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 and Australia.
In recent times, one of Australasia’s most vibrant country stars has taken some time to embrace some needed breathing space to work on her 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. It’s been nice to take the time to recover from being on the road a lot and re-ignite my love for 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 New Zealand and 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 external influence. I’m grateful to have worked with a producer who allowed me to have great input into the creative direction of these songs (Stuart Stuart)”.
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 but also encapsulates the double meaning of – the end of things. All of which connect to the resulting ten songs on the album (in one way or another)".
Performing some of Australasia’s biggest festivals continue to hold as career highlights for the songstress including 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’.
“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 that'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 mostly how I want to do this”.