Tamworth local Loren Ryan is forging her music career. Not only does the singer/songwriter write about her experiences with domestic violence, but the 22-year-old sings in Gamilaraay language and is teaching youth the importance of language revival.
By
Hannah Hollis

Source:
NITV News
25 Aug 2016 - 4:37 PM  UPDATED 25 Aug 2016 - 4:37 PM

“I never understood why anyone would stay with someone who did those things to them.”

That’s all Loren Ryan, knew about domestic violence.

That is, until it happened to her.

For two years, the Tamworth local who was a teenager at the time, was trapped in a toxic relationship that promised so much.

“He manipulated me and was always breaking things."

The 19 year old suffered in silence until the night she was admitted to hospital, marking the end of their relationship.

Loren’s mum Kerrie vividly remembers receiving a phone call no parents wants to answer.

“It was the ambulance man telling us Loren was up at the hospital and she was in a state I’ve never seen before. When we got there she didn’t know where she was, she couldn’t talk.

Traumatic as it was, Loren now 22, found a way to cope with the ‘patches of memory’ that refused to leave her.

“I just wrote from experience.  There was a lot of breaking furniture, a lot of holes in the wall that just missed me and went through the wall like a fist or a leg. There were lots of broken dishes and cut feet from having to walk through the glass.” She told NITV.

Her new song Stars, released tomorrow is a metaphor for the pain she suffered.

“In the first verse it started to peter out, in the second verse after everything has happened and you’re trying to get over it and then third verse is not even being able to look at someone after it happened and coming to terms that it's never going to be the way it was....stars are just made to burn out.”

The words and even the choreography of her film clip are powerful.

It’s a contemporary dance that’s based around domestic violence and its very aggressive and overpowering and it’s a beautiful piece of art.

Loren remembers growing up watching the 100 countdown on Rage with her sister Lartisha and it’s in that moment she knew she wanted to be a singer.

“If we don't learn it now, we're never going to get the chance to learn it and it will be gone forever and that touched my heart.”

“We’d jump around on the bed to watch Rage and chase each other and sing the songs and watch the 100 countdown and people like Beyoncé were on and we’d stand infant of the mirror so we could see ourselves and pretend to be them.”

But it wouldn’t be for a number of years before anyone outside the walls of Loren’s bedroom heard her voice.

“I didn't really know if I was good or not but it was the only thing that I felt like I was good at.”

The turning point came one summer’s day when Loren entered a karaoke competition at the local youth centre.  She won.

“From that point I decided I didn't want to sing in my bedroom anymore, I wanted to go out and show people this thing that I thought I was good at.”

At 14, Loren started studying her mother’s Gamilaraay language in high school.

Loren also teaches others, like Jacinta, how to sing in Gamilaraay language.  Each week they team up for a lesson to prepare for Jacinta’s performance at next year’s Tamworth Country Music festival.

Loren says when she realised how close to extinction aboriginal languages are she made it a ‘priority’ to learn.

“If we don't learn it now, we're never going to get the chance to learn it and it will be gone forever and that touched my heart.”

You can watch more on 'The Point with Stan Grant' tonight at 9pm.