WALKING OUT on stage, the squeak of her shoes is the only sound to break the silence.
But, as soon as country music artist Lyn Bowtell belts out the first line of her Sting’s Fields of Gold cover, she turned the head and chair of The Voice judge Boy George.
It wasn’t long before Seal, Delta Goodrem and Kelly Rowland followed suit.
“It was just this overwhelming surge of excitement,” Bowtell said.
“As much as I felt it was a cover and I didn’t write it, it always felt close to home for me – I’ve been singing it for a long time.”
The six time Golden Guitar winner has released her hauntingly beautiful Fields of Gold cover alongside her new EP Calling You, and, she’s coming to Tamworth for the Junior Academy of Country Music.
“To me it’s a special moment whenever I sing it, a cover has to speak to you in some way for you to do it justice,” she said.
“For me Fields of Gold has such an eternal meaning about love, loss, life and memories – that’s pretty much what life is.”
Now, the artist is ready to take her music in a new direction, saying she no longer wants to be confined to a genre box.
Growing up in Highfields, Queensland, Bowtell’s path naturally steered toward country music – but she says she’s always had alternative leanings.
“I’m in the middle of recording a new album with a roots country old school group, we’ve won two of those six Golden Guitars together,” she said.
“I’m looking for a new direction and I’m not 100 per cent sure where that’s going to take me, I’m writing the next album for myself so it’ll be a matter of seeing where the music takes me.
“I’ve never pretended to be a bush balladeer, after coming away from The Voice it helped me be more confident experimenting.”
Bowtell said taking home six Golden Guitars has been incredible recognition, but her real love is touring and recording.
“I wouldn’t change a thing if I had to give them back,” she said.
“I think music is tough because there’s so much talent in the world, it’s hard work and lots of hours to be dedicated to your craft.
“It’s a tough profession to stick with, not so much to get into – you have to change or die in this industry, be willing to grow, constantly learn and move forward.”
And, who better to pass industry knowledge onto others than Bowtell, musical director at the Junior Academy of Country Music that will start in Tamworth from July 7 to 14.