Weddings and funerals – Tottie’s plans for 2014

Tottie Goldsmith

Tottie Goldsmith

Singer, actor, celebrity, charity worker – as if there weren’t enough strings to her bow, the beautiful Tottie Goldsmith has now added another. Several months ago, she became a qualified marriage celebrant.

Chatting with Tottie in her recently renovated bayside apartment, it’s clear this is a year of fresh beginnings – a new home, a new career and a revitalised trajectory for The Chantoozies, who are launching a new song and video clip.

But more about that later. Let’s start with the most recent career development – becoming a marriage celebrant.
What was it that inspired Tottie to be the one who blesses couples exchanging matrimonial vows? ‘Three people suggested it to me,’ said Tottie. ‘I’ve always had this belief that if you get a message from the universe three times, you must act on it. The first person to suggest it was my Dad, the second was a producer and the third was my sister-in-law. So I figured I’d better do something about it.’

But it wasn’t as simple as Tottie imagined. ‘The course isn’t easy at all. I wanted to get it over with as soon as possible but it took about seven months on-line and I worked at it constantly – even when travelling. But then the course I was studying with lost their accreditation so I had to sit for it again through the Attorney General’s office.’

That didn’t deter Tottie. She persisted, started from scratch, studied hard, graduated and then finally had cause to celebrate when she was granted her licence. ‘It was a really exciting day. I felt I’d achieved something. Just seeing the certificate with my name on it made me feel really proud. The first wedding I did, when I first said the words, “I’m a civil celebrant authorised by law to solemnise marriages according to the law in Australia,” it felt extraordinary.’

Tottie performing a wedding

Tottie performing a wedding

Performing a marriage ceremony comes naturally to Tottie. ‘It’s an incredible thing and I’m so glad I did the course.’ she said. ‘It really suits me. I love people, I love being involved in this sensitive but happy time and the response I’m getting from people is fantastic. I almost become a part of the family and I’m really honoured to be part of such a special time in their lives.’

Initially Tottie meets with the betrothed couple to see if they have the ‘right vibe’ between them and to talk about how the couple wants the ceremony to proceed. Then she sends them some ideas in an email with a template of how she thinks the couple might like the service to run. ‘I also like to see them a couple of times before the wedding to make sure we’ve covered everything and then we have a rehearsal.’

Tottie with the newly weds

Tottie with the newly weds

So was she nervous before conducting her first wedding four months ago? ‘I was a little, but because I’ve done so much MC work, I knew I’d be fine. I also rehearsed with a couple of friends of mine who played the bride and groom to practice the technical stuff – like when to pass the rings and juggle the microphone and it was all fine.’


Tottie is also a big supporter of gay marriage and is hopeful she’ll be able to conduct weddings for gay couples in the future. ‘In my family, I have a gay cousin and a gay aunt and their relationships are just as deep and profound as anyone else’s. Love is not gender specific. Really decent deep people rise above gender when it comes to love so I think that’s also a place in the market where I’ll be able to work well.’

A surprising twist to Tottie’s new career is that she’s also recently been asked to conduct funerals by families who don’t hold specific religious beliefs, but want a spiritual send-off for loved ones.

‘I was asked to do this,’ said Tottie, ‘I told the family I’d find someone else more suitable but they insisted they wanted me. It was an incredibly profound experience to sit with these people and talk with them about this woman I’d never met, but I felt I really knew her by the time we’d finished. Sitting with this family was an honour. I then went home and wrote up a condensed version of what everyone told me. We also talked about what music to play and how to structure the service, so it’s actually quite creative too.’

Like weddings, performing the funeral service was equally rewarding. ‘The woman who hired me rang the next day and said, “That was perfect. The whole family loved you. I think this is your calling.” I was really moved by this and it did feel right. Because I lost my Mum so recently, I really ‘got it’ and was sensitive to what they needed. I want to provide a safe, comfortable place for these people who are grieving.’

Of course the only problem for Tottie now is juggling her new vocation with her already established career as a singer. Especially as her band, The Chantoozies, has had a resurgence of popularity in the past year, meaning her calendar is heavily booked. With many weddings taking place on weekends, at the same time most venues want the band, how is she going to manage to continue doing both?

The Chantoozies

The Chantoozies

‘It will be tricky,’ she said. ‘There’s one day coming up where I’ve got a wedding at 2pm, then we drive out to a vineyard and I’ll have to get changed in the backseat ready to perform on stage. In one instance, I had to turn down a Chantoozies gig to do a wedding and in another instance, I turned down a wedding to do a music gig. So yes, it’s a juggle.’

But at the moment, the band takes priority. The Chantoozies are preparing to shoot a film clip for a new single they’re about to release so all Tottie’s energy is going in to that.

I’d love to tell you more about the new song, but Tottie says she’s sworn to secrecy. ‘We made a public declaration and put it on Facebook that we’d have a new single out by the end of March. It might be early April at this stage, but after having made such a big announcement, we’re determined to follow through with it.’

Best friends

Best friends – The Chantoozies

Tottie says she and her three fellow band members are all close friends. They don’t have management, because after so many years in the business and knowing each other’s strengths, they don’t need it. ‘We work really well together, ‘ said Tottie. ‘We’ve go an incredible sisterhood and an incredible work ethic and we’re better than any management team out there.’

So what does Tottie hope will happen with her song? ‘I’m hoping Smooth FM at least will pick it up. And other radio stations. I’m hoping the film clip goes viral, because it has an essence to it that could go viral and I’m hoping that once we get more attention, the venues will pay us double the money and we’ll have double the fun!’

Tottie singing

Tottie singing

Tottie said a recent session with a life coach made her realise just how important The Chantoozies are in her life. ‘If somebody said to me, you’ll never be able to sing with The Chantoozies again, I’d be devastated. It means that much to me. It’s that much fun. If we haven’t done a gig for ten days and I go to sound check and I’m on stage with my best friends surrounded by music that we love and it all pulls together and it happens, then I feel happy!’

‘There’s a lot going on right now, but I’m looking forward to all of it. It’s going to be a good year,’ said Tottie. Her smile says it all.



If you’d like to know more about Tottie’s work as a singer, actor or celebrant, check out her website which is at:










Fletch’s new Christmas Song – an interview with hubby

Awash with the Christmas spirit

Awash with the Christmas spirit

While I do take my journalistic profession quite seriously, I have to admit it to having a bout of the giggles while interviewing my own husband. I mean, it does feel a bit ridiculous, after all, when you’ve been married for more than twenty years – to put a taping device between the two of you to start a process of ‘formal’ questioning…

Fletch wasn’t enamoured with the idea either. He even tried fobbing me off with a press release instead! Are you kidding? His own wife? There isn’t a self-respecting journalist on the planet that would do a story on the back of a mere media release. Well, except for the super-lazy and disinterested. I’ve got plenty of faults, but I’m not those.

This was an interview that HAD to be done properly. It’s all about Fletch’s new Christmas song – If You Want A Happy Christmas – out today on ITunes for a teensy-weensy $1.69.  #iTunes

Christmas single

Christmas single – now available on I-Tunes

It’s an upbeat, catchy tune that will put you in the festive spirit, plus all the profits from the song will go to a wonderful charity, Blue September, to aid cancer research.

Fletch recorded the song with harmony singing sensations, The Pacific Belles, who also feature prominently in the video which can be seen on You Tube. The clip has already had more than 9,000 views. Check it out at

He even called on help from his ‘neighbours’ to take part in the video – with actors and great friends Stefan Dennis, Chris Milligan and James Mason joining in the shenanigans, playing the roles of a rather funky Santa and a couple of cheeky elves.

Christmas Video shoot

Christmas Video shoot

But enough from me. Let’s get straight into that interview. And just for the record, I call him ‘ALAN’, not Fletch in this interview, because I am, after all, a complete professional.


JEN: So tell how you came up with the lyrics for your new song?
ALAN: I’m happy to, but I’m only going to give you one shot at this because I know you’re very, very unreliable with recording interviews. So have you got a back up plan here?

(Okay, so maybe there have been technical glitches with a couple – just a couple – of interviews I’ve recorded on my IPhone that have had to be re-recorded…)

JEN: (laughter) Ah, only my fantastic memory.
ALAN: Okay then, we’ll see how you go.

JEN: So, the lyrics?
ALAN: The lyrics? Oh yes, right. Well, I personally am not a huge fan of the commercialisation of Christmas and so when I came to write a Christmas song, I wanted to do something that was fun but I wanted it to have a little bit of a message as well, and to shift the focus away from present-giving and back on to connecting with the ones you love.

JEN: Is this just a really elaborate way of you saying you’re NOT going to be buying me a present this year?
ALAN: Yes. Yes, you’re getting nothin’ but a big, big smooch right under the mistletoe.

JEN: But what about the diamond hoop ear-rings I really want? (much laughter as of course, I would never expect something so expensive from my very un-materialistic husband)
ALAN: Well, there’s plenty of rich bastards out there who will buy their wives diamond hoop ear-rings but that won’t get them anything. And you’re not going to get any.

JEN: Well, that’s just mean.
ALAN: Move on.

JEN: Why were you reluctant to be interviewed by me?
ALAN: Because you’re too invasive as an interviewer and you have a reputation for running with sleaze.

JEN: Rubbish! Give me an example.
ALAN: Your cosmetic blogs. They’re full of sleaze.
(I have no idea what he is talking about…)

JEN: Well, what about your song with the line in it about kissing under the mistletoe with a MERRY HO? What does that mean? You want to pash a drunken whore under a green leaf?
ALAN: Would you stop wasting my time?

JEN: No, this is my interview and I’m running it so just answer the question. Do you really think it’s appropriate we should be singing about drunken whores to our children at Christmas time?
ALAN: Well, it’s better to sleep with a drunken whore than a sober one.
JEN: Why?
ALAN: Because they won’t remember you the next day.

JEN: Time to move on. So what measure of success do you need from this song to make all the hard work worthwhile?
ALAN: I’d like it to have widespread distribution and recognition over the years – not just this year – and that I don’t make a loss.

JEN: So you want it to be played in shopping centres, at carols nights etc..?
FLETCH: I would like it to be played wherever people feel festive. I think it’s a festive song with a really good hook and I think people will enjoy it.

The Daily Mirror

The Daily Mirror

JEN: It’s already being touted by the Daily Mirror as a potential Number One hit. That’s a good start, isn’t it?
ALAN: That was very kind of them and if reaches Number One on the charts, I will be sending them a massive crate of French champagne.

JEN: Will I get any French Champagne?
ALAN: You never said it was going to a Number One Hit. You told me it sounded like a Wiggles song.

JEN: The Wiggles are very successful. Do you think it would sell better if you’d made a whole album of Christmas songs?
ALAN: And where the hell would I have found the time and money to do that?

JEN: Good point. It’s a very catchy song. Do you find it stays in your head?
ALAN: I can’t stop singing it. I wake up singing it, I go to sleep singing it…

Alan and The Pacific Belles

Alan and The Pacific Belles

JEN: Does it haunt you?
ALAN: It haunts me.

JEN: Do you hate it now?
ALAN: I don’t hate it, but it haunts me. And everybody I have played it to has had the same reaction.

JEN: That’s called an earworm. Do you know that term?
ALAN: I think you mean brain worm.

JEN: No, it’s an ear worm.
ALAN: Okay, it’s an ear worm. Nice. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not.

JEN: I suppose you have to put the challenge out to everyone.Can you listen to this song twice without it being stuck in your head?
ALAN: So that’s going to be the focus of you blog?

JEN: No, it’s going to be ‘Is he Mr Scrooge or Mr Christmas?’
ALAN: (laughter, rolls on the couch and falls off)

That’s the end of our interview. I quite enjoyed it. I should also mention that If You Want A Happy Christmas was performed by Steve Purcell’s Pearly Shells, written by Alan Fletcher/Tim Smith, produced & mixed by Robin Gray, and recorded at Allan Eaton Studios in Melbourne, Victoria.

So why not buy it today, help Fletch reach Number One on the charts and help a great cause at the same time? Oh, and let me know if you DO think this song really is an ear worm!