Nat McIver - Life loves LIVE
Orange is fortunate to have a vibrant and growing local live music scene. So, in conjunction with JAM Orange, we thought we’d introduce you to some of our talented local musicians. Catch them at Jam Orange’s monthly Open Mic Nights, or at a venue near you!
“I come from a town where there’s more dogs than people,” says Nat McIver, a relative newcomer to Orange who has quickly made a name for herself in the local music scene.
Raised on cattle properties in Central Queensland around the small communities of Springsure and Rolleston, Nat says she had a pretty typical country childhood.
“For Queensland anyway,” said Nat. “And I feel very fortunate to have grown up there with all the space and the animals.”
And the bush poetry.
Nat began playing music at a young age, first taking up piano at age seven and later guitar, but she says it was bush poetry that played a big role in developing her as a songwriter and performer.
“When I was a kid, I wrote a lot of bush poetry. Family and friends would always recite poetry and Springsure, where my parents live now, is a big bush poetry hub and they have a little festival once a year, so it has always been around me growing up,” said Nat.
“It was my Dad's party trick to get me to tell a poem. So, I was reciting in front of people from quite a young age and I learned to rhyme at quite a young age with poetry — I kind of had a knack for it. It means now I don’t have to think about it, which is useful and definitely comes in handy. And that turned into song writing as I got older.”
Nat’s first real stage experience came while studying geology at university in Townsville.
“I was 17 or 18... It was an open mic night with a smattering of people and it helped me get comfortable in front of an audience and comfortable and learning what it was like hearing yourself back through foldback and stuff like that,” said Nat, who has continued to seek out open mics as she travels as a working geologist.
“I’ve been lucky enough to move around for work and that helps with music too, because it means you get to play Open Mic nights and music gig in random places,” said Nat.
“I spent a year in WA and Perth was great. I was working Fly-in Fly-out, but in Perth they had Open Mic Nights every night of the week, so that was a cool scene to be a part of.”
Since work brought her to Orange in January last year, Nat said the JAM Orange open mic nights have given her an outlet for developing her music and have helped her feel at home, despite the very un-Queensland climate.
“I went to a gig the other week and on my way out, saying goodbye, I found I actually knew quite a few people there just from doing Open Mic nights. So that has been really valuable, not even as a music networking thing, but making mates as well — it has been great,” said Nat.
Like many musicians, Nat is reluctant to pin a label to her style of music but says she has often been compared to artists such as Missy Higgins, the Waifs, Sara Storer and Courtney Barnett.
“It’s acoustic pop with country themes,” she said. “My writing style… I pull a lot from nostalgia. I write about things from home or relationships or whatever, but often the songs that resonate most with people are nostalgia based.
“And playing covers, I like to surprise people. I don’t like playing songs that people have heard a million and one times. My goal playing covers is for people to be like oh, what is this song! I've heard this song before! I like to tweak their memory or to play something they haven't heard in ages or play something they've heard in a completely different way.”