Annabelle Johnson, 17, lives in Kooralbyn with her parents, brother and dog, Sadie. She has lived in Kooralbyn her whole life and she loves it.
“It’s a nice, slow living town,” she says. “The only downside is having to travel to Beauy for everything.”
Annabelle really appreciates her community and the benefits she receives from it.
“Living out here, where it’s very farmer, country-town oriented, had really given me a huge step up with my country music, because I’ve lived the experience.”
While finishing her senior year at Kooralbyn high school, Annabelle works as a musician, performing both solo and with her band, The Not Perfects, and teaching at GTM Studios.
“I’m a very goody two-shoes student,” she says. “I’ve won the Most Merits award at school a few times, and that’s always been a very motivating moment for me. It lets me know that I’m doing good.”
Annabelle has performed numerous times – either busking or as a paid gig – at the Railway Hotel, markets,and the Festival of Small Halls. She also recently competed in the prestigious Ekka Country Music Showdown.
Annabelle specialises in country music and writes her own songs, most of which are based on novels she’s read or lived experiences.
Her first performance was at the Railway Hotel, where she played her guitar and sang.
“I was like nine; my mum has a recording, and my voice is so bad,” she laughed.
“I hadn’t started singing lessons yet.”
Annabelle marked that moment as a defining point in her life; it was the beginning of her music career -a career she intends to follow.
Annabelle is hoping to study music at university.
“I’ve auditioned to the Conservatorium of Music in the city and I have been offered a place at JMC Academy! I’ve also applied for a teaching degree at Griffith.”
“My plan at the moment is music first, then teaching second career-wise. I love teaching so much, but I love performing music that one little bit more.”
One of the most inspiring moments in Annabelle’s career was when she was given the chance to talk to Dallan Weekes from the bands Panic at the Disco and ‘iDKHOW’ through a magazine competition.
“I asked him what type of music he listened to at my age, and it was all the music that I listen to. I was like, oh my gosh, I’m there! I’m on the right track.”
To meet Weekes, Annabelle wrote an explanation of what her favourite song by Weekes was and why.
“One of his songs is ‘Nobody Likes the Opening Band’, it’s about how opening bands are young kids, their guitars are second hand and the only people who came to see them are their mum and dad. My answer was, ‘It’s relatable, I am the opening band. That’s my job, my mum and dad do come to see me’,” Annabelle laughs.