Vera Blue, singer and songwriter, Strings Attached at Fortitude Music Hall
Meditation, mindfulness, cooking and listening to records were all super positive and rewarding self-care routines for me ...
While 2020 was a tough year for all of us, it was exceptionally stressful for musicians. With live-music venues across the country shut, many touring acts were suddenly deprived of one of their biggest revenue streams. The industry has persevered, though, with many initiatives popping up to help support the artists we rely on for joy. Despite the industry downturn, Vera Blue spent 2020 keeping busy. The acclaimed folk-pop artist even released new music in the midst of all of last year’s turmoil. Now that venues are starting to open up for live gigs once more, Vera is jumping at the chance to show off what she has been working on. Later this month Vera will take the stage at Fortitude Music Hall to perform a set of songs alongside the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra for Strings Attached. We caught up with Vera ahead of the show to find out how she stayed sane during lockdown, the process of creating in quarantine and what we can expect from her Strings Attached shows.
Safe to say 2020 was a weird year. How did you spend your time during the lockdown months?
It sure was! For me I feel like it was a time of accepting that live shows we going to be on pause for a while, which was hard to come to terms with, for many in the music industry too. I realised that it was a great opportunity to knuckle down and get in the studio and create music that I loved, and plan for shows where audiences may need to be seated, which is where inspiration sparked to design a show that was special and unique.
How did you practice self care during the particularly taxing periods of isolation?
Self care was really important, I try to practice it always but especially in times of stress and uncertainty. Meditation, mindfulness, cooking and listening to records were all super positive and rewarding self-care routines for me.
You released a new single called ‘Lie To Me’ in the middle of last year – what were some of the biggest challenges in creating, releasing and promoting new music in the midst of 2020’s chaos?
I guess being separated from my collaborative team was difficult. I’m very hands-on when it comes to making music and I love the physical and connective aspect of being in the room creating music with my team. So it was hard to come to terms with zoom “sessions” being a so called “new normal”. I still haven’t quite adjusted to it and maybe I never will. I love playing instruments and talking out loud in a room when making music. It was challenging to promote new music by not being able to follow up the single release with a show or tour or a festival also. But we always knew that things would eventually improve.
You’re back on the road again, and we’re so excited to see you take the stage at The Fortitude Music Hall for Strings Attached. You’ll be joined on stage by the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra for the shows – how do you envision this string accompaniment will add to the magic of your setlist?
I am beyond excited for this! To be performing alongside the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra is truly a dream come true. I think the orchestral elements will add such a beautiful and unique layer to my songs. The idea behind the arrangements is that they aren’t specifically classical or pop. I wanted the scores to have unique quirky parts and for the music to have unexpected turns and soundscapes that would almost transport you to a different world. Hearing the songs arranged this way almost gives my songs whole new meanings and feel.
Will you be road-testing any new material on this run of shows?
Absolutely! I’ve got lots of new exciting music that I am busting to share, so it’ll be fun performing them in a different way to how they are recorded.
How did the forced hiatus alter your appreciation for live performance and the sometimes gruelling lifestyle of touring?
The time off was indeed positive in terms of being able to rest and not go on a million planes touring everywhere, especially after I’d just done the world tour with Flume. I found it quite healing for my body and mind, but after some time I began to miss it so much. I felt restless and just wanted to be on the road again with my band and crew. I miss the memories we make on the road.
Last year was a tough one for a lot of musicians around the globe. How would you suggest audiences engage with music to best help the industry recover over the next 12 months?
I think it’s important for everyone to continue to support music and live music the best we can. Yes, it’s great that live shows are starting up again but at low capacity, minimal ticket sales and always the risk of potential lockdowns is still a thing, so it is quite nerve wracking for all in the industry. I think the best thing to do is listen to your favourite artists on platforms, purchase tickets to their shows whether they are livestreams or at venues, buy their merch and keep up to date with what they’re doing. Or even if they’re feeling generous, donate to Support Act!
You can catch Vera Blue performing alongside the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra at the Fortitude Music Hall as part of Strings Attached on Friday March 26 and Saturday March 27. Click here to snag a ticket!