Aleyce Simmonds possesses a work ethic that leaves those of us contemplating another Netflix binge with pangs of guilt.
Firstly there’s the day job, managing Tamworth’s City Sider Motor Inn. That’s 50-odd hours a week dealing with the constant demands of travellers and holidaymakers passing through the north-west NSW town.
There’s also her music management business which boasts Hunter Valley artist Finnian Johnson, and until recently, also included Kurri Kurri’s rising alt-country star Tori Forsyth.
Finally, there’s Simmonds’ own country music career which is enjoying a renaissance over the past year since the release of her third album More Than Meets The Eye and her subsequent Golden Guitar for Female Artist of the Year in January.
“I just have to hire staff and manage rosters in a different way,” Simmonds says when asked how she balances her music with the demands of running a motel.
“I am lucky being the manager of somewhere, you can at least do that.”
The 31-year-old will be reorganising the rosters at City Sider in the coming weeks as she prepares to head off on an extensive tour with fellow Golden Guitar winner Brad Butcher.
The A + B = C(ountry) In Your Town tour will feature Simmonds and Butcher performing their own material separately and together.
Interest in both artists has piqued since their success at the Tamworth Country Music Festival. After six unsuccessful nominations, it was a breakthrough moment for Simmonds in her home town.
Especially when she was up against the queen of Australian alt-country in Kasey Chambers.
Six months on the power of that Golden Guitar has been evident in extra booking inquiries appearing in the independent artist’s email inbox.
“It’s definitely opening up more doors and more people are taking the time to listen to my music than they would have before,” Simmonds says.
There are quiet times where you literally don’t have money to buy bread and milk.Aleyce Simmonds
“It’s been good in that way and a nice addition to my house really.”
The little golden trophy has also been on tour of sorts, spending time on display on Simmonds’ mother’s mantle. It’s Simmonds’ way of acknowledging her family’s support during the darker days.
“In this career you really do need a massive support network and I’ve been really lucky to have an amazing family and awesome friends who have really backed me from the start,” she says.
“It’s not like the typical job where you get paid regardless of how quiet it is.
“There are quiet times where you literally don’t have money to buy bread and milk and it’s really nice to have your family there supporting you saying, ‘Don’t give up, it’s your dream and you’re good at it’.”
Simmonds endured a particularly bleak period during the writing of More Than Meets The Eye.
The album’s release followed a tumultuous couple of years where Simmonds fled an abusive relationship and left Sydney and Melbourne after a decade to return to Tamworth where she surrounded herself with family and rebuilt her career.
Today Simmonds finds herself in a brighter place. Her musical career is flourishing and she’s found love again.
That sense of positivity is shining through in the latest bunch of songs she’s written, which Simmonds hopes to release early next year.
“It’s always good to change these things up a little bit,” she says. “Musically it’ll be similar to More Than Meets The Eye, but it’s definitely a lot more upbeat and happy than my previous work.
“There comes a point as a songwriter when it’s sometimes easier to write about the darkness and the harder things in life rather than the happy stuff, because unfortunately the happy stuff comes across as corny and it’s harder to write it down.
“I’ve really been focusing on the happiness this time around.”
Aleyce Simmonds and Brad Butcher perform at Lizotte’s on July 22.