Kate Ceberano reflects on 30 years in showbiz and the perils of social media.
Your 13-year-old daughter, Gypsy, sang with you on Carols By Candlelight last Christmas, making her public debut. Is this the start of the next Ceberano generation in music? I don’t know. She was beautiful up there. Someone asked her, “Clearly you want a career in music?” and she said, “No, I think I want to see what life brings me.” That was ace. She’s a good chick. You were in your first band, I’m Talking, when you were a teenager… Gypsy and I are similar; she’s very aware and sensitive and easily bruised. I got to overcompensate for that at the time by being wild and chaotic onstage. That was the ’80s. People these days are obliged to be good before they’ve had a crack at being bad. Recently Gypsy said to me, “Frankly, I’m not interested in getting famous. Why would you want that attention?” But when she sings it’s so good. I have to really resist pushing her, because I want people to hear her but not violate that fragile thing of when it’s a person’s choice, not their obligation. I’ve never felt obliged to sing. You update Instagram frequently, yet you’re not very active on other social media? Twitter kills me. After the [2015 AFL Grand Final] I said, “That’s it, I’m withdrawing supply.” I got a syllable wrong and got vilified for being the Antichrist who didn’t know the national anthem, even though I’ve sung it thousands of times! People are reading Twitter and Facebook instead of literature. As a kid, I had a diet of novels that kept me dreaming about places and possibilities. Vinyl is back, real things, analogue, books, they’ll all come back. I found all my old cassettes recently. There’s nothing more romantic in life than the perfect mix tape that’s been made just for you. You’ve got a very rare position in the music industry – you haven’t been freeze-framed into one genre. I look back and I feel this pull of the anarchy created in me with I’m Talking. I’ve been able to choose my own path for my whole career, which is amazing. And the people who like me, get me. They come to everything. People who like art do that. Your first jazz album, Kate Ceberano And Her Septet, turns 30 this year. Back when I put my album out, there was no Norah Jones, Amy Winehouse, Eva Cassidy or Michael Bublé. I was a romantic; I loved how it looked and felt to sing that material. I love the legacy of those songs, and being the person who can offer them to a new generation. You rally against the concept of ageism in music… I got to sing a Cure song with Billy Bragg recently and I realised, “This is ageless.” I did some Shirley Bassey songs not long ago and she doesn’t tour anymore. You have to be the one to step up for that generation. I don’t have to be on the radio or get the attention young artists have. I don’t want or desire that. I’ve only ever known artists like Debbie Harry, Kate Bush, Chrissie Hynde and Aretha Franklin. They transcend themselves and become iconic through their own work. That’s what I would love. It’s nice when someone introduces you as “the icon Kate Ceberano”.
"I got a syllable wrong and got vilified"