Teenage singing and songwriting sensation Tia Gostelow says her field-leading six nominations in the upcoming Queensland Music Awards were as big a surprise to her as anyone else.
“I didn’t even really know Mum had put nominations in for it,” Gostelow told NIT. “Then I got this email ‘You’ve got six nominations for the Queensland Music Awards’. I was like ‘Oh my God’.”
The 17-year-old from Mackay is ahead of the pack at the awards, which will be held in Brisbane on March 27. She is a finalist six times in four music categories, including Indigenous music.
Gostelow left school last year and says music is just beginning to feel like a job to her.
Her debut album is due to be released early next year and likely followed by her first tour.
“I used to think it was just a hobby,” Gostelow says. “But now it’s got a lot more serious. I always have things come up. Every week or every day I wake up to more emails and I’ve got an award or something or I’ve got to do an interview and I’ve got to play down here and I guess now it feels like a job, but it’s something I love doing so I don’t mind doing it.”
Gostelow, whose father is Indigenous and mother Irish, is already something of a seasoned musician. Growing up at Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria, she began playing guitar at about the age of seven.
She was 12 when, accompanied by her parents, she began performing in pubs on weekends when the family moved to Mackay.
“I think at first it was very daunting being so young and sitting in this pub full of drunk old men and all that stuff, but eventually I got used to it and it is something I can just sit there and do every weekend if I want to,” she says.
“Eventually I started playing four-hour gigs. It’s a good little hobby to have.”
Gostelow began writing her own songs at age 13 and says her debut album will be inspired by her high school years.
“There’s some sad songs, some happy songs, some grungy songs,” she says. “Most of it is about high school and how I didn’t really get along with girls in high school. I had a lot of trouble with them.
“I guess it is about that and how I had my own direction where I wanted to go and how I wasn’t really the kind of girl who would go and party every weekend. I’d be out doing gigs and making my career work, I guess.”
The Queensland Music Awards will be held at the Brisbane Powerhouse on March 27.
Gostelow’s song ‘State of Art’ earnt her a finals spot in the Indigenous music category.
She is also a finalist in the folk and singer-songwriter category and the schools category for two songs, ‘Vague Utopia’ and ‘State of Art’. ‘Vague Utopia’ also earnt her a berth in the regional category.
By Wendy Caccetta