Kate Miller-Heidke recently released her fourth solo album and completed a series of sold-out shows in the UK. Now, she returns to Australia to perform songs from her latest album, O Vertigo!, in a series of intimate acoustic shows around the country.
Kate Miller-Heidke recently released her fourth solo album and completed a series of sold-out shows in the UK. Now, she returns to Australia to perform songs from her latest album, O Vertigo!, in a series of intimate acoustic shows around the country. “Australia is home and it always will be,” says the Brisbane-born singer-songwriter, who will perform at the Adelaide Hills’ Bird in Hand winery on Saturday, August 2. Released in March and garnering rave reviews along with a top five debut on the ARIA album chart, O Vertigo! is a fresh and unexpected collection of songs in which Miller-Heidke playfully redefines the pop genre, while drawing on her classical roots to explore unchartered vocal terrain. “Stylistically, this record is all about the voice and just being playful with it and nudging the extremities a bit,” she says of the album, which jumps from operatic falsettos to gentle voice percussion across its 13 tracks. “There’s one sound on it that my friend describes as a yodelling ambulance. I haven’t shied away from using those sorts of sounds. Overall, it’s pop music but I’d like to think that I make surprising pop music. It’s not formulaic. It’s like a mixed bag of jelly beans.” A far cry from her darkly cinematic and introspective previous album, Nightflight, Miller-Heidke’s latest work oozes fun. The album embraces a range of contemporary styles, featuring collaborations with British folk-rock singer Passenger, fellow Aussie Megan Washington and, most surprisingly, Perth based hip hop artist Drapht. “In a lot of ways it was a reaction against my last record,” Miller-Heidke says. “It’s an eclectic mix of songs; I didn’t really strive to make one coherent statement. It’s more of a jerky ride perhaps. There are songs about love and heartbreak and feelings, but I think there’s a spontaneity about this record that wasn’t there last time.” This sense of freedom was echoed by Miller-Heidke’s decision to release her fourth solo album independently, funded through PledgeMusic in a record-breaking three days thanks to the immense support of her fans. The writing of the album was also primarily her own. “I wrote most of this album myself. A lot of it outside, walking around the Brisbane River singing into my phone like a crazy person. I think what it came down to was confidence. The fact that this is my fourth record, and because of ;the overwhelming success of the crowd-funding campaign to make the record, I had the luxury of seven weeks in the studio. So it was time enough to play around with things and try ideas – some of them turned out to be completely shit and others turned out to be good.” Miller-Heidke will be touring the country with a full band, performing her latest tracks alongside UK singer-songwriter and guitarist Ryan Keen. “There will be a bit of an emphasis on the new record but it’s going to be a mixture of new and old stuff. Ryan Keen, who’s opening the show, has never been out to Australia before. I think my audience will like his stuff and vice versa.” After her Australian tour it’s back to the UK for the European release of O Vertigo!, after which Miller-Heidke will head to the USA to perform for the New York Metropolitan Opera. The 32-year-old singer is also writing a new children’s opera for Opera Australia, which will be staged next year. Amid all the touring, it’s hard to imagine where she finds the time to write music. “I guess I’ve realised that discipline is important when I’m creating and writing. I need to force myself to write every day. As unsexy and un-rock-and-roll as it is, I just need to have a routine. Especially with such a funny, mixed up life on the road, getting home and having a routine is, in some ways, freedom and a bit like a holiday.” Kate Miller-Heidke Bird in Hand Winery Saturday, August 2 birdinhand.com.au