News & Updates
Rant Magazine - Editor
April 1, 2017
The Power of Choice
Every choice we make on our journey through life grants us some sort of positive quality. Be it a lesson to learn and grow from, or something that will positively influence us into the future. There is no wrong decision to be made….click on the link below to read more on my facebook…xox
October 19, 2015
I Love That Necklace
Interview with Leisa Chapman from ‘I love that necklace!’
Tell Us About ‘I love that necklace!’
‘I love that necklace!’ is a statement necklace and accessory line for women which stems from a love of fashion, colour and in particular beautiful and interesting jewellery.
Our range includes pretty pieces that can be worn everyday to glamorous statement pieces for special events. Being a working mother, I understand about the need for jewellery that is practical and affordable yet is fun, colourful and interesting to wear.
What is your background and how did ‘I love that necklace!’ start?
I am a self-confessed necklace addict! So it was probably appropriate that I chose this passion to share with others. I have always enjoyed wearing jewellery, particularly necklaces and have made and sourced my own pieces for many years (I hate to admit it but I have a huge necklace collection!!)
People often asked me where I had got my pieces and so in 2013, I decided to start ‘I love that necklace!’ The name comes from the loveliness of a compliment when wearing a special piece.
My love for beading started when I lived in London in the 1990’s and I did several courses at a beautiful bead shop in Notting Hill. They had the most amazing range of beads from all over the world, my favourite being the gorgeous Murano glass beads from Italy. I used to make pieces to send home to family for birthday and Christmas presents.
My interest in beading has continued over the years and last year I did a pearl knotting course (which has been the inspiration for the intricate knotting in our ‘Betasselled’ necklace).
I think that jewellery is such a fun way to ‘make’ an outfit. You can be wearing very simple clothing and it is your jewellery that can add the interest and colour.
Featured Image, Model Wears: ***New Style*** ‘So Jackie O’ necklace in the 5 strand version’ in periwinkle.
Image: Razzle Tassel necklace in cobalt/hot pink
I always remember one of the quotes that J.Crew use – ‘Your jewellery may be the last thing you put on, but it will be the first thing that will be noticed”. This is so true!
Images: ‘You’re A Star’ necklace in blue, Betasselled necklace in silver/pastel, ‘So Jackie O’ necklace – 2 strand in mint
Tell Us A bit about yourself
I am married and have 3 beautiful children. I trained as an occupational therapist. I still work part-time in my profession and ‘I love that necklace!’ is my creative outlet. Occupational therapists are known for their focus on fine motor skills so I suppose it is fitting that I enjoy beading!
What do you enjoy most about ‘I love that necklace!’ ?
The thing I enjoy most is seeing clients enjoying wearing our pieces and having some fun when they are getting dressed. It is not about having the most expensive clothes or accessories, it is about enjoying putting an outfit on and feeling good as you wear it.
I couldn’t agree more with Michelle Obama when she said ‘If I can have any impact – I want women to feel good about themselves and have fun with fashion’.
‘The other thing that I have enjoyed creatively about I love that necklace! is collaborating with other designers. This Summer I have worked with Brisbane designer, Kirsten Eadie, from Little Eadie on a limited edition range of clutch bags which compliments our necklaces. This has been a very colourful project and working with someone who loves colour as much as me has been exciting.’
Where can people buy pieces from your range?
I am currently working on a website which will be online very soon so watch this space www.ILoveThatNecklace.com.au
People can always contact me via the Facebook page or through Instagram (details at the end of this article).
Our products are now also stocked by stores in Brisbane, Toowoomba and Inglewood in Queensland and Yamba in NSW.
Finally, I offer private showings for clients.
It is a lot of fun getting some girlfriends together, having a glass of champagne and shopping for jewellery and accessories!
Christmas time in particular is a great time to do a private showing to get some of the shopping out of the way. And I will travel – I have regularly travelled as far as Sydney to do showings.
You can contact me via email (email@example.com) for details about private showings.
Image: ‘So Jackie O’ necklace – 5 strand in lilac
Where do you source your inspiration for your designs?
Inspiration comes from many places. There are certain fashion sources that I follow- one of my favourites is British Vogue. I look at fashion trends but our designs are not bound by them. Tassels and fringing are popular trends in fashion at present, so this has been an influence in our ‘Razzle Tassel’ and ‘Betasselled’ necklaces.
Image: Betasselled necklace in silver/neon yellow
Colour and combinations of colour are always an inspiration to me. On a recent trip overseas I was in awe of the colour of the beautiful Summer sky and that blue became the inspiration for the new blue colour in our So Jackie O necklace.
I am always looking at bead shops and beads online for different bead styles.
I also discuss with my stockists about clothing trends and colours for the coming season to see if they have any colour preferences for necklaces.
Finally, I never design anything that I wouldn’t wear! Our necklaces and accessories have to be easy to wear while still making a statement.
Are there things you find difficult about the business?
As a Mum still working my day job, there are times when I wonder if I have taken on more than I can manage. A dear friend however set me straight and introduced me to the concept of the ‘Portfolio Career’ where the way of the future is apparently to have different business interests alongside your occupation. This concept does seem to suit me, as I still enjoy my day job, but also want to have some interests in other areas.
To give me the time needed to focus on design and business development, I have outsourced the production of our range. This has been a positive step and has provided employment for others.
Is there any advice that you would give others thinking of starting their own business?
There are 2 pieces of advice I would give:
Firstly, be true to yourself. Don’t be influenced by what others around you are doing. You cannot remain focussed on your own goals if you are constantly looking over your shoulder at what others are doing.
The second piece of advice is to surround yourself with people like you!
Everyone that I have chosen to work with including stockists, photographers, models and graphic artists are people I respect and admire and who seem to work by the same code of ethics and principles I have. I always work on the principal that you treat others as you would like to be treated and that seems especially important in the business world.
And finally do you have a favourite piece from your range?
I am quite girlie so I would have to say that the ‘So Jackie O’ necklace is a particular favourite. My other favourite is the ‘Betasselled’ necklace – I have had so much fun with the colour options in this necklace. And it is so versatile – it is one that can be worn to Saturday morning sport with the kids and still looks great when heading out to lunch with girlfriends.
We have a brand new design on the way and I think it may take the spot as my favourite. It will be released towards the end of October, so stay tuned – it is stunning!
The finer details:
Website: www.ILoveThatNecklace.com.au (Online soon!)
For Stockists and Private Showing information email: info@ILoveThatNecklace.com.au
It’s coming..! The race that stops a nation, the raceday that inspires women to dress up in their finest, adorning themselves with glorious sparkling tassels & draped in shiny beads, it’s Melbourne Cup time pretties….!
Hop onto ‘I Love That Necklace’ Facebook to see the latest stock or email Leisa personally to have a chat to her about the styles featured in this article,
*screams, go, go, go you good thing…….and ‘I Love That Necklace’ rounds the corner to the last straight and looks like she’s going to be first at the post, by golly, she’s done it, ‘I Love That Necklace’ is a winner here today folks………and Ed get’s carried away, but all with good intention ;-) ..!!!! – Ed
September 22, 2015
Outback Traders | Western & Urban Lifestyle Store
Boots n Hats
Australian Western & Urban Lifestyle Store.
Outback Traders are suppliers of quality Boots & Hats.
They are a store for connoisseurs of western fashion and have been around the traps since 1991
Outback Traders traditional market is the cattle industry (working cowboys) Country people, Rodeo, Horse enthusiasts and of course country music fans.
That’s how it all began.
These days Outback Traders wants to share their passion to broader audience.
The company’s founder Allan King is excited about the opportunity of sharing his love of cowboy and latino fashion with all the various sub-cultures in urban society as well.
“I think everyone should have a pair of cowboy boots in their wardrobe” he says. “And it’s so good to see hats making a comeback too. We will be adding fedoras and other crossover styles to our inventory in the coming weeks.”
Outback Traders are excited about the opportunity that lies in taking Western Boots, Hats & Latino Fashion
to the various sub-cultures in the city! Woo Hoo…..!
We’ve been working behind the scenes with OBT on their new exciting website which is finally launched!
The brand had an inspiring story behind it, it’s not all about the hard sell of a large corporation but rather the earthy footsteps of one man in and his dream, hopes and relationships forged over many moons on his journey’s through our beautiful country and beyond.
Ariat | Western Style
Outback Traders have a relationship with Ariat stocking a beautiful range of footwear at the best prices for men, women and kids.!
Ariat boots are handcrafted from premium leathers and are designed with authentic detail. Set your own standards in the arena, at the ranch, on the job or on the town in Ariat western footwear.
With superior craftsmanship, unparalleled performance features and an assortment of outsole and toe styles, Ariat delivers a variety of boots for western life. . Advanced footbed technology delivers performance, protection and stability
Visit Outback Traders today and discover Ariat boots
American Hat Company | Celebrating 100 years
One of our Outback Traders favourite hat manufacturers is the American Hat Company who are celebrating their 100th year of designing & producing their much loved cowboy hats of the finest quality & craftsmanship.
The quality and craftsmanship combined with good old fashioned service and family values are just one of the reasons OBT stocks the products as well as Allan’s own personal experience with the Hat Co, having stepped foot into the factories where the hats are designed and spoken with the hat makers and got to know them as a family.
Allan says Australians could learn something from the way American’s & Mexicano people treat one another in these family owned company settings, they look after one another, treat one another with respect.
Allan is the founder of Outback Traders and a great friend of our Rant story– Ed
FIND OUTBACK TRADERS
Outback Traders are celebrating their new website…!…..
FREE SHIPPING! Celebrating their new website and the transition from land (or the trusty truck) to the digital space, they are shipping for free!!!
Valuing your support since 1991, lets make it another 20 odd years with this great visionary and hard working entrepreneur ……Thankyou!!!…..From Allan King……..
September 4, 2015
Ruby Red Industries | Vintage & Styling
Ruby Red is a girl with a lots of pearl’s on her string and a love of all things vintage.
Who is Ruby Red in the Vintage & Styling sense and where did it all start?
I’m a Brisbane girl that moved from the big smoke to the not so sleepy town of Toowoomba six years ago. I discovered a town coming out of it’s cocoon at the time with a decent music scene and a growing art scene. It was during this time that two women were starting an artist run gallery. I expanded from stocking my vintage fashion in some local stores and joined forces with them in the space to start “Old Fangled Beauties” a little retro vintage store.
Then the industry grew when a number of local fashion outlets and my store were all part of a bi monthly fashion market in a large photographic studio that featured a runway to showcase each stores wares. I then found myself in the role of model stylist and runway co-ordinator.
What is it about Ruby Red Industries and the Vintage element?
Well I have my collection of both small and large vintage treasures that adorn my home and bring a beauty and comfort to my life on a daily basis so I thought it might be about time I put my good eye for finding little beauties to good use and help others in their quests to find these no longer produced items.
So Ruby Red Industries Vintage is a treasure trove of all things vintage, retro, quirky, rare, classic and collectable. It’s the realisation and beginning of a bigger dream I’ve had for a number of years.
What services do you offer for with your vintage shop & styling?
RETRO SHOP & STYLING SERVICES
Ruby Red Industries offers a range of styling services including event, home interiors, shop fronts to fashion and model styling for photographic shoots and fashion parades.
– Online Store, Markets and Rummages
– High Tea Hire
– Styling & Photographic Shoots
You can find vintage homewares, my collection of vintage fashion, and furniture on my online store and I also have a small collection of vintage books and vinyl. In the future when I find the right space, I have plans for combining all of this into one shop with an Espresso Bar.
Ruby Red Industries can be found to be organising Rummages and Pop up Shops as a regular thing, as well as attending large markets in Brisbane such as the West End markets. Whether you are local or anywhere else in Australia I can still help you to find your vintage desires.
High Tea Hire
High Tea Hire
I offer furniture and homewares both for purchase or hire for events and pop up shops that employ my services so when you get me you get my unique styling services which are naturally drawn to the use of vintage furniture, prints and decorative items.
I also have a love and passion for repurposing and giving new life to discarded items, you will recognise this in my styling for creation’s such as hung art works and planter boxes used in indoor and outdoor green spaces.
Ruby Red Industries also offers a range of styling services for personal home interiors, shop fronts and event styling.
Styling & Photographic Shoots
Styling & Photographic Shoots
Whether it be for an event or for a fixed shopfront or venue, I thrive on creating beautiful spaces from nothing. I am able transform an unusable, bland and awkward area into an inspiring, comfortable, and functional space.
A number of local cafes stock the potted succulents that I create, this has now spilled over to being commissioned to create one off stylised potted plants for individuals and local shops.
Ruby Red Industries offers a number of different commercial services including fashion shoots…. article coming up soon..!
If you need some magic for your space, event or fashion shoot give Ruby a holla! firstname.lastname@example.org
Find Ruby Red Industries | Vintage & Styling Services
Need some vintage magic?….Look at Ruby Red’s passion and ye shall find!
September 3, 2015
Behind Blue Eyes | Helen Deakin
Do you love a book that keeps you guessing………………………………………………?
Behind Blue Eyes is an electrifying mystery/thriller with an exciting forbidden romance weaved into its intricate web of intrigue and suspense.
Despite his troubled past, Bradley Harper had never really had anything out of the ordinary happen to him. Life seemed good. Then one day, everything changed.
It started with a brutally mangled dead bird in his yard. Then every day, another appears in the same spot. Then there’s the strange notes, the horrific and sometimes gruesome pranks and soon, death comes for those he loves. Not even the chemistry laced relationship with the lovely Anita Greenall can stop his mind from heading down a dark and unstable path.
But the biggest torture is the questions: who’s doing it and why him? Soon he will find out, as he comes face to face with the monster that has been making his life hell and discovers, what really hides behind blue eyes.
An intense, gripping debut novel that will wrap its fast-paced pages around you and won’t let go.
Behind Blue Eyes | Helen Deakin
Bradley awoke to the faint, high-pitched sound of wrens twittering away in the trees, torn from a dream in which he was drowning in a sea of bloody feathers.
For a moment he had forgotten where he was and wondered why the mattress beneath him felt different to that of his nice comfortable Sealy. As he clawed his way up out of the land of sleep, he remembered that Danny had persuaded him into a weekend camping out on old Patterson’s property, where they had camped with Danny’s Uncle Matt on many occasions.
The property was located just out past Clifton and belonged to a friend of Danny’s grandparents. He had allowed them to camp there whenever they wanted as long as that whenever they came out they would bring him a six pack of beer and a Playboy magazine. Danny and Bradley still held him to his agreement every now and then.
Danny had suggested they spend a couple days camping out under the stars and doing some fishing to give Bradley a break from the stress of running his business all by himself. But the real escape had been from those damn dead birds and of course the letters that had started to arrive once or twice a week. They were not threatening in any way—which was why the police would not assist him in such minor matters as dead birds and silly letters that did not directly promise him harm in any way. They were only ever as short as a couple sentences or a paragraph at the most. Sometimes it was as short as only one sentence but they were strange; unsettling—creepy even.
‘One, two, skip a few, 99 a hundred dead birds’
‘Mary, Mary quite contrary how does your garden grow?
With blood stained bells and rotten smells and dead things all in a row.’
‘Hush little baby don’t say a word, mammas gunna give you another dead bird. You’re up and down and in and out, I make you pout just like a trout. I make you cry, you fear my lie, you’ll think of me as time flies by. You scream to me in your sleep. Riddle me this, little Bo Peep. Who the hell am I?’
But despite the letters and the birds and the bottle of red paint that had been thrown at his house—something Bradley now thought was connected to it all—the police had said that there was little they could do. They had agreed to put a detective car nearby to keep a watch on his place for twenty-four hours only, just to see if there was any suspicious activity (and a lot of good that did considering there was still a dead bird in his yard that morning but for the first time in a different spot; up the back yard as if it had been thrown over his back fence this time) and they said they would send a patrol car past his house every now and then just to keep an eye on the place but they couldn’t offer their service any further unless he was directly threatened. They told him to photograph every bird, retain every letter and keep a record of the dates they appeared. So if the harassment went any further they would have the evidence there.
He crawled out of his tent and the sun hit him full on in the face. Why he had pitched his tent with the door facing east he didn’t know but regretted it now. Danny was nowhere to be seen. He was probably down at the creek somewhere, fishing already as he liked to get an early line in.
Bradley chucked some extra wood chips on the fire and poured some water into the camp kettle. Enjoying the smoky smell of burnt wood, he sat back and began the wait for boiling water by hot coals, taking in his surroundings with a lighthearted euphoria. There was nothing more beautiful and peaceful than sitting out in the scrub with nothing but the quiet rustling of trees and bird song, the bush crickets and the random crackling of the campfire—no one around to bother you; no distractions; just pure serenity. He could stay there forever, just taking it all in.
It was a shame that the beatitude of this blissful serenity had to be so rudely interrupted by the continuously reoccurring thoughts that plagued him relentlessly.
Who was behind all of these things happening to him?
Why were they doing it?
Was it just all a bunch of harmless pranks or something more sinister?
Throw into the mix the noxious worm his mother had planted in his mind the night of the party and you had one troubled young man. He still thought about that conversation now and then. It breached itself less frequently as time went on, yet it still played on his mind when the thought did arise; when that hungry little beast of a worm decided to surface out of hunger, needing to feed on his madness.
Curiosity—or maybe more of an overbearing need to know—had got the better of him one afternoon when the power was out, after sitting for an hour alone with nothing but his thoughts and he had whipped out his mobile and called his mother.
Henry had answered the phone of course and before Bradley could get anything more out of his mouth than ‘put mum on the phone,’ his pugnacious father had bellowed in his ear, something about the nerve of him; how dare he call and hung up. Bradley had regretted his actions at once and sat there for the next hour and a half that the power was out, not only dwelling on the potent need to quell the discomfort of the stomach worm but praying that his mother hadn’t copped the wrath of the creature on his behalf.
Lost in a world of ambiguous and twisted thoughts, Bradley hadn’t even realized that the kettle was finally bubbling away. Once he saw that the water was ready, he made himself up just enough powdered milk to make his cuppa then grabbed a piece of bread, stuck it on the roasting fork and went about making some good old campfire toast. He forced his thoughts to something more pleasant and that wasn’t hard either for she was an aromatic flower he found his thoughts buzzing around rather regularly.
He hadn’t seen Anita too often since the incident with Derrick but that just made his feelings for her even stronger. He longed for contact with her and every bit of his body seemed to ache for her as if he had some kind of debilitating disease and she was the medicine that was the only cure.
Everyone has that special someone that crawls up under their skin, digs in and won’t go away and Anita had that particular effect on him. He had considered trying to find a way to wrap his tongue around the words to describe how he felt but he just didn’t have the nerve to and at the end of the day, she was an unavailable woman and he had never been the type of person to try and move in on another man’s woman (‘There’s a first time for everything,’ a little voice says) even if that man didn’t deserve her.
Take the fact that he liked her so much it hurt and that he knew she liked him back but they couldn’t take anything further than this unspoken, secret attraction they both held onto; add to the equation a cheating jerk who probably would never let her go because he knew he had all the security of a good relationship plus he could get away with getting some on the side. Mix it all together—don’t forget a little salt and pepper for flavour—and you had a recipe for more mind twisting paraphernalia to put on the pantry shelf full of metaphoric, sour tasting nutriments such as ‘Mums secret gut worm recipe’ and ‘dead bird soufflé.’
So, going against every moral fiber in him that told him admitting love to an unavailable woman was wrong, he started to mentally prepare himself for the conversation in which he would express his deepest desire to her; his deepest desire being her.
It may not be morally correct to make a move on another man’s lady but he felt he needed to delineate just how deeply he felt for her; to try to talk her into getting rid of Derrick so they could take a shot at it. Because he was so sure they were meant to be together and he really needed something nice in his life right now and—for him—it didn’t come any nicer than Anita Greenall.
NEED TO READ MORE OF HELENS THRILLER……
BEHIND BLUE EYES
You can also read another one of Helen Deakin’s spine tingling
extracts from her *cue suspenseful music.………paranormal horror novella book ‘The Clock Stuck One’ on our mag here
September 1, 2015
Stefano Stego Catalani | Photographer
Stefano is a Photographer based in Milan, specialising in glamour, portrait, and fashion
working in the studio and on location.
We caught up with Stefano when he was in Oz albeit briefly over the infamous social media when I was first introduced to the world of Stefano’s glamorous photography and thought what the heck let’s stay in touch, and find out what exciting things were happening in the the world of Catalani, the amazing world renowned Photographer! – Ed
Published in online magazines, and printed newspapers, when working with Stefano his shoots are
professional and relaxed, and shaped around your preferences.
Inside the mind of the photographer – Stefano Stego Catalani
My interest in photography began in 2009, fascinated by the idea of taking pictures of the musicians whose concerts I was attending (I love music and I’ve been an electric bass player since I was 14).
I then started studying photography focusing on portrait and fashion, inspirated by masters such as Peter Lindbergh,
Mario Testino and Alberto Buzzanca.
I collaborate with Truemetal.it a web rock music magazine based in Milan (where I am from), Nextdoormodel.com, a fashion magazine and Vanquishmagazine.com, a NZ based glamour magazine.
I moved to Australia in 2013 where I spent 2 beautiful years and I have been lucky enough to photograph some amazing local talents such as Hayley Wilson Picoto, 2014 Miss Queensland, Casey Etheridge, Toowoomba Zumba Instructor and events like the 2014 Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers and the 2014 Gold Coast Women’s Awards.
I am currently shooting both digital and film cameras, I’d define my style as very clean and contrasty and I’d choose black and white over colour 9 times out of 10.
WANT MORE…! FIND STEFANO PHOTOGRAPHY
August 27, 2015
Coralie Milne | VelvetTeacup
The VelvetTeacup’s range of wedding hair accessories is handmade in Queensland by Coralie Milne and includes stylish headpieces, flower crowns, headbands and an array of beautiful beaded and dried flower bridal combs.
Inspiration for many of the pieces comes from her lifelong love affair with flowers and nature and a “bower bird” like collection of vintage and antique textiles, embellishments and dainty handmade flowers.
Exclusive to VelvetTeacup are the beaded bridal combs which are all one of a kind. Each piece is handmade using silks, tulles, laces, sparkling rhinestones, beads and pearls. They have an eclectic look reminiscent of a bygone era.
By contrast the flower crowns are inspired by a wonderful and ever changing collection of millinery flowers and leaves, woodland berry pips and ribbons. The flower crowns are a personal favourite and Coralie has been making them for a very long time – since the days of her childhood in fact when she “cobbled” up daisy chain headbands for her dolls.
A visit to VelvetTeacup on Etsy will reveal a shop full of pretty hair pieces suitable for weddings, engagements, photo shoots or just a little something to wear with your jeans and tee shirt.
Coralie hopes you will love the range of flower hair accessories and be able to find something for yourself among the pretties.
*Editors note: We have been over to the VelvetTeacup on Etsy and you are in for a treat…! Coralie is so talented..!…. You will fall in love with her designs I’m quite sure, we did..! – Ed
August 27, 2015
Dana Hassall | Spinning Wheels
Spinning Wheels – The title track from Dana’s forthcoming album….!
She may be on the youthful side of the spectrum but Dana Hassall is far from new to the music scene.
**2015 Toyota Star Maker Top 3 Grand Finalist**
I spent some time with Dana and her parents on her mum & dads alpaca farm in the Eastern Downs country in Queensland, we headed out for some laughs amidst the country traffic, alpaca’s and horse’s to play a while.
So, I’ve also worked with Dana and yes it is a small world. We worked together at the beautiful Bed & Breakfast Vacy Hall for a term and as you know It’s hard work following your dreams.
Dana who has been performing since she was 8 years old has a nature that reflects the knowing of an old soul and the humility of a star that could make a difference to people’s lives. I’ve spoken with Dana on many occasion and wanted to tell her how she makes my heart sing to see her reaching for dreams.
So we think this girl is special not because she demands attention but because she really has something beautiful to say………Sometimes we think it would just be nice for people to arrive at their destination rather than having to wear the armour of having fought and won, and fought and fought on, to the place where people can see the freedom in your breath and your smile……….
So here’s to you Dana. All the way kiddo……… Touching lives and inspiring hearts…..
Some background on Dana..
Growing up on an alpaca farm in country Queensland gave Dana the perfect level of isolation to lock herself away and create. From the very early age of eight, she was already gracing audiences with her songs and, albeit shy, performances.
Her first songs certainly reflected life as she knew it back then, including compositions about horse riding, alpaca shearing and a heart-warming ditty about looking out for her younger sister. Suffice it to say she won’t be winning any ARIAs with those tunes, but they gave her the taste of storytelling and a thirst for more. p.s ….we didn’t write that part and we just love Dana Hassall and believe she has so much to give a younger generation and experience helps right.. – Ed
Fast forward fifteen years and Dana is still sharing stories with audiences. Although she’s not so shy on stage these days, she readily admits that she’s no extrovert either.
“I used to hide behind my mum’s legs every time someone started talking to me. I’m a little past that stage but I’ll still take singing over speaking any day. I secretly think that’s why I’m attracted to music – I can tell my story, but it’s pre-written so I don’t need to worry about saying something silly in the spur of the moment!”
“Spinning Wheels” | New single & title track
Dana is launching a new single and we are stoked…We know the feeling of soldiering on, and it’s real and we’re glad to be sharing Dana’s experiences with her …! – Ed
Dana’s passion for music is obvious in her single “Spinning Wheels”, the title track from her forthcoming debut album, due for release in January 2016.
“The single, “Spinning Wheels”, comes from that twenty-something feeling of wondering whether all your effort is going to amount to anything, but soldiering on when it feels like you’re getting nowhere. The rest of the tracks cover everything from talking to strangers, to figuring out where you belong and of course, the occasional love-gone-wrong story.
I think the new album has a bit of a theme of self-discovery that comes from growing up along with my songs. I’ve been songwriting since I was eight so I’m sure listening to those songs from start to finish would tell a pretty revealing story about my life!”
Spinning Wheels is Dana’s first full length record and sees her return to multiple Golden Guitar Award winner Matt Fell, who also produced her EP ‘See It Now’. Dana says she’s spent the years since the release of her EP writing and co-writing at every opportunity.
“When it came time to narrow down songs for the album we had a bit of a task, but I’m really happy with the songs we chose. I love a lot of different types of music and that definitely comes through in my songwriting, but somehow they all fit together into one album.”
Dana lists the sounds of Ryan Adams, Amos Lee, John Mayer, Shane Nicholson and Harry Hookey as just a few of her favourites in recent years.
Dana Hassall is a 2015 Toyota Star Maker Grand Finalist and a graduate of the CMAA Academy of Country Music 2012. With her rich, earthy vocals, powerful songwriting and fierce determination, she’s a force to be reckoned with. If Americana is your cup of tea, it’s safe to say you’ll be hearing about Dana Hassall in days to come.
Achievements – Dana Hassall
- 2015 Southern Stars Independent Country Music Awards Finalist in APRA/AMCOS Single of the Year and CRS Female Rising Star
- 2015 “Gotta Take a Minute” makes it to #30 on Country Tracks Top 40 and #16 on Kix Country Top 20
- 2015 ICMA Awards Most Popular New Talent Nomination (Announced 2016)
- 2015 Toyota Star Maker Grand Finalist (Top 3)
- 2015 TSA Awards Best Contemporary Song (27 Degrees – Megan Cooper/Dana Hassall)
- 2013 APRA Professional Development Award Finalist
- 2012 Channel C Blue Shoe Awards – Sapphire Shoe Award
- 2012 Channel C Blue Shoe Awards – Best Song Finalist
- 2012 The Song Comp Country/Australiana Song of the Year
- 2012 The Song Comp Blues/Roots/Indie Song of the Year
- 2012 The Song Comp Country/Australiana Second Place
- 2012 The Song Comp Folk/Singer-Songwriter Second Place
- 2012 The Song Comp Pop/Rock Section Fifth Place
- 2012 The Song Comp Spiritual Songs Finalist
- 2012 Best EP – National Canberra Country Music Award
- 2012 Catapult Song Contest Top 30
- 2012 Musicoz Awards Finalist
- 2012 CMAA Academy of Country Music “Spirit of the Country” Scholarship Recipient and SeniorAcademy Graduate
- 2012 “See It Now” makes it to #15 on the Kix Country Countdown
- 2011 International Songwriting Competition Semi-Finalist (“Long Way”)
- 2011 Mud Bulls & Music Country Talent Search Runner-Up
- 2011 Apra Professional Development Awards Finalist
- 2011 Queensland Music Awards Highly Commended
- (“Long Way” & “Two Steps”)
- 2009/2010 Vibetones Songwriting Competition State Finalist
- 2009 Amateur Section of TSA Awards Semi Finalist
- 2009 Miles Country Music Spectacular Overall Female
- 2009 Mud Bulls & Music Country Talent Search Runner-Up
- 2009 Australian Theme Section of AMCF National Songwriting Competition Third Place
- 2009 Qld Songwriting Champion
- 2008 TSA Awards Amateur Section Semi Finalist
- (“Good-bye” & “Waiting Out the Storm”)
- 2008 TSA Awards Junior Section Finalist
- (“Small Town”)
- 2008 Jazzer Smith Quest Runner-Up
- 2008 Cane Country CMF Overall Junior
- 2008 Pioneer Village CMF Overall Junior
- 2008 Voice of Urban Talent Quest Junior Runner-Up
- 2008 Qsong Courier Mail People’s Choice Awards Finalist
- 2008 Homestead Youth Talent Expo Overall Champion
- 2008 Redlands Modern Country Music Festival Overall Act
- 2008 Gympie Muster Maton Talent Search Grand Finalist
- 2008 Qld Junior Songwriting Champion
- 2008 ACMF Environmental Secondary School Songwriting Section Winner
- 2007/2008 Two time Graduate of the Camerata Country Music Youth School
- 2007 Qld Junior Songwriting Champion
August 17, 2015
FADING AWAY – Dannielle Wicks
By day Danielle works as an Information Technology Officer for her local council, and by night Danielle is a TV show junkie!I am a Qualified Justice of the Peace for the state of Queensland (I honestly have no idea why I chose to do the training for that, but I’m enjoying it now).
We also have an excerpt from Danielles next novel, November Sky which we’ll bring you soon!
One night. One stupid mistake. Changes everything.
SAMMY STEVENS was tragically orphaned at the age of nine and sent to live with a foster family in the town of Miakoda Falls.
She’s constantly bullied at school by the arrogant, selfish, one and only…KAI JORDAN.
Kai is your typical entitled teen who’s on the verge of attending a university and having everything he ever wanted handed to him.
But all that changes when he is involved in a car accident after a night of partying…
He’s suddenly and painfully brought into the world of the supernatural.
Kai turns to the last person he ever would’ve expected, Sammy, as he struggles with his new identity and watches the people closest to him move on. And he is forgotten.
As Kai and Sammy grow closer, Kai must figure out a way to either fight to stay human or risk being stuck forever, as a prisoner of his own body…
EXCERPT FROM FADING AWAY
I was only nine when they died…
I remember the colour of my mother’s hair, and her soft voice. I remember my father’s cologne and the way he used to hold my hand tightly as we walked down to the store for milk. Everything else is a blur; I don’t remember what they looked like. Their faces escape me. The memory of my parents is a fuzzy one and all of the photographs are gone now.
It was dark and hot, that much I can remember very clearly. Sweat beads off my forehead and down my neck. My room smells of wood smoke, clogging up my nose and throat, making me cough. Surely the smoke detectors would have gone off by now if we were in trouble? I clutch my pillow to my stomach and watch the flickering orange light dance under the door. A shadow and then Dad is bursting through my door, bringing a cloud full of toxic smoke with him.
“Come on Sammy,” he coaxes me towards him, throwing a fearful look over his shoulder at the wall of heat. I run to him and he scoops me up, spinning and ducking through our burning house. The bright, white hot fire is everywhere. I can feel the blazing heat on my bare skin. It burns.
An overhead beam collapses above us and my dad goes down, letting go of me as he hits the ground. I scream and crawl closer to him.
“Baby girl, you need to get out.” His words come out wheezy. I glance at the burning roof beam lying across his back. His fingers lightly touch my knee and I look back down at him. “Go get help darling, outside. Stay close to the ground. Go!” I nod quickly and weave my way to the front door as fast as I can.
As soon as I push the hot door open, someone lifts me up and sprints away from the house towards the waiting ambulance. The fireman puts me down and wipes my face clean. I cough and point back at my house. He smiles and nods before pushing me further into the ambulance and handing me off to a paramedic.
I wake up in the hospital still clutching my dirty pillow, surrounded by people, none of them my parents.
The other kids at school never see me, and when they do, they whisper. I don’t know how, but they know, and being a foster child doesn’t win you any sympathy points or special treatment. It’s more like I’ve contracted an extremely dangerous disease and if anyone was to talk to me or come into contact with me, their parents would magically die too. Kids can be brutal.
I was thirteen when I first met Kai Jordan. He was a kind, gentle person back then. He introduced himself to me with a smile, unaware of my status with the rest of our classmates. Being the new kid, he was immediately snapped up into the popular group at school. If I knew what he would be like as we grew older, I would never have smiled back at him.
I am eighteen now, living with foster parents and on the verge of graduating high school and getting into the college of my dreams…if I can get this stupid paper done. Argh. I slam my pen down on my desk in frustration. It’s due tomorrow and I haven’t strung a single sentence together. I shake my head and close my book. I’ll just have to ask for an extension from Mrs. Danby. Gathering my things, I stuff them unceremoniously into my backpack and swing it over my shoulder.
The bell hasn’t released us yet, but that doesn’t stop the chatter from the other students around the room. Ms. Kelly sits down at her desk and starts shuffling her own books into her tote bag. As soon as the bell sounds I follow everyone out of the classroom and drift down the hallways amidst the sea of pushy seniors, thinking about what I’m going to make myself for dinner.
Someone steps out in front of me and I collide head on with their shoulder. I frown up at the dark haired, brown eyed road block and adjust my glasses.
“Watch where you’re going,” Kai Jordan sneers at me as he pushes past. He wouldn’t remember who I am, even if he tripped over me, obviously. I wonder briefly what happened to the happy, friendly little boy he was when he moved here.
Shifting my backpack back onto my shoulder, I continue down the hallway, heading for the exit. People smack me with their books or bags as I push my way through. I feel as though I’m completely invisible. Sometimes I just want to scream, I’m here, just look and see me.
I’m in no hurry to get home. My foster parents gave birth to their first child this year, so I live in the flat above the garage by myself. Not much to look forward too. And no chance of a new foster family, I’m too close to graduating and leaving for college.
No matter how many friends I surround myself with, I still feel completely alone. Would anyone actually notice if I went missing? If I just faded away… If I just disappeared one day and no one ever found me?
I jump up into my truck and watch my girlfriend Ashlee, and her friends walk across the parking lot, chatting about something shallow no doubt. Would she care if I died? I push the morbid thoughts away and pull out of the parking lot, heading for home.
When I park in my driveway, I sit in my truck and stare up at the dark house. They’re not here – my parents. They’re away again. Japan? China? I don’t remember. They’re never here. I used to go with them, but not anymore. I feel like I’ve been raised by the maid, Serena.
They didn’t say goodbye before they left this time. The last conversation we had as a family before they left was a fight. Mum cornered me in the study, standing behind my Dad in his desk chair with her arms crossed.
“Your father and I need you to set a good example, everything you do reflects back on this family and our business,” she snaps, her sharp voice echoing around the room.
“I don’t want to go to Harvard Mum. I don’t want to be a doctor or a lawyer.” I sound so meek up against her harsh voice.
“You don’t have a choice in the matter.”
She holds a hand up to silence me before I can answer. I can barely contain my anger, this isn’t fair. Her voice softens slightly on the next sentence. “We just want what’s best for you Kai.”
Sure, of course they do, that’s why they’re forcing me to take up a career I don’t want. She takes a step towards me. I shake my head and slam the door on my way out.
Now the house is depressingly quiet. I don’t know what they expected.
It doesn’t matter now anyway, I’ve already been accepted by Harvard Law School. That’s it; my future has been decided for me.
The microwave beeps in front of me. I pull out the plate of chicken Serena left for me and head for the sofa. I’m not in the mood to watch sports or the news. Flicking through the channels, I stop on an old movie and settle in. This will do.
I don’t remember when, but I must have fallen asleep. I’m lying awkwardly on the sofa, my empty plate from dinner upside down on the carpet. I don’t bother picking it up. Serena will clean it in the morning.
Lifting myself from the soft cushions, I rub the palm of my hand over my eyes before switching the TV off and stumbling upstairs to my room and my bed.
Fliers everywhere; the school hallways are full of fluttering, colourful pieces of paper. I kneel down and swipe one off the ground, curious.
PARTY AT THE LAKE TONIGHT
The bold letters are underlined and spread across the pages. A party? Maybe I’ll go just this once before we graduate. The paper is snatched out of my hand abruptly. I turn around and frown at Kai and his group of friends standing around me.
“You’re not invited.” He smirks, waving the colorful paper around in front of my face. Quick, I need an awesome comeback.
“I wasn’t going to go anyway.” I mentally slap myself. Really? That’s the best I can do? Nice Sammy.
“Whatever loser,” Jacob – one of Kai’s friends – replies nastily, and then they all turn and walk away, laughing.
As soon as they are around the corner and out of sight I run to the bathrooms and stand before a sink, wiping at my eyes. Looking up at the mirror, I squint through my foggy glasses at my reflection. Nope, nothing; I can’t see anything on my face that says, please pick on me I like it. I pull my hair-tie out and re-do my ponytail. Sometimes it’s just too hard to figure people out.
I slowly make my way to my next class, slinking in the door just as Mr. Nelson starts the lesson. I give him an apologetic look as I slide into my desk at the front of the room and pull out my textbook.
I can hear whispering behind me. Pretending to write something down on my blank page, I sneak a peek over my shoulder at the airheads at the back of the room; Ashlee, Kai, Jenny and Dylan, all whispering and giggling at each other. Kai’s dark eyes suddenly meet mine; I twist back around and focus on Mr. Nelson before he can sneer or make faces at me.
Asking for an extension shouldn’t be an issue, but with Ms. Danby, everything is an issue. She’s purposely being rude and infuriating. I do my absolute best at my studies; I mean seriously, what else have I got to do. I have no friends, so I have no distractions. She finally relents and signs my extension with a disappointed sigh.
Walking along the corridor heading for the parking lot, I keep my head down. Mostly people just ignore me, but there’s a few who jeer at me and whisper as I walk past. I smile at the whisperers and their giggling stops and turns into confused frowns. I grin to myself and walk out into the afternoon sunshine.
My old car, clunks loudly into my driveway and comes to a stuttering stop. My foster mum, Kathy is waiting for me on the back porch of their huge colonial house. Her red hair is coiled up on top of her head messily, so she must have spent the afternoon cleaning. She looks exhausted.
“Hi sweetie how was school?” she calls out as I climb out of my car and walk up the path to her.
“Hey,” I reply, giving her a hug. “It was fine. Heaps of assignments to finish though.”
“Oh well, I won’t keep you long. I have some more leftovers for you and I was wondering if you were still coming to Sunday dinner?”
“Of course I am, I wouldn’t miss it.”
She hands me an armload of frozen food containers.
“How is Connor?” Their new baby boy.
“I’m so tired,” she gushes. “He’s such a handful sometimes.”
I say goodnight and retire to my flat above the garage before she can continue. I know that sounds selfish, but ever since Connor was born, I feel like an exile.
I suck in a relieved breath as I close the door behind me. My home is simple; kitchen, bathroom, tattered sofa, old TV, over full bookcase and a bed. Everything I need. After I heat up one of Kathy’s frozen casseroles, I put on a movie and recline into the soft cushions with my food.
The party at the lake is tonight. It kind of hurts to be uninvited. I shouldn’t let what they say get to me so much. Can you imagine the looks and whispers I’d get if I actually turned up at the lake? At least I wouldn’t be invisible anymore.
As soon as I park my truck and turn off the engine, I can hear the noise of the party. People yell and laugh under the effects of the alcohol. The music and the keg have already been set up by the time I enter the clearing and walk through the volumes of dancing people.
I make my way over to Ashlee and her group standing close to the water. Putting my arm around her waist I lean in for a kiss. She giggles, sloshing her drink over the edge of her plastic cup. I lick my lips with a smile, tasting the tangy beer. She’s already drunk.
“Kai,” she pouts, pushing herself closer to my side. “Jenny is getting a limo for the prom, why do we have to take your stinky truck?” I frown down at her. She’s pulled her long blonde hair back into a braid and she’s wearing a too tight t-shirt and skirt. Sometimes I wonder why I’m with someone so shallow.
“Don’t worry babe, when she sees us pull up, she’ll shut her mouth.” I look pointedly at a drunk, swaying Jenny and give her a tight smile.
“Speaking of your truck,” Luke says, smacking me on the shoulder. “We should take it for a spin in the forest. Or are you too afraid to scratch it?” he taunts, his breath is strong with the smell of rum.
I’ve never liked Luke, I put up with him because Jacob likes him.
“Yeah,” Jacob pipes up. “Let’s take it for a drive.” I narrow my eyes on him. Unable to disappoint them and become an outcast, I agree and we walk back to the parking lot.
The thrill of speeding over a one lane dirt track through a dense thicket of trees in the dark is amazing. I’ve got to hand it to Luke, I may not like him, but this was a great idea. The drunken idiots are laughing and joking around in the back seat and over the center console. Dylan leans too far forward and I take my eyes off the road for a split second as he spills his drink all over the front seat. A split second is all it takes not to react fast enough as a deer walks out in front us.
Hushed voices coming from the backyard wake me just past midnight. The grogginess of sleep clears and I realize I’m listening to Kathy and David fighting. They always fight in the backyard so they don’t wake Connor. Its been happening a lot lately. David has never liked me; I’m just a costly nuisance, an indulgence on Kathy’s behalf. It doesn’t matter that I’ve lived with them for the past five years now.
I glance at the clock again, I really need to get to bed, and I have work in the morning. Grabbing my dirty bowl from dinner, I dump it in the sink on my way to my small bedroom.
My senses come back to me slowly. Somewhere close a horn screams. I screw up my nose at the burning plastic smell and pry my eyes open. What the hell happened? Why is the front of my truck embedded in the trunk of a tree?
Something wet dribbles down the side of my face, I swipe it away and my fingers come back dark. I can’t really see anything inside the cab.
I remember what happened in a sudden rush of images. The sticky drink sloshing over my front seat, swerving as a deer walks out in front of me, my friends. Oh god. I quickly spin in my seat to find them. Luke, Dylan and Jacob are all still there and alive. Thank god the idiots put their seatbelts on.
I turn back to my door and try kicking it open, It takes three goes before the crumpled door groans open. Jumping down on wobbly legs, I glance around. The moonlight helps light my surroundings.
A few feet away lay the gruesome remains of the deer. I turn away from it in guilt and pull my phone from my pocket to call an ambulance. Then I turn back to the wrecked truck and tug on the back door to help the others out.
Jacob and Luke shuffle out first and sit on the grass beside the dirt road, Dylan groans and collapses on the back seat. I hoist myself into the truck and lean over him.
“Dylan?” I slap him lightly on the cheek. He doesn’t respond, but I can hear his wheezy breaths. He’s still alive. Its pitch black inside the cab. I take out my phone again and slide my finger across the screen to turn the torch on.
There’s blood soaking through the shoulder of Dylan’s t-shirt, his left arm is covered in it. With a curse I rip off my hoodie and wrap it around his arm tightly before gently pulling him to the door and lifting him down.
An ambulance and a tow truck arrive a moment later and one of the paramedics takes one look at Dylan and gets to work placing him on a stretcher. They load us all into the back of the ambulance.
A nurse hands me a phone when I arrive at the hospital. “What the hell were you thinking?” My mum screeches before I even lift the phone to my ear.
I sigh. “It’s just a truck, I think you’re overreacting.” I know that’s not what she’s talking about, I just don’t care.
“Underage drinking? Do you know how bad this looks for your father and me? We trust you to be responsible while we are away and you can’t even do that. We’re getting on a plane right now.”
“No, we will talk when we get back. I’ve arranged for Serena to pick you up when you’re released.” The line beeps and goes dead. She’s hung up on me.
They release me as soon as I’ve been checked over. The nurse has already called Serena for me, but before I leave I make my way through the hospital to the ICU to check on Dylan. He hasn’t woken since the crash, but I’ve been told he’ll be okay. I pause to watch him through the glass viewing window before turning and leaving.
I reach the glass front door just as Serena arrives in our silver SUV. The drive home is quiet.
“You don’t need to stay,” I tell her when she pulls into our driveway. “I’ll be fine.” I don’t want her hovering around me all day. She frowns over at me, but agrees. I suppose she’s a little afraid of not doing what I say, I could get her fired.
I trudge up the stairs to my room and head straight for the curtains to close them before sunrise. Glancing out into the backyard, I do a double take. There, standing in the shadows of the trees behind my house. Is that a deer? By the time I reach the back door, it’s gone. I scowl into the grey early morning light and then shake my head, turning to go back inside.
It’s after lunch before I wake again. I smack my lips together, my mouth is dry. I’m hot and sweaty and my skin is itchy. Am I sick? Slowly sitting up, I inch myself out of bed and head for the shower. The spray of water hurts my skin and I start swaying, dizzy. I need fresh air. Wrapping a towel around my middle I aim for the backyard.
When my feet touch the grass, I collapse onto my hands and knees. My stomach is cramping so bad I feel like I’m going to throw up. What’s happening? A pain filled groan sputters out of my dry throat as a sharp throb flares in my head. I close my eyes tightly and press my forehead to the cool grass. My arms and legs turn tingly and achy. My skin grows goose bumps and I shiver, then unconsciousness mercifully consumes me………..
Follow Dannielle & Find her books!
You can follow Dannielle on Facbook, Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter. You can also find her on her blog at www.danniellewicks.com
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August 13, 2015
Quirky, catchy and a little bit out there.
Ayden Roberts is an emerging artist who spends a lot of time playing music, whenever he can he is inside studios and hanging out with makers and creatives.
His original music can be described as quirky, catchy and a little bit out there.
He takes inspiration from great songwriters, the likes of Paul Simon, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Robert Ellis, Anais Mitchell, George Harrison and John Lennon, and many more wonderful artists live on his playlists.
His influences coupled with a naive belief that his guitar can be anything it wants to be, means that his live shows are a lot of fun. It is a zingy journey into falling in love where he invites you to roll around and enjoy it, you can’t help but leave with cupids little arrows in your backside.
Ayden’s debut EP titled Ciao Bella tracks the honey moon phase of a relationship through songs such as the plant inspired Mint, through to Right Questions, a toe tapping Americana piece, the first line sums it all up “Her answer is right, but my questions could be better” and takes you home with a love ballad to his van titled Seeds.
Between playing lead guitar in the indie rock quintet Average Art Club and trying his hand at being a producer, Ayden really loves connecting with people. His solo project does just that.
Currently he has called out to friends, fans and family to help back his Kickstarter project, the printing of the EP, if funding is successful, the EP should be out in the world at the end of October.
Tumbling through my “choose your own adventure” degree, I decided it would be a great time to pump out an EP, a climax for my travels over the last 4 years.
At uni I spent a year studying voice, then one year on guitar, then another year studying songwriting, and all of that has rolled into this (Honours) year which has been wonderful. I get to sit in the producers chair, for my own songs, that I am performing with a bunch of super duper musicians. The recording sessions were a blast and I am so privileged to work with such talented people :)
I have been working on this ep to share with everyone, trouble is… well, sharing it with everyone. Sure I could share it on Facebook/Soundcloud/Youtube and all the rest and I will in the future, but it would be the highest of honours to hand it to you on a CD in a case.
So for that I ask your help.
I truly hope you like the tracks :)
Keep in contact, would love to hear your thoughts and share the journey!
Big thank you to Graeme Groves for the cover photo! Ayden
To celebrate, a launch party will be held on the 30th of October at The Grid Hybrid Arts Collective in Toowoomba.