Kate Miller Heidke soars to new heights with O Vertigo!

After splitting from Sony last year, Kate Miller-Heidke is due to release her first record as an independent artist with O Vertigo! She speaks to Sabine Brix about crowd funding, musical freedom and guest collaborators.

Hi Kate! How is life as an independent artist?

[Laughs]It’s shitloads more work! In a lot of ways it’s more rewarding.

Do you find now that you have a lot more musical freedom to write what you like?

It’s hard to say. Obviously my music is affected by my mental state and I did feel this great sense of release and freedom being out of my record deal. Having said that, I think the music is the music and there are things which float my boat that are the same as they’ve ever been.

So, ultimately the point of all of this is to make good songs and good music. I think there are themes running through the album of self-empowerment and assertiveness and confidence; as well as all the usual stuff of love and heartbreak and hating yourself.

Was there a main inspiration for O Vertigo! ?

It was a quick and easy process. I didn’t want to overthink anything. I think in a lot of ways it was a reaction against my last record which was very cohesive, dark, spooky and kind of moody. This time I wanted it to sound more spontaneous and instinctive. I wasn’t too concerned with having overall themes. It’s a mixed bag.

You list Martika’s Love Thy Will be Done as an influence what inspired you about that song?

Well I think the directness in the lyrics. I love 90s power ballads. In some ways they’re unashamedly cheesy but there’s this amazing power and awesomeness, awesome in the true sense of the word. It’s like getting power from revealing vulnerability.

What made you decide to work with Draught, Passenger and Megan Washington on this album?

Very early in the writing process I just decided that I really wanted to have them on the album. I actually didn’t expect to get all thrree. I thought if I got two out of three I’d be doing well. I am surprised they all said yes. I liked the idea of that because they’re all quite different in style but I love all three of them as artists.

The crowdfunding campaign for O Vertigo! broke a new record on Pledge and got funded in three days. Were you surprised?

I was. I mean, I thought the campaign would work because I’ve got such great fans and they’re quite engaged online, but I never expected to reach the target in three days, let alone where we are now which is 215%.

It’s amazing and it’s very significant because it’s meant that I’ve been able to make a record on the same budget that I did on a major label and also now I get to promote it properly which is incredible I think.

You have some interesting pledges on your site including birthday serenades and playing at house parties. How did you come up with these ideas?

I just thought, if I were pledging on someone’s campaign what would I want? Particularly the Happy Birthday phonecalls, because they’ve been really successful. It’s something I might keep doing because they’re so much fun.

What’s your favourite song from this album?
Look, it is hard to say,  because obviously I am partial to all of them at this stage, in six months I’ll probably hate them all. Today I’ll say Yours was the Body.

How would you say your musical style is evolving?

[laughs] Well, yesterday in the shower I thought I’d like to team up with a couple of girls and make an electro pop album, but who knows. I am also writing an Opera for Opera Australia – a children’s opera – so doing a bunch of different things. I don’t know what will come next but it won’t be the same as what’s come before because I get bored too easily.

Who would you like to work with whom you haven’t thus far?

[laughs] I am not sure, but I think there’s somehting cool about the cross-genre thing, particularly with Draught. It was really fun collaborating with a hip-hop artist. I love what they do with words and how they make them sing even though they’re not singing in the strict sense of the word.

I think I’d like to do a bit more of that. I think I am more open to collaborations now than I ever have been. I feel more confident to reach out to people now. I’d like to do lots of different things.

What are you looking forward to on your upcoming tour?

This tour will be quite special because we’re playing some of my favourite venues and beautiful theatres: the Tivoli and shows at the Quarry in Perth. Adelaide Festival is always heaps of fun. It’s a lot of places I’ve played before that have a special atmosphere.

Kate Miller-Heidke plays the Seymour Centre on Wednesday 12thMarch 2014, Tickets here and Garden of Uneartly delights Adelaide Tickets here.

Article first published on 7 March 2014 on gay news network.

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