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Who: Melinda Schneider, Jim Haynes, Michael Carr
Where: Toronto District Workers Club
When: Saturday May 24, 2003

WHEN Melinda Schneider returns to Newcastle next weekend, she is sure to be flooded with a few old memories.

``I still remember my first performance,'' Schneider says.

``It was at the Hamilton RSL in Newcastle and the compere carried me out onto the stage.

I spent a lot of hours in dressing rooms and backstage.

'' Before making a name for herself as one of Australia's most popular country musicians, Schneider spent her early years performing with her mother.

The daughter of champion yodeller Mary Schneider, Melinda was travelling and performing around the country with her mother at the tender age of three.

``I was always capable of it [performing], but I wasn't madly into it.

'' Once Schneider entered her teens, her years on the road began to take their toll and a career in the music industry looked quite bleak.

After years of performing alongside her mother, Schneider began to steer clear of country music and opted for a career in fashion instead.

``Singing was never something I aspired to.

'' ``When you grow up with a parent in an industry - any industry - I think it's difficult to find your own direction.

``When I was in my teens and early 20s, I needed to do something that was my own thing and not connected to what my mother did in any way.

'' It wasn't until 1994 that Schneider changed her mind after she provided vocals for a yodelling techno track titled Tighten Up Your Pants.

``I think that's when I started to find my direction.

'' ``I'd broken away and done my own things and I was happy to come back to music.



I tried everything but it wasn't even until five years ago that I knew country was my thing.

'' Since releasing her debut album My Oxygen in 2000, Schneider has gone from strength to strength.

She released her second album Happy Tears in 2002 and saw it pick up five CMAA Golden Guitar Awards nominations.

She was also the only female artist to be nominated in the Album Of The Year category and received the Golden Guitar Award for Female Vocal Performance Of The Year.

The album also proved that Schneider has come a long way from her days as a teenager who yearned to escape the mould of her mother.

On the opening track The Story of My Life, Schneider sings proudly about her life.

``I write lyrics in my ideas book whenever they come into my head.

``I flicked through the book and saw the lines ``I was born in '71 to a policeman dad and a yodelling mum.

``I said it would be really cool to write something about my life and that's how it started.

Melinda Schneider will perform at Toronto Workers Club on May 24 with Jim Haynes and Michael Carr from 8pm.

Tickets are $18 and are on sale now from the club on 4959-2011.

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