Vera Blue on the power of female musicians

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Vera Blue on the power of female musicians


It has become the anthem of the season, a missive of respect and strength that has found a second life with the Lady Powers Remix EP. Ahead of its release and an approaching national tour, we chat to Vera (aka Celia Pavey) about inspiration, names, and what happens when you hear your own song on the radio.

“I don’t think I’ll ever get over it,” she laughs. “I’m used to hearing my stuff played on triple j, which is amazing, but when it’s beginning to get played on other stations I haven’t been played on before, it’s quite an interesting thing. We were in the car the other night on our way back from dinner, and ‘Lady Powers’ was played by Ash London, so that’s really cool. I always still get excited when I’m in the car and a song [of mine] comes on. It’s the best thing ever. I totally sing along. I’m not shy about that kind of thing, or awkward. I don’t drive much in Sydney, but when I’m in the car with my friends we’ll start singing it really loudly.”

Vera is clearly excited about the way the song has caught on with so many people, but she is also one to speak about her art quite seriously, with depth and thoughtfulness. The Lady Powers Remix EP has allowed her to experience the meaning of the song anew, reinterpreted by some of the strongest producers out there – who also all happen to be women.

“The lyrics relate to a lot of women, hopefully. We had this idea that we wanted to involve more women in the song, so we sent the song out to female producers that we really liked, and they connected with the song. It was amazing. I think the first remix was Alice Ivy’s, and I was mind blown by the way they’ve reinterpreted the song and the way they’ve used and put lyrics in certain spots. TOKiMONSTA, the American producer, the first lyrics that she used were from the bridge, and that was really powerful, and it’s what sums up the whole song as well. It was really interesting and exciting. They’ve added extra beats, or moments that have enhanced the song in their own way, which is really special.”

Just as Vera is discovering artists who are finding inspiration within her songs, so is she learning new insights into herself and the world at large.

“[The songs] are stuff I sometimes just need to get out of my system, I need to say, something that I need to put on paper. A few of the songs that have been happening lately have been recognising my surroundings, the things that are going on that are other than myself. I think that’s where the evolution might be happening. I’m figuring out different ways to write, and being inspired by different artists.”

By chance, the friends who first introduced me to Vera Blue’s music were preparing to welcome their first child into the world – a girl – and had yet to decide on a name. Given I wasn’t sure of Celia’s own reasons for choosing Vera Blue, she seemed like a fitting font of suggestions.

“It really depends, if I was going to have a baby now I’d probably go with the name of somebody that I’m inspired by, or felt close to. Something that you can connect or relate to. Or a name that you think just sounds sweet. I liked Vera because Vera Wang Princess was my first perfume, and as a designer [she] is incredible anyway. The name has this cool, classic vibe. Whenever I hear it, I love knowing that their name is Vera. It’s just a cool name, you know? And both of my parents are red-heads, and they used to get called Blue back in the day.”

Which isn’t the entire story of how Vera Jean Masters came to be born on 25/03/2018, but at least she’ll know she’s not the only one who thinks she has a sweet name.