Ahead of her first appearance in Mardi Gras annual pride parade, singer-songwriter Vera Blue talks self-expression, industry accolades, self-care and using music as a tool for connection.
“There’s been a few moments in my life in the past couple years that I’ve felt a great deal of strength coming through me and I’ve wanted to be able to put that in my music to connect with other people.”
You’ll be appearing on the W Hotels’ float at this year’s Mardi Gras parade, can you tell me a little about how that partnership came about?
Absolutely, I’m super excited about this because I’ve been going to Mardi Gras for years now, but this is my first experience being on a float. It’s going to be really fun and full of energy. The W Hotels float is called Love Out Loud and the whole theme of it is being bold, feeling strong in yourself and having fun being able to express … It means so much to me to be part of it this year and to be on the other side of the fence. It’s going to be really cool, there’s going to be dances, lots of colour, [a] really good time.
You mentioned you’ve been going to Mardi Gras for years; how does it feel to now be a part of the festival?
It’s really cool for me too because I feel like as an artist my music speaks to the LGBTQIA+ community and … in terms of feeling confident in yourself, knowing who you are, self-esteem and also empowerment as well … Empowerment is a big one, so I feel like I definitely connect with the community, and I’m so happy to be part of it.
You’ve been on the Australian and international industry radars for a while now – how do you feel you’ve changed or evolved as both a singer-songwriter and as a person over the last few years of performing?
I think through the experience of touring and through the experience of life, relationships, and people coming in and out of my life, I feel that has really helped me evolve as an artist and helped me talk about different subjects through music, rather than just love. I feel like at the moment I’m learning a lot about myself - my strengths and my self-worth and even things like mental illness, getting through other stuff in life rather than just relationship stuff, so it’s been a huge learning experience for me through the last few years and I think that’s really shown in my music. Which is really cool, just being able to connect with audiences who feel that same connection to me, but yeah that’s kind of like what I do and why I love it so much.
On that note, it must be quite surreal to have all these people who know you, and who connect with you, who share your craft with you. What does it feel like to have this community around you all the time?
It’s amazing. In itself it’s super impactful and empowering, like sometimes when I’m making music and I’m touring it there’s that kind of sense that I’m not sure if I’m doing well enough, I’m not sure if I’m proving myself right. But then I get that response from the audience and from people who love my music and connect to it and that, for me, ticks the box and I’m ready to continue doing it. It’s super empowering and inspiring, the audience and fans inspire me to keep doing what I do which is awesome.
“To get in the Hottest 100 was like, ‘Oh my god’ … Like, we love it but will the audience love it? And when we find out that they truly love it, it’s like amazing for us.”
It was quite exciting in January with the Triple J Hottest 100 number two placement with Flume. I guess in terms of that award, but also in the broader context of awards and accolades, what does that mean to you? How much does getting an award like that affect you or impact you? Or do you try not to think about it too much?
I try not to think about it too much but when things like that happen it’s kind of an indication to me that … me and my collaborator – in this instance it was Flume – that we’re doing something right, that we’re connecting with people and making them feel something. And that’s kind of all I want with my music is to make people feel.
Our recent issue of RUSSH Magazine was centred on the theme of ‘Desire’. On that note, what’s your ultimate song for seduction?
Well, they’ve literally come back, they’re doing a comeback now, but The Pussycat Dolls. They have a song called Buttons and I remember when I was younger … it had that cool kind of EDM theme and there was something quite sexy about it. There’s something about that, that makes me kind of dance and feel like I could seduce someone.
It’s so good! have you performed that live? You should.
Oh god! No.
You should do it, it would be so great.
One day, one day.
What are your guilty pleasures, if you have any?
Obviously chocolate, everyone will probably connect to that, I really love chocolate. What’s a guilty pleasure? I guess I spend a lot of time on TikTok, everyone would do that. I don’t really have anything that’s super weird or super dark that no one knows.
Or you don’t feel guilt for your pleasure - maybe that’s it …
Yeah. Yeah, I think every time I’m just like, this is what I’m going to do right now.
Is there anything that you’re addicted to at the moment?
Definitely addicted to TikTok and scrolling through, it’s literally caught on … And I’m also obsessed with going and getting my nails done. I’ve been getting a French tip, it’s like super in at the moment, the French tip look. And I’ve recently been getting jewels on my nails. I can’t normally have long nails because I play guitar, and that’s hard it kind of gets in the road. But when I can have long nails, I always get crazy art on them which I’m having lots of fun. Especially with Mardi Gras as well I feel like it’s a way, I can express myself and eyeshadow. So, I’m obsessed with that stuff.
Besides Mardi Gras this weekend, what else are you looking forward to for the year ahead?
This year is shaping up to being really exciting, I think I’m going to be doing a lot more overseas stuff, do a bit of touring over there. Definitely more studio time, I’m going to be working on new music and creating, and I think this is also just a good year for self-care for me. I think the last couple years I haven’t really taken time out and looked after myself as well, I’ve kind of just been going and going and going. So I think this year I look forward to making sure I’m healthy and surviving the stressful lifestyle of a touring artist, so I’m looking forward to doing everything this year. I think I’m in a good place to collaborate as well.