“Playing before 19,000 (rugby league) fans at Sydney Olympic Stadium and singing with Australian country music legend James Blundell (also well known in Nashville) at Tamworth Country Music Festival (the largest festival of its kind in the southern hemisphere). Wendy recently made her internet TV debut on Episode 18 of the music show, “Out in the Country”.‘
However, do not be fooled; the Aussie-merican’s upcoming CD “Good Medicine” is a musical smorgasbord dishing out outlaw Americana (Not Ok Corral) marinated in Blues (Clean House) and spiced with some soulful belters (“Bully”) to complete the menu. Many songs have won awards and been aired globally through (US based) Diamondback compilations to community radio, as well as being great to dance to!
With vocals compared to Eva Cassidy and Janis Joplin, Wendy has wowed fans at Tamworth Country Music Festival, Nerang Allsports, Lismore Workers Club and more this year. She and her band recently debuted new album tracks at an Australian Songwriter Association Showcase and have more outings planned before the album launch on 17 October at the North Coast National Show (and other regional venues tba). Wendy hopes to tour the album in the US one way or another in 2020.
Websites or Social Media Pages:
Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXcb1iwEbvaUv79u3Vhj6kA
What Musical Genre Do You Feel Best Describes Your Music And How Would You Describe Your Sound?
My music is derivative of classic country-rock genre - think Eagles, Creedence, Tedeschi Trucks. Though my solo EP which I pressed as a promo and will release soon digitally, was perhaps a bit more traditional. The new album I have coming out features soulful girl group sounds as well as bluesy tracks in addition to the country and what I call "Southwestern Trilogy" story beginning with my track, "Not Ok Corral". When I grew up music was not put in boxes; on radio I would hear Aerosmith followed by Mac Davis, then The Beatles. I think the discerning listener likes some variety, so I'm here to dish it out.
How Did You Get Your Name? Is There A Story?
I was dubbed with my musical name when I was 16 ir 17, I had another birth name, then my mom married a guy with a long Germanic name. The family grew so tired of the twisting of the name that it was changed to Ford. It turns out that it was a good name to carry as a musician. I had a married name at one point but reverted to using my maiden name. Though I sometimes play with a band, the focus is on the songs, so until further notice, we are Wendy Ford Band. My latest studio album was recorded (with guest musicians) before i put this band together.
What Are or Have Been Your Musical Influences?
I grew up loving The Beatles and The Stones, prog bands like Yes to folkies like John Denver; but collected a variety of music. For the music I write, I would say classic country rock like The Eagles and Creedence, up thorugh Tedeschi Trucks and Florida Georgia Line. However I also draw from Dylan and Aussie classic band Midnite Oil who had a lot to say about the state of the world and how it needs to change. I also loved the girl groups and how present day artists like Adele have revived that Motown sound. Then there's always soul and blues, everyone from Smokey to Clapton and beyond.
What Are You Working On Now? Any Future Collaborations We Can Look Forward To?
I have a pressed promo EP awaiting digital release with a single on Spotify / itunes. This same song Years of Experience is featured in Episode 18 of an internet TV Music Show called "Out in the Country". found on youtube.
I also have my complete album, Good Medicine, mastered and ready to press. There is only 1 repeat song from the EP, and that was to give a nudge to album promo. So I have put together a great band and we have been rehearsing and gigging in the lead up to the launches of the album before year's end. It's a bit different recording a studio album and putting the band together afterwards. I have one collaboration on the album but others in the pipeline for future recordings. I have co-written at conferences and at Tamworth festival.
What Is Your Ultimate Goal In The Music Industry? What Is Your Plan Of Action?
My ultimate goal is, as Mama B says, to hear someone singing one of my songs. I am not attached to becoming a pop idol.. a bit late for that for me. However, if my songs gain traction, and maybe a tv show or film want to sync my works, or an established artist wants to sing one of my songs, I will know I have truly "made it".
What Is Your Favorite Track To Perform Live and Why?
My favorite live track? The answer is split between 2 tracks from the new album. The first is "We Have Enough" which is a nod to the country outlaws who advocate for the disadvantaged and downtrodden, and disparages authoritarian corruption. It's a bit of a stadium banger! The 2nd is "Huachuca Sunset", the 3rd in the southwestern trilogy, which has the female outlaw investing her spoils in setting up a school for orphaned native American children. The theme of these tracks revolves around the Ok Corral legends of Arizona.
What Has Been The Biggest Challenge In Your Career Thus Far?
I think I speak for others when I say there has been more than one The first is that in Australia, to be selected for festivals, one often needs a "proven track record" already, so there is no room for emerging artists. I think every locality in every country experiences its cultural cringe, as when it took Led Zeppelin years to gain approval in the UK after multiple sellout tours to the US.
For me specifically, I believe that being over 25 and female is an obstacle to getting taken seriously, even though my songs have multiple award nominations and indie radio airplay.
I yearn for a musical community where every artist is taken on merit, dispensing with any form of discrimination. Again, I know I am not alone in feeling this way.
That said, the beauty of the DIY market is that we can do it our own way with no need to conform to industry standards.
What’s Your Typical Songwriting Process?
Sometimes I wake up with a melody and maybe accompanying lyrics in my head.
I usually start with a melody and find the right chord progression to back it. A good riff helps, too. Imagine what Purple Haze would be without the riff.
Sometimes I will have a theme to write about and a specific artist in mind. I wrote a song called "If You Can't Stand the Heat" around the time of Aretha Franklin's passing. It was on the eve of a climate change rally. When I was sitting with pen in hand, I asked Aretha what she would have written - and the words just came tumbling out, with bluesy chords and everything. Sometimes I think we songwriters are a channel - and as such, ego steps out of the way. It's an exciting process.
How Has Social Media Influenced Your Career As An Artist?
Social media has influenced me to be far more extensive in my fan outreach and to think laterally in how I use the internet. However, I still have a long way to go!
It has also given me fantastic platforms to meet and network with other artists and fans, as well as gain exposure. This facility through Underground College Radio is one such example.
What Are Some Tracks and Artists Currently On Your Playlist?
Nothing Breaks Like a Heart - Miley Cyrus ( it is in the setlist)
Old Town Road - Lil Nas and Billy Ray Cyrus (also in setlist)
Day Drunk - Morgan Evans
Songs by Kesha, Adele, The Beatles / Stones, Reba, Amy Winehouse, The Shirelles, Tedeschi Trucks, Florida Georgia Line, Silverchair, Powderfinger (Aussie bands), Greta Van Fleet, many others
What Did You Do Before You Started Making Music?
I worked in public and community service with a BA in Government. Strangely I often found my busiest times gig-wise were when I was working. I also run a couple of small businesses teaching music, providing music therapy in nursing homes and administering relaxation and remedial massage, particularly to special needs clients. It’s all healing, isn’t it?
Any Advice For Young People (Men or Women) That Want To Succeed In The Music World?
Think outside the box. Keep doing what you love and you will find flow and get noticed. Don't expect the traditional channels.
What Would You Change In The Music Industry If You Were A Top Music Executive?
With all due respect to youth, I would change the youthcentric approach and open up avenues for people of all ages, races, sexual orientation, etc. to express themselves.
Every segment of the population has something beautiful to say. We don't ask writers or artists to be under 25, do we?
Especially as music is such a healer for survivors of trauma / abuse / mental illness there should be more avenues for expression and recognition offered to these groups (through grants).
Recognition should not solely be the province of the wealthy - those who can afford to stack entries in competitions or spend lots on professional promo. There needs to be a moneyless, unbiased way of discovering new talent. All competitions and promotions should allow scholarships for artists who are worthy and who can prove financial difficulty.
How Do You Feel About Originality?
All music is derivative, from tribal chants to blues to country and rock and roll. However we all have our spin and style to put on things. I do not condone blatantly stealing from other artists, but it is a known fact that Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys wrote "Little Surfer" after listening to Disney's "When You Wish Upon a Star". He borrowed the phrasing - not subject to copyright - and came up with a whole new song.
Originality is not so much about note patterns as saying something in a fresh way, or using new arrangements and techniques. The whole issue of copyright needs to be revised.
Is There Anything Else We Should Know About You Or That You Would Like to Add?
I was born with a congenital hip displaysia and have had both hips replaced. I know what it feels like to be singled out with a disability as I was treated differently before my operation than after. I have begun a new life and would encourage anyone who has faced challenges in life to try music as a form of self-expression. Beyond producing a work of art, you may be helping others along the way.