Bega teenager Felicity Dowd's first single has debuted at number one on the iTunes Country Songs Chart, helping bushfire-affected NSW South Coast communities along the way.
When Felicity saw the havoc wreaked by the NSW bushfires a year ago and the rebuilding since, she decided to do more than talk about it - she's putting her musical talents to use.
The award-winning songwriter penned Blue Skies prior to the bushfires in response to all the natural disasters that Australians had lived through including drought, floods and cyclones.
"It was written about natural disasters in general, and little did I know what devastation would occur so soon after," she said.
"After seeing the fires come down the coast and the rebuilding, the song really grew in meaning for me."
Blue Skies debuted at number one on the iTunes Country Songs Chart and number 25 on the iTunes All Genres Songs Chart.
The Year 12 student had been waiting for the right time and song to go into the recording studio to lay down her debut single and, following the bushfires, Felicity decided the time was right.
It wasn't just about getting her new music out there either. Felicity is raising money for the Cobargo Community Bushfire Recovery Fund through the sales of the single.
"I lived in Cobargo for five years and seeing what they went through, the town has a lot of meaning for me," she said.
"I have lots of friends who live there who were impacted by the fires, it was the first place I ever busked and Cobargo Folk Festival was the first place I ever performed."
At the 2020 Tamworth Country Music Festival, Blue Skies won the Tamworth Songwriting Association Talent Quest (Youth Category), and Felicity used the prize money towards the recording of the single.
The talented artist added to these wins in 2021, taking home the John P Toomey Commemorative Award for Youth Songwriting at the Tamworth Songwriters Association Awards for When the Party Is Over and the Garry Koehler Commemorative Award also at the TSAs for Novice Songwriting for her new single, Blue Skies.
"I contacted Rod Motbey from Tracking Dog Studios because I knew he grew up in Cobargo and still had family connections in the town," she said.
"I explained to him that I wanted to use my song to raise money for Cobargo and he was more than happy to help."
The single also features session musicians from the US.
In the year ahead, Felicity plans to use Blue Skies to raise as much money as she can to help the people of Cobargo to rebuild their lives, and she wants to play more gigs, more festivals and is looking to record another song, as well as studying for her HSC and is part of the prestigious Talent Development Project.
After graduation, Felicity plans to study journalism while continuing pursuing her music that walks the line between folk and country.
"I have always loved travelling to folk and country music festivals and have found my passion for playing and writing through these genres," she said.
The talented singer-songwriter has some high-profile mentors in her corner, including Golden Guitar winner Lyn Bowtell whom she met while studying at the junior course of The CMAA Academy of Country Music in Tamworth in July 2018.
To increase the impact of the story of Blue Skies, videographer Kyle Wilson has produced a video clip for the song.
The single is available to purchase here: https://smarturl.it/FelicityDowdBlueSkie