It's been an incredible year for Gretta Ziller, releasing her debut full length album "Queen of Boomtown" in September of 2017, which has earned a place on the longlist of the 2017 Australian Music Prize among 45 other albums released in 2017, a Golden Guitar nomination for best Alt Country album, and her a nomination in the 2018 Country Music Channel Awards for New Artist of the Year.
On top of that - she has three songs from her album selected as semi-finalists in the International Songwriting Competition, alongside another song she co-wrote with Andrew Swift for his upcoming album. The attention has all been very well deserved, with her undeniable talent for crafting and performing richly melodic songs that effortlessly and seamlessly embrace the many sounds of the country genre.
We caught up with Gretta to discuss her music, her album and her influences.
So, tell me the story of yourself and your history with music
The short story is that I grew up listening to everything from Pavarotti, to Edith Piaf, to Rage every Saturday, pretty much anything Mum could get her hands on we listened to - except Country music. It wasn't until I was in my final year of a Bachelor of Music (studying classical voice) when I discovered Country ... and that was it for me. I knew it was the music I wanted to make, so I finished my degree, moved back home and started teaching myself how to play guitar!
You've just released a new album Queen of Boomtown. How would you describe the music on this album?
Queen of Boomtown is full of the musical influences I had growing up, I clearly have blues & rock influences as well as being influenced by the music I like now, more singer/songwriter & country artists.
How do you feel this album has changed from your 2014 EP, Hell's Half Acre?
I am really proud of both my releases, I think the difference between Hell's Half Acre & Queen of Boomtown is that I'm older & wiser and that reflects in my songwriting.
You've got quite a few interesting people involved on this album. Tell us more about them and what they're up to on your album...
I was really lucky to have some amazing musicians play on my album, and even luckier that my producer, Paul Ruske, is friends with most of them and could just call them up and ask if they'd play!!!
I've got Olaf Scott (hammond) & Rob Muinos (electric guitar) from Saskwatch, on drums was Leigh Fisher who's discography is too long to mention but has played for the likes of Megan Washington & Missy Higgins. Ben Edgar, who has played for Angus & Julia Stone and Josh Pyke and travels around the world playing guitar. I was also fortunate enough to have Henry Wagons sing a duet with me on the album. I am well aware of how lucky I was to get these guys!!!
What's behind the name of your album Queen of Boomtown?
The song Queen of Boomtown is about not being happy with where you are in life but having folks around you expect you to be keeping up the appearance that you are. The underlying thread of my album is change, the need for it, the inability to, the wishing for.
Now you've finished your album - what's next?
I've got some tour's and festivals lined up for 2018, and of course I need to start writing for the next album!!!
What songs are on your best imaginary mix-tape?
Darrel Scott - You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive
Fred Eaglesmith - 105
Lori McKenna - I Know You
Justin Townes Earle - Christchurch Woman
Buddy Miller - Gasoline & Matches
Steve Earle - The Low Highway
Jason Isbell - Cover Me Up
Lucinda Williams - Well Well Well
Jim Lauderdale - Alligator Alley
If you could put together your own music festival, who would be on the bill and why? Who would headline?
Oh gosh, I reckon it'd be pretty much the folks on my mixed tape. I think I'd have to get Buddy Miller to headline, only cause he'd have half the others in his set, it'd be amazing!!!
If your music was to be used as a soundtrack for a film, who would you want directing and starring in it?
Oh it'd have to be Jeff Bridges he's one rad dude!!! Or Keifer Sutherland (swoon) ... both those guys are singers & have albums out so I'd be more than happy for them to sing my song ;)
If you had to play a completely different genre of music to what you do now, what would it be?
Well, I had planned on being an Opera singer sooo .....
If you could convince one person or band to retire from music, who would it be - and why?
oh gosh!! That's harsh! I really don't know ... it's pretty mean to ask someone to stop singing!!!
Tell us about a gig you'll never forget.
Supporting Shane Nicholson at the Menniyan Town Hall ... I love that venue and have sat in the audience for years watching the most amazing bands play and I always wished to myself ... one day I'll get to play up there! When I got to ... it didn't disappoint!
What food/drink serving suggestions do you have for this album?
haha! I had to ask a friend to answer this question cause I had no idea, he recommended Rye Whiskey, smooth and a little spicy!
You can find more of Gretta's links to her social and music media here on her EatNoise page.