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The genre-bleeding brilliance of Kate Miller-Heidke: national tour starts tomorrow in Perth

Kate Miller-Heidke’s Child In Reverse Tour kicks off tomorrow, Wednesday 6 July, at Perth’s Concert Hall, before heading east for a series of exclusive dates.

Miller-Heidke has written some killer pop songs that most of us are way familiar with. From her quirky brand of pop (Words), to drop-dead gorgeous balladry (The Last Day On Earth), to her postmodern take on opera (Zero Gravity, which won her ninth place at Eurovision 2019), Kate makes genre-hopping a challenging but fun – and fabulous – affair.

Recently released is new version of her 2020 song You Can’t Hurt Me Anymore, a deeply personal cut featuring fresh vocals from Jaguar Jonze.

“I could see someone very close to me was falling into a depression,” tells Kate. “I’d seen it before and I wanted to let them know I was there for them in a very serious way.

“Listening to it in these changed times,” Kate continues, “I feel it more deeply than I did before. It just seems like the right time to put it out.”

Here, the artist chats to Cream about songwriting from scratch, fuddy-duddy school teachers, and getting by with a little help from her indie muso friends.

Interview by Antonino Tati



Hello Kate. When it comes to making a new record, do you start from scratch or do you sometimes start with lyrics and melodies that have been hanging around for ages?

I mostly start afresh but there’s always that process of listening back through old demos. You know, I write a lot and throw out a lot, and there’s often something I’ve overlooked. Most songs are fresh and written really quickly.


You studied at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. Did you find any of that study a waste of time?

[Laughs]. No, it definitely wasn’t a waste of time. I met a lot of great people doing it and I had a fantastic singing teacher and, you know, even though I had to ‘unlearn’ a lot of technical things vocally, it was still great to learn to look after my voice and how to warm up properly. And warm down. I still do those exercises every day and it’s sort of kept me vocally healthy in a lot of ways and allowed me to have a rigorous touring routine. I think elements of classical music from my studies have made their way into my songwriting as well.


You can certainly hear that influence in your opera-like songs. How would you say your music has changed since the early days?

I think my style has changed only recently. Now it’s very much about the marriage of lyrics and melody rather than any one component taking precedence. On my album O Vertigo! there were quite a few character-based songs, like the duet with Megan Washington. But, ultimately, I still sing about feelings.

“I think my music teacher didn’t like me too much. She thought I was a little shit. But she was just a little old lady so I’ve forgiven and forgotten about that now.”


Listening to your song with Drapht, ‘Drama’, it appeared to be coming from a male perspective.

Yeah, originally it was written from a man’s perspective and I kind of liked singing that. It’s got this kind of gender-bending aspect to it, with me saying “All the guys want to be me”. So, I thought it was kind of funny.


You’ve also recorded a couple of duets with Passenger. Did fans start to assume there was a blossoming relationship between the two of you?

[Laughs]. Ummm, probably not, because I’m married!


Oh, your hubby won’t mind, would he? After all, you’re a rock chick at heart!

Yeah, we’ll have discussions about that and see how we go! [Laughs].



What’s one of the stranger places you’ve heard a song of yours being played?

I think the strangest experience I had was in suburban Sydney and seeing one of my songs on a karaoke machine. I tried to sing with the machine and it was really hard. I was terrible!


You once recorded a song that was used to promote Brisbane Tourism. Has anyone ever criticised you for selling out?

Well I don’t say yes to everything. If anything’s not in line with my area of values, I’d say no, and I have said no before. But we live in a different world now than that of years ago where musicians had the freedom to say no to any form of advertising. It’s very different now; it’s about getting your music out there.


I’m assuming in school you wrote some kooky stuff in English class and that a few teachers didn’t agree with your style. Have you ever given the proverbial ‘two-fingers-up’ to old school teachers now that you’re a pop singer?

To be honest, I don’t think I had my own writing style at school. But I always loved English at school. If anything, I think my music teacher didn’t like me too much. She thought I was a little shit. But she was just a little old lady so I’ve forgiven and forgotten about that now.


Kate Miller-Heidki’s ‘Child In Reverse Tour’ begins tomorrow. The tour features support artist Didirri. Full dates and venue information, below.


Wednesday 6 July
Perth Concert Hall | Perth, WA
All Ages
Guest: Didirri
perthconcerthall.com.au | Ph: 08 9231 9999


Friday 8 July
Palais Theatre | Melbourne, VIC
All Ages
Guest: Didirri
ticketmaster.com.au | Ph: 136 100


Saturday 9 July
Odeon Theatre | Hobart, TAS
All Ages
Guest: Didirri
oztix.com.au | Ph: 1300 762 545


Tuesday 12 July
West Gippsland Arts Centre | Warragul, VIC
All Ages
Guest: Didirri
wgac.com.au | Ph: 03 5624 2456


Thursday 14 July
Ulumbarra Theatre | Bendigo, VIC
All Ages
Guest: Didirri
boxoffice.gotix.com.au | Ph: 03 5434 6100


Friday 15 July
Costa Hall | Geelong, VIC
All Ages
Guest: Didirri
geelongartscentre.org.au | Ph: 1300 251 200


Saturday 16 July
Thebarton Theatre | Adelaide, SA
All Ages
Guest: Didirri
ticketmaster.com.au | Ph: 136 100


Tuesday 19 July
Cairns Performing Arts Centre | Cairns, QLD
All Ages
Guest: Didirri
ticketlink.com.au | Ph: 1300 855 835


Thursday 21 July
Anita’s Theatre | Wollongong, NSW
All Ages*
Guest: Didirri
ticketmaster.com.au | Ph: 136 100


Saturday 23 July
Newcastle City Hall | Newcastle, NSW
All Ages
Guest: Didirri
civictheatrenewcastle.com.au | Ph: 02 4929 1977


Tuesday 26 July
State Theatre | Sydney, NSW
All Ages
Guest: Didirri
ticketmaster.com.au | Ph: 136 100

This event is recommended for patrons aged 16+
* Under 18s must be accompanied by an adult




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