Iconic Aussie popstar Vanessa Amorosi is back with a new album City of Angels and an Australian tour. Emily Riches spoke to Vanessa about her stellar career in music.
Congratulations on your new album City of Angels and your Australian tour. You’e been living in Los Angeles for over 10 years working on gospel arrangements and soul music. When did you first start creating this album?
When the pandemic hit, I released an album called The Blacklisted Collection and then straight out of that, I just knew what I wanted to do with music. Everybody knows the stuff that I did when I was 15 and 16, but gospel has always been something I’ve been really passionate about. It wasn’t until the pandemic and having that isolation that I did some soul searching. I thought, this is really what I want to show people. It’s what I’m passionate about. It’s my calling, I suppose. I really do feel like this record is my best work.
What do you love about soul and gospel music? When were you first introduced to it?
Oh, as a youngster. It’s always been something I’ve gravitated to. I just love the fact that you can build something through vocal arrangements and support a lead through that.
Do you have a favourite song on the album? Or one that’s particularly close to your heart?
It really depends. I wanted each song to make you feel something. I would say As The World Falls Down is one of those tracks that constantly puts me in that headspace. I’m really proud of this record because each song takes you on that emotional journey. It’s also the first record that I’ve produced on my own, so I’ve been able to really go with it.
What are some of the big differences in the music scene in the US versus Australia?
In LA, there are so many travellers from all around the world, so you can go in and out of studios and create different kinds of art within one day. There’s no real boundary to it. As somebody that is writing songs all the time, it’s nice to be out of your element and do something that’s in a different genre. Then you can incorporate that in with the work that you’re doing. With a lot of my melodies, there’s influences from so many different genres.
Are you excited to be going on tour again in Australia (and headlining Mardi Gras)?
Oh yeah, I can’t wait! It’s going to be incredible. It’s like being on the road with my family. I’ve been with my crew for 20-something years, and it’s been a really rough time for them and a lot of musicians I know. It’s just nice to be able to do what we do and feel normal again. And have a place to go to celebrate and connect with everybody.
For your upcoming tour, you’ve got some live and intimate shows and some festival shows as well. Which do you enjoy more?
Oh, I can’t choose. They’re so different. The show that I’m rehearsing for outdoors with the full band is an entirely different show to the one where it’s intimate and people feel like they’re just sitting with a bunch of friends in the lounge room. That’s also another wonderful thing about coming home because I’ve grown up with my audience – so it really is like sitting with friends and just celebrating music and where it’s taken us.
You’ve been writing and performing since you were a teenager. How do you think you’ve changed and grown as a singer-songwriter?
I’ve been on the road my whole life with incredible artists and you never stop learning. It’s hard to stay writing the same songs when you experience life. You go through ups and downs and you evolve. You just get inspired. I’ve always been the type of person who wants to learn. I love listening to old classics like Coco Taylor and BB King; I listen to country, I listen to rock. I like to experiment with all of it, and then come up with my own thing.
What’s next for you in your career?
I’m just going to be doing a tonne of music. There’s nothing else that gets me excited like making music does. So, I just want to do more of it, especially the touring side of things. I want to connect with everybody. I want to be out on the road. I spent two years in a studio making records, now I want to celebrate it.
Keen to start listening? Vanessa’s new album, City of Angels, is launching 18th March. Click here to find out more.