Curious case of Kate Miller-Heidke
KATE Miller Heidke is curious. Curious to see how audiences will react to her new album, curious to see if her anti-bullying song will have an affect and curious to see how she will do in the UK. Yes you could say Kate is curious and like Alice in Wonderland, she is getting curiouser and curiouser.
“We are just about to embark on a two month tour (of Australia) and I'm really looking forward to it,” the Brisbane-based former opera singer enthused, she was in Melbourne and the tour was still a week or two away - well at least our leg of it.
“We are going to a lot of places.”
Those “places” include the Coolangatta Hotel on Friday night - a place she hasn't played since the refit last year.
A lucky few from this area probably made the trip south to see her killer concert in the newly refurbished Mullumbimby Hall at the end of last year.
It came just days after the release of the album and was one of the handful of gigs the 27-year-old did as part of the launch of her second album, Curiouser.
But for the most part, Miller-Heidke has not been out and about touring the album to any great extent - until now.
The first single from the album, Can't Shake It, debuted in the Aria top 40 at 38 (her first foray into the top 40 singles scene - but given her growing popularity, probably not her last).
“Yes the awareness is definitely growing - every time I have been back to a place the audience has grown,” she said.
“But I haven't really played this new album many places. We had one big album launch in capital cities.”
However this time it's all encompassing and regional. Not that she is any stranger to touring. She and her band, including husband and collaborator Keir Nuttall, did 100 dates in a year to promote her first recording Little Eve.
In previous chats Kate has described her career as a “slow burn” because although her songs are accessible and poppy - she is not what you expect, not the pop princess her blonde hair and slightly over the top make-up reflect. Her clothes and actions are more theatrical and while her music has a catchy beat, the musicians are real and live and her lyrics are intelligent, well-thought out and at times quite thought-provoking without being full of self importance.
Kate Miller-Heidke knows how to think, but she knows how to have fun too.
Her current song reflects both sides of the Miller-Heidke coin. Light and bubbly musically, Caught in the Crowd tackles the serious subject of bullying from the point of view of a friend watching it happen and not doing anything to help.
Miller-Heidke said the song certainly seemed to have “struck a chord” and had been chosen as the second single for that reason.
“On the album, that song feels quite powerful,” she enthuses.
“And it speaks to a lot of people.
“Kid's Help Line, The Daily Telegraph and the education department have decided to run a competition around the song. They happen to be running a campaign to raise awareness about school bullying, and there are some rather valuable prizes on offer to the winner. What you have to do is make a film for Caught in the Crowd (using the song as the soundtrack) and upload it to the page www.myspace.com/caughtinthecrowd.”
And it's not just here in Australia that it is making waves.
“About a month ago a class in the UK emailed me and they had discovered the song online and had made a video about it,” she said clearly touched by what is an emotional response to her music.
“I've never been to England, never played a gig there.
“I'm going over there in May; I have got a gig in London and a possible festival.”
But don't expect a huge campaign in the UK - in fact as her profile grows steadily here, the well-spoken Miller-Heidke is looking forward to the next challenge - gigging around the UK and just getting to know the audience and visa versa and maybe releasing her album independently.
“I find that idea appealing,” she said.
Not that she isn't minding success either and the gigs and opportunities it is bringing.
In December she performed at an historical concert at Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia. Organised by MTV EXIT, it was the first ever rock concert to take place at the ancient temple, and was held to spread awareness of the plight of victims of human trafficking.
Miller-Heidke was the only Australian on the bill which featured international acts Placebo, Duncan Sheik and various Cambodian bands.
“I'm hoping to go back to Asia to follow on from that incredible gig in Cambodia,” she said.
“It was one of those moments in time, something I'll always remember - historical even.
“The setting was magical and timeless as soon as the music started, all these Khmers came out of the forest and were dancing under the stars.”