"Australian Idol" Top 12 Press Conference
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Thought you’d seen the last of Australian Idol loudmouth Tarisai Vushe? I know I had, but it seems this pint-sized pop diva is determined to make it in the music industry. She’s handpicked a star-studded backing band, and is currently preparing for her first big gig at Parramatta’s Roxy on March 8, supporting Malaika.

Tarisai will play alongside Brad Carr (The Choirboys), Peter Bilney (The Normie Rowe Band), Pat Frisina (Brave’n’Crazy), Stephen Short (Hump), Jack Demerjian (Arax), and Oles Yurakov (Bandolero).

“I just needed a band for my life shows. They’re really experienced and really committed,” Tarisai told The Daily Telegraph.

“Kids are awesome, but I just really wanted commitment and serious people.”

Tarisai and Band perform blues, roots, and old style rock music including covers and originals. Tickets for Tarisai and Malaika will be available soon from The Roxy.

Elle Style Awards Launch - Arrivals
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She may be just 16 years old, but Gabriella Cilmi is hot stuff. The Aussie teen has just signed a major deal with Island Records, the label who gave U2 and Bob Marley their start.

My British readers may have already heard her debut single “Sweet About Me,” which just hit UK radio. She also recently became the first unknown singer to appear on the BBC’s Later with Jools Holland, a massive show which normally books the likes of Radiohead and Kylie. Gabriella’s currently touring the United Kingdom supporting Nouvelle Vague.

It may seem like all the buzz about Gabriella has happened overnight, but nothing could be farther from the truth. She was discovered in Melbourne by Festival Mushroom Records (now Warner Music) when she was just 12. They developed her talent, and the rest is history.

“I remember we were all called in to listen to her sing when she was 12 or 13,” a Warner Music spokesperson told The Sydney Morning Herald. “She sounded like she had the voice of a 30-year-old. It was just incredible.”

Aussies will get a chance to see Gabriella do her thing when she returns home for a promo tour in late March.

Wetten, dass..? In Leipzig
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Do you have your Michael Bublé tickets yet? This Canadian cutie’s concerts have sold out all over the country, but tickets to some new shows will go on sale tomorrow.

“Australia is one of Michael Bublé’s most popular world markets,” tour promoter Paul Dainty said in a press release.

“When tickets to his national tour went on sale in December they sold out in just minutes. Extra shows were added, yet the demand was still there for more concerts, so Michael has agreed to extend his touring itinerary to look after his fans.”

Michael will perform very special encore shows in Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth when he tours this May/June. These are the final shows for the tour, so if you miss out this time you’ll miss out for good!

Click the link below for all the dates:

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Funky girlCarla Emmons from Pennsylvania is the lucky winner of my Tin Alley competition. Carla has won a copy of Tin Alley’s debut album, Every Turn.

Carla said she wanted the CD because “Any album with a song called ‘Polar Bear’ must be awesome!”

Congratulations Carla! And a big thank you to everyone who entered the competition. I hope to have something new to give to my loyal readers soon!

Image source: Jef Bettens @ Stock.xchng

Bacardi Express Artists Perform In Sydney
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Faker lead singer Nathan Hudson set the record straight about his sexuality in this weekend’s Sunday Magazine.

Nathan told the magazine he hopes his admission will make young gay teens feel comfortable with their sexuality.

“My association with being gay was that it was bad and dark and not good for you. I had trouble finding people to look up to,” he said.

“I’m happy to talk about being gay for that kid in the suburbs who’s 15 and scared.”

It’s refreshing to hear someone speak so openly and candidly, especially from the macho world of alternative rock. I hope Nathan’s right and his words can inspire young people struggling with their own sexuality.

Fresh from his Australian of the Year win, Lee Kernaghan cleaned up at the 2008 Golden Guitars.

His fundraising song “Spirit of the Bush,” recorded with fellow country artists Adam brand and Steve Forde, won single of the year, vocal collaboration of the year, and video clip of the year at the Country Music Awards of Australia.

Lee has now won 27 Golden Guitars. His hero Slim Dusty won 37 in his career, but Lee has no desire to better the country great.

“Nobody will ever overtake the king,” he told Adelaide Now. “There is only one king of Australian music and that’s Slim … he’s an Australian hero.

It was also a great night for Lee’s bandmate Adam Brand. He was named Oz artist of the year for the second year in a row.

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MP3I’ve got to admit, I’m not really up to speed when it comes to digital music. I still have some vinyl records, and while I was quick to pick up CDs, MP3s still seem a bit abstract to me. My husband bought me an MP3 player for Christmas, hoping I’d love it because it’s pink, but it’s still sitting in a box on my dresser.

However, I understand that this is the technological age and like everything, music’s becoming a digital medium. If you’re not a technophobe like me, you’ll want to get into Bruce’s cool blog, Our Digital Music. Unlike yours truly, he knows his iPods from his iPhones and his Zens from his Zunes.

There are plenty of handy tips here that will help all tech-savvy music lovers. It almost inspires me to take that MP3 player out of the box.

Image source: Camilla Schnaibel @ Stock.xchng

With Lily, Source: Personal collection (c) Lauren KatulkaThe wonderful Lara over at Crooner Culture tagged me for this meme, so I thought I’d play along. I actually did the same thing over at The Sydney Traveler some time ago, so for the benefit of everyone that reads both my b5media blogs I figured I’d even come up with seven new secrets. So here goes!

1. Patrick Swayze was my first celebrity crush. I saw him in Dirty Dancing when I was just eight years old and was just blown away.

2. I just became an aunt for the first time when my sister had a baby girl. I’ve never really been a baby person, but I’m besotted with Lily.

3. I attended my first concert when I was just 12 years old. It was Jimmy Barnes at Newcastle’s Civic Theatre during his Soul Deep tour. I still love Jimmy’s soul covers.

4. I have visited exactly two foreign countries: the United States three times (once on a high school trip and twice to visit my husband when he lived there), and Fiji for my honeymoon. I’d love to travel more!

5. I have been a checkout chick, a motorcycle journalist, and an education writer. Now I’m incredibly happy being a freelance writer and writing about all kinds of interesting things!

6. I have control freak parents. I remember being so frustrated in my teens because I wasn’t allowed to go shopping with my friends. It didn’t get much better when I got older – I was the only twenty-something I knew with an enforced bedtime! Needless to say, when I moved out of home I had a lot of late nights!

7. I am a bit of a technophobe. I’m much happier using a film camera than a digital one, and I’ll always prefer CDs over MP3s.

Now I’m supposed to tag seven people to join in. I’ll pick Dave at Brit Music Scene, Jeanne at Celeb Tots, Sammi at Conchord Crazy, Mary Jo at Fly Away Cafe, Devorah at Big Apple Music Scene, Roberta at Ear Sucker, and Arjun at the Good Musician.

Image source: own photo 

Arrivals At The MTV Australia Video Music Awards 2007
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Thanks to the catchiest song ever “La,” Old Man River has become an overnight sensation in Japan. “La” was the most played song on Japanese radio last week, an amazing achievement for a Western band.

Old Man River will head to Japan for a week long promo tour in mid February, before jetting to the US for the South by South West conference. Then it’s back to the Land of the Rising Sun in August for the Summersonic Festival, which will see them play to more than 200, 000 fans in three cities.

Old Man River will release their debut album Good Morning in Japan this week.

Country crooner Lee Kernaghan was named Australian of the Year in a ceremony in Canberra last night.

While Lee’s music has touched countless Australian, his tireless efforts to help drought-stricken families earned him the prestigious honour.

Over the past decade Lee has led Pass the Hat Around and Spirit of the Bush tours, raising more than a million dollars for rural communities in need.

“In all my dreams, I could never have imagined that I’d receive an award like this – it’s been a huge surprise and, without doubt, it’s the greatest honour I have ever been given in my entire life,” he said.

He plans to use his new status to highlight the plight of farming families battling the drought.

“What I’d like to do is look at ways that, individually and as a nation, we can assist those people – that we can support them and help them get back on their feet again,” he said.

“One way we can do that is to buy Australian made and Australian grown – we’re securing Australian jobs and we’re keeping Australia strong.”

The award couldn’t go to a nicer bloke. Well done Lee!