One of the country’s rising stars, Jody Direen, is set to headline at next year’s Wairarapa Country Music Festival. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Hoping to convert traditional country music fans to her contemporary spin on the genre, small-town southern girl Jody Direen is set to headline next year’s Wairarapa Country Music Festival.

Dubbed as New Zealand’s “Queen of Country”, the 24-year-old has shared the stage with country music stars including Kenny Rogers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and more recently LeAnn Rimes.

Miss Direen was raised in Wanaka where she started to play the guitar at the age of nine after her grandmother introduced it to her.

Since then she has gone onto have a successful career across Australasia.

She has since signed with major Australian record label ABC music which launched her career in America.

Her current album “Shake Up” won the Tui Award for Best Country Album at the 2017 New Zealand Country Music Awards.

She also performed a guest spot on the Global Artist Showcase at the CMA Festival in Nashville, Tennessee, the largest country music festival in the world.

Miss Direen said she encouraged people to come along and listen to her take on country music.

“I think some New Zealanders still have a stereotypical view of country music shaped by the greats like Johnny Cash and Kenny Rogers.

“I see myself as part of a new wave coming through globally with my own songs and performances having a more pop and rock influence,” she said.

“My performance will be high energy, with a few intimate acoustic guitar tracks, but with the support of my band will rev it up so people can get up and dance and have an amazing night.”

Her songs are a mixture of collaborations and self-written numbers, and are largely based on love and relationships as well as the “old heartbreak song”.

Event organiser Matthew Sherry said he was thrilled to have Miss Direen headline the festival in January next year.

“To have her perform alongside other top kiwi musicians who bring their traditional take on country music will be marvellous.”

Other artists to feature at the festival include Cooper’s Run, Gerry Lee, and Tania Wareen.

The past two festivals featuring The Warratahs and The Topp Twins drew in large crowds, as well as 260 motorhomes.

The three-day festival will be held at the Tauherenikau Racecourse from January 12 to 14 next year.

Three-day passes and single day tickets can be purchased at eventfinda.co.nz.



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