The world is calling for Katie's music

Katie Hardyman's songwriting is bringing her international acclaim. 
Photo by Lucy Hardyman.
Katie Hardyman's songwriting is bringing her international acclaim. Photo by Lucy Hardyman.

THE news just keeps getting better for Katie Hardyman.

It's been a big couple of months for the Pampoolah-based songwriter, with a number of international accolades coming her way.

Most recently she was announced a winner of the Love category of the Dallas International Songwriting Competition for a song written for her father's 70th birthday.

The song, called So Beautiful, which she co-wrote with Peter Stevenson from Turn Around Music in Taree, also won the West Coast Songwriters Association International song competition 2013 Song of the Year Award adult contemporary category, as well as a top five winner of the Song of the Year song and lyric writing competition in the instrumental category.

But that isn't all.

She's also a finalist and six-time semi finalist in the International UK Songwriting Contest, scoring nine out of a possible 10, in the adult contemporary category for her song Try to Understand (which won her the Rudy Brandsma Award for Songwriting Excellence at the National Australian Association Songwriting Awards in 2011).

The judges for this award included internationally acclaimed music producers, songwriters, arrangers and performers who have worked with some of the best in the music industry.

Katie's love of music and the joy of sitting down to tinker on the piano has evolved into something much bigger than she could have ever imagined and said everything that has happened has been a happy accident.

"I'm thrilled someone likes my music."

Once she won the Rudy Brandsma Award "it just, kind of, took off."

Katie said she was "so excited" to be part of the West Coast International Songwriting Contest, but had to turn down an invitation to go to California to receive her award.

When it comes to writing songs, Katie does all of her work on the piano and generally does the melody first. Her song, So Beautiful, for her dad Ray Stack, was one of the harder ones to write.

"How do you fit 42 years into a song? I had 50 takes of lyrics on that."

With a completed melody and lyrics, she called on some help from her talented friends including Peter Stevenson (who is credited as co-writer and producer) and Matt Zarb.

"Matt really got me started - he gave me the first line of that song.

"It talks about him being my hero and how he sees my world and I see his world."

Vocalists Jarrod Sherman and Liz Hewitt recorded the song.

A special touch to the music was the inclusion of the tin whistle and flute, recorded by musician Pauly Zarb the day before he headed back home to England.

Katie has always been interested in music.

"I just love it. As a kid I've always wanted to write songs for film."

Growing up with teachers who weren't so enthusiastic about her passion ("I was always told you could never do that."), she listened, following a career in nursing and not concentrating on her music.

A mum of four, Katie said once they had grown up she felt able to concentrate on her music more and said everything that has come after that is "just a bonus...maybe I can write a song".

She released her debut album last year and has since written two new singles, including the one for her dad, and hopes to have another album in the next 18 months or so.

Katie said her success has really been part of a huge team effort.

"I'm also excited for all the people involved."

She said she has met so many wonderful people along the journey including Peter Stevenson, who she describes as "the creative genius behind it all.

"He's a really good mentor and encourages you to keep going."

Then there is musician Matt Zarb, who has played on some of her songs, who she has learned a lot from.

She also appreciates the support she receives from her parents.

"They are my biggest fans and have encouraged me since I was seven."

In addition to her awards, there is big news relating to a movie soundtrack opportunity and the chance to bring an anti-bullying campaign to schools (see separate stories).

Katie has also recently been employed by the Australian Children's Music Foundation as the Taree coordinator of the ACMF school program in Taree.

"We have five schools at the moment and we are going to grow".

She is also involved in the organisation of the Manning Valley Schools Spectacular in November, which already has a number of schools lined up to perform as well as big name special guests John Waters and George Houvardas.