The Grande Dame of Australian Folk Music
Judy Small is known for her feminist, and political songs, usually following a traditional theme. She produced twelve albums, hundreds of songs and has been described as being among the most popular political singers in Australia. She enjoys singing about real people and issues, stating "If an audience comes away thinking about issues it is a worthwhile performance".
Judy Small, now based in Melbourne was born in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales. She moved to Sydney in 1972, studying psychology and began her career as a singer and songwriter in the late 1970s, inspired by the folk boom of the 1960s and describing her influences as such folk singers as Joan Baez, Peter, Paul and Mary and The Seekers.
Her songs have been recorded by Ronnie Gilbert, Eric Bogle, The McCalmans, The Corries, Charlie King and Priscilla Herdman among others. Several have been translated into a number of languages.
Apart from her own repertoire she is a renowned interpreter of song both traditional and contemporary.
After a successful performance at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival in 1982 she became a full-time singer-songwriter. Over the next the 16 years, she regularly toured throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Australia and New Zealand.
In 1990, she received the "Mo" Award - Mo Awards for Australian Folk Performer of the Year and in 1997 was the Port Fairy Folk Festival Artist of the Year. She was also invited to Beijing for the United Nations Women's Conference NGO Forum - UN in 1995, where she sang to thousands of women from all over the world.
People had been asking for some years for Judy Small to release an album recorded live, so they can hear her introductions and stories of her songs, which have become much a part of the show, as her actual concert performance, so a concert was recorded called "Live at the Artery" in her home town of Melbourne and subsequently was released as a double CD Collection set, spanning her 35-plus years of music.
Judy Small stopped performing full-time in 1998 when she became a family lawyer in Melbourne but continued to write new songs and to perform regularly at festivals around the world.
In March 2013, she was appointed as a Judge with the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, and retired fully from performing.
She was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2013 for her work as a songwriter and recording artist.
She retired from the Bench in April 2020.
In 2021, Judy decided that she would return to the stage and is enjoying singing for an audience again.
She married Charlotte Stockwell in Wanaka, New Zealand on 10 May 2014.
Judy was appointed Co-Chair of Midsumma in September 2019. Midsumma is one of the largest LGBTQ+ arts festivals in the world and is Victoria's second largest arts festival.
Judy Small's songs cover a wide range of topics and styles, especially social justice, equity and harmony with a particular emphasis on feminism and peace. Among the most popular are "Mothers, Daughters, Wives", "Women of Our Time", "One Voice in the Crowd" and "Global Village".
Awards and recognition
In 1990, she was awarded the Mo Award for Australian Folk Performer of the Year.
In 1997 she was the Port Fairy Folk Festival Artist of the Year. In 1995, she was invited to Beijing for the United Nations Women's Conference NGO Forum.
In 2006, Australian Rhymes Magazine named her club/pub entertainer/performer of the year, in which she released a double CD, tie-in collection of her greatest hits, titled "Live at the Artery".
In June 2013 she was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her contribution as a songwriter and recording artist to folk music.
Judy received the National Folk Festival Lifetime Achievement Award in 2022.
A Natural Selection (1982) (CD - re-released)
Mothers, Daughters, Wives (1984)
Ladies and Gems (1984)
One Voice in the Crowd (1985)
Home Front (1988)
Best of Judy Small (1992)
Second Wind (1993)
Global Village (1995)
Three Sheilas (1997)
Let the Rainbow Shine (1999)
Never Turning Back (2001)
Judy Small: Live at The Artery (2006, reissued 2021) (double 2 CD disc, recorded live in Melbourne)