Karise Eden's comeback
A baby and time-out have given talent show winner the strength to sing again, writes Kathy McCabe
Karise Eden is having a little trouble with her voice — the voice that provoked goosebumps every time she unleashed it on the television talent show that launched the shy, awkward young woman into Australian households.
One of the unexpected outcomes of becoming a mum five months ago was that her voice grew deeper. As she prepares to head out on her first major national tour, in support of her record Things I’ve Done, in June, Eden is retraining it to get the high notes back.
She has no doubt she will reclaim her range.
“My voice is a little lower — it’s just a natural thing that happens as your body changes — so now I have to retrain the higher register,” she says.
“Why on earth did I record an album with all those high notes before I gave birth? I want to push myself to get back up there again.”
As she keeps half an eye on her baby boy, Blayden, who is being minded by her fiance, Jason, as she talks, it is blindingly obvious this is a very different woman to the one who disappeared from the spotlight only months after winning the inaugural season of The Voice.
Things I’ve Done was Eden’s labour of love, a collection of original songs she penned both here and overseas when she called time-out on touring and promotional commitments.
She is beaming with excitement at the prospect of finally being able to introduce these songs to fans.
“It’s nerve-racking when I imagine it but I’m a lot more comfortable singing in front of strangers than I am in front of loved ones,” she says, laughing. “I’ve put blood, sweat and tears into what I’ve created and people are buying tickets to see my original work. “It means so much to know I am an artist now, a songwriter.”
Confident, and exuding a steely determination to pursue her musical dreams on her own terms, Eden says she remains grateful for the opportunities the talent competition afforded her.
But with the benefit of hindsight, she says the demands of an artistic career and the vagaries of fame were too much when she was 19.
“It was life-altering and stressful and I just wasn’t ready,” she says. “There are other 19-year-olds who could take all of that in their stride and carry on, but for me, personally, I couldn’t. “Now I’m ready.” Eden recalls with baffled incredulity the crazy months after The Voice ended, as if they had happened to someone else. There was the day she started with breakfast in Brisbane, had lunch in Adelaide and finished with dinner in Perth. And the time the moderate drinker — who enjoys “a couple of bourbons” and requests cola as her preshow beverage — was offered something entirely different before one gig.
“I don’t d do drugs. I’ve never done drugs — mum and dad met in rehab and I might write a song about that one day — and artists have been doing them since the ’60s, ’70, ’80s, maybe because that’s just how it is,” she says.
“I remember asking a woman backstage at one gig if I could have some coke and she said she knew where I could get some. I meant CocaCola; it’s what I always have on my rider.”
Baby Blayden will be heading out with his mum on the Things I’ve Done national tour in June and July.
“I was already envisioning my life before he was born and it’s simple. He’s coming, he will be there,” she says. “He’s so content with music. He absolutely loves it.”
Blayden was just weeks from being born in December last year when Eden recorded the final vocals for the album, her first original material since winning the The Voice in 2012.
“He definitely knows my voice. He falls asleep in my arms while I am full-tilt belting out the whole Amy Winehouse album Back To Black,” she says.
“When I stop singing, he wakes up and starts crying.”
Eden has 23 city and regional concerts booked around Australia, kicking off in Whyalla, South Australia on J June 4, with ticket s sales for the city shows demonstrating her fanbase remains strong despite her absence. And this p powerhouse singer is e excited to be given a another chance to impress the fans who stayed loyal while she f found her feet.
“I like performing on a more personal level — s smaller venues, getting to know these people and having a yarn after t the show until 2am,” she s says. “This is a big comeback for me and I want to be the best I can be, build things up nice and slow over the next couple of years. I think I know to take my time with it.”
Karise Eden (main) is back with a new album and a national tour; (inset) as a shy 19-year-old on The Voice in 2012. Main picture: Adam Yip