Well known Mount Isa police sergeant and singer-songwriter Cath Purcell is bursting with new musical ideas after attending the Tamworth Country Music Academy.
Held as part of the famous annual country and western music festival in the New South Wales town, the Academy is a residential singer / songwriter course for students aged 16 years and over held in the two weeks leading up to the festival.
“The Academy is really unique, they teach classes, a bit of theory and we also got presentations from people within the industry to tell us more about their role and how they can help us,” Ms Purcell said.
“I got to see a bit of the festival as well at the end of it.”
In fact it was more than just see the festival, she also got to perform in it with fellow graduates of the academy.
“There were lots of daily jams with people, we got to jam with Kasey Chambers that was amazing, and we had an inspiring presentation from Adam Brandt and we got a performance at the end as well,” she said.
“We had writing sessions and I got to co-write with someone and at the end we performed those originals we created in front of a crowd.”
And not just any old crowd either.
“We opened the festival on the Toyota stage,” Ms Purcell said.
“We got up as a group of 30 of us and they announced us as up and coming artists.”
Ms Purcell said she had to apply to attend the Academy.
“The people who really inspire me have also been there so I realise it was something I want to do,” she said.
“In my application I had to give a resume of the things I had done to prove I had what it takes and show I’ve done some songwriting and performing.”
Ms Purcell said her participation in the QMF Songs That Made Me program in 2017 got her started.
“Before that I was too frightened to put myself out there,” she said.
“Suddenly there were some other musical leaders in the community to tap into everything you wanted to do and to get that mentoring was incredible.”
Ms Purcell said the experience has encouraged her to keep writing her own material with a view to producing and releasing it.
“Obviously I’ve got a full time job, but I’ll see where I can go from there,” she said.
“But it’s important to set the example. no matter what job you have or who you are, keep improving yourself, keep getting lessons, keep seeing what everyone else is doing.”