A cowboy hat, a guitar and a passion for country music have driven Greenfields resident Vicki Lee to the top of her field.
Lee is one of four country musicians up for the 2013 WA Country Music Awards Independent Single of the Year, for her song Heartstrings.
A singer from her youth, Lee was inspired by her parents as a teenager to move towards country music.
“I started off when I was about 15 years old — my mother and father were always involved in country music and they toured the country as a duo,” Lee said.
At 16, Lee became involved in country music clubs in WA and by the age of 17 she was part of a band named Cobb and Co.
“When I was 15 and 16, I tried to hide the fact that I sung country music because a lot of the kids at school just didn’t like it, they were all into Sherbert, Bee Gees and Skyhooks,” Lee said.
Despite hiding her talent from friends, Lee did not give in to the norm and continued to sing as a teenager inspired by artists Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton.
She said she enjoyed the thrill of performing on stage and meeting other musicians.
“Country music people are just so involved in what they do, they are very supportive of everybody so everyone you meet is always very friendly,” Lee said.
In 1990 Lee won her first WA Country Music Club award for Best Amateur Professional Female Vocalist and by 1991 she had released her first album Vicki Lee Country.
Lee was in numerous bands and duos from 1995 to 2007 including Vicki Lee and Backlash, Victim and Southbound.
In 2008 she entered the WA Country Music Festival and won Best WA Female Country Vocalist and Best Gospel Vocalist before teaming up with Billy Higginson in the band Outback.
“It has been a lot of hard work but I have been progressing through country music in WA throughout the years,” she said.
Now 52, Lee has started learning guitar and is excited that her new single Somewhere Tonight will be released later this month.
Winners of the 2013 WA Country Music Awards will be announced on Friday, February 15.