The power of her pipes rather than her pins is on display in Ricki-Lee Coulter’s latest release, which is meant to remind fans she’s unique
Ricki-Lee Coulter jokes she felt more naked performing in front of industry tastemakers than she did sitting on a horse Lady Godiva-style for her last hit single.
Eight months after that infamous video for Come and Get In Trouble With Me, Coulter is preparing to release her All We Need Is Love EP.
The EP is another experiment in reinvention for this gifted Gold Coast-reared singer unearthed on the second season of Australian Idol a decade ago.
So the nerves were more like rampaging rhinos than butterflies in her stomach when she sat on a stool to perform a selection of new tunes with Paul Mac on piano in an inner-city pop-up restaurant.
A few sips of champagne steeled her resolve as she closed her eyes and focused on delivering the single she hopes will return her to the top 10.
She didn’t shirk a note, impressed with the power of those pipes and, at the very least, won the respect of the dinner guests.
“I have spent the past 18 months in studios writing these songs, producing them and finetuning every detail. That is why I was so nervous,” she says.
“The studio is a safety zone; it’s just you and the headphones and your singing.
“Playing the songs to the record label is scary, but when you play them live for the first time, in front of you lot, that is really, really scary.”
Perhaps the jitters may have to do with her detour from dance pop fare.
Raining Diamonds, Do It Like That, Crazy and Come & Get In Trouble With Me found Coulter competing with American superstars including Beyonce, Rihanna and Pink for airplay and attention. She spent a fortune on tightly choreographed dancers, excellent players and state-ofthe art production and lighting.
If Fear And Freedom was her statement that she could match it with the world’s best, then All We Need Is Love is about reminding fans – and herself – what makes her unique.
“Fear and Freedom was about me being happy for the first time in my life and about being a fighter and a survivor,” she says.
“The challenge was to write songs about being happy, about having the greatest partner and best friend, and not sound beige.”
A strong anti-bullying campaigner, Coulter chose All We Need Is Love to mirror her advocacy on social media.
When a fan let her know she had inspired him to finally come out to his family, he influenced the song’s lyrics and helped define her fourth solo record.
“I pride myself that I have a voice and can connect with people and that I am not afraid to be outspoken,” she says.
“Then to find that that has helped inspire and motivate people, it brings it full circle and I am so thankful.”
The spotlight will be on her pipes instead of her pins.
“It doesn’t all have to be costumes and dancing.”
EP is out tomorrow. Ricki-Lee opens for Jason Derulo at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on Saturday.