Music, Business, Lifestyle | The Arts
She’s been Australia’s high priestess of pop, an award winning jazz singer, wears the hat of a fine artistic director and, above all that; Kate Ceberano is a songwriter with the talent to take a tune to the top of the charts. 2016 sees the release of the Kate Ceberano Anthology, her 24th album - three Disc, 53 Song celebration of the 30 year anniversary since the release of her 1st album “Bear Witness” with Kate fronting the band I’m Talking. Remarkably, she shows no sign of slowing down, let alone stopping.
In 2014 Ceberano became the first Australian woman to be inducted into the Australian Songwriters Association (ASA) Hall of Fame. Joining such luminaries as Don Walker, The Easybeats, LRB and The Angels. Time Out Melbourne got it right when they wrote “(the) first thing you notice about Ceberano is her energy, which actually sends the atoms crackling as she walks in the room. Flashing eyes, a ready roar, warm and funny – she’s your dream conversationalist”. Whether it is that soulful voice, her charismatic nature or exotic looks: Kate’s earned her ‘Australian icon’ status. A woman widely respected across various mediums, Kate as a singer has gathered numerous awards: as well as occasionally lighting up our big and small screens (Kate & Friends, Dancing with the Stars, Who Do You Think You Are?, X-Factor, Getaway, and more).
Then there was her award winning performance in South Pacific and the penning of her acclaimed autobiography I’m Talking. She counts motherhood to daughter Gypsy as her biggest achievement yet. Kate first found fame with her funk band I’m Talking. I’m Talking are acknowledged as the band “who pioneered New York-style art pop in Australia during the Jurassic Period of Pub Rock”. The group was managed by Ken West, now famous for being co-founder of the Big Day Out. The group’s ‘platinum’ debut album included three top ten singles and won the Best New Talent (1984) gong at the Countdown Awards. Kate followed that up the following year with the award for Best Female Vocalist (1985). Kate won Best Female Singer (1985) at the Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) Awards.
After such an auspicious debut album, the group broke up and Kate went solo. It was here, in the late 80s, that Ceberano earned a formidable reputation for her soul, jazz and pop repertoire. Quite rightly radio labelled her as having “one of the greatest voices our music industry has ever produced”. Kate’s first solo album was the live recording Kate Ceberano and Her Septet (1987). Her following platter You’ve Always Got The Blues (1988) earned her an ARIA Award for Best Female Artist (1988). A year later, she won another ARIA for Best Female Artist (1989), as well as one for Highest Selling Single (1989) for Bedroom Eyes from her triple platinum effort, Brave. In 1992, Kate hit the stage to perform the role of Mary in Jesus Christ Superstar. The show, which had a star-studded cast which included John Farnham, toured nationally performing over 80 arenas shows, and the album was the biggest hit of the year – earning four times platinum status.
Kate followed this success with her own late-night cabaret-style show on ABC TV simply titled Kate Ceberano & Friends (1993-1994), the album from which went Gold. In 1996 Kate released her next solo album Blue Box, which also went Gold and saw her nominated for another Best Female Artist at the ARIA’s. In 1997 Kate wrote and released what has become an Australian pop classic – Pash. A gorgeous slice of three-minute pop, the song went Platinum and solidified Kate’s reputation as one of our leading female songwriters. The subsequent album shot to #5 in the ARIA charts. Richard Wilkins of the Today Show simply referred to her as “Australian Music Royalty”.
Her achievements now included five Platinum albums, five Gold albums and over 2 million albums sold in Australia alone. Like many high-profile musicians, Kate Ceberano uses her celebrity to support and bring awareness to many causes close to her heart; for many years Ceberano has been an Ambassador for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. This role sees Kate help raise funds and awareness about an illness that affects so many lives. Over the 9 years Kate has been a supporter of the NBCF, Kate has also personally donated album royalties to the cause. “I like to be as involved as I possibly can in causes I feel strongly about,” Ceberano said of her appointment. “Yes I am a musician, but if I can do more to help others then I will.” In 2013, Kate recorded a new album of original material, Kensal Road, at Kensaltown Studios, London. The Daily Telegraph’s Kathy McCabe was moved to write “Kensal Road fits perfectly in the pocket of dreamy folk pop that has captivated the airwaves for the past couple of years...Ceberano is a true original” while Cameron Adams reminded us “in case you’d forgotten, that voice is still something special.” Annette Sharp of The Daily Telegraph went on to say: “There is something undeniably mighty about Kate Ceberano. The singer has always been a fascinating character in the Australian rock industry. Luminous and vibrant, she has, since the age of 19 exuded the kind of confidence that eludes most Australians — men and women alike. She glows in a room and it’s not just because she has a great big smile, a great big personality and a great big voice; it’s something unfathomable that suggests a power that emanates from some place far deeper, beyond our understanding.”
From 2012-2014 Kate took on the role as artistic director of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, and transformed it into one of the most successful festivals in the country. With a 40% increase in Box Office, Kate as Artist Director brought some of the biggest international acts to Australia for the first time, including Kristin Chenoweth, and Indina Menzel. In 2014, Kate and the festival were awarded the Ruby award for Best Festival for Contribution to Arts and Culture SA.
In April 2014, Kate released her autobiography, the aforementioned, I’m Talking. The Daily Mail noted that I’m Talking documented “the milestones in the iconic jazz and pop singer’s life”. At the same time she was also nominated for the Instyle Women of Style Awards in the Arts & Culture category.
On May 6, Kate released Anthology, a celebration of Kate’s iconic 35 year career, which marks the 30th anniversary of the release of I’m Talking’s “Bear Witness” and is a comprehensive look at Kate’s impressive back catalogue. Including a selection of new songs, and never before released tracks including Kate’s cover of The Carpenter’s “We’ve Only Just Begun” which was the end title track from the iconic Australian movie The Castle, and two songs written and performed with Paul Kelly, and also duets with some of music’s biggest names (John Farnham, Ronan Keating, David Campbell, Wendy Matthews, Jon Stevens and more). In its first week of release, Anthology debuted in the Top 10 of the Australian National Album Charts. Adding to Kate’s already impressive list of honours, in June of 2016, Kate was awarded an Order of Australia for charitable work, and services to the Music Industry. Kate spoke of this honour, "I am so very proud and honoured to be receiving this award from this great country Australia that I love.” 24 albums over 30 years makes Ceberano the most prolific Australian female recording artist of this era. Her work, her craft and her vision are now imbued in our collective DNA. Kate Ceberano is a bone fide national treasure, possessing one of the great voices of her generation. Long may she run.
“Kate is the best…do yourself a favour!”
“Truly one of the great voices this country has produced. Kate sings with such passion, heart and joy it is impossible not to be completely carried to wherever she wants you to go!!!! Not only an amazing singer but an extraordinary performer - Kate’s singing simply melts your heart.”
“Kate has an expressive, supple voice, equally at home singing pop or jazz.”
“Pure, soulful and powerful.”
Rolling Stone Magazine
“Australian music royalty.”
“There is no doubt that Kate is Australian musical royalty, not just as a performer, as a writer and with that wonderful voice. Kate embodies all that is great about creativity and music in Melbourne. A wonderful, wonderful 30 years of giving, not just to Melbourne and Australia but to the whole world.”
Robert Doyle – Lord Mayor, Melbourne
“Kate could really sing anything really, she’s a wonderful singer who has built up a legion of fans.”
“She’s got great integrity and honesty, and a lack of pretence which permeates through her performance!”
“Ceberano is simply mesmerizing.”
Juliette Lewis – Oscar nominated actress & singer
“She is one of the most natural musicians I know. Her expressive range is vast and seemingly effortless, and she is a delightful human being. A remarkable contributor and a remarkable career.”
“Kate Ceberano is a fine musician, a great songwriter, a wonderful entertainer and a fantastic Australian.”
“Kate is a rare artist in that she has her head in the clouds yet her feet planted firmly on the ground.”
“Kate has such a magical aura, it’s empowering to be in the same space as her. She’s the most alluring and emotionally potent performer I’ve ever seen.”
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