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What can we say about the wonderful Tami Neilson – a longtime Elsewhere favourite – that we haven't said before?

She turns in exceptional albums (her most recent Don't Be Afraid perhaps her best yet), has written about the making of one for Elsewhere and has even answered one of our Famous Elsewhere Questionnaires.

But next year she is on the bill at the Taranaki Womad (she's base in New Zealand but a born Canadian, it counts!) and so we thought why not try her out on our special world music questionnaire to see what she makes of it.

And this is what she did . . .

The first musician whose music really affected you was . . .

Judy Garland

Your first appearance on stage before an audience was . . . (And you were how old?)

At a gig of my Dad’s, I was 18 months old and sang my entire repetoire, which consisted of “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window”, “Animal Crackers” and the alphabet. Mom had to wave my bottle to get me to give up the mic.

If music was denied you, your other career choice would be . . .

Did I mention I’ve been doing this since I was 18 months old? Not a clue.

The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear because they are so emotionally moving are . . .

"Not Enough” Emmylou Harris, “Lonely” Ron Neilson, “The First Man”, Tami Neilson

The most unusual place you have performed would be . . .

It’s a toss up between the middle of a rodeo arena in Alberta, surrounded by cow pies or a navy ship on Auckland harbour. The navy ship smelled better…and had men in uniform, so, it was a good day.

The most important book you have read is . . .

The Bible. And why? No matter what your beliefs, there is so much wisdom to be gleaned there- food for the soul, words that can change you. (Hell, it’s probably where I learned the word “gleaned”.)

If you could get on stage with anyone it would be  (And you would play?) . . .

Willie Nelson at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, “Crazy”, of course.

The three films you'd like anybody watch because they might understand you better are . . .

Anne of Green Gables” (I’m Canadian, what can I say?), “A Star is Born” with Judy Garland, “Coal Miners Daughter” (Loretta Lynn story with Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones)

The last CD, vinyl album or download you bought was . . .

Downloaded two Christmas albums while putting up the tree last night- “Pretty Paper” by Willie and “Light of the Stable” by Emmylou.

When you travel, what is it you most miss about your home country?

My babies and my hubby.

The artist you most admire would be . . .

Mavis Staples. I adore her with every fibre of my being. I guess I relate to her on so many levels- growing up singing and touring in a family band, then recently losing her father and trying to find her bearings personally and musically without him.

Your favourite meal to share with friends would be . ..

My pulled pork barbecue in a slow-cooker and homemade coleslaw finished off with peach cobbler used to be way more impressive, showing off my North American roots, but now every hipster and his dog can get it at every trendy restaurant in Auckland, dammit.

Do you practice every day, and if so for how long?

(laughs hysterically) I have two kids under 3.

David Bowie sang, “Five years, that's all we've got . . .” If that were true, you would spend them where, doing . . .?

Travelling and singing, with my family in tow. It’s a Neilson tradition.

And finally, do you have any unrealised goals in music?

Tons. Why else do we keep doing it?

For more on other artists coming to the New Zealand Womad in Taranaki in 2016 go here.


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