Jenny Mitchell has travelled far and wide with her country music, but her favourite place to be is always her mum’s house in Gore.
The country music star originates from Gore, proudly the Country Music Capital of New Zealand, as noted by the giant guitar statue on arrival into the town.
Country music runs deep through Jenny’s veins. Growing up it was always the music of choice in the Mitchell house, thanks to her country music star father Ron.
Her first performance on stage was with her dad at the Gore Country Music Club.
“I think that is where I grew comfortable with performing. I had been going along to the club and watching performances there ever since I was a baby, so this was a comfortable space for me to get on stage.
“The club nights were a great place for me to start, and then I started to perform at local music festivals and events. My family very much believe music is for sharing, and our way of doing that was to perform at community events, rest homes, wherever we could.”
Jenny’s stardom continued to rise following her successful run on televised talent show New Zealand’s Got Talent when she was 14, where she placed in the top three performers. This shone a spotlight on the Gore teen’s talent, and not wanting to waste an opportunity, Jenny crowdfunded to release her first album The Old Oak.
Her 2018 album Wildfires was awarded the 2019 Tui Music Award for Recorded Music New Zealand Best Country Music Artist. It also became the first New Zealand album to receive a nomination for Alt-Country Album of the Year at the 2020 Australian Golden Guitar Awards.
On completion of a tour around Australia throughout the middle of 2022, playing at festivals and events, Jenny released her third album, Tug of War. Despite building a large fan base in Australia, Jenny knows home is where her heart is.
Jenny says her biggest and longest standing fan base is still the Gore District.
“Following New Zealand’s Got Talent, I wanted to release my own album, so I crowdfunded and most of the donations and purchases were from my supporters in Gore. It would not have happened without them.”
As the years have gone on and her career grown, the support has remained steadfast from Gore.
“When crowdfunding my previous albums, I had countless local supporters. Some who pre-ordered albums, some who booked house concerts or wedding entertainment in advance.
“My albums wouldn’t exist without that hometown support, and it’s been so amazing to be on this journey with those people by my side.”
Country music's future
While it’s great to be back touring and performing following an imposed hiatus due to the COVID pandemic, Jenny says it’s always wonderful to return home, to her mum’s house and catch up with family and friends.
“I am based in Wellington now and I love going home. I volunteer at the Tussock Country Music Festival - it’s such an awesome time, the whole town comes to life and it’s really awesome to see so many people travelling to Gore and being part of it all.
“Gore has an amazing community, and it is always home to me.”