Award winning vocalist Emma Pask has firmly established herself as one of Australia’s favourite voices in jazz. Her extraordinary talent was first spotted by multi instrumentalist James Morrison when she was just sixteen years old. Emma first sang with James’ band that night and their musical collaboration has continued to entertain audiences nationally and internationally over the past twenty years. There have been many musical highlights throughout Emma’s career. By request, in 2006, she performed the Bridal Waltz for Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban’s wedding. She has been awarded a ‘mo’ for Jazz Vocalist of the year, received ARIA award nominations and has performed for VIP audiences including the late Diana Princess of Wales and Princess Mary of Denmark. Her latest album, Cosita Divina, released September 2015 explores her love for Latin Jazz Fusion and shot straight to No.1 on the iTunes jazz charts. Emma is one of Australia’s true musical treasures. Emma speaks to Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles ahead of her show Friday night.
What’s the latest for Emma Pask?
Well the latest since I was last in Adelaide which was a year ago for the Fringe is that I have started a new tour. I like to put together as many dates as I can together at the start of the year to get the ball rolling and we are well under way with the Fringe being a part of that. I have some really interesting things coming up, I get to support Kurt Elling from America when he comes out in June… I have been keeping busy!
Is there no time like Fringe time to be performing here in Adelaide?
I don’t know because I don’t live there but for me I go there Fringe time and Cabaret Festive time. When you think of Adelaide nowadays as opposed to twenty years ago or more it seems to be a city that has heaps of live music and heaps of things going on.
What can you tell fans about this show coming up on Friday night?
Definitely some back catalogue stuff, I have a couple of albums under my belt that I still really like to perform tracks from, they are a mixture of all things and jazz which is my bag. There are some fun new arrangements of my songs and it will be a really good format. I like the duo with my pianist Kevin Hunt who is really amazing. Our show is kind of like riding on the seat of your pants because it is just the two of us and you really are feeding off what each other is putting out. It can go in so many different directions which is quite terrifying and exciting at the same time, we love it!
Are there plans for a new album?
Definitely this year, I will probably head in to the studio next month and do it. The last album I released was a Latin experience, there was lots of horns, strings and Latin based material, Cuban stuff and Spanish stuff. The next album I’m going to go back to more of a swinging jazz, more of the stuff that I do on the road. Having said that there’s lots of Latin jazz in that genre but it has been fun what I have been doing on the road the last twelve months.
Does your appearance on The Voice still open a few more doors? Is the curiosity still there from people who saw you on the show?
The curiosity is still there, the question seems to be petering out a little bit. It was five years ago this year, which is hard to believe. A lot of people still do ask the question and the one thing that I love is that when people delve in to it they’ll realise there is a whole twenty year career before that, that no one knew of. Going on The Voice was a great thing to do sparking that level of interest where people go and check out what you have done and then are interested in what you’re doing in the future. Definitely has opened more doors to people compared to just plodding around playing gigs but instead getting in to everyone’s living rooms every night for a few weeks.
Has there been any contact with your mentor Ricky Martin since the show finished?
It has been really unfortunate but there was a moment where he asked me to record with him and I was so excited. It never happened or come to fruition unfortunately and that wasn’t the motivation as to why I did my own Latin record. I was so excited at the thought of doing a Brazilian record with Ricky, I got really downhearted when it seemed it wasn’t going to happen, this was a TV moment! Doing my own album helped me through that process of moving forward with it. I wouldn’t take anything away from him as he is an incredibly lovely guy. His whole team was really lovely and supportive of me. It was disappointing but my door is forever open if he would love to do anything with little ‘ole me.
Interview by Rob Lyon
Catch Emma Pask at the Fortuna Spiegeltent at The Garden Of Unearthly Delights on Friday 16 March.