Simone Craddock: A Triple Treat At 2021 Fringe World

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Simone Craddock performs three separate shows at 2021 Fringe World. Simone Craddock performs three separate shows at 2021 Fringe World.

The recipient of the 2020 Fringe World Music & Musicals award, Simone Craddock returns to Fringe World in 2021 with three separate shows.

Based in London for the majority of the past 20 years, Simone returned to her home town in 2019 quickly reconnecting with the local artistic scene and forging new, creative partnerships that will flourish during Fringe World.

You have three shows at this year's Fringe World; how are the rehearsals going?
So far, so good. I spend months conceptualising, researching and writing the shows before I even get near a rehearsal room. It's an exciting moment when I finally bring my ideas to the band and hear them brought to life. They are incredible musicians and take it to the next level.

You won the 2020 Fringe World Music & Musicals Award for your Nina, Love Simone! show, which you're returning to Fringe World this year with Adrian Galante; how do you approach the retelling of the Nina Simone story?
With a great deal of reverence. Nina Simone was an artist that I respect enormously. She was also a civil rights activist, so I took my homework very seriously for this project.

She lived an incredible life, but you can't share everything in 60 minutes so I had to make choices. I chose to write a love letter, not a biography or an expose. I wanted people to see why she made the choices she made. But I also wanted to leave them curious enough to go away and find out more about her and what she stood for.

Truth is, I started out pretty terrified of this project, but I think if your intention is pure and you lead with love, you can't go too far wrong.


Birth Of The Blues features you and your band resurrecting legends of blues and rock & roll; quite a change of pace from the Nina show; how rockin' do you get onstage and who do you cover?
Well, I have one of the heaviest drummers in the world on this show so if The State Theatre Centre Courtyard had a roof, I reckon we'd blow it right off!

I have eclectic tastes ranging from Billie Holiday to Led Zeppelin but being an actress, I'm always looking for the story. I'm drawn to artists whose lives and times are as fascinating as their music. I'll be covering the legends from Bessie Smith and Robert Johnson, to BB King, Amy Winehouse and maybe I'll throw in a little Johnny Cash and Ray Charles for good measure.

Your third Fringe World show in 2021 is Ella & Louis where you're joined by Adam Hall to honour two of the legends of music; how pivotal were Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong to your own musical education?
Ella was a musical phenomenon and an ongoing education for any singer. Her tone, phrasing, impeccable pitch and improvising prowess earned her the unrivalled title, First Lady of Song.

However, I came to Louis first. I loved the old movies that Louis starred in. I fell in love with his sound and his showmanship, but he was also a real innovator. Ella and Louis together? Unsurpassable perfection.


What does fringe mean to you?
Perth Fringe will always feel special to me. I arrived home during Fringe 2019, after 20 years away. My home town was transformed into a magical playground of creativity and I was instantly inspired to be involved.

2020 was my Perth debut and my three goals were to have fun, get to know Perth audiences and meet nutty showbiz types like myself! Winning the Fringe award for my category was the best welcome home I could hope for.

I just think it's a wonderful platform for artists to inspire each other and grow. Also, I really loved the ball pit. So! Much! Fun!

After Fringe World, what is the plan re: your artistic endeavours?
I have a few ideas bubbling away involving more writing, producing and directing, which I quite enjoy it turns out. I would also like to focus more on my original music and continue to collaborate with other artists.

I had to postpone my UK tour last year, so I'm hopeful that will become possible one day soon but meanwhile, there is plenty of inspiration here in Perth.

You were London-based prior to COVID; has the return to Perth provided some unexpected creative opportunities that otherwise would not have arisen?
One hundred per cent YES! I am blown away by the talent here in Perth. I love London and definitely miss my career and friends there, but coming home has been like starting out in a new city all over again.

I'm more inspired than I have been in years and I just can't stop dreaming up new ideas. I honestly think there's something special going on here in Perth.

Not only do we have the beaches and the weather, we also have world-class local artists that have committed themselves to building a scene here which is a thriving inspiration. I'm really grateful to be part of this community.

Finish this sentence: In the studio I usually... Eat green apples. Yup. A producer once told me that they create less 'mouth noise' on the mic than water. Is it true? I don't know. But they taste good.

What's the one chore you dislike the most?
I used to hate vacuuming, but I have a Dyson stick now and I'd cancel on Will Smith for it.

Do you have any phobias?
Spiders. I'm trying to love them 'cause I'm vegan but we just don't see eye to eyes.

My favourite app at the moment is?
Uber Eats. Who has time for cooking when they're producing three shows?!

Ella & Louis plays at Ellington Jazz Club (Perth) 15-17 January and Government House Ballroom (Perth) 14 February (sold out). Birth Of The Blues features at State Theatre Centre Of WA (Perth) 22-23 January. Nina, Love Simone takes place at Ellington Jazz Club (Perth) 27-31 January.

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