IT’S a long way from the sleepy town of Forbes, NSW (population 7000) to the stage of TV talent show The Voice, but it’s a psychological leap Celia Pavey has seemingly taken in her stride.
Having won over a national TV audience and judge Delta Goodrem, the 19 year-old folkie is now embarking on a national tour in support of her new EP, Bodies.
“I’m very excited and a little bit curious and nervous as to what people will think of it,” she says. “I feel very positive about it, and it was a very wonderful experience to be working on it. It’s good that it’s finally out there. I came off the show and I sort of knew who I was as an artist, but it was good to get down to writing the EP and realising what it was going to sound like and what the vibe was going to be. It did take a while, but good music does take a while and you’ve got to work hard to make it sound the way you want it to.”
Having some songs already part-written, the singer-songwriter has been able to count on some pretty solid collaborators to help finish them off.
“I did a bit of co-writing with Tim Hart [Boy & Bear] on a song called ‘Shadow’,” she says. “We had things in common in our friendship and things we had been through, so it just flowed really well, and the song is a beautiful track. It was lots of fun and it was great to work with him; he’s very down-to-earth and is very in touch with folk music, so he knows what my music is about. I also worked with Jake Stone of Bluejuice on ‘Bodies’, which is the main feature of the EP. Everyone I worked with had really open minds about the style of music and what the songs were about.”
Studying at the Australian Institute of Music before blind auditioning on The Voice meant that Pavey had musical talent on her side, but her naturally shy personality was a potential barrier to success on the show.
“I wasn’t thinking too much about it,” she says. “I usually like to take things as they come. The whole experience was really full-on to start with as I didn’t know what was going to happen. It was full-on, but it was an amazing experience to go through.”
Thankfully, her rendition of Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Scarborough Fair/Canticle’ immediately won over judge Delta Goodrem, with whom Pavey teamed up.
“She’s incredible; such a wonderful person,” she says. “She has guided me and helped me overcome my fears of being on stage. She said to me I just have to be myself and know who I am as an artist, just perform and be myself. There’s always nerves, which are important as you need the adrenalin for the performance, but to be able to overcome the fear is important. It’s all about realising you’re up there because you want to be and you’re there for a reason.”
While she has found an audience and built a fanbase on the back of her appearance on The Voice, Pavey is ready to move on and be regarded as an artist in her own right.
“It’s more about finding myself as a folk artist and keeping myself down-to-earth,” she says. “Not just launching into the pop world because that’s what most artists feel like they should be doing to make a career or something. You’ve got to take it slow and wait for people to appreciate what you do as an artist. Television shows can be a little full-on. I’m not quite sure how to explain it as I’m still thinking about all that, but they can exploit artists. Sometimes it can be beneficial and other times not – it’s all a bit crazy. I think it’s definitely important to experience things in life that will help you in the long run. It really did help me positively, although there were some negative parts that I guess will help me positively in the future and help me grow. You just have to give things a go and see what happens.”
She may only be 19, but Pavey probably would rather have been born around 1950, such is her affinity to the hippy/folk movement of the late sixties; something will be evident by her song choices on her national tour.
“I’ve got four songs on the EP, but I’ve got a band and we perform for an hour,” she says. “I’ve brought some more originals into the set – some of which will be on the album coming up. We’ve got a couple of fun covers; ‘White Rabbit’ by Jefferson Airplane and some groovy sixties songs. I love Joni Mitchell, so I do a couple of her covers; I like to do ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ and ‘Woodstock’. They really take people on a journey; the music back then was just incredible.”
When & Where:
Thursday 11th September
Melbourne | The Toff in Town
Friday 12th September
Traralgon | Spirit Bar
Saturday 13th September
Ballarat | Karova Lounge
Sunday 14th September
Torquay | Torquay Hotel