theaussieword.com meets with Jennifer Kingwell for a special blog interview!
What can you tell our readers about you? How and where did it all begin?
I was born in Darwin, grew up in Canberra, and moved to Melbourne about seven years ago after travelling the world by bicycle. I’m a classical music school dropout and was in an indie cabaret duo called The Jane Austen Argument and I love that Melbourne has such a thriving, exciting cabaret scene, as well as our world-class music scene. I’m just about to release my debut solo EP, called ‘The Lotus Eaters’. I also have a radio show called ‘Glitter + Doom’ on Melbourne’s most awesome radio station, PBS FM 106.7.
What had you first interested in music?
My mother’s piano was a magnet for me when I was about four. I started playing and making up songs and had already convinced myself that I was a compositional genius by the time I had my first lesson, in which I was a bit shocked to find out that maybe I wasn’t after all.
Who motivates or influences your quest to make great music?
My partner, who is also a musician, is a huge motivator. We’ve gotten over any professional jealousies that we might have brought to the table when we were first sizing each other up, now we’re just both extremely supportive of each other, feels like we’ve got each others backs. Also seeing, hearing or otherwise experiencing great art is a big influence – when something moves you to create in honour of its own beauty.
Do you have any planned tours coming up?
I’m making plans for a national tour later this year, but it’s still early days.
What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish as an artist?
Write a ballet, play Rhapsody in Blue with a world-class orchestra, change the world with a song.
My EP release and launch party at The Wesley Anne this month, a music video, a quadruple headliner we’re calling Pianopalooza with some other piano-playing musical buddies, plus two of my own Melbourne Fringe shows as well as doing a few side project collaborations.
Success, what is the secret to it and what has been your biggest career highlight so far?
The secret to success is to find fulfilment in whatever level your career is at, and making strong and lasting emotional connections with your audience and contemporaries. Biggest career highlight was being invited to tour with Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman on a tour of the West Coast of the USA. We drove a van from San Diego to Vancouver and met thousands of brilliant people along the way!
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?
Janelle Monae, Tori Amos, PJ Harvey, Laurie Anderson
How would you best describe you and your music to your fans?
A heady mix of neo-classicism, punk, art rock and electronica.
What can you tell us about your latest album?
‘The Lotus Eaters’ is a collection of songs that are deeply personal, featuring sumptuous horn and string arrangements and a guest appearance from Neil Gaiman! Sonically it runs the gamut from ethereal nebulaic lullabyes to careening punk anthems.
Are there any new exciting projects in the works?
I’m working on a live concert adaptation of Kate Bush’s ‘The Hounds of Love’, which is my favourite Kate Bush album and has an incredibly rich, theatrical concept which I can’t wait to bring to the stage. It’ll be premiered at Melbourne Fringe this year and I’m hoping to tour that in 2015 as well as working on my first full-length record.
The music industry is huge, where do you see yourself a few years from now?
Curating arts festivals as well as writing and participating in a stunning array of totally immersive multimedia performance art.
Name a few of your favourite Aussie artists.
Michael Kieran Harvey, Meow Meow, DUNE, Beloved Elk, Plum Green.
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?
I feel like it’s made the music world both a lot bigger and a lot smaller at the same time, if you know what I mean. The means of production are more democratic, so it’s easier for people to put out their work, which is great, but it also means I think, that it’s a lot harder to cut through the noise. Ultimately though, as an artist you just have to focus on your own development, keep writing songs, keep practicing, keep performing, hone your craft and surround yourself with talented, positive, supportive people.
Thank you for the interview! What can you leave fans of with here:
Thanks for reading, make sure you sign this petition to help keep community radio alive in Australia, and hope to see you at the show!
JENNIFER KINGWELL will launch her debut EP The Lotus Eaters at The Wesley Anne on Thursday May 15, with special guests Mechanical Pterodactyl and The Kill Love.Tickets are available on the door or via http://music.jenniferkingwell.net/.