Episode 9: Vera Blue on her favourite women in music: "It's a great time to be in the industry for us. We all hold each other up."
Vera Blue is arguably Australia's most exciting pop star at the moment. Watching her evolution from make-the-hairs-stand-up-on-the-back-of-your-neck performances of songs straight out of the Great Folk Songbook when she performed on television four years ago, to her current bolder electronic hooky numbers - we are witnessing a moment.
Born as Celia Pavey, the artist hailing from Forbes NSW began channelling and experimenting with a new found love for electronica through her current (nearly household) stage name Vera Blue. It's no easy feat to transition from one sound to another, but Celia has done so effortlessly and gradually over the years, and her earliest fans from the days of her Voice performances of Scarborough Fair and such are still holding on despite her new pop groove. She has triumphed in fusing folk and earthiness with beats and vibe - and artists everywhere naturally would envy this.
Celia released her album Perennial a couple of weeks ago and the songs are strong. The first track First Week sees her beautiful iconic red hair nodding to roots, folk and emotion in a big way, but the beats really make their impact by track two with the hooky Give In. And then it continues, this journey of heart, pop, art, folk, love, angst, drums, light, shade. All of it - in a word - nailed. With instant hits like Lady Powers and Mended, listen to every track and you'll find it all.
And the voice - oh, the voice! Seeing Celia unleash live is nothing short of heaven. She reaches for the heights and always lands there. Sometimes the fragility that makes her vocal chops so emotional means she may shake a little, but this is perfectly fine because - emotion, gosh darn it. Celia has it in spades.
A natural on the stage, Celia doesn't wing it. From all accounts, she is dedicated, hard-working and striving to grow better all the time. Both in her sound, and in her visual style. Her outfits are becoming bolder and more colourful.
Celia Pavey is wide-eyed, ambitious, gracious and grateful for everything that she has achieved and is achieving. And in this conversation with Music Love's Julie Kerr as part of our Women in Music podcast, Celia opens up about how thankful she is for her supportive family, her experience on The Voice, her record label, singing with Illy at the ARIAs, her new album, her tour - all of which she says, "All these moments I'm having....are stepping stones, and they are all so positive."
Vera Blue on performing:
"It's meant to be a joyful experience for me and for my band and for the audience."
On her new album Perennial:
[The album] is touching people everywhere. For [people] to be able to connect with something we've put everything into is absolutely amazing and that's all that really matters to us. People are connecting to the record in their own special way."
On her sonic evolution:
"I write folk music, I'm a folk artist, but I've fallen in love with electronic music."
On performing at the ARIAs:
"Oh, it was so wild, It was actually crazy. I was still kind of starting out in the industry, so that for me was just absolutely insane. I hope one day I get to perform at the ARIAs again - that would just be such a dream. It was such a great way to, you know, have a moment in the industry... And I remember looking down before Illy and I started Papercuts and obviously I had a fire bar in front of me and I was a little nervous about my dress catching on fire, but I remember looking out into the audience and seeing people like Kylie Minogue, Missy Higgins, and heaps of my friends out there and I was like, 'Is this really happening?' It made it easy having Illy next to me.
On her musical beginnings:
"I taught myself the guitar when I was fifteen. It's a hard industry. I was really lucky that my parents allowed me to - it sounds cliche - follow my dreams. I met the right people and have been looked after by my record label, and given time to explore who I am as an artist.
On her time on The Voice:
"I love looking back on it. It was such a great starting point. Delta [recently] called me and congratulated me, and told me the songs she's connecting to."
On her love of fashion:
"At the moment I'm finding myself really resonating with sparkles and metallics and so many different colours. I love outfits that have special features and draws my eye. I came across this designer named EWOL - she only had a small Instagram starting base. I started spamming her. I had to send her a private message saying. 'I'm sorry - I just spammed you'.... She made my Splendour [in the Grass festival] outfit dreams come true."
On her favourite women in music:
Obviously, Joni Mitchell, Delta Goodrem, Missy Higgins, Rosie and Jenny from I Know Leopard, Jess who is Montaigne. It's a great time to be in the industry for us - we all hold each other up."
Vera Blue is on tour now. Tickets Available Now at www.verablue.com/tour
Presented by triple j and The Music
FRI 4 AUG - THE GOV - ADELAIDE, SA
SAT 5 AUG - METROPOLIS - FREMANTLE, WA
TUE 8 AUG - TAP HOUSE - BENDIGO, VIC
WED 9 AUG - GRAND HOTEL - MORNINGTON, VIC
FRI 11 AUG - 170 RUSSELL - MELBOURNE, VIC - SOLD OUT
SAT 12 AUG - THE WOOL EXCHANGE - GEELONG, VIC
FRI 25 AUG - THE TRIFFID - BRISBANE, QLD
SAT 26 AUG - THE MILLS PRECINCT - TOOWOOMBA, QLD
SUN 27 AUG - MIAMI MARKETTA - GOLD COAST, QLD
THURS 31 AUG - UOW UNI BAR - WOLLONGONG, NSW
FRI 1 SEP - THE BEERY - TERRIGAL, NSW
SAT 2 SEP - METRO THEATRE, SYDNEY - NEW SHOW, ALL AGES
FRI 8 SEP - BAR ON THE HILL - NEWCASTLE, NSW
SAT 9 SEP - ODEON THEATRE - HOBART, TAS
SUN 10 SEP - 170 RUSSELL, MELBOURNE - NEW SHOW