With a new album released and a national tour in the bag, Jamie McDell takes time out to give us a glimpse into her life:

1. Who is Jamie McDell? Describe yourself in one sentence.

I'm most comfortable at sea, I strive to write the truest songs I can and will continue to do so no matter the audience or lack there of.

2. You signed to a major label at 16. What do you know now at 25 that you didn't know then?

Everything. Which is a scary thought considering I felt I knew everything back then. I feel like I've had a really good mix of experiences in this industry, some definite highs being all the things that supposedly equal a successful music career e.g. awards, chart-toppings, gold sales etc. and I've certainly had to toughen up through the lows – which I wont bore you with, if you listen to my album you'll quite possibly get the gist!

3. Your new album Extraordinary Girl is out now. Who is the extraordinary girl and why?


Extraordinary Girl is a song off the album. I wrote it for a good friend who would describe to me hideous acts of abuse her partner would inflict but always with a tone of voice that made it seem normal or acceptable. My tact was to always try and help her see just how extraordinary she was and how much better she deserved, that's where the lyric flowed on from.

4. You wrote and recorded the songs in Nashville. What's the biggest way being in that environment shaped the album?

It made me more comfortable with my natural style of songwriting. For a while there, whilst making music in NZ, I was trying to fight against my natural instinct, I guess more often than not I was working with folks in the Pop music world that thought I was joking when I referenced Jimmy Buffett. Being in Nashville surrounded by songwriters that sincerely put storytelling first was really inspiring and gave me confidence in my skill and the way a like to do things.

5. You've just wrapped up a national tour - what is your favourite song to perform live and why?

I really enjoy playing one of the new tracks off the album called No Woman's Land, it's quite sassy and I get to play the tambourine! On the record Tami Neilson features on this track, unfortunately I can't get a pocket sized Tami to take on tour but I try channel her when I'm on stage.

6. What does success as a musician mean to you?

I've found that it's something you can't really explain in one sentence, it's kind of just that feeling of knowing you've done and are doing the right thing by you and working really hard at that.

7. What message would you give any young person wanting to be a successful musician?

It's been said before but know who you are, celebrate it and practice it.

8. Who or what excites you most about the New Zealand music scene?

Diversity and independence. There's so many different styles of music being celebrated in our country at the moment and it seems as if a lot of it is coming out of independent projects. Maybe it's just that I'm living in the indie world at the moment but it feels like someone's put some kind of magical DIY dust in the water.

9. You can only fit one album by another artist on your device — what is it?

At the moment, The Best Of Bread


10. You're curating a music festival. Who's on the bill, alive or dead?

Jimmy Buffett, James Taylor, John Denver, Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin, Dixie Chicks, Kasey Chambers, Courtney Marie Andrews, Tami Neilson, and it'd be cool if they let me play as well.