Katie Noonan

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Katie Noonan

While we may have spoken over the phone, Katie Noonan has such a welcoming, honest nature it felt as if I was sitting in the lounge of the talented musician – albiet it without any presence of a TV.

“You walk into our place and it’s just a stereo and chairs,” she says painting a picture of a space for connection and creativity.

“My main thing with television is I hate advertising and the lack of filtering for my kids – they don’t need to know about war, sickos and the latest crap toy they’re trying to sell. That was the main reason we got rid of the television to protect our kids from consumerism.”

Avoiding news and advertising is an interesting concept, given that Katie grew up the daughter of a journalist father who would centre the family around the 7.30 Report. Once wanting to become an investigative journalist but realising “her heart was too open” to work in that field, Katie then followed a career as a musician, and is touted as one of the finest vocalists in Australia and the world.

Katie Noonan mightn’t consider herself “tough enough” to break the news in warzones, her constant evolution and need to challenge herself musically puts her in good stead as one of the toughest musicians in the industry today.

“I just like getting out of my comfort zone and seeing what I can do from that: just become a better musician,” she says.

“For me music is such a big, awesome, limitless thing and I just dream up things and luckily enough people join me for the ride. I love challenging myself and getting out of my comfort zone and playing with people who have better skills.”

As it stands, Katie is deep in the vortex of learning new material that is seemingly getting the better of her. But with each failure to hit a note, she pushes herself even further.

“You kind of sit down and go, ‘Holy shit, I can’t do this’, and then you break it up into bits and realise you can do it. You just have to do it in sections, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed by difficult music if you just look at the whole thing,” she says.

Pushing through her limits has enabled Katie to work alongside and produce content with some of the finest musicians in the world; the Australian Symphony Orchestra and Sydney Dance Company are just two out of a long list. Her talent and passion has enabled her to make this connection with fellow like-minded people in the industry, and it’s the ability music has to make strangers become friends that Katie loves most.

“I remember going to see Stevie Wonder and I was so excited I knew what the song was, so I jumped up and the person next to me did the same,” she says.

“We didn’t know each other but we were so excited we just hugged each other: it was Stevie Wonder and he was 50 metres in front of us. Music is the best thing for breaking down all barriers. It doesn’t matter what you look like, what gender you are or what language you speak in – I listen to music in other languages all the time and you can still feel the feeling, you don’t have to understand the words. I think it’s a very powerful tool,” she says.

Katie will be performing at Port Fairy Folk Festival (a festival she has never played at) and hopefully her music will allow you to share a similar experience with a stranger that she did with Stevie Wonder.

Written by Amanda Sherring

When & Where: Port Fairy Folk Festival, Port Fairy – March 11-14