Meg Washington: ‘The orchestra is an amazing organism, able to create feelings that are totally unique’

Get the latest from Beat


Meg Washington: ‘The orchestra is an amazing organism, able to create feelings that are totally unique’

Meg Washington
Words by Grace McCallum

Meg Washington delves into her upcoming show with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in February 2024.

In the intricate mosaic of Australian music, where genres seamlessly converge, Washington emerges as a luminary figure. The dynamic artist, renowned for her soulful performances and genre-defying sound, will perform with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in February, promising audiences an extraordinary musical journey.

Meg Washington with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

  • Dates: Friday 9 February, 7.30pm
  • Venue: Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall
  • Tickets available here

Keep up with the latest music news, features, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

With her magnetic stage presence and formidable vocals, Meg elevates her music to new heights through a unique collaboration with three world-renowned Australian orchestras, celebrated for crafting intricate sonic landscapes. Reflecting on this exciting partnership, Meg says, “I leapt at the opportunity to work with these orchestras. The orchestra is an amazing organism, able to create textures and dynamics and feelings that are totally unique.”

This tour transcends mere spectacle; it’s a platform for Meg to showcase the versatility of her compositions. “I like to think that if a song is written well, it should be robust enough to handle any sort of re-interpretation. I guess it’s the jazz singer in my bones, but I sort of treat all my songs like they’re standards,” she says.

Next year’s tour promises to be a mesmerising blend of Meg’s existing hits, reimagined in orchestral grandeur, alongside glimpses of her upcoming fifth studio album. Offering a sneak peek of what fans can expect from her new music, Meg shares, “My next record is a little dreamier than usual and a little more country and western than usual”.

For those familiar with Meg’s previous performances, this tour is an opportunity to experience her music in an entirely new light. Reflecting on her last symphony orchestra shows, Meg can expect to breathe easier this time. “I was heavily pregnant, so I’m looking forward to being able to use my lungs properly,” she says.

The performer’s artistic prowess extends far beyond the stage. From lending her voice to Calypso in the beloved children’s television series, Bluey, to composing for ABC TV’s, Fisk, and Rebel Wilson’s musical feature film, The Deb, Meg effortlessly navigates diverse creative realms. “It’s all just composition to me, which is really just a few questions: what exists? What is missing? What should I provide?” she remarks, highlighting the interconnectedness of her creative pursuits.

Her involvement in various projects, including co-writing and producing the feature film adaptation of Paul Kelly’s iconic Christmas song, How to Make Gravy, exemplifies her boundless creativity. Meg and her partner, Nick Waterman have been producing How to Make Gravy since the idea came to them at Christmas in 2019. “We co-wrote the screenplay, adapting the story sketched out in the song’s lyrics. Paul was instantly supportive of the project, so we got straight to work,” Meg shares, offering insights into her feature film debut.

The high stakes of bringing such an iconic song to life on screen didn’t deter Meg; instead, it fueled her commitment to staying true to the essence of the song, while ensuring accessibility for a broader audience. “The significance of the song to its fans is not lost on us, and we took great care to treat the song itself like Shakespeare, like text, to be as faithful to it as possible,” she says.

As her symphonic tour approaches, Meg is set to juggle touring, with her album release and her film and TV commitments. The upcoming orchestral extravaganza is not just a concert; it’s a testament to her ability to transcend the confines of genres and create an experience that resonates with both longtime fans and newcomers alike. As Meg takes the stage with the Melbourne, Sydney and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, audiences can expect a symphony of emotions and a harmonious fusion that encapsulates the essence of Meg’s diverse musical journey.

Tickets for Meg Washington with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra are on sale now for February 9 at Arts Centre Melbourne.

This article was made in partnership with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.