Ever since first capturing the nation’s heart with her beautiful rendition of Simon and Garfunkel’s Scarborough Fair/Canticle on The Voice in 2013, incandescent singer-songwriter Celia Pavey, professionally known as Vera Blue, has been gracing our eyes and ears with her fiery red hair and angelic voice. Her songs are packed full of raw emotion and have evolved from sultry folk to hard-hitting bangers like Lady Powers, Private and Regular Touch off her debut album Perrenial. Vera Blue has collaborated with several other Australian acts including Flume, Slumberjack, Illy, and Pnau, and is currently on a national Australian tour promoting Perrenial. This busy 23-year-old sat down and penned answers to some hard-hitting questions for our latest Savvy Seven. Check it out below!
How did you get your start in the music industry and what has been the catalyst that’s lead you to the success you have achieved at this point in your career?
I grew up with music in my family so it was something that I grew a deep love for. I moved from my country hometown of Forbes to Sydney when I was 18 to study at a music institute, then I went on The Voice Australia which kickstarted my career in the music industry. It was fun, exciting, overwhelming but very positive. I guess I love what I do so much, I love making music, I love the people I make it with. I love touring and meeting new people, meeting and connecting with my fans. It keeps me constantly going.
What advice do you have for someone who is planning their first tour?
My biggest advice would be to make sure you have a good team of people helping you do it. Make sure it’s all planned and organised so that your main focus is to be able to perform your best without unnecessary stresses. Touring for the first time can be daunting and overwhelming but if you surround yourself with good people who believe in you and if you just have fun with it, you’ll be just fine.
My best business tip for new artists is…
Have your wits about you, get to know your team and the people you are working closely with. Drive your project but have an open mind to others’ ideas, opinions and thoughts. Sometimes it’s good to take little risks early on that may benefit you and your career in the long run. You’ll know when something feels wrong or right. In some cases you just have to learn as you go.
What is the biggest career barrier you have experienced?
I guess a big barrier for me tends to be fear. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of the unknown. It comes and goes and isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Though fear can sometimes stop me from doing something, it can also push me above and beyond. I’ve had to learn how to handle fear. It’s something that I think everyone experiences really.
In my opinion, the most important issue facing the music industry is…
I feel like I haven’t been in the industry long enough to have a strong opinion just yet. Give me another year and maybe I might. I try not to focus on the negatives. Just to try to focus, make music that we love, that people connect to and not take things too seriously.
What is a songwriting challenge you have faced throughout your career and what did you do to overcome that?
I guess writer’s block is a big one. I find I go through phases where I’m extremely judgmental of myself and my art. I think it has a lot to do with what I’m going through, how I’m feeling. If I’m feeling a little insecure, I tend to shut down ideas quickly. If I’m feeling head and heart strong, focused and inspired, the ideas flow and I won’t be so hard on myself. This is why I co-write with my good friend Thom. He’s an incredible writer and just totally gets me. Sometimes we have writer’s block together. The best thing to overcome it is to just give it time, listen to and discover new artists or artists from your past. Live a little. Inspiration will spike.
Who was your first musical inspiration? Why?
I’ve had so many, but one artist that has had a huge impact on me and my music is Joni Mitchell. Her storytelling, her guitar chord progressions and technique, melodies and lyrical content are beyond amazing. There is so much depth to her music that creates a strong sense of feeling, nostalgia, emotion. Timeless. I love folk music. I tend to start my day with a bit of folk music, Joni or Simon and Garfunkel. It brings me back to my roots. My favourite Joni record is ‘Clouds’.
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