AMBER Lawrence has always been a naturally positive person.
She prefers to take the perspective that "you could win the Lotto tomorrow", or in her case, "Keith Urban could call me and ask me to open his shows."
It's that engaging and energetic spirit that's seen the country singer-songwriter win five Golden Guitars and release six albums, plus three acclaimed children's records.
However, maintaining her trademark positivity has been challenging for Lawrence over the past two years.
In June 2020 Lawrence and her husband Martin were devastated when they learnt their unborn second son, Woody, had died.
Lawrence's family's pain was channelled into the heartbreaking You Were Mine, the stunning centre piece of her seventh album Living For The Highlights.
Lawrence sings, "You were mine/ For a moment in time/ That took my breath away/ Broke my heart changed the way I see the world forever," in a song so raw it feels like eavesdropping.
Lawrence co-wrote the track with Hunter Valley Golden Guitar-winner Lyn Bowtell and says You Were Mine is so upsetting she's been unable to play the song to her family.
"It was really hard and probably harder to sing than record," she says. "I wrote that song because I gave birth to a baby at 21 weeks and obviously that's too small to survive. That was a real experience for our family and it's something that a lot of people have been through.
"I wrote the first verse in the early weeks after it happened and then I sat down with Lyn Bowtell over Zoom.
"She's had her own grief in relation to fertility, and I don't think there's many people who haven't, but it's very hard to talk about.
"I don't like talking about it, even though I will talk about it. This song was very easy to write because it's so real."
Lawrence has two reasons why she needed to release You Were Mine. First, she wanted to create discussion about the topic of stillbirth and miscarriage, which effects thousands of families.
In 2018 9.2 perinatal deaths per 1000 births were recorded in Australia, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Second, Lawrence says speaking about her family tragedy helped her in the ongoing grieving process.
"I wanted to get back to the person I normally am, which is positive, living for the highlights, but that doesn't mean you don't have sadness," she says.
"I think sadness shared helps you move on. For me not sharing meant I was angry and I thought nobody understands what I've gone through.
"That's how a lot of women or families feel when they have a miscarriage or stillbirth, they feel like nobody understands them and that they can't talk about it, so is my grief even real?"
While You Were Mine sees Lawrence bear her heart and soul unequivocally, Living For The Highlights is generally an album of celebration, imbued with her infectious positive vibes.
The album features a range of co-writes with Travis Collins, Melanie Dyer, Katrina Burgoyne, Matt Scullion and Phil Barton.
Songs like the defiant Making Up For Lost Wine and pop-country buzz of the title track make it crystal clear that Lawrence is a cup half-full kind of person.
"This song Living for the Highlights, the idea came because I made all these new friends in the last two years because of my child [Ike] starting to attend preschool.
"It was this weird thing of I'm a grown up and I've got new friends. It switched into this positivity that life can still get better.
"Where ever you are in your 30s or 40s isn't the end of the exciting times in your life, so that's where the idea came from."
In recent years Lawrence has also been learning how to juggle the demands of motherhood with being a touring musician.
"This is a motto I've given to other people who have asked for advice, 'be comfortable achieving less and to a lower quality'," she says.
"As a working parent you can do it all, but with a little less quality. People welcome honesty and that's what I always say in my shows.
"Sometimes I've had to bring my son to my show, thinking he'd sit and watch, but it doesn't work like that. He stands up on stage holding my leg or punching my bottom.
"You just have to be open to that. This is life and what are we here for if we're not going with the highs and the lows?"
Amber Lawrence's Living For The Highlights is released on Friday.
Catch her live shows at Goulburn Workers (July 23); Young Services (July 24); Harmonie German Club, Canberra (July 29); Gerogery Hotel (July 31); The Entrance Leagues Club (August 12); Junee Theatre (October 7); Spring in the Springs, Rankin Springs (October 8); Sandigo Hall (October 9); Club Forbes (November 25); Harden Country Club (November 26).
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