WA Singer-Songwriter Kelea Doesn't Allow Any Genre To Pigeonhole Her Style

Published in Music  
Kelea's new EP is titled 'Of Sound Mind'. Kelea's new EP is titled 'Of Sound Mind'.

WA singer-songwriter and two-time WAM Song Of The Year nominee, Kelea recently released her new EP 'Of Sound Mind', a collection of songs showcasing a diverse range of sounds and genres.

The new material evokes the likes of Enya, Kate Bush and Kate Miller-Heidke, and was written and recorded across an almost decade-long span as Kelea navigated a number of paths to her current music incarnation including a couple of years at West Australian Academy of Performing Arts.

You've just released your new EP 'Of Sound Mind'; how does this collection of songs showcase your sound/ style that has evolved over the last half decade or so?
This EP is the end result of a seven-year musical journey – and it is multi-genre, multi-themed because of my varied musical past.

I find it hard to write in one particular style because the theme of the song tells me what genre the song has to be. 'Dysfunktional' is about the day after a big night out, so it demanded funky, slow blues. 'IT Guy' is sci-fi and spoof so required synth.

'Aqua And Blue' is about my time living next to the ocean so it had be etherial and atmospheric. 'Galaxy' is a call to arms for female and LGBTQI rights – it needed to be anthemic and vocal.

Lyrical themes; do you usually focus on similar subject matter or is each song its own adventure and you let the music carry you to the final destination?
Each song is definitely a story: simple or complicated, sad, funny or hopeful. An adventure nonetheless and unpredictable, hence with the EP you never know what style you are going to get next.

Human beings are unpredictable and emotional, and complicated. That's what makes us interesting. Pigeonholing people and this 'let's summarise your artistry in 30 seconds, what is your elevator pitch?' is just bullshit.

You worked with producers Matt Gia and Dan Carroll on 'Of Sound Mind'; what did they each bring/ add to the project?
A completely new interpretation. I had to confront my 'demo-itis', but the whole point of working with different kinds of people is to learn something and to create something better than what you could individually; and given the endless lockdowns and challenges we faced, it was a real achievement completing it.

The confidence gained from being a two-time WAM Song Of The Year nominee; how has that energised your songwriting?
It is nice to have your work recognised and given credibility. It definitely makes you feel like you are on the right track.

You have a launch show for 'Of Sound Mind' with your all-female band; how have the band practices gone and anything extra special planned for the show?
We started practising a few months ago and I find it really exciting to work with such great women who are so hard working and committed. I will be featuring my new keytar (called Kev).

The additions of Dusty, Renae and Krissy; is this the start of something new moving forward?
Absolutely. We are booked to do the support for the Bon Scott tribute show on 20 February at Port Beach Brewery and I can't wait to sink my teeth into some AC/DC as well.

The music video for 'The I.T. Guy' looks like it was a lot of fun to film; was it important to show a cheekier side to your music?
It was loads of fun – seven different sci-fi costumes! I worked with talented director Amy Ruth Gibbs and an outstanding cast and crew. I owe them a lot, so I'm having a music video launch after party in January for them to say thank you.

Your childhood was surrounded by music with both parents involved in the local scene; was it always natural for you to follow a similar career path?
Yes, I think when I stole Mum's microphone during soundcheck of my parent's band at the tender age of two and sang "baa baa black sheep" that it was probably a done deal then.

Your time at West Australian Academy of Performing Arts; how integral were those couple of years to your development as a professional musician?
Music school was such a happy time. That environment is like living in a bubble of creativity and development – so good. The training, the grounding, the foundation of everything I do in music today.

Not a day goes by where something I do in music relates to the things I learnt then. What a gift to have that opportunity; and then out here in the music industry is a different kind of school where I have learnt tonnes too. Put those things together and it's a powerful combination that never stops growing.

Having your song 'Dear Sir/Madam' included in the 2019 Songs From The Wheatbelt compilation album; that must've been a massive boost to know you were headed in the right direction?
Definitely. Nigel Bird and the WAM crew are integral to the development of so many WA rural artists across the state who would still be otherwise just out in the bush somewhere rehearsing in a shed. If it wasn't for them creating opportunities it just wouldn't happen.

Outside of your music life, you're an arts worker for people with disabilities, how does that impact you as a musician?
I find it very rewarding and it's the job that I was always meant to do somehow.

Thanks for your time; anything else you'd like to add?
Live long and prosper.

Kelea launches 'Of Sound Mind' EP at 21st Amendment Bar (Perth) 16 January (from 3pm local time). Free entry.



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