Wanaka country star Jody Direen sets sights on Nashville


Wanaka local Jody Direen has met and sung with some of the biggest names in country music. Now she has her sights set even further - on a little place known as Nashville, Tennessee.

Despite her lofty goals, Direen knows her Wanaka roots will always help keep her grounded.

"I'm a rural girl and always will be, and there will always be a little twang in my voice," she says.

The 27-year-old released her latest album Shake Up last week and recognises the unfortunate timing, after the earthquake which hit the South Island on Monday.

"It's the worst timing ever and I actually feel really bad that my album is called Shake Up," she says.

"You know if anything, maybe the name of my album will create some curiosity about why it is called Shake Up and it might bring them a little bit of ease for a while."

With the new album, Direen has made a deliberate effort to move from straight country into more of a pop-rock-country hybrid.

"The new album is quite unique - there are no live drums in the whole album, which is becoming a bit of a thing in country these days, and I've got club synth laid with banjo and steel guitar."

Direen loves all her songs equally but says 'Spitfire', written after watching Warbirds over Wanaka, has a slight edge.

"I knew it was going to be a party song, an anthem song and a massive badass song."

Her third album is just another step towards her main goal.

"I would love to be touring the world selling out stadiums of 80,000 people," she says.

Direen has spent the past month touring Australia and is looking forward to spending a bit of time riding her horse before she sets her sights firmly back on her goal.