Country star unites with talented Gore singer

GRANT BRYANT
Last updated 05:00 26/03/2014
 Jenny Mitchell
NICOLE GOURLEY/FAIRFAX NZ
DYNAMIC DUO: Promising Jenny Mitchell will be sharing an Arrowtown stage with Suzanne Prentice on April 30. 

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New Zealand's reigning queen of country music is looking forward to an Arrowtown gig with an up-and-coming talent from Gore she thinks could one day fill her shoes.

Suzanne Prentice needs no introduction to southerners.

As the nation's top female country performer, the Invercargill native and resident has been at the top of her game for decades, has had a huge array of international tours and performances, had gold and platinum albums, and graced stages with the likes of Johnny Cash.

However, gracing the stage with Gore's 15-year-old singing sensation Jenny Mitchell at Arrowtown's Shotover Country Music concert - part of The Southland Times-sponsored Arrowtown Autumn Festival - is a gig Prentice is looking forward to.

"I've known Jenny for a while now, and was lucky enough to witness her performance at the Southland Entertainment Awards earlier in the month where she won the Frank Prattley Award for most promising artist," she said.

Mitchell made the top-three grand finalists in last year's New Zealand's Got Talent national talent quest, but was edged out of the top spot in the widely watched grand final - something Prentice thinks was a shame.

"I think Jenny is the one that TVNZ let get away. She's a star in the making and I'll be looking forward to sharing a stage with her."

Ironically, with such a huge, all-encompassing global career, Prentice has seldom played in Wakatipu.

"It's only a few hours up the road but I think I've only done one concert for kids there, plus a few shows with the Shotover Country Music Club. Of course, it's such a lovely place that it's always good to get there, and I'm looking forward to the Arrowtown gig for sure."

She typified her shows as much more versatile than the country genre she was invariably associated with.

"New Zealand is so small you've really got to be able to do anything, so these days I'll be singing songs from Fleetwood Mac to Barbara Streisand."

A member of the Gore Country Music Club, Jenny Mitchell has been singing since she was four. She plays guitar and composes her own songs.

Shotover Country Music Club president Reg McTaggart said he was looking forward to seeing Mitchell perform, and the crowd reaction.

"She's definitely got the up-and-comer tag, and she's got a six song opening slot, which is definitely enough time to leave a big impression."

The Shotover Country Music concert is part of the Arrowtown Autumn Festival. See other festival events and ticketing information at arrowtownautumnfestival.org.nz.

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