Award winning singer and songwriter Kate Ceberano gets comfortable to talk with Two Flat Whites. One of the great voices this country has produced, Kate has teamed up with multiple ARIA award winner and Grammy Award winner Mark Isham to create her first jazz album in 20 years. An album that could only be aptly titled, ‘Bittersweet’.
With five Platinum albums, four Gold albums and over 1 million albums sold in Australia alone, Kate Ceberano has performed countless sell-out tours, starred in acclaimed feature films and hosted her own television show Kate & Friends. Kate’s bittersweet musical journey is set to continue. So grab a warm beverage and enjoy the interview.
Where did you grow up?
You live in Melbourne – what do you love most about that now?
I always love Melbourne this time of year. The turning of the leaves and the early dark nights. It reminds me of warm kitchens after school, tram rides home through Hawthorn, Kew and Balwyn and the smell of rain. I also love the city and the drama of Southbank counterpointed with the Botanical Gardens.
In your own words, what do you do?
I am a performing artist.
Where did you learn your craft?
On the road, in pubs, small theatres, cafes and bars. Later, concert halls, arenas and film studios. It has never ceased to inspire me and thrill me the learning part of my craft. Each new skill challenge or obstacle has been a red flag. I never ever think that I know it all. The contrary, I always approach new experiences knowing nothing… more fun this way. Open heart, Open mind…
TV Show – Bewitched
Hobby – tap dancing
Food – grandma’s chicken and banana cake
Fear – being left out
People –teenage girls in gangs have always made me wary
Defining moment – the first harmony I ever heard
Schooling memories, chore or cherished?
A bit of both. I think it was more of a chore for my teachers to engage me into anything that was not quite unquote “creative”
Who and what inspires you?
My daughter’s teacher. She is very dedicated to the philosophy of Montessori and she lives, breathes and patiently produces the most exquisite examples daily in her class, the tenets of this school
You have been a star since the age of 16, how has the music industry in Australia changed over the years?
The live circuit is not as accessible to newcomers, thus choking the atmosphere of being “discovered” or developing a fan base created entirely out of blood, sweat and tears. Now it’s been replaced with marketing, sex and money. Different motivation. Different atmosphere. I miss the raw truth and the originality of a crowd that is not prejudiced by MTV or local radio. I call that crowd the “Maybe people” Unlike “The what you hear if what you love for a lifetime” crowd.
Tell us about your song selection for your new album “Bittersweet”?
Mark Isham and I sat down and hand picked what we thought were the most beautiful, sexy seductive jazz standards of all time.
You worked closely with a very talented composer in Mark Isham on “Bittersweet”, tell us about how that came about?
We had been playing around for various festivals and fundraisers in the United States when I was living there. I was involved in a trio he had put together for the Sundance Film Festival opening which was free jazz electronica sound themes from various films he had composed for. It was challenging and creative. He is the very best in the business. I feel very lucky to be in his company and in the company of his peers. All the best players and all the most lauded professionals in their fields. It’s humbling stuff.
From the hours of 9am to 5pm, what do you get up too?
When I am not on the road touring I will get up and make my daughter breakfast and then get to work on the various projects that I’m involved in. I’ve written a play with a writer Sarah Walker that is premiering this June in Adelaide. It’s already sold out and they want another show, so I’m freakin out a little. That gets me up in the morning. I’m also working with a violinist on a project for new mums.
I pick my daughter up from school in my gorgeous new car (Audi Q 5 I’m nuts for it), we come home, tear my wardrobe to bits,dress up in all my shoes and clothes and she sings to me made up songs for hours before tea. Then we read Eloise together (her favourite cause it’s about a girl who lives in a hotel (like her on occasions). Then we dream together and wake up to start all over again…
Is there any up and comers in the music industry we should be looking out for?
I don’t get out much with a 5 year old but I did a gig with Carl Risely the other day and although it sounds a little tacky since we are on the same management stable, he is adorable and talented and I’m not paid to say that…!
What future endeavours are in the pipeline?
The play and maybe more musical theatre on the horizon, some books and film projects too. Busy, busy, busy till I die….! That’s how I gotta live.
If you could invite 3 people to chat over coffee, who would they be & why?
I hate these questions….too limiting. And besides, I’m too pushy and too controversial. I would want to debate religion, psychiatric abuse and human rights issues…..if I invited them they wouldn’t probably come serving that on the menu.
Coffee or Tea?
Arsenic. (whoops… I mean coffee)