Since arriving on the scene in 2021, Billie-Jo Porter has delighted listeners with her vibrant take on country Music. She's released a swag of singles, which all placed on the Country Hot 50 airplay chart; competed in the highly prestigious Toyota Star Maker Grand Final in 2022 and collaborated with many of the industry's best. Now she's set to unveil her debut self-titled album on June 9th (available for pre-order now), but not before revealing one more gem of positivity – her latest single, 'Upside'. "For me, staying positive is key" reveals Porter. "I'm all about finding the silver lining and focusing on the good stuff, especially when things get rough." Her latest bop treads the path of someone trying to find their rhythm in the unpredictable mess we call life. "Talk myself around, rebound / Find the upside in this upside down."
Porter's innate ability to craft songs that inspire, and uplift has earned her many accolades in the last two years. With every one of her releases cracking the Country Hot 50 airplay chart, her first offering, 'Feels Like Us' also debuted at No. 1 on the AMRAP Regional chart and she was named a finalist in both the International Songwriting Competition and the Unsigned Only Music Competition in 2022. Not to mention her credits as a songwriter – most notably her work on the Andrew Swift hit, 'Head Full of Honey', which has been her ticket into the Spotify streaming millionaire club, with numbers in excess of seven figures.
Billie-Jo Porter is not just a compelling artist, but top-notch human being. Her regular Facebook live streams – at which 'Upside' has quickly become a fan favourite - have built a community of positivity and laughter. "I have received numerous expressions of gratitude from individuals who feel more connected and less isolated," reports the singer-songwriter.
How would you describe your music?
My latest music has been described as an optimistic blend of modern country, folk and pop. The tracks on the album are intentionally written to focus on finding your way through life and focusing on the good things.
Shane Nicholson produced the album and has captured a sound that takes the listener's ear to new sonic landscapes on each track. I love it!
Can you tell us about the new album, what was the inspiration?
As I geared up to record my album, I couldn't help but wonder - what if this was my only shot at leaving a musical mark on the world?
I quickly realized that I wanted to have fun, spread happiness and infuse some
pure joy into people's lives! So, I decided to ditch the heartbreak tunes and focus on finding the silver linings and leaning into the good things about life.
What are your musical influences?
I grew up loving the stories in country music like Willie Nelson, Waylong Jennings, Brooks and Dunn, John Williamson, and the queen herself Shania Twain.
I also loved listening to hit radio and also singer/songwriters like Carol King, Joni Mitchell and James Taylor. I also went down a rabbit hole of The Waifs, Jack Johnson, Bonnie Raitt and Michael Franti.
So when it comes to writing my own songs, I draw from a wide variety of influences.
Do you prefer performing live or recording?
Both! I love the recording process, hearing a song come to life with loads of sounds other than a guitar and vocals. However, performing live is an experience! The energy exchange between the audience and performer is electric. Feeling and seeing first hand how a song has the power to make someone feel something is a remarkable experience and reminds me why I do it.
What should we expect from your upcoming tour?
Stories, songs and good times. I am stoked to be getting out and about in Australia to celebrate my debut album! Seeing everyone and bringing this music to life in person is going to be the highlight of my year. I have some festivals coming up and working on dates across the country, dates are always getting added to the website billiejoporter.com - I am keen!! Let's get into it!!!!
What motivates you most when writing music?
I am motivated most by telling a story in a song that strikes a chord with the listener. Inspiration for me comes from everywhere and anywhere. I always have a notebook handy for lyrics and ideas along with my voice memos on my phone.
Sometimes if I have something big going on and there are a lot of emotions involved, I will channel that into a song. Basically, I just have to be open and ready at any time for inspiration.
Sometimes in a co-write we might just start talking between us about what is going on at the moment and someone will say something, then we will decide to write about that.
I always want to write about something I know, or have had the experience we are writing about.
If it is not something I have directly experienced, I ask a lot of questions with the co-writer so I can try to imagine and put myself into the shoes of the character we are writing about.
I almost always edit a song by going over a song again and again, remaining open to little changes or tweaks if they need to be made.
Which music/artists are you currently listening to?
We are so lucky now to have the music of the world at our fingertips with the ability to stream music. My line up changes quite a bit, but lately I have had these artists on repeat: Liz Stringer, Stephen Wilson Jr, Travis Meadows, James McMurtry, Lukas Nelson and The Promise of the Real & Jen Mize and the Rough and Tumble.
What or who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?
During my early days as a music enthusiast, I found immense joy in listening to Shania Twain. I vividly remember mimicking her performances with a hairbrush in hand, envisioning myself serenading a colossal audience. It's a relatable experience shared by countless teenagers who idolize their favorite artists. Witnessing the influence and strength of remarkable female musicians, especially within the country music realm, has ignited a spark within me to venture into this industry. Their tenacity and talent have inspired me to take a leap of faith and pursue my own musical aspirations.
If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?
I would love to collaborate with so many people! Collaboration is one of my favourite things to do as both a songwriter and artist. Take you to places you might never have gone to alone. I would love to write a song with Lori MaKenna! I love her sound and way with words.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in the music industry?
So much to do and so little time! Navigating the music industry is tricky for an artist based in a rural area. It involves getting out of your comfort zone and networking with other artists and like minded individuals.
The internet has made it possible for an independent artist to connect with people around the world through social media and streaming platforms. Building a great team and keeping in touch with what's happening in the industry and relentlessly working and engaging with music lovers is what it's all about.
What's next, for you?
Continue to enjoy life and the journey of creating and releasing music. I am currently working on my next record and enjoying the process of writing the best songs. I am excited for new unannounced opportunities on the horizon and playing more and more live shows. Lot's to look forward to and celebrate now and also in the near future.
Can you share your socials? (links please)
Yes! My music is available on all streaming platforms. Check out billiejoporter.com for tour dates, music, official videos and more. Lets connect! Get on my mailing list available on my website to get all the news first!