“I might burst into tears”: Julia Zemiro is sooooooooo excited to finally return to the stage
26.03.2021

“I might burst into tears”: Julia Zemiro is sooooooooo excited to finally return to the stage

Image by Kathy Chambers
Words By Bryget Chrisfield

Zemiro will appear as part of RocKwiz’s annual Really Really Good Friday event, going down at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.

When RocKwiz’s Really Really Good Friday returns to the Sidney Myer Music Bowl after a pandemic-forced year off, Julia Zemiro predicts tears will be shed.

“I can’t wait to see Brian [Nankervis, RocKwiz co-creator, producer, adjudicator and writer] and the band [RocKwiz Orkestra] and my producers,” Zemiro enthuses of RocKwiz’s upcoming Really Really Good Friday show at Sidney Myer Music Bowl.

“I’m just absolutely gagging to see those people again – I haven’t seen them in 12 months! And I really think I might burst into tears when I walk out on that stage… I haven’t seen any live stuff in ages so it will be so weird: the first live show I see, I’m in, you know?”

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Zemiro then ponders how long it’s been between RocKwiz gigs: “Hmmm, that is a good question. I think we did some regional shows or Christmas shows together so, yeah! Look, it’s been about 15 months.”

The last time RocKwiz hit the Bowl was 12 years ago, as part of the iconic Melbourne venue’s 50th anniversary celebration, and Zemiro points out, “Our first-ever live show in front of a really huge crowd was at the Bowl, so to be coming back is kind of this lovely little return. And it was such an amazing night that first time ‘round, where we celebrated musicians who had played at the Bowl before,” she says.

“So we did ABBA and Neil Diamond and stuff, but we finished with Judith Durham – so we had all generations of music and she finished with ‘The Carnival is Over’ and people were just like, ‘Oh my, god! Hit us in the guts, why don’t you?’”

It’s Zemiro’s spontaneous quick-wit and loveable personality as RocKwiz host that makes the guests feel so at ease and viewers at home also feel like part of the show’s extended family.

“They let me be who I really am and, really authentically, let me be, to do what I do,” Zemiro praises of RocKwiz’s producers. “And that just opened all the doors. Because it was with SBS, it opened the door to [hosting] Eurovision, because I was presenting and I was really good at interviewing people backstage.

“Then the ABC and CJZ came up with this idea to do Home Delivery. So all these beautiful doors opened thanks to this wonderful opportunity with RocKwiz. And that’s why it’s just such a big part of my heart.”

Her heart was set on performing from a young age and Zemiro, a Victorian College of the Arts-trained actor, admits she “would sing into a hairbrush when the parents would leave the house and imagine thousands of people in front of [her]”.

“And I don’t sing in front of them,” she acknowledges, “but I certainly perform in front of them. So, in a way, you could say, ‘Mission accomplished!’”

When asked how the compiling of guests for RocKwiz’s Really Really Good Friday show is going (and secretly hoping for an exclusive), Zemiro remains tightlipped: “Very good. I can’t tell you any of them.”

 

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But later on, while discussing the comics they’ve locked in, Zemiro throws us a “little tidbit”: “Because it’s on during the [Melbourne International] Comedy Festival, we usually have one or two comics so that’s booked in. You’ll be delighted to see her work – how’s that?… She will be playing – she is magnificent, she’s actually one of my personal favourite people. I adore her.”

Given that Ed Sheeran is currently Down Under for Michael Gudinski’s State Memorial, we can’t help but wonder whether RocKwiz’s people have contacted his people.

“Geez, you’ve got all the gossip,” Zemiro laughs. “Well we’ve always been big fans, at RocKwiz, of supporting Australian performers. So I think we’ll be opening the door to Australian performers who’ve made no money this year and, you know, there is still a limited budget so we want to work with the performers that we have worked with before and that we know know the show, know RocKwiz, and give them a chance to work and perform and be paid, because we know that – for the arts industry – it’s just been absolutely dire.

“And indeed Michael Gudinski was one of the incredible leaders through that in terms of getting The Sound happening on TV and being a voice. [His passing is] so sad and just such a loss, because also you know he would have had so much more gas in the tank and would’ve been finding all kinds of incredible ways of trying to get people back out there,” Zemiro continues.

“And he’s such a leader, he would’ve been in there just saying to people, ‘Nuh, we’re gonna do it this way!’ And you’d be like, ‘Yes, we are!’ It’s always the good ones anyway, yeah.”

For punters keen to register their interest in being one of RocKwiz’s Really Really Good Friday guest contestants, Zemiro recommends, “Head to the Facebook page or tweet us, we’ll answer!”

RocKwiz’s Really Really Good Friday is happening at Sidney Myer Music Bowl on Friday April 2. Grab tickets via the Live at the Bowl website