SINGER Katie Noonan has attracted widespread attention for her heartbreaking performance of I Am Australian during the national MH17 memorial service but what is not so well known is that Noonan didn't know if the performance would go ahead until the "eleventh hour".
Noonan said the organisers of the service, in honour of those who perished in Malaysian Airlines flight crash, had originally wanted her to sing all of the parochial song.
Noonan however felt the only verse that really related to the tragedy was the one that had been written for the Black Saturday memorial service.
The organisers however weren't enamoured with her choice but Noonan refused to concede.
"I'm glad I stuck to my vision," she said.
"Thankfully they supported that idea in the end.
"It was very, very intense and upsetting. Obviously, as a mother and a daughter and a wife, just as a human, when you start to imagine, well you can't imagine that grief.
"You can't try to understand it or explain it, you just have to go, 'okay' and try to send love.
"The families were all standing in front of me so I was just trying to send them that 'we don't know what you're going through, but we're thinking of you'."
Noonan, who will perform in Bangalow on September 12, said she has learnt to follow her instincts since bursting onto the Australian music scene in the 1990s.
"I've learnt that your instinct will always guide you and that music is a limitless, wonderful, strange, beautiful thing, and there will always be something to learn. You'll be a student of music forever," she said.
A musician who likes to keeps this as "old-school and analog" as possible, Noonan said the highlight of her career was when people come up to her after shows to share their stories with her, telling her how and why one of her songs is special to them.
"Music is one of those things that make strangers feel like friends," she said.
Noonan said it was never a conscious decision to become a musician.
"It's always been a fibre of my being," she said.
"It was never really a question.
"My whole career really has been a series of happy accidents."
Noonan said the Bangalow audience can expect a very "intimate and relaxed" show from her.
"It always feels like friends gathering together to share together," she said.
"I usually don't write a set list, I keep it fairly flexible. I encourage people to shout out tunes they might like to hear.
"This is probably going to be my last set of solo shows for a while."
We are giving away a double pass to Katie Noonan's show. Email email@example.com by noon tomorrow for your chance to win.