Adelaide-based band etypejazz recently returned from a successful US trip as part of G’Day USA, an Australian Government promotional program.

Katrina Ryan spoke to Jazz Australia about performing in New York and LA, and the band’s new celebrity fans.

Jazz Australia: Can you explain what the G’Day USA program was about? What did it aim to achieve.

** Katrina Ryan:** It was established by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to promote Australian products, industry and entertainment to the American market. This year was the first year it was showcased in New York as well as Los Angeles, and we hear it’s continuing to grow.

JA: How did you get involved in the event?

KR: We were very honoured to be personally invited by the Consulate General to New York John Olsen, the former Premier of South Austalia.

JA: What did the tour involve in terms of gigs and cities?

KR: We performed just about every day we weren’t travelling. At times it was exhausting, but it was also exhilarating to be performing at such high profile and glamourous events.

Saturday 13th January, 2007
Penfolds black tie dinner
Venue: Century Plaza, Los Angeles
Approx 1600 people in attendance
Performed cocktail pre-dinner set and after-show party
Guests included Australian and American celebrities, political dignitaries and prominent business people. This event honoured Russell Crowe, Naomi Watts and the late Steve Irwin.

Sunday 14th January, 2007
General public performance
Venue: Spazio Jazz Restaurant, Sherman Oaks Los Angeles
Approx 100 people in attendance
Performed dinner music sets from 7.30-9.30pm and then show sets from 9.30-11.30pm
Audience included general restaurant patrons and music industry professionals.

Tuesday 16th January, 2007
Conservancy dinner performance
Venue: Museum of Natural History, New York
400 people in attendance.
Performed cocktail pre-dinner set and also on the main-stage throughout event
Guests included prominent New York business people, high-level expatriates living in New York, Australia Week dignitaries and senior Australian officials, including Alexander Downer, John Olsen and Kevin Foley. This event was to raise money for Australian conservation.

Thursday 18th January, 2007
Department of Trade and Economic Development – Carnegie Mellon Alumni Dinner
Venue: 3West Club, New York
Approx 45 people in attendance.
Performed dinner show to showcase South Australian music and fashion
Guests included Carnegie Mellon alumni and South Australian political dignitaries. This event was to celebrate and showcase the partnership between the South Australian Government and Carnegie Mellon University.

Friday 19th January, 2007
American Australian Association black tie dinner
Venue: Cipriani, Wall Street; New York
Approx 1300 people in attendance
Performed cocktail pre-dinner show, main-stage performance and after-show party
Guests included Australian and American celebrities, political dignitaries and prominent business people.
This event honored Olivia Newton-John and Collette Dinnigan. Hugh Jackman promoted his forthcoming film, Australia.

JA: How were you received?

KR: We were overwhelmed by the response. The audiences loved our music, our interpretations of well known tunes and also our original songs. At Cipriani’s restaurant in New York, Olivia Newton-John was dancing right up the front of the dance floor and made a point of saying, “You guys are great”. You just can’t stop playing when you have stars on the dance floor, so we performed a two-and-a-half-hour set, which was a first for us.

JA: What were the highlights?

KR: Honestly, the highlight was confirmation that we’re heading in the right direction. Our industry can be difficult at times and we are proud that we have stuck to our goals and travelled the path our way. When a production company that has worked with thousands of artists says, “We have never worked with a band as great as you guys”, it confirms that you can be successful, professional, and nice!

JA: I understand the band made it on to TV in New York and LA. Which shows did you appear on and were the appearances prearranged?

KR: We were on genral news programs in both Australia and in the US that were promoting G’Day USA. I presume these were pre-arranged with the production companies. [Fellow band member] Beth did a live cross radio interview back in Australia.

JA: What were the main things the band got out of the tour?

KR: We have been able to establish relationships with producers, writers and record companies in the States which will hopefully help us fulfill our dream of expanding etype further into the international arena.

JA: Do you think the exposure opened doors for you?

KR: Definitely. The networking opportunities alone will enable us to go back to the States in the near future and play to public and corporate audiences.

JA: Did the experience make you keen to spread you wings further?

KR: It confirmed for us, that the choices the band has made before the trip regarding our future were the right ones and we are definitely more inspired to write and record our original material. We are also planning to tour Asia and possibly other regions in the next couple of years.

JA: What are your immediate plans?

KR: We are focusing on writing more originals, developing and touring shows and recording an exciting new album.

We will perform as a part of the Adelaide Fringe Festival in the fabulous Umbrella Revolution on Saturday, 17th March at 7.15pm. Tickets are $25 through FringeTix.

Get more details about the band and its activities on the etypejazz website.

Photo: Vocalist Katrina Ryan with Oliva Newton-John.