Bell shines with Urban
Waimate country singer Kaylee Bell has brought the town some more stardust after she performed recently with Keith Urban. We caught up with Bell this week to see what else is happening in her life.
Waimate is known for wallabies and former Prime Minister Norm Kirk. Will up and coming Kaylee Bell also join the ranks?
The 25-year-old was born and bred in Waimate, which she credits for a well-rounded upbringing.
And of late it seems everything is turning up Bell.
In 2012 she won the Toyota Star Maker competition.
It is a coveted country music competition in Australia that has been a pathway for some notable country stars including Samantha McClymont, Lee Kernaghan and Keith Urban.
And so it was that she found herself on stage performing a duet with country music legend Urban.
"When I started with my new management I had some important goals. One of those was to meet Keith Urban," Bell said.
It was because of him winning the competition and also having been born in New Zealand, that she felt a kinship.
The duet was performed in Narrabri, Australia, in front of a 6000 to 7000-strong crowd. The night before Bell had a sleepless night because of excitement.
She found the experience of singing on stage with the well-known country crooner "mind blowing".
"The whole experience was amazing. Words can't really express," she said.
She described Urban as talented, switched-on and "just an awesome guy".
Then she sang at the official after-party.
It might seem like Bell's career has rocketed quickly, but it's been 21 years in the making.
She started performing when she was four, won New Zealand's Golden Guitar at 18, completed a Bachelor of Performing Arts in Christchurch and then graduated from the Australian College of Country Music.
It is perhaps this work ethic that she's had since she was a child that has helped her go from strength to strength. It is also part of the reason why Bell is no diva and is still the girl from Waimate.
"I work really hard, I have a great team around me and I am just so grateful for everything."
Bell is an independent artist which means she has control over what she looks like and how she dresses.
"I guess I am my own brand, rather than a character."
But along with the perks of being independent comes responsibilities like still needing to hold down a part-time job.
"As an independent artist I still have to have a part-time job to help pay the bills. But I gig most weekends. That's why it is so important for people to come out and listen to live music."
Bell, who lives in Australia and visits Nashville once a year is now working towards the dream of living between the two countries.
She is also trying to figure out how to overcome one of country music's biggest challenges.
"Getting the old fuddy duddy image of country out of people's head and get them to listen to some really good authentic music."
- The Timaru Herald