Marisa Quigley

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Marisa Quigley

As the frontwoman of classic Australian blues band Chubby Rae and the Elevators, Marisa Quigley has over the past fifteen years developed into one of the most recognisable voices in the music scene. Described as “Possibly the blackest white woman since Janis Joplin”, it is her energetic stage presence and distinctive vocal style that leaves you wanting more. Quigley’s most recent project, however, is the Healers of Hurt songwriter tour, which combines the forces of Dean Haitani and Talisa Jobe to produce three very special shows that are set to hit regional Victoria this weekend.
“The concept for this show came from Albert Skipper, who is a great local Bendigo rootsy singer. Al was in charge of getting everything together; however, unfortunately some stuff came up and he was unable to make it all happen. He just wanted songs about feeling and heartbreak and raw emotion to be featured in this concert and I think we have quite a good mix of that in the show. The songwriter in the round is such a beautiful format. Going song for song and jumping on and singing a harmony or playing guitar on someone else’s track is a real treat.”
The reformation of Chubby Rae (to some part) was to celebrate 20 years of The Blues Train. It’s great to see Chubby Rae back out on the road once again, after focusing on different projects for so long. And as Quigley relates, in 2014 duo shows make for easier touring.
“Over the past three or four years we’ve done a few gigs, but it was the anniversary of the train that brought us back together. We’ve never really done long tedious tours over the years; the most we’ve done is four gigs in a weekend in Tassie. In 2014 touring is different because we aren’t carting the whole band around and there is a lot more duo shows. Jim flies down here, or I fly up to Northern NSW, and we do a few gigs. I feel a bit like a rock and roll star, flying interstate for a couple of gigs.”
Taught to read at the age of eight years old, Quigley doesn’t recall music being a big part of her early childhood. The family record collection boasted the likes of Reg Lindsay, José Feliciano, Jimmy Small and Elvis, yet it wasn’t until Quigley moved to Geelong and got into the local blues scene that she started her journey as a singer.
“In terms of singing, I had been a big mimicker. It wasn’t until I met Jim and started Chubby Rae that I found my own voice. I grew so much as a musician throughout my time in the band. Madonna and Cyndi Lauper were big icons of my teenage years and from there I looked up to Bonnie Raitt and Etta James. There is so many out there.”
One of the most influential artists on Quigley’s career is Tom Waits. The first album that she owned was the classic 1975 Nighthawks at the Diner, an album that is still an all-time favourite to this day. “Tom Waits is my greatest influence within songwriting. I love his lyricism and I think he is such a poet. I can’t get enough of his stuff. If I had the opportunity to sit down and pen a song or an album, I definitely wouldn’t be saying no!”
When&Where: The Old Church on the Hill, Bendigo – August 8 & The Comma, Castlemaine – August 9
Written by Tex Miller