Casey has that ol’ soul feeling
WHEN she was 14, Casey Donovan had never heard of Stevie Wonder, but now she’s taking to the stage to sing soul classics in the Women of Soul show. It’s not the first time either. In 2009, five years after winning Australian Idol, Donovan was first involved in Women of Soul. ‘‘I had that craving to get back on stage,’’ she says. Donovan says she actually didn’t know some of the songs back then, admitting she’s a late convert to soul music. But that was only because it didn’t hit her ears until later in life. ‘‘The Donovan family were kind of born and bred into country music and I guess once I was away from that side of the family for a little while and with my mum and stepdad, they just listened to the radio, so that’s how I learnt about music,’’ she says. ‘‘I didn’t even know who Stevie Wonder was at the age of 14 so I’ve had to teach myself a lot.’’ She says she can still remember the first time she heard Aretha Franklin. ‘‘I was watching Major Payne and they were running around doing their thing and I think Respect came on and I was like: ‘This. Is Amazing’.’’ Donovan will play two shows at the inaugural Boomerang Festival, a new world indigenous festival at the Byron Bay Bluesfest site in October, before she joins the Women of Soul team again in the Tribute to Soul Divas show. Starring Mindy Kwanten and Evie J Willie, Donovan will be a special guest performer along with Deni Hines and The X Factor finalist Angel Tupai. She says each of them has a different sound. ‘‘Evie and Angel have that really soul India Arie voice while Min and Deni have that Aretha Franklin growly, raspy, high-notey energy about their voices,’’ she says. ‘‘And I slot in there somewhere.’’ Donovan says there’s a few Aretha numbers that she’s got her eye on, but they’ve yet to start rehearsals, so what’s in store might change. However she says it will no doubt be a fun night and a chance for people to sing along with their favourite tunes. And as for her personal favourite? ‘‘I love India Arie,’’ she says. ‘‘I sung a song back in the Idol days called Beautiful, so fingers crossed I can sneak that one in there.’’
Casey Donovan plays Boomerang, at Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, on October 5-6. The festival runs from October 4-6. Visit boomerangfestival.com.au for details.
Vocal powerhouse Casey Donovan.