Laura Downing says becoming a champion yodeller and entertainer was her destiny.
After working for many years in warehousing, she suffered major injury to both arms, deeming her unfit for future work as a storeman.
"I woke up one morning and said to my husband I could become a singer, and he just laughed at me.
"I had never sung a note but this just made me more determined."
That was 22 years ago, and the Australian has been proving herself to be an award-winning performer ever since.
Known for her stand-up comedy, yodelling and country ballad singing, Laura is one of the top artists due to perform at the Taranaki Country Music Festival which is being held at the Waitara War Memorial Hall from February 16 to 18.
The self-taught musician started off her new career as a vocalist, however after hearing a 13-year-old girl yodelling at a festival, she decided that was the path she wanted to take.
She soon found that yodelling came naturally and that her grandfather had also been a master of the technique.
"He could yodel anything at all. Yodelling is hereditary — you are born a yodeller or not and if you can't scream then you can't yodel."
Laura went on to win competitions at some of the highest levels across Australia, New Zealand, USA and Europe, and within one year had earned 58 trophies.
Throughout her career, Laura has earned many titles, including World Champion Yodeller, Australian Yodelling Champion, Gore Gold Guitar Yodelling champion and American Yodelling Champion.
She has also been named the Queensland and North New South Wales yodelling champion of champions twice.
These days Laura enjoys touring, writing and releasing new music and says yodelling is an art that takes lots of practice and technique to master. It involves changing from one octave to the next very quickly while keeping perfect pitch.
"There are many different types of yodelling — for example blues, Swiss, European triples yodels and doubles yodels."
Laura was told more than 20 years ago she would never make it in the industry because there was no market for yodelling.
"How wrong they were," she says.
She is looking forward to the Taranaki festival and says people of all ages will be entertained by her bush ballads, yodelling and comedy.
"It's all about having a laugh and a great time. When I'm standing on stage there is nothing more rewarding than seeing people having fun — that's what I was meant to do — this is what I was born to do."