From finding her voice and musicality in her school jazz band and gigging at various Geraldton venues and events as a teenage ingenue, Nadene Burchell is now about to grace the same stage as global superstars Coldplay. The British supergroup handpicked Burchell and her band, King Ibis, to be one of their two support acts at their Optus Stadium concerts next month in front of 60,000 people, and the Geraldton girl is still pinching herself. With Burchell having deep roots in Geraldton, the local music scene is buzzing with excitement about her band’s achievement. The opportunity to open for Coldplay is a dream come true for Burchell, the captivating lead singer and songwriter for the Perth-based indie pop/rock band. “We are all still in shock, we’re feeling so grateful for this opportunity, and we are so ready to work harder than ever and really put on the best show we possibly can,” she said. The Chris Martin-led band holds a special place in Burchell’s heart and is an avid fan, with a particular affinity for their album Ghost Stories. “I love, love, love the Ghost Stories album the most, and there are so many nostalgic songs like Talk,’‘ Burchell said. “I never would have imagined I would eventually get to open for one of their shows. It’s huge!” Burchell’s musical journey began as a Geraldton schoolgirl. She went to Mt Tarcoola Primary School and later Nagle Catholic College. Her foray into the world of music was sparked by her sister, Candace, who introduced her to the guitar with classics like Smoke on the Water and Wild Thing. Burchell’s persistence and endless practice hours eventually paid off, enabling her to read basic chord charts and play on her own. During her time at Nagle, Burchell joined the jazz band under the tutelage of Josh Crothers. Although sight-reading was not her forte, her heart was set on learning songs by artists such as Missy Higgins. “I was a pretty average addition to that band, but I really enjoyed being a part of it nonetheless, and Mr Crothers gave me heaps of tips for improving my guitar skills,” Burchell recalled. Mr Crothers spoke highly of his former student and was not surprised by her success. “Nadene flourished as a music student at Nagle. She became an enthusiastic music student in early high school and rapidly developed her guitar skills,” he said. “She found her beautiful voice and became a proficient performer, often headlining shows and wowing audiences. It’s great to see Nadene’s career heading in the amazing direction we all knew it could. Coldplay!” Burchell’s music teacher at Nagle Simone Bailey-Hough played a pivotal role in nurturing her musical abilities. Burchell recalled how Ms Bailey-Hough encouragement helped lay the foundation for her music theory knowledge and passion for songwriting. “Nadene was always a pleasure to teach. From Year 9, she started to demonstrate her potential singing and playing guitar with her friends in music. The harmonies were simply lovely,” Ms Bailey-Hough said. The teacher often thinks of Burchell and her close friend Ciara Taylor who used to perform together as a duo when hearing songs they used to sing. “I was fortunate to be able to set the girls up with small gigs around town. Nadene was terrific to work with as she was always eager to learn and try new things,” she said. “I was so proud when Nadene earned a place at WAAPA (WA Academy of Performing Arts) and have been following her success and hard work on Facebook. Supporting Coldplay must feel like a dream.” Burchell and Taylor started performing at open mic nights at The Freemasons and eventually they scored their first paid gig at The Provincial, with the 15-year-olds becoming a regular act there for more than a year. As their popularity grew, they ventured into more gigs across Geraldton and even had the opportunity to open for legendary rock band, Dragon at the Red Hill concert in 2012. Taylor remembered those days fondly. “Nadene and I started our acoustic duo together when we were in Year 8/9. What began as a fun activity, where we learned how to harmonise and she taught me how to play the guitar, turned into playing at open mic nights at the Freemasons and eventually we got regular gigs at local bars and restaurants,” Taylor said this week. “I was always inspired and in awe of Nadene’s talent — she carried our duo! We were fortunate to have lots of opportunities and the support of our school and community, which led to some of our favourite performances. “One of the highlights of our time playing together was opening for Dragon at a Red Hill concert in 2012. I have been continuously impressed by her hard work and perseverance. Being an artist, particularly in Perth, is not easy, so she (and her band) deserves all the success that comes her way.” Lisa Burchell could not be prouder of her daughter’s accomplishments. “We are so proud of Nadene; we have seen all the hard work that she has put into her career. Music is her passion, and for a country person to get an opportunity to play in front of a large crowd at Optus Stadium is so massive,” she said. The family received extensive support from the Geraldton community and local businesses. One such supporter was Ash Collins at Opus Music, who consistently offered good deals on instruments and guitar lessons for Burchell and her sisters. King Ibis was formed in late 2018 and features Burchell on vocals, Matthew Oakley on guitar, Samantha Goddard on bass and John McAndrew on drums. Coldplay chose King Ibis and R&B and Afrobeats artist Adrian Dzvuke to be their opening acts, following a competition open to all WA acts over the age of 16. As winners, they each receive a $15,000 grant to boost their music careers, an initiative supported by the WA Government Contemporary Music Fund. Dzvuke will be performing at the concert on Saturday, November 18 while King Ibis will take to the Optus Stadium stage on Sunday, November 19.