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My Countrytown: Jamie McDell – Papamoa, New Zealand

22 February 2022 | 10:01 am | Mallory Arbour

We caught up with acclaimed Americana singer-songwriter, Jamie McDell to find out what she loves about her hometown, Papamoa, New Zealand.

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Regional towns are in our blood here at CountryTown! From Kurri Kurri to Broome, Ballarat to Noojee, we love the amazing country musicians our regional centres produce – but we mustn’t forget the quality artists who come from distant shores too!

Born in New Zealand, acclaimed singer-songwriter, Jamie McDell was signed to EMI at age 16, which sparked the beginning of a successful musical journey, making her a household name across the nation. Her debut album, Six Strings and a Sailboat, went on to achieve Gold album sales and received three NZ Music Award nominations, winning ‘Best Pop Album’ of 2013.

Her sophomore record, Ask Me Anything gained global attention, seeing album track Moon Shines Red featured on American TV series, Pretty Little Liars. Her third record, Extraordinary Girl was recorded in Nashville and released in 2017. Her The Botox EP dropped in 2019.

Her fourth studio album, set for release this Friday, was recorded in Nashville, and contains her most brutally honest moments, in both writing and performance, while the musicians and production take you on modern journey through 70s folk and country, blended with a healthy dose of roots and rock. Produced by Nash Chambers, the self-titled album includes appearances from Robert Ellis, Tom Busby (Busby Marou), Erin Rae and gospel quartet, The McCrary Sisters and includes the singles Poor Boy, Dream Team and Not Ready Yet.

We caught up with Jamie to find out what she loves about her hometown, Papamoa, New Zealand.


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1. The surf

We are so incredibly lucky to live right near the coast here in New Zealand, and near many idyllic surf breaks. Surfing is an activity that always helps me get some perspective! It's so great to have it be so accessible. I love that there's a growing community of surfers here too, always new friends to share the waves with.  

2. The fruit

The Bay Of Plenty is known for its cultivation of kiwifruit, which is amazing because it's one of my favourites! I love that you can always find delicious fruit from local farmers at stalls along the road or at the markets – we are lucky to have access to such great produce. The orchards are also a really beautiful part of the landscape. 

3. Our friendly community

Our dear friends live super close by, so we get to catch up for dinners and beach hangs all the time. We also have the loveliest neighbours, always willing to help out and give advice on the best things to grow here! There's plenty of community events and activities that you can involve yourself in and create opportunities to meet new people!

4. The creativity 

I'm inspired by so many young people here starting their own businesses or creative projects that allow them to lead a more balanced lifestyle. The innovation and energy bring lots of great art, music and food to the area and also an overall feeling that you can build your life the way you want to. It’s amazing to be a part of it.

5. The sunshine

New Zealand weather is far from consistent, but this area seems to stay pretty warm and sunny! There are so many great walks and ocean activities to be enjoyed throughout every season. There's also a ski mountain a few hours away, I haven't tried it yet, but I'd love to attempt a day skiing in the morning and surfing in the evening! 


Keep up to date with Jamie McDell via her Facebook page here.

For more of our My CountryTown series, check out here.