Wendy Matthews shows why she's still one of the best

HER music breathes beauty, grace and meaning and her persona continues to echo every reasoning behind why Australia regards her as one of our country's leading female singers.

Wendy Matthews encompasses over 30 years of experience in the music biz - experiencing busking as a teenager to back up singer with some of the world's biggest stars.

And she's set to perform in Gladstone next week at the opening of the city's new entertainment and convention centre.

Wendy joined her first band when she was 15-years-old and since then she has continued to age gracefully in all areas of life.

With seven Arias, 19 hit singles and seven platinum-plus selling albums, Wendy's life is a musical story in itself.

But regardless of the numerous awards, she is as humble as ever, residing in her scenic hinterland home with her beloved dog, north of Coffs Harbour.

"It depends on what people mean by success," she says, in response to her accolades. "I have a really different way of thinking about them.

"I appreciate them for encouragement and acceptance but I don't think about that as success."

Wendy says buying her dream land in the country was one example of true success.

Regardless of her humility, there is no denying Wendy's fruitful career in music. Some of her old-time songs are still famous in homes today. 

Wendy Matthews is delighted to journey to Gladstone for the Gladstone Entertainment Centre's official opening dinner.
Wendy Matthews is delighted to journey to Gladstone for the Gladstone Entertainment Centre's official opening dinner. Contributed

The Day You Went Away, the highest selling single of 1993, had a significant impact on the Australian music industry.

Wendy says the song is one of her stand-out favourites along with Beloved, which carries significance to the singer.

"I've had thousands of people say, 'That song means to me'," she says in relation to The Day You Went Away.

"It means something to so many people, whether it's a boyfriend going overseas or a beloved pet dying."

So where does she find the inspiration for such heart-warming, meaningful ballads?

"Everything I've written is all from personal experience. I'm not too good at making up stories," she says.

But from busking her way across the USA, to touring Australia with Glenn Shorrock in 1982 and hanging out with the likes of Jack Nicholson, Wendy has a lifetime of stories.

She says those memories are a different world away.

"I lived in Los Angeles from about age 17-23. We used to meet some amazing people in that decade."

But does she miss those days of quests and fun?

"What - miss being 17?" she laughs. "Sort of, but then again I'm glad I'm not young and dumb anymore."

Wendy says she knows people in their 40s trying to figure out what makes them happy in life.

"And in that way I've never had to wonder and for that I feel very fortunate."

Wendy is even planning her own jewellery line in future; it's a long-held area of interest.

Back in the day she used to make and sell jewellery on Melrose Ave in Los Angeles.

Today Wendy is a picture of musical experience, splendour and harmony - attributes evident in her new album, The Welcome Fire.

Everything I've written is all from personal experience. I'm not too good at making up stories

The album was almost two years in the making and consisted of road trips and getting together with some diverse song writers, like Josh Pike.

"It's my first, fully original album in about 12 years," she says. "Every song meant a whole lot to me and a combination of people."

Wendy says some of the footage from one of the songs, Amelia, was even shot at her home residence.

"I've spent the last few days running around shooting footage for Amelia.

"It's me," she says, laughing, when asked who Amelia is. I gave myself a name. I sung the words to myself."

The album is in stores now and is perfect for those who appreciate significant lyrics and deep, feminine melodies created by a mature, emotive voice.


WHAT: Wendy Matthews entertaining with Li Cunxin at Journey: The Official Opening Dinner

WHERE: Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre

WHEN: Wednesday, January 22

TICKETS: $150 a person or $1500 for a table of 10

INFO: gladecc.com.au/whats-on/journey/

Topics:  gladstone entertainment gladstone entertainment centre music wendy matthews

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