“I’ve always had a very squishy soft spot for ‘What A Wonderful World’ by Louis Armstrong. That song plucks at my heart strings whenever I hear it or play it. It makes me think of my Grandfather in particular, and my family. It never fails to remind me that the world is wonderful – you just have to choose to see it! ”(Sherri Parry)
Bendigo local Sherri Parry is well known for the changing hues of her brightly coloured hair, but it is her music that sets her apart.
At 21, Parry is already making a name for herself as an exciting talent in Victoria’s folk scene. She has collaborated with many musicians on her journey so far, since beginning her career at the age of 12, singing at open mic nights and small gigs in Central Victoria.
“I think I was 13 or so when my parents let me go to The Bridge where I performed with a duo there,” Parry told reporter Chris Pedlar at The Bendigo Advertiser. “That helped me become accustomed to performing for crowds and it wasn’t that intimidating. It was a great stepping stone and a brilliant way to develop how I play.”
Parry’s ongoing participation in the annual Bendigo Blues and Roots Festival has put her songwriting abilities in front of many industry professionals and afforded her mentors such as Grim Fawkner and Tom Lee Richards.
“In writing songs I have never really tried to emulate anyone, because I was always writing for myself.
But there are a lot of bands who I have listened to like Radiohead, Tori Kelly, Led Zepplin and Beyonce. The list is endless and I have learnt to gain influence from every kind of genre,” she says.
We invited Sherri along to Busker What’s Your Story? to find out a little more about Bendigo’s golden girl.
What drew you to music as a youngster and eventually to busking?
“I first learnt to play violin in grade 2, only in an attempt to emulate my big sister who was also studying the instrument. But I quickly became bored with the classical and strict lessons, and chose to pick up a guitar instead. Everything spiralled from there. Since I turned 16, I’ve learnt how to play, sing and perform for myself. Creating and performing were the things that kept me grounded and happy, and they still do. The freedom that came with the desire to learn and improve on my own, coupled with unwavering support from my family, is what pushed me into really wanting to make a career out of music.”
If you could choose a favourite lyric, what would it be, and why is it special?
“There are far too many songs, and far too many lyrics brilliantly scattered across this world to choose one line or one song. But I have always had a very squishy soft spot for What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong. That song plucks at my heart strings, whenever I hear it or play it. It makes me think of my grandfather in particular, and my family, and it never fails to remind me that the world is wonderful – you just have to choose to see it.”
Tell us about your new song?
“It’s called Greed and it’s the first song released from my new album coming 2020. It’s actually also the oldest song that will be gracing the album, having been written by 15yo me in 2013. Greed is about simply that – Greed. It was written during a time in my adolescence where I realised that particular people who persistently spoke to me and sought my attention, only did so for their own gain and benefit, often being a romantic one. I quickly learnt that I wasn’t fond of that at all, and Greed was the result.
Over the 6 years of performing it, it’s definitley become a staple in my set list and a song my audience could probably recite the lyrics to. It’s one I let loose on each show, I throw all my angers and frustrations at the world into it, and like to think others do too.
But they’ll have never heard it like this – with a full band backing, incredible production, and a hell of a lot of work, it’s their first tiny sliver of the delectable cake that is this new album.
Greed is the roots of this album, the oldest and probably most loved song I have, and that’s why it’s the first single to be released. It’s a familiar welcoming into what you already know, and what awaits you.”
The song has just been released today and is available here:
What’s a great piece of advice you’ve been given in your lifetime?
Family. It’s the most important thing. They’ll always be there. Don’t forget that.
“My cousin told me this a few months before he passed, and it’s cemented in the walls of my brain ever since. He was right.”
What’s a memorable moment you’ve had busking?
“Years ago I was a part of a duo called Him and Her, in which I performed a side spot for the Bendigo Easter festival in the middle of a street. We had our cases set in front of us, a portable battery to run our amp, an incredible amount of people coming and going. Plus we were both relatively new to the busking/performing.
So when we had about 50 people stop to actively listen to us, we were amazed. But that’s not my favourite memory. As we packed up our gear that day, I had a woman with her baby in a pram come up to me who said that we’d put her crying 2 month old girl to sleep with our music. I remember feeling so touched, delighted, and excited.”
Where else can people see you perform?
“I play around Bendigo, my home town, regularly. Frequenting the Old Church on the Hill, The Golden Vine, and the Moonlight Market.
My home away from home is The Thornbury Local in Melbourne that I get to serenade every couple of months too. So if you look for some colourful boots and bright hair next time you’re around these spots, ya might just find me!”