Last Daze on Earth
“It’s fun to put in the odd moment of vocal insanity.”
I can’t say I’ve ever easily pinned down who Kate Miller-Heidke is. Her demeanour suggests coy, gentle lady of the house, ready to throw a tea party. Some video clips, like Can’t Shake It, reveal her as a Gwen Stefani hopeful, teetering towards hysteria with colour changing black head remover still in place. And when I speak with Kate I feel I could just as easily be sharing a pint with an old uni friend.
Despite her approachable down-to-earth friendliness, Kate has good reason to be a snooty cow. After winning multiple ARIAs, an APRA award, gaining international recognition and seeing her album Curiouser go platinum last month, Kate is about to embark on a tour with Ben Folds. Kate informs me that this entails, “singing the Regina Spektor part of You Don’t Know Me,” adding, “slightly shitting my pants about that.”
She needn’t be nervous though. It’s not the first time she has sung with a big wig. Kate also tells me, “last year we opened for Cyndi Lauper and I watched her perform from the side. I wiped a tear from my eye after she sang True Colors. Then she came over and said ‘hey Kate, do you wanna come up and sing Girls Just Wanna Have Fun with me?’ It was unforgettable.” Um, yeah! Singing with the great squinty one is a solid peak point!
Surely Kate is still in plateau mode, managing to keep herself (and her husband and bandmate, Keir Nuttall) busy working on a new album and a lot of “to-ing and fro-ing. We just got back from Nepal, where we did a gig for MTV Asia, to raise awareness about human trafficking over there.” Lady of the house, bonkers AND humanitarian?! Is this collection of personalities why her music has changed so much over the years? The last album certainly shares a bit more of her classical training, what with the crazy vocals and all. But it’s okay; Kate hasn’t lost the plot, clarifying, “I come from a folk music background and I think the first EP and Little Eve reflect that. Whereas Curiouser was much more about exploring the joys of expansive, experimental pop music… I think in the end a song has to come down to the lyrics and melody. But it’s kind of fun to put in the odd moment of vocal insanity.”
Since Kate is about to tour for the release of the single The Last Day on Earth, I thought I would ask who it is about (presumably not Didge from Neighbours) but I am told, “that song was initially inspired by a recurring dream about the apocalypse; it’s a love song during the apocalypse.” Quite the ominous tour then!
Author: Peter Rosewarne