For the past 4 years - since releasing her first album “Breaks Out” as part of her signing with Australian record label ABC Music, Jody Direen has been in a whirlwind, clocking up miles on the ground and across the skies touring both New Zealand – her birth country - and Australia.
Direen experienced success early on in her career with singles; “Loud”, “Tattoo”, “Together”, “Dirt Rich”, “Gimme the Beat” and most recently “All Nighter” – the first single to be released off her fourth studio album "Smokin' Ashes", due out this Winter.
In recent times, one of Australasia’s most vibrant country stars has taken some time to embrace some needed breathing space amidst working on the new album.
“The past four to five years have been a blur. I've always found myself living ahead of the moment in preparation for what’s next on the agenda as a self-managed artist. Naturally, I’m very driven and I’ve learnt to keep myself in check to avoid burn out. It’s been nice to take the time to do other things I’ve always sacrificed a due to being a full-time touring artist; like build a house, make a garden and cook at home (for more than a few consecutive days). It’s been really good for my soul and the songwriting”.
The Vodafone NZMA Tui winner for “Best Country Album – Shake Up” states that finding a healthier balance in life has helped fuel the love that’s been poured into the fourth album which includes a mix of self-written and admittingly raw and honest songs along with songs pitched by friends from Nashville, TN - the mecca of Country music.
“My goal for this next album was to drop all rules and limitations and create music that totally feels right with no outside influence. Giving a song the treatment that naturally presents itself from a production stand-point has been a fun process. I’m grateful to have worked with a producer who allowed me to have great input into the creative direction of these songs”.
Direen says that creating this album took her on a journey she wasn’t expecting.
“Whilst preparing this album I went through a period of personally ‘letting go’ of anything in life that no longer serves me (people, beliefs, thoughts, things etc). This inspired the album title ‘Smokin’ Ashes’ resembling dying to the past, emerging into a new-me, new love and encapsulates the double meaning of – the end of things. All of which connect to the resulting ten songs (in one way or another)".
Performing some of Australasia’s biggest festivals continues to hold as career highlights for the songstress not to mention supporting Kenny Rogers on his last New Zealand tour. Touring Australia’s first ever C2C Festival last year alongside international greats; Tim McGraw, Kelsea Ballerini, The Midland and more was a ‘dreamy experience’ for the chart topper.
“I’ve always been an obsessed country music fan from a young age. I grew up listening to artists I’ve now performed on the same stage as. Its mind boggling, to believe sometimes, that it’s actually happened”.
With multiple hits, stages, nominations and awards under her belt, Direen is set to venture into an explosive new phase of her career with new-found energy within herself and her songs, an Australasian tour is on the horizon for 2020/21.
“I’ve never been in a better place to connect with my fans, and live shows is how I want to do this”.