Eccentric and colourful, Kate Miller- Heidke is as pretty as a picture – and talented too. Kate speaks exclusively with Candice Rose for Focus Magazine in the lead up to FOTSUN.
To be honest, I am normally not a big fan of those big industry functions, and it can be pretty boring sometimes. It starts to get a bit like speech night towards the end. But I did have a really great time at the ARIAS this year – especially after last year, which was my first time at the ARIAS and I had to perform – it was a lot of pressure and nervous anxiety and excitement all rolled into one. This time, it was a lot more relaxed, and I got to just enjoy the music and have a great time! (Laughs) I did go partying afterwards and got to hang out with Molly Meldrum and those usual kind of people – which was good fun too!
> You’re coming to Port Macquarie for FOTSUN. Have you been here before? What do you enjoy most about performing at festivals?
No, I haven’t been there, but I have heard that it is an extremely beautiful place and I am looking forward to it.
I love playing at festivals, as there is something about them that is so special in the vibe.
And having a whole bunch of people gathered in the open air to enjoy the music is special too. Everyone is always in a great mood, and I am also looking forward to checking out some of the other acts as well.
> What was it like growing up in Brisbane?
Brisbane still has that kind of country town mentality, despite being a city. It’s relaxed and the pace of life is slow … at the moment my life is quite busy and hectic, and to come home to see my family and friends is beautiful.
It’s probably like Port Macquarie, where you can’t leave the place without seeing someone you know, and that’s kind of comforting.
> What is the hardest and easiest part of your job as a well known musician?
(Laughs) Well, to me it doesn’t feel like a job! It feels like a lifestyle, almost like a calling. It’s chosen me in a way. Like all things, there will be hard parts and easy parts about it, you know. I think the hardest part of it is to really grasp how lucky I am to be doing this every day and to not take anything for granted. I am lucky to not be a musician who is struggling, trying to work another crappy day job and play crappy gigs. And sometimes, I can get caught up in all the day to day dramas, and I can find myself unappreciative of all the great stuff. So that is something I am kind of working on, not taking this life of mine for granted.
As far as the easy part goes, well you know – being able to live my life through music is an incredible privilege and I love, love, love performing and getting up on stage with my band, whom I have been playing with for the last few years now. All of them are great musicians. We have a great chemistry. That makes it a whole lot of fun, and we all get a buzz when coming to the stage.
> You’ve shared the stage with female artists like Chrissy Amphlett, Cyndi Lauper and Jenny Morris. What’s it like to be considered with that calibre of performer?
Oh well, I don’t know if I can be considered in their league, but it’s definitely an honour to be working with those people in the industry. And most of all, it’s inspiring. We opened for Cyndi when she came out in February, and she was a big inspiration. And Chrissy too. She has always been one of my heroes, and as an Australian, she is so fearless and gutsy, and it’s a good thing. It’s a great thing.
> Speaking of fearless, you said that’s how you wanted to approach your new album. Do you think that’s what you’ve achieved with ‘Curiouser’?
Yeah! I really approached the recording with that fun and experimental view, and that was the kind of guiding light. Sometimes it is hard to get a perspective on what you are doing – you get wrapped up in yourself as a songwriter. But I kept following that beacon of fun and groove, and the joy of pop music, and I think you can’t go far wrong with that perspective.
> You have studied music your whole life – particularly classical. Has this been important to you in your career?
I did study classical music at the Conservatorium in Brisbane, and it has been a huge influence on my style and the way that I sing and the approach of using my voice. I like to use my voice as an instrument and play around with the extremities of it.
It is something that has drawn people to my music I think, because it makes what I do unique – and I thank that background that I have.
> The film clip for ‘Words’ and ‘Can’t Shake It’ are fantastic! What is it like putting together a music video that requires so many theatrics?
Well, thank you for that! It’s a whole bunch of fun; I really enjoy that side to the business. Theatrics are certainly a big piece of our live show as well. It’s fun to take on characters with the film clips, and I enjoy it. It’s a lot of hard work though – especially with ‘Can’t Shake It’, with all the aerobics (laughs)!
> What will audiences be experiencing at your live show in December?
We’re going to be bringing all the new stuff and a little old stuff too. There will be heaps of energy, and ridiculousness and silliness, theatrics, choreography and much, much more!
> Thanks so much Kate!