Growing up in Mackay in regional North Queensland, Tia Gostelow was spellbound by Taylor Swift.
“I was completely obsessed with her Love Story album,” Tia recalls. “I remember my parents taking me to a country music festival in the Snowy Mountains to see her play. She was wearing a blue sequinned dress, and I looked at her and thought ‘This is what I want to be doing’.”
By the time she was 12, Tia was playing gigs at Mackay pubs with her parents keeping close watch.
By 18, she’d released her debut album Thick Skin, and her single Strangers was attracting serious interest.
“It’s insane to think Strangers has had almost three million streams on Spotify,” Tia says.
“And I didn’t even want to write a love song…”
Workshopped with producer Lionel Towers and writer Will Cuming (aka Lanks) at a songwriting camp, Strangers was inspired by Tia’s boyfriend, Jack Johnson.
“He’d been nagging me to write a song about him, but love songs can come off sounding lame,” Tia says.
“Thankfully Will has this way of writing love songs without them sounding cheesy. It’s probably my favourite song off the album, and I had such a fun time writing and recording it.”
While Tia grew up listening to country music, alternative bluegrass and folk, her debut album doesn’t fit neatly into any of these genres.
“There are songs on there that are weird and wacky, and really electronically produced, and songs that are pretty grungy,” Tia says.
“Then there are songs that are more country but with a lot of pop in there. I don’t think you can put a label on my music.”
Whatever you call it, one thing is clear – Tia’s music has struck a chord and the now Brisbane-based singer/songwriter has a big year ahead.
“Things are about to get really hectic,” she says. “I’m about to head out on my biggest headline tour yet, playing big venues I never thought I’d be playing – like The Zoo in Brisbane and Howler in Melbourne.
“They’re not massive (venues) but to me they are. I’ve seen huge bands play there, so it’s insane for me to think I’ll be playing there with my own headline show.”
Tia’s band, who are “like brothers” to her will be along for the ride and Tia is thrilled that MANE has accepted her invitation to be her support act for the tour.
“She’s one of my favourite up-and-coming artists,” Tia enthuses. “I just fell in love with her song Chasing Butterflies when I first heard it. I had it on repeat for ages.”
Tia is also heading to the US in March to play South by Southwest in Texas and a few festivals in New York.
“Then hopefully I’m doing some recording in LA and a Europe trip in May,” she says.
“I think I’ve got a show booked in Amsterdam and I’m writing again and will hopefully get a new album out soon.”
We hope so too! Go Tia – you’re making your fellow North Queenslanders proud.