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MusicNT presents Sally Balfour

IT’S UNIVERSALLY ACKNOWLEDGED that flexibility and adaptability are necessary traits to survive, and thrive, in the music industry. With a children’s album telling the tale of a travelling crocodile and a single speaking of the harsh reality of life as a firefighter’s wife in the works, it’s safe to say Tennant Creek-based singer-songwriter Sally Balfour has both in spades.

MusicNT sat down with Balfour to find out more about these two very different projects.

You’re known for your beautiful folk/roots sounds – tell us how your foray into the world of children’s music came about!
As a parent, I was struggling to find kids’ music that I liked, so I decided to create my own. My first idea was a book and CD, but as I was writing grant applications it really solidified into an album.

As a desert kid, I have a real thing about water – an irrational fear that was rationalised during my time living in Darwin. There is always talk of culling crocodiles, which is where the idea of Clara stemmed from. Other crocodiles are threatening her, so she ups and moves to where there are no crocodiles, with a journey down the Stuart Highway.

Lots of NT artists feature on Clara the Crocodile, how did you choose who to collaborate with?
I began by mapping out the different locations Clara would travel through, worked out the local animals, and then the local musicians I wanted to work with. That’s how the songs were formed.

But I soon realised it would be bigger than Ben-Hur, recording with local artists right down the highway, so I chose to work with Alice Springs artists as that’s where I recorded – at Red House Recording Studio with Darcy Davis. Fortunately, everyone I approached was keen to be involved.

Are there any other NT artists you’re keen to work with in the future?
That’s a big question, there’s a lot. Dave Garnham is definitely one of them. Caiti Baker is amazing, she would be someone for sure, as she was on my list for Clara. Ben Evolent as well... I could go on!

You were recently announced as a recipient of the MusicNT/Spotify NT Create & Release Grant. Congratulations! What are your plans?
I’m going to release a single I’m recording at home with the help of Bill Chambers. When I sat down to write the song as part of the I Heart Songwriting Club, it’s not one I thought I would write.

My husband is a firefighter and was sent to NSW to help with the fires at the beginning of the year. It really hit me when he left – the realisation of what they go through, what he actually does. That’s where the song stemmed from. I’m also going to work with Michael Hamilton from Darwin to film a clip for the single, which is exciting.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received you’d like to share?
As a performer, if you make a mistake on stage, do it proudly and no one will know. It’s only you that critiques yourself so hard.


Photo: William C Thomson

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