If Katrina Burgoyne was to sum up 2017, the word “whirlwind” comes to mind.
“I remember landing in Nashville in the middle of winter with three suitcases, a guitar and a bedroom full of flat pack furniture from IKEA waiting for me to assemble as I started to take the first steps in building my life here,” she said.
Katrina assembled her new life in a “tiny” East Nashville bedroom and set out to make her mark on the music community. But it was not without its struggles.
“I called my mother one day and said, ‘You know I’m going to die here….’ – her gasp came through the telephone line – “...of old age of course”, I finished my sentence,” she said.
“After spending Christmas Eve in Nashville, I had a moment of feeling down and alone. I felt like I was missing out on everything back home. But waking up on the 26th, I realised that I’ve never really felt like I belonged anywhere, until Nashville.
“Even though I’m far away from home comforts, this is my home now; comforts will come in time.”
The songstress now has her own apartment right off Music Row “in the heart of music city”.
“Moving to Nashville was the best thing I have ever done,” she said.
“I’ve settled in and I’m building my business from scratch.
“I am supporting a little life for myself here now.”
In just 12 months, Katrina has visited 12 states, written more than 120 songs and played more than 250 shows.
“My personal and career highs of this year include many miles of the road and opening for Lonestar in Wisconsin with Jessie Brown,” she said.
“I’ve toured around Alabama, West Virgina, Virgina and Kentucky and I placed third in the International Songwriting Competition and won Country Song of the Year in the “unsigned only” competition.
"I made my debut at Whiskey Jam, which is a showcase of up-and-coming Nashville artists. In its years of running, Whiskey Jam has had over 100 hit songs from artists who have performed on their stage. My second headline show was at the famous Bluebird Cafe.”
When Katrina first landed in Nashville, she had a clear goal in mind – secure a publishing contract in 12 months.
“I sit here humble as I really believed I could secure publishing in the first 12 months,” she said.
“Unfortunately, I haven’t achieve that goal just yet. However, looking at how much I have managed to squeeze into 2017, I’m still very proud of what I have accomplished.”
Katrina said while she has made a lot of good memories in Nashville, it has been mentally and emotionally challenging.
“I never realised how different our culture is to the "American South”. Staying on top of my game is a constant discipline, not allowing negativity or self doubt creep into my head,” she said.
“I’ve missed the familiar comfort of family and friendships back home and have found myself calling old friends to reconnect and touch base with who I am in moments I find myself getting lost in the hustle of this city.”
The singer-songwriter has poured her heart and soul into writing, penning lyrics and music three to five times a week.
“I’ve grown so much as a writer and keep surprising myself, which is always rewarding,” she said.
“I’ve written a handful of songs that I’m very excited about, but there is one stands out the most for .
“I remember calling home in August and telling my mother that I think I’ve met the man I am meant to end up with. I laugh now, as my love stories usually end with a broken heart and a ton of inspiration for songs as I sat questioning another broken relationship,” she said.
“It’s like I didn’t mean anything as I watched “the man I was meant to end up with” paint the town when our relationship dissolved.
“I thought about how men process things differently to women.”
Katrina shared some of the lyrics she penned to express the experience.
“If I meant anything, you’ll probably be drinking down our memory,
“with another blonde, carrying on like you don’t feel a thing.
“When the glitter’s gone, you’re all alone and moving on’s a sad song,
“and you can’t escape missing me. If I meant anything.”
Katrina said the song received a huge response.
“I’ve never written something so raw, real and relatable,” she said.
“I’ve received many emails from my supporters and peers about this song and think its super special.
“I’m excited to see what the future holds for it."
With 2018 dawning with new possibilities, Katrina will continue to focus on writing.
“Living in Nashville you would have to hide under a rock if you were not growing,” she said.
“This town is full of talent [so] you have to keep getting better, or you fall behind.
The singer said she plans to “step thing up this year”.
“I sing on Broadway, on The Row or out of town six nights a week, plus write every day. I would like to generate income without having to rely so much on being out and performing unless its for my own career (not just income),” she said.
“This year I hope to move into studio work singing demos, and of course secure that publishing deal.
“Now that I’ve got a secure income, I can focus on “career steps”. I’d love to find a strong team around me by this year’s close.”
In the 12 months since her move, Katrina hasn’t returned to her home country.
“I one-hundred per cent will be coming home for Christmas this year,” she said.
“My family have already started planning a big family festival in Brisbane at my uncle’s house. But I most definitely won’t come back to the “Land Down Under” without spending some down time in Gunnedah.”