Kate Miller-Heidke toured the United States and Europe with Ben Folds between 2010 and 2011, revealing a talent that was born for the theater, trained for opera and capable of rocking the house from here to Australia, which solidified her position as a rising new indie pop artist gifted with an intuition for honest, emotional songs of love and loss punctuated by gorgeous piano playing and evocative guitar hooks.
Her latest LP, Nightflight, will be released in America on June 19th but has already hit Australia where it debuted at No. 2 on the ARIA Charts. Following a sold-out tour after a performance with the English National Opera in London, Kate Miller-Heidke is looking forward to her playing the US.
IE Weekly got a chance to catch up with the young artist despite an international schedule where power chords, emotional concertos and beautiful fiorituras are the norm.
How did your music career first begin?
I studied opera at University in Brisbane, Australia. I was headed down that career path but I always loved writing music, playing guitar and piano. I began playing in bands while studying opera and eventually sent an EP to the National Broadcast Network in Australia. I still do both, so I guess I’m a bit of a musical schizophrenic but I’m finding my balance.
You performed with the English National Opera in London in “The Death of Klinghoffer.” Do you feel that you have a theatrical side and a musical side, or is it that when you are onstage there’s no difference?
Well, there is a difference in opera with inhabiting a character and being part of a cast. When I’m playing music I have to take everything on my own shoulders, but with opera there’s a thrill with being a cog in a machine. But my own music has been my main focus. It is lovely being onstage…it’s just like taking a holiday from being myself.
Your career is already quite successful, and you just got started. How does that feel?
When I was touring with Ben Folds I told him that I sometimes felt like a fraud, and he told me that the feeling never goes away, no matter how successful you are.
There’s an personal, intimate philosophy throughout Nightflight. It’s also hauntingly sad in a lot of places, but in a good way.
This record is much more honest. It’s more exposed. Being that honest wasn’t really a conscious choice, it just something that my collaborator and I were tapping into. We were living in his grandparent’s house. They had recently passed away so the house had been dormant for months.
I could see how the environment would make you feel introspective.
I wouldn’t describe making the album as being entirely fun. It was miserable, but the record is a lot richer for that.
Some of the best lines in your songs come across not as poetry, but as sentences taken from your personal diary. Does it scare you a little to have to expose that much of whom you are to the world when you are making music?
It’s funny, when you first write them it’s deeply personal. But after a dozen times you lose that connection and it’s not yours any more. It becomes no one’s and everyone’s at the same time. After a while you push the songs out into the open sea and if they float you feel lucky.