Who is Vera Blue? The artist behind the project

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Who is Vera Blue? The artist behind the project

When Australia’s celestial artist Vera Blue isn’t listening to iconic musicians like Montaigne, Jack Garrett or James Blake, there is one album she can’t get off her mind.

“I have Flume’s album constantly on repeat. It’s insane. I can’t stop playing it. I think anyone could listen to it, even my mum bought it. I had to send him [Harley Streten] a text saying, ‘My mum bought your album, you have a big fan!’ and he sent one back saying, ‘Hi mum!’”

It’s a good thing Celia Pavey, the artist behind the Vera Blue project, is such a big fan given her recent guest appearance with Flume at last month’s Splendour in the Grass. The moment was a definite highlight for the folk-turned-synth singer who is still feeling the high all these weeks later.

“I’ve listened to his whole set a couple of times now and every time it gets to the song before I go on, I get the same butterflies I got before I went on stage. I remember just getting on there and seeing all the crowd – I was meant to act all cool and dance and be all awesome, but I was so mesmerised by the audience, I was like ‘Oh my God,’” she laughs, before adding, “It was amazing.”

If her strawberry locks aren’t identifier enough, then perhaps her crystalline voice and silky vocals would jolt your memory. Once the darling of reality TV competition, The Voice, Pavey has since released her second EP, Fingertips, under a new name.

“I was laying in bed one night and I just thought, ‘names, names, names’ and I put these two names together and it worked. I told my manager and he sat on that for a week and then he said, ‘Yep! You’re Vera Blue!”

The surprising, but not at all unsuccessful move, came after Pavey was invited to a writers camp with some of Australia’s greatest artists and producers. It was there she met with her latest EP producer, veteran Andy Mak and Melbourne artist and writer, Gossling.

“I think fate brought us together… I had a song that I had started called ‘Fingertips’ and I had finished the chorus but I did not know where to go,” she says.

“At the time I had been listening to a lot of electronica stuff from Alt J, FKA Twigs and Banks. I really wanted to do something with it so we just experimented and we got more of a song. Then we just thought we may as well keep writing together. I got to the point where I thought, this music is so different from what I normally do, it deserves its own project name. Vera Blue is what came out.”

Wondering if the artist feels torn between the characterisation of Vera Blue and her own identity, as Pavey suggests while for some artists that’s the case, it’s not for her.

“I’m still Celia, and I still perform but I feel at the same time that I’m unleashing an inner artist that was always there, but it needed this moment in time and this style of music to really bring that artist out,” she says.

The outcome is a light synth base, layered with her angelic vocals, producing a sound that is both powerful, soft and ultimately mesmerising.

“I feel like I’m really unleashing and that for me is incredible and it’s the most amazing feeling,” she beams.

“I’m still myself, but I feel like the music is bringing out a different artist that is really enhanced and someone who is very passionate about what they do.”

With live performances for triple j’s ‘Like a Version,’ her recent collaboration with Australian rapper Illy, and featuring on several major Australian music festival this year, it seems that 2016 is the year the industry has sat up and taken notice of Pavey, finally treating her as the serious artist she’s always been. It would be a testament to her hard work and passion behind the Vera Blue project.

“Where I’m at now as a person and emotionally, I feel like I’m much stronger and I’ve got the strength now to really drive my music and do whatever I want and it’s really exciting and fun.”

But when asked if she feels like she’s being treated differently, the artist is humble.

“I’m not too sure, I’m just kind of taking it all in and all I want to do is share my music and hope that people like it – and they seem to be liking it so that’s the most important thing!”

Written by Caitlin Haddad

When & Where: Karova Lounge, Ballarat – August 31, Workers Club, Geelong – September 1 & Howler, Melbourne – September 2 & 3

WIN TICKETS TO VERA BLUE’S BALLARAT SHOW email ‘VERA’ to [email protected] with your name and number to enter.