Matthews taps into pure in­spi­ra­tion

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - LIVE 'N' LOUD -

WHAT do you get when you com­bine the tal­ents of Josh Pyke and Me­gan Wash­ing­ton with an icon of Aus­tralian mu­sic?

It’s the new al­bum from Wendy Matthews, The Wel­come Fire.

Orig­i­nally from Canada, the Aus­tralian-based singer of hits like The Day You Went Away col­lab­o­rated with Pyke, Wash­ing­ton, Mark Sholtez, Rod McCor­mack and John Cas­tle, among oth­ers, to make her first al­bum of orig­i­nal ma­te­rial in 12 years.

‘‘I’ve al­ways had lots of jour­nals and things with ideas and bits and pieces,’’ says Matthews, who doesn’t read or write mu­sic.

‘‘Just tak­ing the time to get to­gether with peo­ple to put it to­gether was just some­thing.’’

The re­sult is an al­bum con­tain­ing songs that Matthews says ac­tu­ally ‘‘ter­rify’’ her.

‘‘I’ve had to tell my­self, if you want to be an artist of any cal­i­bre, it’s not about hold­ing things back,’’ she says.

She found some of it in­cred­i­bly la­bo­ri­ous, ‘‘sort of drag­ging me kick­ing and scream­ing’’, but also amaz­ing, par­tic­u­larly in those mo­ments of pure in­spi­ra­tion.

‘‘It’s a fan­tas­tic thing, that feel­ing when some­thing just kind of comes through you rather than from you. You just think, Wow! There’s one or two songs that I’ve writ­ten in my en­tire life that were like that and on this record there was one of them.’’

When prompted which song it is, Matthews laughs, adding she won’t re­veal the ti­tle. ‘‘I’ll leave it up to you.’’ Of all her mu­sic, Matthews says that her favourite songs to sing vary de­pend­ing on the day and her mood.

‘‘If you want to dance around the house in your un­der­wear vac­u­um­ing, then it’s Kiss Like An­gels Do. If you want to have a good kind of cleans­ing cry it’s some­thing like Lit­tle Boy or The Day You Went Away.’’

As for whether she ever tires of singing those hits, Matthews says it might sound cliche, but she just doesn’t. It’s more the lead-up to singing them that can be hard.

‘‘(Be­cause) to me mu­sic is about in­spi­ra­tion and it’s sup­posed to well up in­side you un­til you sing out or you cry out,’’ she says.

‘‘Know­ing that ev­ery sin­gle night, no mat­ter how you feel, you’re go­ing to have to get up and do ba­si­cally the same thing and just find a way to find (the emo­tion); the thought of it can be a lit­tle daunt­ing.’’

But she says once she’s on stage, it just comes to her, and it’s al­ways dif­fer­ent from the last time she sang. And in the end, be­ing the voice be­hind a song like The Day You Went Away is a hum­bling ex­pe­ri­ence.

‘‘I just feel feel in­cred­i­bly grate­ful and for­tu­nate that I’ve sung one of those songs that seems to mean some­thing to ev­ery­body,’’ she says.

‘‘Over the years, I’ve had peo­ple come up to me and say you know, we played it at my fa­ther’s fu­neral, or when my boyfriend went over­seas for six months.’’

Matthews finds that songs and smells are the big­gest trig­ger for trans­port­ing peo­ple to a spe­cific mo­ment in time.

‘‘And I love that, and when peo­ple say things like that to me I re­alise that I’m not the only one,’’ she says.

– CARIS BIZZACA The Wel­come Fire is out now. Josh Pyke plays The Sound­lounge to­mor­row night.

What’s On, page 30-31

Wendy Matthews has re­leased her first al­bum of new ma­te­rial in 12 years

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