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Ballantyne Turning New Leaf in Career

Ballantyne Turning New Leaf in Career

Who: Kate Ballantyne
Where: Beaumont Exchange Hotel
When: Saturday February 24, 2001

IN 1998 she won the Toyota Country Starmaker award and was nominated for a Golden Guitar in 1999, but this year Hunter singer-songwriter Kate Ballantyne will turn her back on country music.

Ballantyne, performing tonight at the Hotel Delany, has revealed her bold new pop and rock material to TE and a plan to pursue an adult contemporary musical path.

'I started out doing pop and rock years ago, and now that I'm a songwriter I'd like to see what I can come up with,' she said.

About 200 copies of Ballantyne's limited edition Happy Hours CD have been doing the rounds among fans.

It features two distinctly dance-oriented tracks.

The opening track, A Little Love, has a dance beat and a rock-pop feel, with a string line that could be easily swapped for a fiddle a la Shania Twain. The song will be released as a single with its own music video later this year.

Another song, Somebody Like You, has a straight dance music feel thanks to a new producer and musical collaborator, John Roy. 'At this stage it doesn't look like I'll do any more country albums,' Ballantyne revealed to TE.

'This new sound is more contemporary and it's more me.'

The new material is a showcase for Ballantyne's deep rangy vocals and heartfelt, intelligent lyrics.

The new direction clearly suits the plucky redhead who has grown disillusioned with the Australian country scene.

'It's not that I don't like country music any more,' she said.

'The country music industry in Australia is just too restrictive.

'You've got to follow a certain criteria or you won't go ahead, and I won't do it. I'm too headstrong.'

Ballantyne will shop the songs and video to record companies and hasn't ruled out selling her songs to another performer somewhere down the track.

'I've only ever written country in my life,' she said.

'I still love it, I just don't want to sing it any more. I have more stuff inside me that I knew existed.'

Ballantyne performs at The Brewery on Friday, at the Beaumont Exchange Hotel on Saturday - in the Aquarius duo with husband Stuart Hamilton - and at Cessnock Ex-Services Club on Sunday.

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