Kristy Apps, musician, Girl & Guitar at Brisbane Cabaret Festival

Just be you, own it and love it. The industry can be tough, but if you love what you are doing it will be worth it ...

Growing up, some of our earliest idols are musicians. Naturally, we dream of picking up an instrument serenading crowds with song but, without examples to follow, many don’t know that their dreams are possible. Girl & Guitar is a rocking and rolling performance taking place at Brisbane Powerhouse next month as part of the Queensland Cabaret Festival. On Thursday March 24, six queens of the six string – Kristy Apps, Pandora Karavan, Sabrina Lawrie, Jackie Marshall, Georgia Nielsen and Megan Samardan – will take the stage to perform songs and tell stories about the female guitarists and vocalists that not only inspired them, but helped blaze a trail through what has historically been a male-dominated music scene. We spoke to Kristy Apps ahead of the riff-filled performance to talk about her early musical influences, her advice for the next-wave of female rockers and the importance of performing music on her own terms …

We’d love to start with the beginning of your love affair with music. Can you remember the first time a song really connected with you?
Absolutely and it’s very relevant because I will be performing it at the show. It was Melissa Etheridge’s ‘Bring Me Some Water’. I watched her play it at the Grammy Awards and I thought I was going to jump out of my skin. I was about 12 years old and it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. So much passion and energy.

After you decided to pick up the guitar, were there any musical artists in particular that had a role in shaping or inspiring your songwriting voice? If so, what was it about their music or identity that resonated?
So, with all the Melissa Etheridge inspiration on board, my first guitar was a Maton 12 string. I never really played covers, I just started writing straight away. That said, singing along to Melissa definitely helped shape my voice. I knew I wanted to have a textured, gutsy voice because they are the artists I resonated with. I also loved Hole and Patti Smith and when I first heard the Indigo Girls I was blown away at their song writing and harmonies.

On Thursday March 24 you’ll be sharing the Brisbane Powerhouse stage with five other phenomenal female musicians for Girl & Guitar, which celebrates the music of rock ’n’ roll’s greatest axe queens and vocalists. Can you tell us a bit about how this show came together?
I got an email from Alison St Ledger asking if I’d be interested in performing at this show called Girl & Guitar for the Queensland Cabaret Festival. I just read the title of the show and needed no further information. There are so many profound women guitarists and most them have had a big impact on my life. It’s such a delight to have an opportunity to represent some of the best songs ever written and add a touch of personal flair.

We’ve been told to expect plenty of riffs throughout the show! Are you able to give us any hints as to the tracks you’ll be performing on the night? Also, was there any competition between you and the other Girl & Guitar performers over who gets to perform any particular iconic songs?
Well, I’ve already let you know one song I’m doing so I’ll let the others be a surprise! I think the process of song choices happened quite organically. I don’t know of any behind the scenes rock and roll tantrums, that’s for sure!

Shows like this are important for not only honouring the trailblazing female musicians that first carved-out space in a male-dominated scene, but also for inspiring the next generation of female rockers. What words of advice would you give to young girls looking to pick up an instrument?
Do it! And do it on your own terms – don’t be influenced by outdated and irrelevant ideas of what you should be, or wear or sound like. Just be you, own it and love it. The industry can be tough, but if you love what you are doing it will be worth it. I’d also say to find your community of musicians – that will make the ride more fun!

2021 was a big year for you, with the release of your latest solo album Take Heed and your frequent gigging with Being Jane Lane. What can we expect from Kristy Apps in 2022?
It was a big year and it just flew by! I’m having heaps of fun with my mates in Being Jane Lane, so we’ll definitely be rocking out and recording some new music as well ,which I’m super stoked about. I will have a couple of my own shows coming up during the year and might have another single to release off the record. My plan is just to enjoy music – music for music’s sake!

Finally, we’d love to know what inspires and excites you outside of music. What sparks joy, happiness and motivation in your daily life?
Oh wow, that’s a cool question. I actually got married last year which has bought me so much joy and happiness. I have a pretty simple life outside of music – hanging with my wife, my dog and my family and friends is really what makes me tick.

Girl & Guitar will be taking place at the Brisbane Powerhouse on Thursday March 24 as part of the Queensland Cabaret Festival. Grab your tickets here.


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