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Awarded for service to arts and media
Born: 1 January 1950
Entered on roll: 2021
Jean Stafford is an Australian country music icon who grew up in modest circumstances in Northern Tasmania and achieved international acclaim as a country and western singer.
Jean is the most awarded female country artist in Australia with over 100 awards including Gold and Platinum albums and Number 1 hits which charted across Australia, USA, Europe and New Zealand.
Jean has won three Golden Guitar awards, two Mo awards (1991 and 2016) and received three ARIA nominations. In 1989 Jean was crowned Australia’s Queen of Country Music. Internationally, Jean is known worldwide as the Golden Voice of Country for her hit song Someday I’ll Take Home the Roses, released in 1982.
Jean was born at Latrobe, Tasmania, and grew up in the small country of town of Meander. Her home didn’t have electricity, so Jean listened to Radio 7LA on a transistor radio.
At the age of 12, Jean, “a silver-voiced girl” made her first public appearance on Northern Tasmania’s Show Time TV series on TNT-9 Launceston. Jean learned her craft performing at local hotels, country halls and dances and supported herself by working as a kitchenhand at the Deloraine Hotel.
The Hadley record label signed Jean in 1970 after she won a Talent Quest on Radio 7LA in Launceston. Jean went on to release five albums on the Hadley label.
Jean released her first debut solo album in 1974, with her song What Kind of Girl Do You Think I Am winning her the first of three Golden Guitars.
Jean has performed and recorded with many musicians including Smoky Dawson, Jimmy Little, Slim Whitman, Kitty Wells and Johnnie Wright. During the 1980s, Jean was a regular on Ray Martin’s Midday Show.
In 1992, Jean was appointed Tasmania’s Honorary Commissioner for Tourism to the USA. In this role, Jean wrote a song about Tasmania that was played and broadcast across the USA.
In 2006 Jean won the Western Swing Female Vocal of the Year in the USA and was the first non-American to win this award. Jean was nominated for this award again this year.
In 2008, Jean Stafford’s significant contribution to Australian country music was recognised with her induction into the Country Music Roll of Renown in Tamworth, NSW.
In her career Jean had a number 1 hit in the USA western swing charts for 28 weeks, and two number 1s across Europe.