Nanango's coolest grandma shares her musical journey
A MOTHER at 17 and a grandmother in her early 40s, Natalie Fenton has had quite the unique journey.
But the 50-year-old Nanango musician takes it all in her stride.
The way she sees it, her unique experiences are inspiration for good song lyrics.
"Anything with drama, stress and misery is good material and good fodder,” she said.
With a good job, and a houseful of animals, the talented muso is in a good place.
But it wasn't always that way.
Fenton moved out of home when she was just 15 after constantly clashing with her father.
"He had one idea, I had another,” she said.
"I think he was happy to see me go.”
She realised school wasn't the ideal place for her either.
"I went for a couple of weeks of Year 10,” Fenton said.
"It didn't fit in with my lifestyle. I was a serial wagger.
"Apparently I was in the Year 10 photos, but I don't remember that.”
She moved in with her boyfriend and it wasn't long before the young couple received the unexpected news they were going to be parents.
"It was a bit of shock because I'd been told by three doctors that I would never have a child,” Fenton said.
"So, being a teenage mum never crossed my mind, because I thought I may never have another child.”
She remembers those days as a teenage mum were pretty tough.
"My partner hung around for bit but he moved to Katoomba for work, so we went our separate ways,” she said.
"I moved back in with Mum and Dad for a while, but that wasn't the best thing for my parent's relationship.”
The Nanango musician has had a number of relationships, but after five engagements, Fenton said she had never quite found her perfect match.
"I've never been married, and I probably never will,” she said.
"You say yes to an engagement and then you find out about them.
"It hasn't worked out to be quite what I thought, so I called it off.”
These days, Fenton has a great relationship with her parents and her son, who is now in his 30s.
He lives in Nanango with his own family.
The retail manager in Kingaroy Shoppingworld and Saints AFL player tries to spend as much time as she can on her music and is currently planning her third album.
"I'm still working on getting my music out there by gigging, doing loads of covers and adding my originals,” Fenton said.
"My biggest challenge is confidence and self sabotage.
"That's why I'm still where I am to be totally honest.”
If Fenton could pass any advice on to the 15-year-old version of herself, she would remind her there was always a light at the end of the dark tunnel.
"Make sure you make the right choices,” she said.
"I don't regret anything, they are all lessons.
"Every day is a bit of a challenge. I try to think I'm going to push through this.”
When asked if she would do anything differently with her younger days, Fenton had a swift and simple response.
"Maybe not,” she said.
Fenton will join other talented South Burnett artists for the UGLY Bartender Leukaemia fundraiser concert at the Nanango RSL on Thursday, September 5.
Hosted by journalist and radio host Matt Collins, local artists Natalie Fenton, Luke Green and Deal'N will share some of their story and perform their tunes during the intimate evening.
For more information, contact the Nanango RSL on 4163 1375.