Refining your list of favourite songs is never an easy task. Whittling it down even further to tunes you are happy to rework and cover is even harder - which is what Karin Schaupp and Katie Noonan had to do for their new album.
Songs of the Southern Skies features 16 of the pair's most-loved Australian and New Zealand tracks rewritten to complement Noonan's angelic voice and Schaupp's classical guitar skills. Other Australian artists such as Clare Bowditch, Gurrumul and Iva Davies also feature on the album.
"We ended up with a very long list and it was then very difficult to whittle that down because there is such great music in Australia and New Zealand," Schaupp says.
"We wanted to cover different styles of things, so we have some classical pieces, a beautiful piece written by Elena Kats-Chernin, some beautiful folk tunes, some jazz and obviously some iconic pop songs."
"There were songs that were on the list initially that were great songs, but we just realised were just not going to work in an intimate setting."
Both artists felt it was important not to make an exact copy of the original tunes, such as Nick Cave and The Bad Seed's Into My Arms and Cold Chisel's Saturday Night.
"When you're trying to boil down a big pop song band into one single guitar, you can't just leave stuff out. You have to really rethink the song," Schaupp says.
This is the second project she and Noonan have worked on together since meeting and playing a set of British songs at a musical festival eight years ago. This album has been several years in the making, compiling the list of songs they wanted to work on and waiting to find time to record between new babies and other personal projects.
Despite their different musical backgrounds (Noonan has performed solo and with the Australian band George) Schaupp insists they rarely disagreed while making the album, which has been nominated in the Best Independent Release and Best Adult Contemporary Album categories in this year's ARIAs.
"I guess both being established in our slightly different career paths, it means we bring different experiences to the table and we respect that in each other."
Schaupp, who was born in Germany, was five years old when her mother began teaching her how to play the guitar. She has worked on numerous albums, played worldwide and has performed her own solo show, accompanying herself on guitar.
Classical guitar is entirely acoustic, so each note is bewitchingly clear. Schaupp says adapting her classical style to give each song a distinctive edge was challenging, but because of her experience, she knew it was possible.
"It is a challenge but, especially in the last few years, I think every project has been a challenge and you sort of have to keep challenging yourself creatively and the great thing about the classical guitar technique is it's able to play lots of styles," she says.