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Annabel Fay’s treasured memories

The Kiwi songbird on her unruly childhood and difficult past year

When Kiwi singer Annabel Fay recalls her favourite childhood holidays in Fiji, it’s not the crystal-clear water or island adventures that make her smile the most – it’s the wildlife. But not the sort most would expect.

“I loved it because they had frog races. I went to an old-school resort where you’d meet at 6pm and the parents would have mai tais and the kids would race frogs.

The Fijian nannies were always so nice and lovely – I’d cuddle them all the time and they’d let me play pool.

I was seven or eight and I was a bit of a shark,” says Annabel, who will join a host of Kiwi talent for the More FM Summer Vineyard Tour across New Zealand next month.

But those getaways with her siblings Jessica (26) and James (28) were perhaps not as relaxing as her parents, Sir Michael and Lady Sarah Fay, hoped for.

“We were so naughty. We used to get into so much trouble. We were almost kicked out of a few resorts.

Once, when I was about seven, my sister and I stole a security cart, like a golf buggy, and we decided to army-roll out of it and it drove into a post,” she laughs.

Now 24, the singer is less action hero and more domestic goddess.

Annabel and her 32-year-old partner, Cameron Logan – who works in film production and whom she describes as “divine” – have just returned from Tahiti to their central Auckland loft, which they moved into six months ago.

When she’s home and out of the spotlight, Annabel likes nothing more than being a “crazy 1950s housewife”, throwing together elaborate meals and making the apartment their own.

“I love cooking. Last night I made albacore tuna steaks, which I marinated in soy sauce with Cajun spices and put on a bed of chilli black beans and red onion. Very intense, but very tasty,” she says.

“When we watch a movie, I can’t sit down. I’ll go upstairs and rearrange our bathroom. My poor partner, he’s got this crazy girlfriend.”

The couple’s trip to Tahiti was Cameron’s gift to Annabel so she could relax after months of travelling to Los Angeles, Nashville, New York and Sydney, putting her third album together.

“I wanted to collaborate with full-on pop producers. We have them here, but many wouldn’t get into collaborating.

I also wanted a different feel – the more people you meet and more places you go to draws out a consistent direction in an album. I learned so much by dealing with different personalities.

On the Auckland circuit it would’ve been just as good, but easier. I wouldn’t have had to get out of my shell so much, which has been a key part of the last few months.”

The public will get their first listen at the More FM Summer Vineyard Tour, where Annabel will share the stage with US soul star Aloe Blacc, Australian blues-rock band John Butler Trio and Kiwi star Tiki Taane.

“I’m very excited. I’ve always had bucket lists along my career. I’ll sit down every year and think ‘What will be my goal?’

One of them has always been a vin

eyard tour, so look at me, I’m going to be on tour with Aloe Blacc and John Butler Trio!”

Having been busy readying her band and making the album, Annabel says it was her banker father Michael who passed on to her a good work ethic.

“[He] instilled in us that you have to work as hard as you can to get anything good, which I think is a great lesson to teach kids. Our outcome is what we control – it’s not by chance or by fate.

People tend to think things just fall into your lap. That’s not the way I think.”

In fact, the pretty brunette came under fire last year when her music, put forward by her record company, received NZ On Air funding despite her family’s wealth. But she’s  gracious and philosophical in her response to the storm around her.

“At the end of the day, every person in the music industry has a fight, a struggle, something to overcome. And last year it was me learning to deal with freedom of speech.

People can say what they want – they might be right or wrong, but that was my hill to overcome last year. It comes with the territory.”

If anything, it’s made her stronger and more determined to believe in her own musical direction. The songstress explains her new album, to be released at the end of summer, is more youthful and more fun than her previous two efforts.

“I think I’m a lot more attached to the messages I’m sending. It’s my child. I never really understood when people said that about their music.

Before, I didn’t really know what was going on, but now I’ve seen the light – and I’m following it.”

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