Updated: Sep 8, 2021
by Hans Ebert
They’re grounded, know what they want and focused in a way that’s refreshing.
There are no attempts at being what they’re not or shooting for the stars with blanks. They’re enjoying what they’re doing and don’t appear to be in any hurry to get to wherever it is they’re going.
And now, the duo known as Nine Year Sister are winners of the Open Space “Give Yourself Up To Imagination” Songwriting Competition.
Based in Stanthorpe in Queensland, Australia, Nine Year Sister, comprising sisters Jennie, 33, and Emma Wardle, 24, have been making music together for about two years- but you wouldn’t know it.
Nine Year Sister
They seem to have been born with their tight natural harmonies that effortlessly weave their way in and out of their songs- original songs that really are original.
That last line is not as daft as one thinks when often listening to what passes today as being “original” before one hears that copyright infringement issues and lawsuits are flying around all over the place.
It makes one think about legendary songwriters like Carole King, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Lennon and McCartney etc, and how they were able to build their huge catalogue of work.
Trying to find some original new songwriters with something to say through music was what made us decide on a competition inviting talent to try and write a song inspired by a short story of mine called “Give Yourself Up To Imagination”.
From almost 600 entries from around the world, the judging panel whittled these down to twelve and then to the final three.
Of the three, “Imagination” by Nine Year Sister stood out right from the catchy intro.
Though the two other finalists- Ingrid White from Cameroon and Ryan Lee, very tellingly, the only entry from Hong Kong- both had very strong songs, the sisters had really got into the head of Madison, the girl in the story.
Their song is very much an extension of her personality and journey to find inspiration in a world where this is in short supply.
It was a beautiful telling of my story- through song. Their song, something that might be described as Indie Pop/Folk and with an infectious melody that can work in any language.
(Listen to the songs of the 12 finalists)
Speaking to the Wardle sisters on Zoom, they’re approachable and likeable.
Though the cash prize of US$10,000 is nothing to sneeze at, what was clear was their joy in entering the competition- and winning.
Maybe it was proving something to themselves and their fans.
It’s also something good for their portfolio and which could open up other opportunities.
One door has already opened.
Like Ryan Lee and Ingrid White, they, and very probably other talent from the competition, will be featured on our new Time: Changes showcases.
Being in Hong Kong, Ryan will also be performing at adrenaline, the venue at the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
Time: Changes, too, was created to introduce music fans to new talent with something original to say with their songs or arrangements or whatever might inspire others to be musically adventurous- and be themselves. Not everyone wants to be Lorde or Drake or Finneas or whoever is already out there.
Where might all this lead?
How long is a ball of string?