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Past scenestrs of the day

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Ali Flett – scenestr of the day

Published in SOD  
Ali Flett – scenestr of the day Image © Yvonne Mullane
What do you do?
I am a singer and songwriter, but I also run The Newsagency, a 50-capacity BYO-converted shopfront located in Marrickville, Sydney, dedicated to live, original performance.

Why do you do it?
Because I didn't know how else to make my music happen in Sydney without creating my own scene/ venue. As someone from rural South Australia, Sydney seemed overwhelming and HUGE and I really didn't feel like I fit in. Most people would think owning a venue is even more overwhelming, but it seriously seemed easier than going through the ‘normal’ path to creating a music career there and it made sense in my crazy, slightly-neurotic head to follow through with the idea – SO glad I did.

What do you love about the city you live in?
My community, first and foremost. I'm currently in New York – a city most people say I would fit into – and I am loving it and feel like I could make a go of it here, but I really do miss my Marrickville village where my neighbours are my best friends, my local cafe instantly knows my order, there's always my favourite beer waiting for me at the front bar of The Vic and I have off-the-menu salads made especially for me at Supreme Pizza next door; even more so I love the amazing musicians/ people I have met as a result of having The Newsagency. Other than that, you can't not love Circular Quay – it's seriously one of the most beautiful places in the WORLD.

Where did you go for your last holiday?
See above. I am currently on holiday in New York, but next week I'll be in Las Vegas, then San Francisco and then Vanuatu for Christmas (my brother currently lives there).

What's your favourite item of clothing?
Currently I am loving my Kathmandu long jacket because it is getting me through this very cold autumn here in New York. (I also got it on sale for $240 reduced from $600 so that's a perk), but when I'm not trying to acclimatise to freezing Northern Hemisphere weather, I LOVE my collection of sparkly, sequin dresses I wear mostly for performances.

What was your favourite TV show when you were a kid?
‘Full House’ ( I can't wait to go to San Fran to see that house), ‘Widget The World Watcher’ and ‘Captain Planet’.

If you could travel back in time for a day, where would you go?
Hmmm, that's a tricky one for me because there are so many times in my own life I'd go back to right now. But, on a musician level, I'd love to go back to when Freddie Mercury and ELO/ The Beatles were in their heyday, or when Woodstock happened!

If we were coming over to your place, what would you cook us?
I'm really not a very good cook, so I'd probably only cook you a chicken stir-fry – at least with all natural ingredients though. If I am going to cook something I'd never use a packet mix or a pre-made sauce!

What's the best lesson you've ever learned?
Oh geez, that's such a heavy question which requires way more wine and an in-person discussion – but I'd definitely say that learning to let go of expectations and developing more compassion and gratitude have been the best lessons so far.

Tell us one thing about yourself that nobody else knows...
Hmm, I'm a pretty-open person generally so this is actually a tough question because I don't keep much from anyone... (A few people actually know this story) but one time I wet myself on stage while performing in the chorus of an opera production. I was nine years old and we had to stay still for what I thought at the time was HOURS (it was realistically only about 20-30 minutes) and I just couldn't hold on. As soon as the production stopped, the principal of the company literally grabbed me by the arm, took me backstage so I could change my clothes. She was just SO gentle and lovely with me – as were the rest of the cast. As a result I've never been embarrassed about it. (But naturally don't ever really speak about it because, well, that would be weird) In hindsight I feel like this kind of situation would've absolutely put me off performing all together but everyone just dealt with it for what is was and on the contrary, made me feel more confident and very encouraged to keep performing – the perk also was I got to go backstage and hang with the main roles instead of being in the freezing cold hall with the rest of the choir.

Are you happy with your work/ life balance?
Like you wouldn't believe. I am living the dream.

How do you define success?
Yet another hard question. One thing I have learnt is that success is NOT defined by fame. ABSOLUTELY NOT. It's easy to get caught in the ‘fame’ trip in this industry but I think it's defined through hard work. But hard work that is determined by a whole bunch of reality checks combined with passion, and love.

What's your spirit animal?
Currently, the blue dot on Google Maps (I'm a traveller/ tourist right now what can I say).

• Image credit: Yvonne Mullane

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