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‘The other side’ of City of Whittlesea CEO Craig Lloyd

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Grace Frost
Grace Frost
Hi, I'm Grace Frost. I was honoured to report for the Review as their Digital Journalist from mid-2022 to the beginning of 2024. Ive since made a move to the Herald Sun.

By Grace Frost

If there’s one person who can say they truly embody the character of an all-rounder, it’s Craig Lloyd.

Mr Lloyd has pursued multiple careers ranging from a police officer with the British Police Force to chief executive officer of the City of Whittlesea.

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But it is his most recent passion, and perhaps his most daring endeavor, that surprises many people – pursuing his love for country music, singing and songwriting.

Having started singing lessons in 2019 as a hobby, Mr Lloyd said it was after moving to Alexandra and attending the Taste of Tamworth Festival that he ‘discovered his other side’.

“I got talking to Lyn Bowtell, who’s a really well-known multiple gold guitar winner at the end of the show, told her I’d started singing, just a lose throwaway comment, and she said ‘send me a video’,” he said.

“I did a little snippet of a video of me singing, and that led to me going off in 2020 to be part of the Country Music Academy up in Tamworth.”

In just three years, Mr Lloyd’s music career has grown at a rapid pace, already ticking off the bucket-list items of many fellow aspiring musicians.

Most significantly, he was awarded The John and Judy Martin Commemorative Award at this year’s Tamworth Country Music Festival for his latest single ‘Take The Wheel’.

The award, also presented to co-writers Merelyn and David Carter of Carter and Carter, is granted to the best country ballad of the year by the Tamworth Songwriters Association, TSA.

Mr Lloyd said he regarded the experience and recognition of his track as ‘humbling’, and was thankful to the TSA for the title.

“To have been presented the award in the presence of some of the best songwriters in Australia was both memorable and wonderful recognition for our song,” he said.

Mr Lloyd describes his music, including the award-winning single Take The Wheel, as ‘all about the story’, taking inspiration from country music heroes such as Garth Brooks, Kenny Rogers and George Strait.

“[Take The Wheel] is a bit of a culmination of stories of many friends, colleagues, other people I’ve met along the way, who have made some bad decisions and then regretted them and then sought help from basically a higher being to help them steer them back onto the right path,” he said.

Mr Lloyd will hit the stage on Saturday as the opening act of the Whittlesea Country Music Festival, ready to share a new side of himself with the City of Whittlesea community.

“I attended the festival last year, but as a CEO of the council, so this year I’m wearing a different hat,” he said.

“The Whittlesea Country Music Festival is an amazing festival and the opportunity to open that is really an honor.

“It’s fantastic to have a country festival of this quality actually in the Whittlesea township, so I’d encourage locals to attend.”

Despite being a paid gig regularly, Mr Lloyd is performing for free and will sell his new album before it becomes available online to attendees at the show, with plans to donate all profits to charity.

“I’m doing it because I love country music and to be honest, Whittlesea [Country Music Festival] is an amazing festival, the Whittlesea township is an amazing place, so if we can get more people there spending some money for the weekend that’d be great.

“The organisers, who are all volunteers, put in an awful lot of time and effort and it produces a really good festival – one that’s known across the country.”

Mr Lloyd’s setlist is jam-packed with well-known country hits for attendees to sing along to and originals from his new album, appropriately entitled ‘The Other Side Of Me’.

“People don’t realise you have another side sometimes,” he said.

Mr Lloyd said he was most looking forward to performing ‘Take The Wheel’ and ‘Little Country Store’, his first duet, to be performed with Marilyn Carter, of Carter and Carter.

Mr Lloyd expects to release songs from his album online regularly, with plans to soon release his first music video.

‘Take The Wheel’ and Mr Lloyd’s additional releases can be found on all major music streaming platforms.

Upcoming events and further information can be found at www.craiglloyd.com.au.

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