“This pain makes you who you are. This pain makes you who I love.”
Kate Miller-Heidke’s ethereal voice makes this empathetic gesture on her new single, “This is Not Forever.” The sentiment behind the song is simple but weighty – a plea for a loved one to hand over their hurt.
“I could see someone very close to me was falling into a depression. I’d seen it before and I wanted to let them know I was there for them in a very serious way. The song was written about six months ago, before all this happened,” she explains, referring to the global shutdown amidst the spread of Covid-19 – a context that imbues “This is Not Forever” with new resonance. “Listening to it in these changed times, I feel it more deeply than I did before. It just seems like the right time to put it out.”
Cinematic in scope and sound, “This is Not Forever” is a testament to people: trusting them with your ideas and your emotions, and allowing yourself to be close to them emotionally if not physically, just for now.
That belief extends into the music video for “This is Not Forever”. A collaboration with director Christiaan Van Vuuren and choreographer Lucas Jervies, the poignant video sees dancers trade the stage for their living rooms and backyards, encapsulating the hopeful spirit of the song in communal motion. Shot in isolation by each dancer on their phone and pieced together by Van Vuuren.
In late 2019, just months after Kate brought her unique blend of indie-pop, folk and opera to the Eurovision Song Contest with her song‘Zero Gravity’ and where she was also the first Australian artist to win the Marcel Bezençon Artistic Award (an award presented to the best artist as voted by the Eurovision commentators) – she threw herself into another new challenge. Paired up with producer Justin Stanley and songwriter Ingrid Andress at the APRA AMCOS SongHubs on the Gold Coast, and challenged to make a song in a day, the trio embarked on a collaboration that had evaded Kate during her career.
“I’d always kind of shied away from the pop song-writing tradition of baring your soul to strangers, and then writing a song. But I think after the whole crazy Eurovision experience, how exposing that was and that super hectic year, I was just feeling confident enough for the first time to do that, to sit in a room with strangers and write a song that way. And I’m so glad I did, because it’s really changed my whole approach.”
Kate had been writing music for over two decades, during which time she followed the path laid by her idols, one that involved channelling her deepest feelings alone in a room. “It was personal. It was like a pure channel, between the muse and the songwriter.” But following her experience at Eurovision, she realised there had been seeds of fear and social anxiety that led to her distrust of doing it any other way.
“After Eurovision I felt like, I can do anything now. Nothing’s going to be as exposing; I’ve been as vulnerable as I can be.”
In surrendering to the collaboration, she tapped into the intimacy of the song, and found that writing with others led to her ideas becoming more distilled, more effective.
Kate Miller-Heidke is one of Australia’s most celebrated artists, a sublime vocalist who effortlessly traverses the worlds of contemporary pop, folk and opera. She has released four studio albums including O Vertigo! which debuted at number 4 on the ARIA Albums Chart, Nightflight, which reached number 2, and Curiouser, which reached double platinum sales and spawned the multi-platinum hits ‘Last Day On Earth’ and ‘Caught In The Crowd’. Her yet to be titled fifth studio album is slated for release later this year.
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