Last year, Kate Miller-Heidke sang for a live audience of 200 million while flying through the air on a seven-metre pole. Her jaw-dropping performance of Zero Gravity at Eurovision 2019 was an ecstatic moment in pop culture: one that any other artist would call an all-time high.
On the heels of her 2CD hits collection, Act One, Kate just calls it Intermission.
Act Two starts here.
The internationally acclaimed Brisbane singer-songwriter today announces the release of her 5th studio album Child In Reverse – her first pop album in six years and possibly her most pop album yet – due for release on October 30 and available for pre-order now. Following on from first single This Is Not Forever, the second single to be lifted from the album is Deluded, an instant pop crush of effortless, gently compulsive groove.
Produced and recorded in Melbourne by Evan Klar, Child In Reverse is 11 songs sculpted into 3- to 4-minute shots of love and fear, memory and empathy, rage and redemption. It’s an album of airborne melodies, sinuous grooves, brilliant textures and, as always, a little more gravity than her feather-light voice implies.
“I keep getting drawn back to pop music,” Kate says, despite recent triumphs in opera (The Rabbits), musical theatre (Muriel’s Wedding) and screen (The Divorce). “The minimalism, the economy… I find that incredibly rewarding and challenging. It’s like a quest to nail the perfect pop song. When it can be done, for me, as a listener, it’s my favourite music.”
The quest yielded its first treasures in the winter of 2019, when Kate broke from her comfort zone to work with a series of strangers on an APRA SongHubs writing weekend on the Gold Coast. “The thought of that has terrified me my whole life,” she says, but despite her fears about songs compromised and diluted by committee, she hit gold on day one with her production team producer Evan Klar and backing vocalist Hailey Collier.
With Deluded in particular, Kate felt such creative ease with Evan and Hailey more sessions were arranged back in Melbourne for the following summer. Evan was a natural choice in the production role.
“What I love about Evan’s style is his freshness, a feeling of spontaneity,” says Kate. “Musically the whole album came together really smoothly. I think that comes across when you listen to it.”
The album title Child In Reverse is a lyric from one of the key tracks, an open-hearted song of resilience called Child of Divorce. “I realised when I looked back at all the songs that there was kind of a thread running through: it was about unlearning, unravelling of old habit and old thought patterns,” Kate says.
On that score, the epic (if unavoidably delayed) promise of opening Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical on Broadway in New York has also played some part in the fearless beginnings of Act Two. And did we mention the “absolutely wild and deranged fantasy” of representing Australia at Eurovision on top of a seven-metre bendy pole in front of 200 million people?
“After something like that,” says Kate, “everything matters less and anything seems possible.” As she sings in Child of Divorce, “I still believe in what we could become.”
Child In Reverse is out on October 30 through EMI Recorded Music Australia
Simpatico (feat. Mallrat)
Twelve Year Old Me
You Can’t Hurt Me Anymore
Little Roots, Little Shoots
A Quiet Voice
Child of Divorce
This Is Not Forever