"Notice Me" produces 4 Aussie Top 10 hits
1) Just When I Needed You Most
2) Rodeo Romeo
3) Notice Me
4) It's Only Make Believe
May 2006-Winner "Song of The Year-2006" in 2006 Northern Territory Country Music Songwriting Awards for "Notice Me"
RONNI RAE RIVERS-BIO
Country is cool when delivered by the talents of Ronni Rae Rivers.
Born in Sydney, Australia to an Aussie Mum and Texan Dad, Ronni spent time between Australia and the USA during her formative years.
Ronniâ€™s musical journey began at the tender age of three when she was given a once in a lifetime opportunity to perform in front of the great James Brown. However, it was her Fatherâ€™s friendship with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and other country music luminaries in Texas that had the most impact upon Ronniâ€™s musical direction. At that early stage, no one was quite aware of how much those encounters would fuel Ronniâ€™s desire to write and perform country music. Since then, she has created her own unique musical identity by merging the freshness of Australian country music with the traditional roots and flavours of its American counterpart.
A graduate of the 2004 CMAA Australian College of Country Music, Ronniâ€™s fiddle, guitar and piano skills have enabled her to work locally and internationally. She has shared the stage with some of Australiaâ€™s best known country music entertainers such as Bill Chambers, Kasey Chambers, Adam Brand, Beccy Cole, as well as internationally renowned Aaron Neville and the Neville Brothers.
2003 saw the release of her debut EP, â€œBridging The Gapâ€, co-produced by Mark Donohoe (Magnificent Seven), receiving a terrific response, via her radio singles â€˜You Winâ€¦You Loseâ€™ and â€˜Happy New Yearâ€™.
2004 highlights include being awarded the 2004 Best WA Country Music Songwriter for her song â€˜Havenâ€™t Things Changedâ€™, crowned 2004 Best WA Country Music Female Artist, finalist in the Australian Country Recording Awards (ACRAs) for Australian New Talent Album Of The Year & a Grandfinalist in the 2004 Toyota Starmaker â€“ she has sure made an impact.
â€œâ€¦thereâ€™s no doubt Ronni Rae Rivers will be a name to remember as one of the dynamic new breed of country artist emerging on the Australian sceneâ€, Bob Anthony Jnr, Country Update
Her version of Randy Van Warmerâ€™s 1979 classic â€˜Just When I Needed You Mostâ€™ achieved Top 10 chart success. A tender acoustic version of the original, allowing Ronniâ€™s strong yet sensitive vocals to shine through.
â€œRonni is a young West Australian with a great voice and a superb debut albumâ€, Steve Perry, St Marys Sound Centre
â€œI have heard many versions of Just When I Needed You Most, which was written by my uncle Randy Van Warmer and I wanted to tell you that the rendition that you sing â€¦. is one of the best renditions that I have heard.â€ Michael Van Wormer, nephew of Randy Van Warmer
In 2005 , Ronni exceeded her own expectations, by being named ASA (Australian Songwriters Association) Awards Country Songwriter Of The Year, Best WA Country Music Female Artist, a finalist in the TIARA Awards (Female Vocal), the Victorian & National Country Music Awards (New Talent) and the WAMiâ€™s(West Australian Music Industry Awards) (Country Act), but also receiving praise for her single â€˜Just When I Needed You Mostâ€™ becoming a Top 10 Finalist for Female Vocal in the Golden Guitar Awards.
The second single â€˜Rodeo Romeoâ€™, taken from her debut album â€˜Notice Meâ€™, became a Top 5 success, with the title track â€˜Notice Meâ€™ becoming her first #1 hit. Her star shined even further with a finalist nomination at the 2005 Golden Saddle Awards and by making the Top 50 Biggest Hits Country Tracks Top 30 and Saturday Night Countryâ€™s Hottest 100 tracks for 2005.
Now in 2006, she has won both the Contemporary section and the overall award for Northern Territory Country Songwriter of the Year and has been nominated again for the 2006 Golden Saddle Awards. Meanwhile her 4th single from â€œNotice Meâ€, â€œItâ€™s Only Make Believeâ€ has become her 4th consecutive Top 30 hit.
Her sensitivity and strong emotions coupled with vibrant and individual songwriting ability, make Ronni the one to watch.
THE NORTHERN DAILY LEADER - 28 APRIL 2005
BEAUTIFUL BLEND OF COUNTRY INFLUENCES
By Rebecca Gracie
Ronni Rae Rivers - Independent - Notice Me
This West Australian country singer is a girl to look out for with her debut album, Notice Me - and we are! Ronni Rae Rivers is a multi-instrumentalist and a clear vocalist, which she demonstrates well on this album. The album is not lacking in talented musicians, boasting the likes of pedal steel whiz Lucky Oceans, multi-instrumentalist and former member of Slim Dusty's Travelling Country band Ian Simpson and is produced by Magnificent Seven member and well-known icon on the Western Australian music scene Mark "The Don" Donohoe.
Ronni blends her Australian and Texan heritage well on this debut offering and the tracks demonstrate how her career has progressed since attending the Country Music College in 2004.
Fans of Ronni Rae will notice that all songs written by Ronni have her trademark optimism, although there are a share of sad songs here as well, but most tracks will have you dancing and singing along. There are also plenty of story songs. Highlights for me would be the very personal Janine, Care Of The Stars and Timmy but there are no filler tracks to be found. Go out and get this one.
COUNTRY UPDATE - JUNE 2005 ISSUE
By Bob Anthony Jnr
RONNI RAE RIVERS
ARTS WA / INDEPENDENT
Former West Australian, Ronni Rae Rivers is in the fortunate position of being able to draw on a family heritage from both Australian and Texas. The musical influences of both can be heard loud and clear on her latest album, Notice Me.
Blessed with a great voice and looks to match, Ronni Rae has been able to show her versatility through the 12 tracks on the album, ranging from ballads to swing, a couple of great covers.
She has had a hand in writing and co-writing eight of the tracks. Ronni has a strong appreciation for the true nature of country, rather than opting for more contemporary "crossover" sounds which is refreshing and encouraging for Australian country music.
The album is one which you can sit back and savour.
She is particular strong in many of her slower songs such as the title track 'Notice Me', 'Janine (Care Of The Stars)', the tender 'Trouble at The Door', 'If Promises Were Gold' and 'Been Through This Before'.
There are some easy listening numbers in her hit cover of 'Just When I Needed You Most', the provocative and challenging 'Timmy', her great version of the absolute classics, 'It's Only Make Believe' and gentle 'Happy New Year'.
Throw in the swing tempo of 'Now You're Gone', and the current single, 'Rodeo Romeo' and Ronni Rae has delivered an album which will definitely win her plenty of fans
She is part of a new wave of Aussie talent hitting the market which means the future of country Downunder is in good hands.
COUNTRY MUSIC CAPITAL NEWS - March 2005
SOUND ADVICE - ALBUM REVIEWS
RONNI RAE RIVERS
The title of this album may be a little misplaced - people have been noticing RONNI RAE RIVERS for well over a year now. But her first full-length album should make sure they keep on looking and listening. Notice Me is a collection of appealing, perceptive and very radio-friendly country songs that should ensure Ronni Rae's star continues to rise. It features a superb version of RANDY VAN WARMER'S Just When I Needed You Most, contrasted with Ronni's sassy new single Rodeo Romeo. Other strong tracks include the beautiful Notice Me, Timmy and Been Through This Before. Ronni has also included an old favourite, the CONWAY TWITTY classic, It's Only Make Believe, and a new version of the beautiful Happy New Year, which was on her debut EP, Bridging The Gap. Ronni's music is pure country, but with a contemporary edge, and her talent on the fiddle adds a whole lot of class. Notice Me is an impressive first album, and indicates that this young lady has a big future.
COUNTRY MUSIC CAPITAL NEWS - MARCH 2005
THE REBEL IN HER
Sometimes RONNI RAE RIVERS' name is abbreviated to 'the three Rs'. But there's a fourth 'R' that perfectly sums up this dynamic young singer: it stand for Rebel.
Give Ronni Rae a challenge, and she'll rush to meet it. Perhaps that's why she chose to ignore an easy ride to the top on the US country scene to do it the hard way back in Australia.
Ronni Rae grew up partly in Australia and partly in the United States. Her father is Texan, and her mum comes from Perth. She spend her university hears in new Orleans, and had the opportunity to perform with some major names in the United States, including AARON NEVILLE and the NEVILLE BROTHERS.
"I was offered a recording contract in Nashville when I was 11, but my mum said I was way too young. And as I got older, my father, who's part of the US music industry, could have helped me with a lot of his connections, but I knew I had to do it my way. That's why I came back to Australia," Ronni said.
Over the past couple of years, Ronni Rae Rivers has set about doing just that. She released her debut EP, Bridging The Gap, in 2003, then headed to Tamworth in January 2004 to attend the College of Country Music.
She was also selected as a grant finalist for the 2005 TOYOTA STAR MAKER QUEST, giving many fans their first taste of her sassy style and obvious talent.
Since then, Ronni Rae has added a few more notches to her belt, taking out the Best Female Artist and Heritage Songwriter of the Year at the Western Australian Country Music Awards and being named the eighth Most Played Country Artist on Worldwide Playlists.
Now she's released her first album, Notice Me. Like Bridging The Gap, it was produced by respected Perth songwriter and musician MARK DONOHOE (who has co-written four tracks with Ronni for this album).
Notice Me will be launched in Perth this month, before Ronni Rae packs her bags and heads across the continent to try her luck on the Sydney music scene.
The album offers a new, deeper, more reflective side of Ronni Rae Rivers - one she says captures who she really is.
"When I write, I see the whole story in my head. My music is very narrative, and very country," Ronni said.
"I guess some of the songs on the album are a bit out there - a little confronting. I'd recorded some happy, light songs, but I prefer music to make me think, to take me to a deeper place."
Consequently, Notice Me includes songs about some of the darker parts of life - about someone who's missing, about a disabled boy named Timmy who takes matters into his own hands, and about the danger and uncertainty faced each day by emergency services workers.
"Been Through This Before was inspired by a story on the TV news about the tragic loss of life of those who constantly risk everything for us - firefighters, the police, SES workers. Every day those people leave for work knowing there's a very real chance they won't come home," Ronni said.
"And Janine, Care Of The Stars is even more personal. I've experienced the sense of loss and uncertainty when someone you love goes missing. There is simply no closure."
The album also explores aspects of love which are often overlooked. The title track, Notice Me, focuses on the desperation that comes from feeling invisible in a relationship, while Now You're Gone is a song about the flood of memories that unexpectedly return after finding a note or a photograph from the past.
Ronni's last single, Just When I Needed You Most, captivated her when she first heart it as an adult.
"It gets such a good response when I sing it live that I decided to release it as a single," she said.
It's quite a contrast from her latest single Rodeo Romeo, which was co-written at the College of Country Music with LYN BOWTELL. It's a bright, strong, sassy song - as is the catchy He's Mine.
The album also features a new version of Happy New Year, a popular live favourite from Ronni's first EP, and two Nashville covers, Trouble At The Door and If Promises Were Gold.
Although Ronni hesitated about calling the new album Notice Me, she says the title now seems very appropriate.
"This album is meant to let people know exactly who I am. All my musical influences have been blended together, and I'm taking a risk by putting some very personal music out there."
Perhaps we could add a fifth'R' to Ronni Rae's name: 'Risktaker'. It's a punt that's sure to pay off for this dynamic, talented and determined performer.
COUNTRY UPDATE - March 2005 Issue
Ronni Rae Rivers - Going With The Flow
By Bob Anthony Jnr
Talent, chart, good looks and a new album - what more could a female country artist want?
"How about a job?"
That's the situation Western Australian Ronni Rae Rivers found herself in February when she decided to make the big move east.
It's not that she has had enough of Perth, it's just that there's a whole new market just waiting in the east and Ronni Rae is determined to make her mark.
She has already done that through festivals such as Mildura and at this year's annual Tamworth Country Music Festival, not to mention the impact of her hit single and video clip, 'Just When I Needed You Most'.
"I really love the west but the market there is only so big and there are only so many gigs available. In the eastern States, the opportunities are much greater," Ronni Rae said.
With her new album, Notice Me, Ronni Rae has taken the bold step of resigning her regular job in sales and marketing for a hair care company. She has packed her things and is looking to base herself initially in Sydney.
For many people, travelling from one side of the country to the other is a huge step.
Ronni Rae isn't too worried about finding work, especially if the response to her new material in Tamworth was anything to gauge.
"Tamworth was a great buzz," she laughed.
"I had many people coming up to me and saying hello because they recognised me from the video clip on CMC.
"It was the same in Mildura last year. I even had some popele say they had driven hours to see me perform.
"It's quite funny people initially thought I was American and were pleasantly surprised to find out I wasn't.
"I can't help but be overwhelmed by how much the clip has boosted my profile.
"I think it's because you are 'in people's lounge rooms' and they somehow feel like they know and trust you - it's a wonderful feeling."
Ronni said the single had been a good precursor to the album release. It was a bonus to have a song which people knew and had done so well on the charts.
She said fans were looking for the song on the album and curious to hear more.
"It's like being a door-to-door salesman, once you get your foot in the door, you have a good chance of selling something,' she said.
"If you have a song people know well, you have a good chance of selling them the rest of the album."
Apart from her chart success with the song, Ronni Rae was also keen to build a reputation for providing a good show for her audiences.
"It's important for me to provide a point of difference from other female artists in the market," she said.
"It's very competitive and you have to be able to put on a good show, I learned that in Western Australia.
"The fans over there are a funny lot, you really have to work hard to win them over but once you do, they are yours.
"I intend to do the same in the east, be known as someone who can express a song as well as give the people an experience."
Ronni Rae has teamed up with Mark Donohoe to deliver an album which features eight songs which she either wrote or co-wrote, touching on a number of subjects few females artists would dare to broach.
"As an independent artist, I wanted to take this album to a new level for me so I said to Mark 'Let's just go for it' even though he had reservations about some subject matter in some of the songs," she laughed.
Love lost, life, small town taboos, even bitchiness are among the topics Ronni Rae tackles.
"There are songs on the album which tell some pretty powerful stories and will take people by surprise but that's what they are intended to do," she said.
"'Timmy' is one such song and I know people will either love it or hate it but whenever I play it, the audience listens to the lyrics which is very satisfying for me.
"We kept this album under wraps until it was completed so we wouldn't be swayed by our emotions - hearing what people said - 'I like that' or 'I don't like that'."
It's the development of her songwriting skills which is another aspect of her career Ronni Rae wants to develop with the move.
"I played in a songwriters-in-the-round at Tamworth and it was one of the best experiences for me as a performer because it was all stripped down, just a guitar. You explain the song and the story behind and then sing it," Ronni Rae said.
"I hadn't done anything like that before and it tested me as a performer but I really enjoyed it."
It seems being tested in one way or another is something which this talented West Australia is getting used to.
Ronni Rae Rivers is an artist on the move literally and musically and with the determination to succeed.
COUNTRY MUSIC CAPITAL NEWS (November 2004)
ALL ABOUT THE JOURNEY
It isn't every Australian artist that can talk about growing up in a Texan household where country music legends would drop by, but RONNI RAE RIVERS has had a rather fascinating life growing up.
Ronni was born in NSW, raised between Houston Texas and Australia; she then went to University in New Orleans, Louisiana where she cut her musical teeth. "I was so inspired by the musical and cultural history of New Orleans - not to mention the incredible food - it allowed me to merge my traditional country roots with the soulful bluesy sound of the Deep South - hence creating my musical style," Ronni said.
As a child, she gave impromptu concerts for anyone that would listen, and luckily for her, some of those people included WILLIE NELSON and WAYLON JENINGS, who were friends of her father. "I never thought of those guys any differently than my parents' other friends. Music and musicians were just always around our house. Of course, now I realize how vital those times were in forming my musical direction," Ronni said.
"Conversely, mum's a Perth girl who wasn't familiar with my Dad's musical tastes when they met. She had no idea about the greats like MERLE HAGGARD and HANK WILLIAMS, instead she was into OLIVIA NEWTON JOHN, ROLLING STONES, and THE EASYBEATS: so as you can imagine, I had these two musical worlds colliding in my subconscious, which is why I am a little bit honky tonk, a whole lot of traditional country ballads with a sprinkling of bluesy southern rock."
After graduating University, her father's side of the family wanted her to stay in the USA to pursue her music. However, Ronni decided that she wanted to establish her musical career back home in Australia.
"When I came home to Australia I knew what I wanted to do, but I didn't know how to go about it. I had to start from scratch with no contacts, no help and no expectations. I didn't know anyone involved in country music in WA. It appeared the scene in Perth was more about Pub rock cover bands. Understandably, I started to get a little disheartened wondering if I had made the right decision in coming home, and then I sent to the Raffles Hotel one Friday night where I saw a band playing called MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. After watching this band several times, I was introduced to MARK DONOHOE, their bass player, and the sole songwriter of the group. We decided to have a writing session together, and probably because our writing styles were so opposite, it really worked. From that event my debut EP, Bridging The Gap, was made."
This year has been full speed ahead for Ronni; in January, she graducated from the College of Country Music in Tamworth, and went on to be a Frand Finalist in Toyota Starmaker. She then returned to Perth to be named WA Songwriter of the Year and WA Female Vocalist of the Year, and scored a finals berth in the Australian Country Recording Awards (ACRAs) for Australian New Talent Album of the Year. Recently she has been in the studio working on new material which has already resulted in the hit single Just When I Needed You Most.
"This year has been unreal. I have met so many amazing people. Career wise, I feel that I am on track and, more importantly, I take a great sense of self-satisfaction in the fact that I have worked really hard to get to this point. As the saying goes," It's not about the destination, it's all about the journey."
For more info log onto www.ronniraerivers.com
LEARNING FROM TAMWORTH
By BOB Anthony Jnr
WESTERN Australia's Ronnie Rae Rivers admits that the first time she went to Tamworth in 2003, it was a case of "sitting back and taking it all in".
Not that she was a stranger to country music.
Her dad was Texan, her mum Aussie and that meant spending plenty of time between the two countries and gaining musical influences that spanned the Pacific.
Fortunately, her heart lies in Western Australia, and that is where she has spent a considerable time honing her skills as a performer and songwriter.
The journey last year to Tamworth simply fuelled the country fire even more so that it came as no surprise that Ronni returned to Tamworth this year, not content to sit and watch but to "get into it".
And that she did.
Not only did Ronni graduate from the CMAA College of Country Music but she was also a grand finalist in the 2004 Star Maker Quest as well as playing numerous gigs during the festival.
It was all an ideal way of promoting her debut seven track EP, Bridging The Gap but more importantly for Ronni, it was an opportunity to help establish a profile.
The EP, which she co-produced with Mark Donohue from Magnificent 7, gave Ronni the perfect "vehicle" to show her versatility as both performer (capable of playing a number of different instruments including guitar fiddle and piano) and songwriter and also gauge crowd reaction to the various tracks.
"There's a lot of diversity on the album and it's interesting to see just who responds to what," she said.
"The most important thing for me is that through the EP, it's getting people out there to know who I am."
And the country fans in WA already will be very familiar with Ronni Rae Rivers who this year took out the Best Country Music Female Artist in the state and also the West Australian Best Country Music Songwriter Award for one of the singles off the EP, 'Haven't Things Changed'.
The song seems to reflect what has happened to Ronni in the last 12 months, especially thanks to her Tamworth experiences this year.
"This year when I went to Tamworth, especially knowing that I was going to the college, I knew that it would be different but I didn't know just how different," she said.
"I remember Kate Nugent from the CMAA coming up to me and saying that the whole thing would be 'hard work and a life changing experience' and she was right.
"At night, I would find myself sitting down with so many talented people and asking 'gee how did I get here'.
"It was fantastic, especially in regard to my songwriting working with artist who I have respected and with my fellow graduates. And then to follow that up with Star maker and get through to the grand final, it was very hectic but it did give me a much broader view of the business and has help me in setting some goals."
It's a big call from someone who has had the pleasure of working with Aaron Neville and Neville Brothers in the US.
Now she is back in Perth and working once again with Mark Donohue on an album which she feels will be true to the style of music which she really enjoys performing.
"Mark is great to work with both as a songwriter and in the studio," Ronni said.
"He manages to get you to push the boundaries and being in WA, you have to do that sometimes because you don't have the choices and the options of producers and musos like you do on the east coast.
"People have asked why I didn't make the album in the US but I think I would feel a little 'suppressed', working in a fairly tight schedule. At least in WA, there's a lot more freedom, you have to be more creative and that, I think results in a fairly distinctive sound."
And Ronni helps to add to that distinctive sound, playing either the fiddle or guitar in the studio and on stage.
"I enjoy playing a variety of instruments, it saves on muso costs," she laughed.
"But it's a real buzz when I pick up the fiddle and the crowd just goes nuts. I was classically trained but just love adapting to country and these days, there are a few females in country playing fiddle and it's a good look on stage - something a bit different."
After a stint in the recording studio and putting the finishing touches to the new album, she is planning on moving east to continue building on the foundations laid at Tamworth in January.
With the momentum already created this year, there's no doubt Ronni Rae Rivers will be a name to remember as one of the dynamic new breed of country artist emerging on the Australian scene.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Notice Me
2. Janine(of the stars)
3. Just When I Needed You Most
4. Now You're Gone
6. Trouble At The Door
7. He's Mine
8. If Promises Were Gold
9. Been Through This Before
10. Rodeo Romeo
11. It's Only Make Believe
12. Happy New Year