Melinda Schneider Life Begins at 40 Interview Life Begins At 40 - The Ultimate Melinda Schneider Collection includes 40 of Melinda's best live and studio recordings spanning over three decades - a collection of award winning songs inspired by lessons learned the hard way, to songs of love and loss, plus some rare releases from Melinda's younger years, including her very first recording at eight years old, 'Santa Call On Me'. It also features heart-warming duets with Paul Kelly, Olivia Newton-John, David Campbell and Melinda's mother, Mary Schneider.
For over a decade now Melinda has been a leading light of the 'new-breed' of Australian Country artists both in Australia and the US. In a career which began with a stage debut at the age of three, (appearing with her mother, the legendary Mary Schneider) she has kept her family tradition alive by becoming one of Australia's most sublime singers and popular live performers. But it is through her assured and accomplished song writing that she has really discovered her true voice.
Since her most popular and requested song, 'The Story Of My Life' won her the first Golden Guitar for Female Vocal Of The Year at the CMAA Awards in 2003, Melinda has continued to make her mark. Two Gold Records, two ARIA nominations and five more CMAA Awards for Best Album, Best Song, Best Vocal Collaboration and Top selling album followed.
This Ultimate Collection includes everything from Melinda's biggest hits 'I Wanna Be Married', 'Be Yourself', 'Can You Hear Me Down The Hillside', 'The Story Of My Life', award winning duet with Paul Kelly, 'Still Here' and three different versions of the anthemic 'Courageous', featuring the Australian Girls Choir and a duet with Olivia Newton - John to choice tracks from the album Melinda Does Doris. Some rare songs from the vault also appear, such as Melinda's very first dance hit 'Tighten Up Your Pants' by (Audio Murphy feat. Melinda) and her first two recordings at age eight, 'Santa Call On Me' and 'I Just Wanna Yodel Like You' a duet with mum, Mary.
Over the last 12 months, Melinda's career dimensions have broadened dramatically as she dazzled with her performances on Dancing With The Stars and released her first tribute album Melinda Does Doris, which debuted at #1 on the ARIA Jazz and Blues chart and stayed there for nine weeks.
It's been quite a run. Asked to look back over not just 40 years of life on the big blue marble but upon 32 years as a recording artist, Melinda's thoughts run along the lines of, "You can't change the past, it is what it is. You can only take what you've learned and apply it to the future... and be at peace with the present, and I am. Yes, I DO feel like I'm still just starting, I'm so much more free, I feel like I could try anything - now I want to do an album with an orchestra, an album of gritty, soulful songs, other things." Melinda is currently touring her brand new stage show DORIS - Doris Day - So Much More Than the Girl Next Door. Co-written by Melinda and David Mitchell (Dusty/Shout), this musical tribute to Melinda's idol Doris Day, could also be the universal story of women set to the music of the 40's, 50's and 60's.
Life Begins at 40 Tracklist
Disc 1 Lessons Learned
1) Be Yourself
2) Courageous (Featuring Aus Girls Choir)
3) Cry A Little
4) I'll Take Care Of You
5) You Are Something Else
8) Your Eyes Could Never Lie (The Doggie Song)
10) Awake Now
11) The Deadwood Stage
12) The Black Hills Of Dakota
13) Autumn Leaves
14) Hey There
15) Secret Love
16) Embraceable You
17) I'll See You In My Dreams
18) Still Here (duet with Paul Kelly)
19) Courageous (duet with Olivia Newton- John)
20) Love Somebody (duet with David Campbell)
Disc 2 Live and Well (Recorded live at Tamworth TRECC 2009)
21) I Wanna Be Married
22) Bad Day
24) Be Yourself
25) The Story Of My Life
26) Still Here
27) People Don't Change
28) Can You Hear Me Down The Hillside
29) To Love Somebody
30) Real People
31) Big World Small World
32) Men In Trucks
34) Sgt Bean
36) Sometimes It Takes Balls To Be A Woman
37) I Just Wanna Yodel Like You (duet with Mary Schneider)
38) Tighten Up Your Pants ( Audio Murphy featuring Melinda)
39) Santa Call On Me (duet with Peter Ciani)
40) Wish You Were Here
Interview with Melinda SchneiderQuestion: What inspired Life Begins at 40?
Melinda Schneider: My big milestone birthday inspired, Life Begins at 40. I decided instead of freaking out and having a midlife crisis that I would celebrate it and wanted to release this ultimate collection album.
Question: Can you talk about recording disc 2 of Life Begins at 40?
Melinda Schneider: Yes, a lot of the tracks from disc 2 are live and I recorded them at Tamworth in 2009 at TRECC, which is a live show that I have often performed at Tamworth. I think it is a great recording with a fantastic audience. I have cross-sectioned all of the songs that people know from me, they needed to be on Life Begins at 40.
Question: Life Begins at 40 features duets with Mary Schneider, David Campbell, Olivia Newton John, and Paul Kelly - how was it working with other artists?
Melinda Schneider: It was fantastic, I love collaborating. I love writing and collaborating or singing and collaborating. Working with David Campbell, Olivia Newton John, and Paul Kelly was a big thrill, they are lovely people and I really admire them.
Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?
Melinda Schneider: Oh yes, there are heaps! I would love to work with Dolly Parton or George Jones who is a big favourite of mine; I also love Nancy Williams the jazz singer - they're heaps of people I would love to work with.
Question: Do you write your own songs? What's your inspiration?
Melinda Schneider: Mainly real life experience and different things that happen in your life that you learn lessons from or people you meet. I am inspired by quite ordinary things from everyday life.
Question: What music/artists do you listen to when you are not playing your own?
Melinda Schneider: I like so many different styles of music including pop artists like Sting and Sheryl Crow and I like Bluegrass music - Ricky Skaggs is my favourite Bluegrass artist. I like jazz and of course I listen to a lot of Doris Day; I listen to a whole cross-section of material, really.
Question: Was there a moment you contemplated throwing in the towel?
Melinda Schneider: No, never, I love what I do and it's very much in my blood and I think I'm going to be doing this for the rest of my life.
Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?
Melinda Schneider: I love them both for different reasons; I definitely enjoy doing them both because you get a different thrill out of doing each one.
Question: What has been your favourite part of becoming a music artist?
Melinda Schneider: The duets would have to be a highlight, working with other artist who I really admire is a big thrill, for me and especially when other people record songs that you've written, that is the biggest thrill you can get.
Question: What is the biggest challenge you have faced along the way to your musical success?
Melinda Schneider: In life? I have been through a lot of ups and downs like most people; I have been through a divorce which was very sad and traumatic. I've also had my heart broken a few times and I have been through losses, I lost my Dad to Cancer and lots of different things that we all go through.
The bad things encourage song writing, it's harder to write when you're happy!
Interview by Brooke Hunter