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Interview: Vanessa Amorosi

8 min read
We caught up with super-lovely pop-turned-soul icon @VanessaAmorosi to talk new album #MemphisLove, @DaveStewart and her incredible career @BayStreetRec @DWLmusic

The name Vanessa Amorosi is one that instantly takes us back to the very end of the 90’s and one of the most vibrantly catchy earm-worms in modern pop music. With her then-trademark citrus orange hair and some already impressive pipes at a little shy of 20 years old, Amorosi found international stardom thanks to her early career hit, Absolutely Everybody. The track made her a household name and got her on the bill of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. After the release of the single, Amorosi found frequent success in pop but has, over the years, transformed herself from pop starlet into a fully-ledged musical icon.

With concentration being placed into a recording career that is more heavily dipped in American soul, gospel and blues, Amorosi has shown herself to be an ever-changing and multi-talented songstress – something very evident on her latest studio release, Memphis Love which saw its release at the end of 2023. As well as focusing on her continued and thriving recording career, Amorosi also found a strong friendship with none other than Eurythmics founding member, Dave Stewart who took her under his wing and released her latest album through his own highly acclaimed label, Bay Street Records.

Not content with focusing solely on her own successful career, she has also been busy on the road with Stewart, helping the icon and Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer celebrate his own Eurythmics catalogue, providing the most incredible stand-in vocals as part of the sold out Eurythmics Songbook 2023/2024 tour of the UK and Europe.

Amorosi’s incredible Memphis Love record is about to deliver yet another stellar cut in the shape of new single Lift Us Up on February 23rd and ahead of its release we were lucy enough to steal some time from Amorosi’s hectic schedule to talk about the new album, her career and touring with one of music’s most iconic artists. Here is what she had to tell us,

Brendon Veevers: Hey Vanessa – where in the world are we talking to you from today?

Vanessa Amorosi: I’m home in Los Angeles with my family. I had such an incredible time in November touring Europe on the Eurythmics Songbook tour.

BV: You have been crazy busy lately touring with Dave Stewart for the Eurythmics songbook which we caught at the Palladium at the end of 2023. What an absolutely incredible show! How are you feeling about the latest run of shows over here in the UK?

VA: Amazing! It was the best way to wrap the year up. I couldn’t have wished for a better crew than this one! Performing with Dave and his band left me with so many special memories. When you hear the set, that’s when it kicks in just how many HITS Eurythmics have. It’s so enjoyable not only for us to perform but for everyone watching.

BV: You are very close with Dave but the whole band seems like such a tight knit family of likeminded musicians. Anyone on the tour you gravitate more closely to or get up to more mischief with?

VA: Mischief with everyone! So many different personalities in one place, we all got along from the second the tour started. I look back at footage from November and I can’t help but smile at how amazing the tour was. I’m excited to have the same band and crew for the next run of shows. Dave is not only a close friend of mine but a mentor, he’s the best to be on the road with.

BV: You worked with Dave on your new record, Memphis Love which is also released through his label and I want to ask you about that in a moment. Firstly, how did your collaboration and friendship come about with Dave?

VA: I met Dave when I was writing a pop record. I instantly gravitated to Dave’s incredible energy, before you knew it we were writing everything but pop songs! I was feeling trapped at the time, he always thought artists can move into any genre if they’re passionate about it.  I always appreciated that he encouraged me to be vocally and lyrically free. ‘Let it rip’ he would say.

BV: A MASSIVE congratulations on your latest album, Memphis Love which was released in November and has its new single Lift Us Up on its way next week. For those that knew you from your early career recordings, it is quite a shift in genres. First of all, what was the process like for you putting this collection of songs together?

VA: I wanted to record a gospel record, I’ve always been known for creating gospel arrangements even with my pop records. When I record my gospel arrangements, I do one voice at a time, nothing sounds as good as that many vocals coming together LIVE. It was sheer magic listening to a 50 piece choir on some of these tracks. The songs we chose together, it’s exciting to work with someone who is like-minded and creatively is on the same wavelength.

BV: You co-produced and co-wrote this record with Dave. What are the key things that you would say you have taken away from having him join you on this journey as both a collaborator and friend?

VA: Everything feels natural and easy when working with Dave. It’s like a big jam session, it’s all about making good music.

BV: Where would you say you drew most of the inspiration from when writing the songs for the album?

VA: Every song has a story. It’s seamless working with Dave, it’s a creative bubble of energy. Some are personal and some are written for that moment.

BV: Reading various things about you recording with Tennessee Mass Choir or recording in the studios you did for Memphis Love, you can literally feel the passion that you have for putting this collection of songs together. Can you tell us a little about these two particular elements of the album and why they are such special moments in your career and in the creation of the LP?

VA: Grateful. I couldn’t get the smile off my face hearing Tennessee Mass Choir perform in that church. I’ve been in the industry a long time and that moment was a highlight for me. So powerful, it still gives me goosebumps when I hear them on the record.

BV: Are there songs on this record that are more special or personal to you and for what reasons?

VA: They all have a special meaning. To name a few, the track Serious I particularly love. I feel it really demonstrates where I’m going with this record lyrically. I want people to take me seriously as a ‘soul singer’ because I’ve always been that. Another track is Wolf, this is the most exciting LIVE. Writing songs is like a journal entry for me, it’s a great way of expressing myself. For example Don’t Judge Me is asking people not to judge me from my past, because I’ve grown far from that as an artist/singer songwriter.

BV: Going back in time, Absolutely Everybody is a song that made you a household name very early in your career. Those that may not have been following your career so closely over recent years might be surprised at this huge departure from the pop star we first came to know. Was there always this passion for this gospel, bluesy and soulful style that we hear on Memphis Love?

VA: I think if you listen back to those songs, you’ll hear some gospel arrangements throughout. It’s always been a part of my style. I’m so thankful to have songs that still after 20 years get celebrated.

BV: You became so known for Absolutely Everybody back in the 1999. What are the fondest memories you have of those early days?

VA: I do a lot of touring, hearing the reaction to that song even in 2023 blows my mind. It’s a special thing to have in your career, a song that is still celebrated after all these years. I have too many moments to count, it’s a part of my journey and I’m grateful to have multiple songs that still resonate.

BV: Being so young when you released that song and going straight into this global pop market, do you think you coped well with the celebrity side and the invasive side of what comes with being a successful musician at that time and at that age?

VA: It’s a lot to take in but honestly I was surrounded by great people and never really changed who I was. I was an artist doing what I love and what I knew, but I never changed my lifestyle.

BV: It really does seem like there have been two lives of Vanessa so far – the pop starlet who gets catapulted to worldwide fame very quickly and then now a much more mature, musically grounded musician that seems so in control of her own career path. Do you think this is a true statement?

VA: I agree, I’m always learning and developing. It’s still exciting and I’m forever motivated to share more music and perform live.

BV: With so many achievements throughout the last 25 years, what would you say has been your proudest accomplishment so far?

VA: Too many to count. Honestly I feel my biggest accomplishment is that I’m still pushing. I want to be creative and I want to share music around the world. Performing on stage is my happy place.

BV: Going back to your live performing, you are continuing with Dave’s latest tour – where is that set to take you to?

VA: I’m excited to say yes! Details are still coming together. Bring on 2024!

BV: Are there any plans for a headlining tour at all – here in the UK or abroad?

VA: Absolutely! I can’t wait to tour this new record throughout Europe.

Vanessa Amorosi’s new album Memphis Love is out now and new single Lift Us Up is released on 23rd February 2024.