Mama Kin: motherhood led me back

Mama Kin
Mama Kin

MAMA Kin is married to Australian music legend John Butler but she does not normally like to talk about it.

That’s because she wants to make it as a musician in her own right – a desire she is has managed to fulfil.

Mama Kin, also known as Danielle Caruana, has become a massive hit on the festival circuit – stealing the show with her bittersweet melodies, stomping piano and swampy beats at the likes of Woodford Folk Festival, Bridgetown Blues Festival and Byron Bay Bluesfest.

She has just kicked off a national tour to showcase her highly anticipated debut album, Beat and Holler, due in stores through MGM in July.

Tore My Heart Out, the first single from the album, was recently named iTunes Single of the Week. The accompanying video clip, complete with drum majorettes in suburban streets, scored indie clip of the week on Rage.

Mama Kin will drop into Mullumbimby next Saturday, February 20 to give fans a sneak preview of the album’s other assets.

But the road to success hasn’t been easy for Caruana.

Fear almost stood in her way.

“I was born into a musical family and was the youngest of six children,” Caruana explains.

“At age five, I began piano lessons and I took up singing too, but as I got older, I found myself becoming frustrated with my voice. Then I found myself getting frustrated with the regimentation of classical piano as well. This was compounded by a shyness that started to creep in when I performed in front of people. I think I might have compared myself to my family a lot, which crippled me in a sense … and I ended up giving music away.”

But life wouldn’t let Caruana hide for too long.

She met and married John Butler in Broome in 1999. But it wasn’t living with one of the biggest phenomena of Australian music from the past decade that got her back into playing music.

It was giving birth to her children, a daughter, Banjo, and a son, Jahli, in the hills behind Byron Bay.

“I got back into making music six or seven years ago – it was when I had kids … it opened a creative window for me,” Caruana says.

“It was completely petrifying and confronting in many ways; I put up lots excuses, I was very scared. But because I came from a musical background, once I pushed the button and opened the door, it was a very natural state for me.”

Opening the door was made easier by having a supportive husband but Caruana says being ‘Mrs John Butler’ has not made it any easier in getting where she is today.

“I feel it’s not incidental. What I have managed to achieve so far has been from a lot of hard work,” she says.

“My husband is an influence in that we share a life and family together. I love and respect his opinion, but we definitely have different tastes in music.

“But I respect his opinion. He is a great musician.”

And so is his wife.

Catch Mama Kin singing her stories while stomping away to New Orleans soul and rhythm and blues at the Mullumbimby Civic Hall next Saturday, February 20. Tickets available from Raw Store, All Music & Vision and at the door on the night.

Credit card phone bookings on 6684 6195. Doors open at 7pm.

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