Kate Ceberano's new album shows off pure talent
KATE Ceberano says she's lucky that a woman of her age gets to continue making original music.
But if her new album Kensal Road is anything to go by, more middle-aged singers and performers should be following Ceberano's lead.
Her critically acclaimed release, her first full album of original material released on a major label in more than a decade and her 25th recorded album, is light, bright and fresh.
"I have done original records before over the past 10 years, but it's a struggle when you release them and do them on your own," Ceberano told APN.
"People create wonderful albums that never get heard. The business works by having a good team who market it correctly and bang your drum loudly. Sony has given me all of that weight behind it (the record), which is unprecedented for a woman of my age."
Speaking about banging drums, Ceberano will be singing from behind a drum kit on her upcoming national tour.
It's not so much a budget restriction, as her desire to accommodate her two new young backing singers Jess Fairlie and Alison Ainsworth, who helped to create harmonies for all of Kensal Road's 11 tracks for the album's recent launch in Sydney.
"They both really honoured my intonation and the sound of my voice," Ceberano said.
"They've been imitating (me), rather than getting a gig to get interest in themselves. That's not what you need in a backing singer. You need them to support you and identify with your voice. They blew me away."
The album is named after the London studio where Ceberano recorded with music collective Kensaltown.
"There were DJs and musicians and classical artists from all over world," she said.
"We had Canadian and Dutch and French and Italian musicians there. Basically this place is like Sans Frontiers; there's no discrimination.
"The beauty (of the studio) is the live room upstairs, where the music desk is in the centre of this recording space. You're in immediate contact with everyone. There's no talking through walls or talk-back systems. For me, as a live performing artist, I need to know how things sound."
Calling herself a "live performing artist" references Ceberano's work in musical theatre, like her recent turn as Bloody Mary in South Pacific.
She has also spent the past two years curating the Adelaide Cabaret Festival as the event's artistic director.
But back to Kensal Road, Ceberano said it was important for her to record in another country.
"As a parent and certainly a runaway, I've done that act of needing to run away to do it," she said.
"Without being in that completely foreign environment I wouldn't have got pressed to be so involved.
"My life is coming and going. When you pursue a passion there are certain compromises, but there's a value in life in art. It's something I can't give up, but something I'll never quite understand is why I have to keep going away."
But a moment of absent-mindedness nearly derailed the entire album.
After travelling to the studio at Kensal Road one day, she realised she'd left her iPad, containing all of her lyrics and chord charts, on the train.
"I was just bereft," she said.
"My stepfather ran out of the studio and went back to the station. There was this large Jamaican woman there and she just punched him in the arm. She's like 'You're in London now. Get with the program. Don't leave your stuff lying around'.
"You must never invest all your energy in one apparatus. That will be what's wrong with the world in 10 or 15 years."
Kensal Road is in stores now.
Kate Ceberano plays Twin Towns on October 18 and the Brisbane Powerhouse on October 20.