won the praise of Elton John after discovering her during a tour of Australia in 2002 – she’s now an accomplished and mature singer-songwriter. Six years on, this stunning Newcastle-born woman is living an amazing life in both the US and Australia.

      Catherine has toured, performed and recorded with some of country music’s biggest names and has recorded music with some of Nashville’s finest producers, including Grammy-nominated producer Brett Beavers who produced her latest album, Little Wildflower.
      Catherine's musical talent stems from an upbringing constantly filled with music.

      "There's a song I wrote on my second album called Too Far Gone, that starts out with the lines, 'I know there's music playing/I can hear it in my head/I can see you lying on your bed," says Catherine. "That's my Dad, and that's my image of home - music blasting, and it was anything you can imagine. You'd walk in sometimes and there'd be African music playing; or the Beatles; or Hank Williams. I heard everything; I was exposed to a lot of great music growing up. But Dad's favorite style of music was country, so we heard a lot of country music around the house - some Australian, but mainly American country.

      "So I was singing all the time growing up, but it never really hit me until I was about nine. I had heard Dolly Parton when I was younger, but that's when it really hit me. It went into my head rather than through it, and I thought, oh, my gosh, that is amazing. And then I wanted to be her. And it kind of went from there – I found Loretta Lynn, and then I found Hank Williams, and now he's my all-time favorite singer/songwriter."

      With models like Parton, Lynn and Williams, it was inevitable that Catherine would begin writing her own songs – although, she says, she wasn't always sure what they were about. "It came naturally, I guess. I just started writing because everybody wrote. Hank wrote, and I wanted to do everything by what he did. So I began writing these songs about drinking, cheating, and all these things that country music is supposed to be about – but I hadn't been through them yet. I don't even know where I got them from!"

      Despite their problematic origins, her songs were convincing and Catherine decided she wanted to meet Bill Chambers and become a star. "My parents took me to see him," she recalls. "I was scared to death, because I was such a huge fan, but I went up and asked him if I could make a request, and he said, 'of course.' So I asked him to sing 'T.B. Blues,' which was one of Jimmie Rodgers'. He looked at me in a really funny way and asked me how old I was. I told him I was eleven, and he said, 'How the hell do you know about Jimmie Rodgers?!'"

      Chambers brought her on stage to sing "T.B. Blues" with him; invited her to sing at a Merle Haggard tribute he was hosting in Sydney the following week; and proceeded to take the youngster under his wing. By the time she was fourteen, Catherine had made her first recording, a Chambers-produced EP called In The Pines. When 'That Don't Bother Me', a song she'd co-written with Kasey, was released to radio, it soared to the Top 10 on the local country radio charts and record labels took notice. Thanks to her age however, nothing came of it – at least, not at the time.

      Two years later, with scores of gigs and thousands of tour miles under her belt, it was another story. After she and Bill returned to the studio in 2001 for her first full length CD, Dusty Smiles And Heartbreak Cures, the self-released project was quickly picked up and re-released by ABC Records the following year. Featuring half a dozen originals, together with covers of Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Americana favourite Fred Eaglesmith and more, the album generated a string of singles that has kept Britt's voice on Australian radio to this day. But while it made Catherine plenty of fans in her native home, Dusty Smiles And Heartbreak Cures had an even greater impact on her career when it came to the attention of a British pop superstar, then in the middle of an Australian tour.

      "To be really honest with you, I'm obsessed with music," Britt says with a disarming smile. "It's my whole life. I listen to music, I read biographies, I read country music history. Most of the time, I just don't pay much attention to the outside world. So I didn't even know that Elton John was touring in Australia. I was sitting at home one day when I got a call from my record label, and they ask, 'have you been watching television lately?' I said no, and they said, 'well, Elton John's been mentioning you on all these TV shows.'

      "I just fell out of my chair. It was totally out of nowhere. I couldn't comprehend it. It seems he had gone into a local CD shop somewhere in Australia, and the guy behind the desk recommended my album to him. So he bought it, and fell in love with it, and he started mentioning me on the Today show and in all these interviews: 'There's this new girl, Catherine Britt, I heard her album the other day and just flipped out.' It was freaky, but you know, he's an artist, and he's a music fan. I think people can tell a passionate singer, one who cares about the music, and I guess that's what he was attracted to.'"

      At Sir Elton's invitation, Britt came to Sydney for the superstar's final show on the tour. The two met backstage and, Catherine remembers, "he asked me, 'have you got any contacts in America?' Within week's she was flown to the US, went to Nashville, sang on the Grand Ole Opry, and I signed a recording deal with RCA Records.

      With that, Catherine began traveling back and forth between Australia and Nashville, writing songs, listening to songs, meeting with potential producers, finding her way around the industry and soaking up the knowledge she'd need for a country music career in the United States.

      Catherine went on to record the album Too Far Gone, released in January 2006 and had three top US hits to her credit, including her duet with Elton John himself titled, "When We Say Goodbye."

      Keith Stegall (Alan Jackson, George Jones) was chosen as producer for the album and Bill Chambers was on hand to co-produce. US superstar Kenny Chesney and Hank Williams' legendary steel player Don Helms both made the time to contribute to an album which debuted at #1 on the ARIA Country Album charts in January 2006. It also hit #43 in the mainstream ARIA album charts just 2 weeks into release.

      Following the success of that release, Britt teamed up with Grammy nominated producer Brett Beavers who at the time was enjoying success with Dierks Bentley. She began writing and recording the songs which would ultimately appear on her new album, Little Wildflower.

      In early 2007 during US promo, Catherine experienced the true impact of her music for the very first time while performing at an event put on by San Jose radio station KRTY. Not only did she receive an amazing ovation when she walked on stage and blew everyone away with a 45 minute set, but the crowd sang along with her to "What I Did Last Night". Catherine rates that moment as one of the greatest in her life to date. She was asked to encore the song and did so with tears streaming down her face. For the last chorus the audience took over; she was so overcome that she simply couldn't finish the song on her own.

      Catherine's US adventure has been incredibly significant. Along with the experience of living in Nashville and writing and recording with some of music most talented people, she's been a regular at the annual CMA Music Fesitval for the last couple of years and in the summer of 2007 she opened for one of the major US summer tours: the Brooks & Dunn/Alan Jackson tour.

      When Brooks & Dunn make their way to Australia for the first time in March 2008, she will once again open the night at two capacity Brisbane Entertainment Centre shows.

      While Britt's first two albums were traditional country records, her personal growth and creative desire to grow musically, and embrace all types of music, is evident in this new album.

      "Sometimes I may rock, sometimes I may swing, sometimes I may get bluesy, sometimes I may get hillbilly, but these are all parts of my love for all types of music. I'm proud of how my Dad taught me to love all kinds of music", she said in a recent letter to fans on her Myspace page.

      Catherine co-wrote nine of the twelve songs on the album which explore the conflicting emotions that come with self-doubt, desire, loneliness, expectation, being in love, wanting to be loved and living in a city filled with constant challenges and opportunity.

      Like all people and young women, Catherine isn't perfect. Throughout the album she exposes her vulnerabilities, flaws, fears, regrets and mistakes - most notably in the remarkably honest 'What I Did Last Night'. She also reveals a sexiness and a hint of the things she truly desires, in tracks like 'Little Wildflower', 'Lucky Girl' and 'You're The One I Love'.

      Little Wildflower is her most honest, revealing and contemporary album yet. It explores a side of Catherine Britt never revealed before, and perhaps a side she wasn't ready to reveal, until now. It's an album young women will immediately relate to and an album people of all ages will grow to love and appreciate.

      Keith Urban, Tommy Emmanuel and Buddy Miller are among the guest contributors on what is a truly superb album.

      "I can't wait for everybody to hear all of the new stuff. I am so proud of it," says Britt.

      Categories: Music | Country | Entertainer

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