THERE'S been countless occasions over the past three and a half years when Katrina Burgoyne has contemplated throwing in the towel.
When life had become so tough, her finances so low and her health so debilitating that she was prepared to kiss goodbye her dream of making it in Nashville's cut-throat country music industry to return to her hometown of Gunnedah or adopted base of Newcastle.
Through grit, determination, and a touch of luck, the bubbly 32-year-old has endured and is ready to succeed.
Last Friday Burgoyne released the single, 25 Cents In The Ashtray, her second slice of new music since moving to Nashville. It followed her well-received comeback single It All Falls Down, in July.
Just releasing new music has been a victory in itself.
Besides dealing with the usual homesickness that comes with uprooting your life and moving across the globe, Burgoyne has battled serious financial and health obstacles.
After moving to Nashville in January 2017 with "three suitcases, my guitar and $1500" Burgoyne quickly began carving out a living performing music in Nashville and surrounding areas. Her visa only permitted her to earn an income from music.
"The money disappeared really quickly and I had two months to try and get work and be able to make a living," Burgoyne says from her Nashville apartment that she shares with her producer and boyfriend Stephen Kinney and their German shepherd, Eli.
"It's not something I'd suggest to other people, but for some reason, it worked for me.
"If I could have done it, I would have turned around and gotten on the plane after a month of moving here. I was terrified.
"It's kind of walking in the dark not knowing anything in front of you except where you're gonna put your foot. I'd wake up with anxiety attacks."
After a year Burgoyne was making headway in Nashville's music scene, using the skills she'd honed from years of performing around Newcastle venues and alongside Australian country heavyweights Kasey Chambers, Shane Nicholson and Catherine Britt.
But then disaster struck in 2018. A severe sinus infection prevented Burgoyne from singing any more than two weeks out of every month.
"Can you imagine taking two weeks off work every month and then trying to pay bills," she says.
"When I could sing I'd take every single gig I could and just try and save some money to get me through the weeks I couldn't sing."
If I could have done it I would have turned around and gotten on the plane after a month of moving here. I was terrified.Katrina Burgoyne
After months continual problems, Burgoyne eventually sought the advice of an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor who diagnosed her with chronic laryngitis.
"I had $150 left and I couldn't sing," Burgoyne says. "I was in the worst state I've ever been. Basically I had this gravel in my throat and could hardly talk."
In a life-changing moment her doctor offered to perform the necessary throat surgery free of charge. Over time Burgoyne has been able to return to regular performing, all while maintaining a diligent regime of self-maintenance.
"I still have to care for my vocals and I don't drink alcohol very often anymore as I know that's a clear sign I could get laryngitis," she says. "Health has become a major part of my lifestyle now. I don't take it for granted."
Burgoyne has kept a relatively minor profile in recent years.
Back in 2011 she exploded onto the Australian country music scene when her debut album White Flag attracted two Golden Guitar nominations for Best New Talent and Female Artist of the Year and produced the CMC Top-10 tracks Ghost and I Wasn't Gonna Cry.
However, after being diagnosed with depression in 2011 at the height of her success, Burgoyne retreated from the spotlight, and most tragically, from songwriting as she battled to find her creative spark.
Then in 2014 she took the bold move of appearing on TV reality dating show The Bachelor. While Burgoyne might have been cut by controversial Bachelor star Blake Garvey, the TV show helped her regain her confidence and love of songwriting as she'd often spend filming breaks playing guitar.
Shortly after Burgoyne made the decision to begin saving money for her dream move to Nashville. But that meant holding back on releasing new music.
The new single 25 Cents In The Ashtray is a definitive shift in direction.
Burgoyne and Kinney recorded the song in their studio apartment in the middle of the night during lockdown, using the closet to track the vocals. Their clothes were even used to deaden the sound.
The folksy Americana of White Flag has been replaced by a contemporary pop vibe, which she says is influenced by Nashville's best known Aussie resident, Keith Urban.
"I want to make people happy," she says. "I want to make people bop along. I want to give them a good time. That's my purpose now."
Katrina Burgoyne's 25 Cents In The Ashtray is available to stream on Spotify.