The last time NZM caught up with award-winning Gore songwriter Jenny Mitchell was not long after the release of her 2018 album ‘Wildfires’. Currently preparing for not one, but two tours this spring, NZM invited Jenny to talk about how she prepares for life on the road and provide a few tips for anyone new to touring. Catch her live this September with UK band Good Habits around the North Island (more info and tickets here), or nationwide alongside Tami Neilson from mid-October (more info and tickets here).
Three years certainly has passed by very quickly! I’ve had some amazing touring adventures during that time and released a live EP which was a collaboration with my little sisters and Dad, which we went on to tour around NZ last year. Plus, winning my first Tui in 2019 was certainly a bit of a life highlight! [‘Wildfires’ beat out albums from Tami Neilson and Jamie McDell to win the Country Tui Award.]
I book all my tours here in NZ and have for the past few years. I’ve learnt to love spreadsheets and to-do lists! The biggest challenge is usually just lining all the dates up, and balancing the right amount of gigs with time to both rest and explore.
Do it! No matter how a tour ends up, I’ve always learnt so much about myself and the live shows I want to create for the world. As for my biggest tip, give yourself heeeeaps of time to get everything lined up. Much more time than you think you’ll need and never be afraid to reach out to other musicians and ask questions.
Marketing must: Make sure you utilise the awesome local media outlets in each area. This takes dedicated time but is worth it, and once you’ve made those connections you’ve got them forever.
Liquorice Tea, notebooks, comfy travelling clothes, extra pens for signing CDs (I constantly lose these somehow!) and swimming togs – one must always be ready for a refreshing dip!
Good Habits are an alt-folk duo from the UK, who have been happily stranded in NZ since our 2020 lockdown. I sat beside Bonnie at a morning yoga class at the Auckland Folk Festival earlier this year and the rest is history, I suppose! This tour will be their farewell to NZ and I’m super excited to be playing a bunch of beautiful little venues that I’ve never played before!
I think I’m a hype woman for Tami 365 days of the year, to be honest! But I joined Tam for an F Word show at the Dunedin Arts Festival earlier and just fell in love with the project, so I couldn’t be more excited to be joining the tour. For those who haven’t seen or heard about it, the show is a walk through the history of women in country music. When we think of country music, we think of powerhouse women like Dolly Parton or The (Dixie) Chicks but many people don’t know the stories behind those names – and the stories of the many, many women who carved their way through a male-dominated industry both before and after them. I’ll be singing backing vocals for the shows and making a few special appearances with my own material, too. Tami has been one of my biggest inspirations since I was around 10 years old, so it truly will be such a thrill to be part of the tour. Get your tickets!
A lot of the prep is the same. Making sure I’m drinking outrageous amounts of water for my voice and ensuring I’ll have access to healthy, delicious food while I’m on the road. I like to do baking and food prep before I head out, especially if I’m driving a lot of the way. Otherwise, just getting really comfortable with my sets. Pre-Covid I was touring and playing so frequently that I was pretty tour “fit” but I do notice now putting in the work before weeks of shows is very important.
Hmmm. That’s a tricky one! Brandi Carlisle is one of my all-time favourites. So she’d be there. Maybe… Brandi, Dolly [Parton], Passenger, and I’d be bringing my little sisters along too.