Vanessa Amorosi

With iconic songs like Absolutely Everybody, Shine, Perfect, The Power and This Is Who I Am there’s a Vanessa Amosori song that will resonate with a memory in most Australians lives. Having been in the music scene for over 20 years we may have waited a long time between songs but she’s back with a new single and she’s ready for a massive party!

Amorosi chatted to HiFi Way: The Pop Chronicles about her new single Heavy Lies the Head, who she’s been working with, what it’s like to live in LA as well as her upcoming solo tour of Australia.

You have a new single out called Heavy Lies the Head. Can you tell us a bit about the song and how you came to writing it?
It’s about leaving a toxic situation and letting karma take care of it and being ok with that which has always been the hardest thing for me because I like to be able to fix things or getting in there and work through them but there’s just some situations in life you can’t work through. The best way or the healthiest way is to move from that. That is what Heavy Lies the Head is about.

Did you find it cathartic to put it all out there in a song?
Well its always very nerve-racking to be so brutally honest in a song but its like for me now I used to go back and re-write lyrics a lot, but I don’t want to do that anymore. I want them to be truthful and hopefully it connects with people and they’ve had the same type of experiences.

I like the way this new single has a different sound and feel to your previous work. Do you think you’ve progressed as an artist and have a more mature approach to songwriting after being in the industry for so long?
Oh, most definitely yeah. Around 2011 when I finished touring I landed an opportunity in the States to do Gospel arrangements and counter melodies and things like that and in the last ten years I’ve done more music than I’ve ever done and in all different genres. So, I definitely think as an artist when it comes to the creative side of music that I have a lot more to offer and it’s just because of those situations of being with other great writers and other producers and in different domains of music that have really given me the confidence to write very brutal raw songs. Yeah, I think everything about me as a writer is different.

It seems crazy to think that although you have been in the industry for twenty years now you are still so young. After all this time are you now in a position to say to yourself that you are the kind of artist you want to be or comfortable to be?
Yeah, yeah definitely. I’m in a great place really because I am able to do so many different things creatively and I am just about to embark on releasing some pretty out there stuff that people wouldn’t know me for but its always been a part of my journey. It’s just been kept very quiet. So, you know I have this record which is very diverse for a pop record and very raw.

Exciting for me but I also have a Gospel/Soul record that I co-produced with Dave Stewart. I also have some other stuff that’s up my sleeve as well and I do a lot of stuff in country music. So now its just like there are no rules. There used to be a lot of you know like if you’re a pop singer you have to live that type of world and you have to stay in that domain and really, I just want to be known as a true artist that embraces many types of music. I’m not just a one trick pony.

Do feel like a certain kind of genre is more you or do you like to embrace all things new?
I’m all over the shop musically and always have been. It’s just always been kept quiet. You can see the reflections of Gospel music in the first record as a kid because I did do a lot of the Gospel arrangements in Pray for Love and The Power. Absolutely Everybody has 4-5 part harmonies, Shine has counter melodies underneath the actual chorus so its all still there it just got simmered down a little so that it would be current. The same with the next record, the Somewhere in the Real World record it does demonstrate soul so essentially, it’s just really talking the blinkers off and really going for it and not dumbing down stuff.

It’s like just getting it all out creatively without having to focus too much on….
Yeah like a formula. Like “Ah we better not sing low or better not add too much tropes and let’s back off the harmonies and lets not use that type of bass sound, lets go that sound.” Now as a write and as an artist I just do what’s right for the song and what essentially has the magic and excitement.

Do you find living in LA helps with your creativity to be able to explore different sounds and genres rather than being boxed in to one corner?
LA can facilitate that type of lifestyle for a writer because it’s a hub where everyone from all around the world goes to and everybody is collaborating with everybody and it’s all different styles. So, on the Monday I can be doing Pop, the Tuesday I can be doing RnB, Thursday I can be doing Gospel and I can jump all over the place when it comes to variety. You get producers from Sweden to producers from Australia and from all around the world so it’s a very multicultural little hub just there. So that’s what’s been great for me creatively that I’m able to jump in and out of different scenes and its always new and exciting.

So many Australians go overseas to expand their careers. Did you feel that you had to do that?
I just wanted to have more variety and LA just seemed to have that because it’s that little hub but to tell you the truth I see so many Australians in LA. We are everywhere! I can hear us from a mile away. If I go out to lunch in between the studios the majority of them are Australian (laughs). It cracks me up. It’s like a multicultural thing.

I recently interviewed Jon Stevens, you worked with him on his last album Starlight and he had nothing but big praise for you as a person and as an artist. How important is having that peer respect and recognition in the industry after all this time?
It’s incredible! I mean Jon Stevens is one of the most incredible vocalists. His vocal is unbelievable, and I’ve travelled the world and worked with a lot of singers. But that dude is another kind of singer, so you know the fact that somebody that I respect has respect for me is an extreme honour. He has also been an incredible person throughout my journey you know having his guidance and having him along side of me. You know when I’m winning he’s winning, and that type of feeling is incredible, and I have experienced that a lot with Australian artists. Like we kind of band together and we all want each other to win.

Which is good!
It’s incredible because not everyone is the same. As Aussie’s we all definitely cling together and if one succeeds it feels like we’re all doing it!

The Aussie mentality is very much a “team effort” kind of spirit as a country.
Yeah, I agree!

You also worked with Dave Stewart (from the Eurythmics) as you mentioned earlier, how was that experience?
Amazing! Amazing! He is an incredible business person as well as an artist and it was really great and still is great to have him there as a mentor when I have questions about business and how things should operate and whether its possible to do certain things and having him give me his perspective has been just incredible.

Have you worked with anyone else on this new album that you have find you’ve learnt a lot from?
Oh yeah definitely! Definitely! Aleena Gibson a Swedish songwriter who is incredibly gifted and its been so amazing working with someone of her talent. She is really so so talented and then in saying that I had the privilege of working with Tony Joe White before he passed away. That’s another person that’s lived a lifestyle, a whole lifetime of creating incredible music for Elvis and Tina Turner. So, you know, I’ve been blessed to work with such incredible people and it’s been very nerve-racking because you want to make sure that you deliver and impress them as well. Its been just great really!

Are you excited to be heading out on the road for your solo tour in Australia?
Oh yeah! It’s been incredible cos I’ve just finished the Red Hot Summer tour and that’s been incredible to do. Doing your own for me is super exciting because now I will have the time to explain what’s been going on in the ten years I’ve been gone and doing some of those numbers as well as reminiscing on the old stuff and celebrating the old hits that people remember. For me its just like a big party.

Do you still enjoy singing the old songs?
I love it. Always have. I worked really hard for those songs and they are my songs. Its not like they were someone else’s and I was costumed into it. I think as a kid I was a pretty head strong kid and that was my art back then, so I have such respect for it. Its actually like stepping back in time. Its like reliving childhood when I sing them. Its like a photo, I go back to that moment.

What can audiences expect from this solo tour?
A massive party. I will be doing the old stuff that’s taken on its own journey in their lives and I will be doing some new stuff as well. This is my favourite part about music its being able to celebrate it on stage and I look forward to reconnecting with everybody and a lot of people I’ve grown up with. Its so crazy seeing with them with their families and talking and reminiscing on old memories. Its fabulous so I look forward to seeing everybody.

Interview By Anastasia Lambis

Catch Vanessa Amorosi on the following dates…