Pask on task for fes­ti­val

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Music - Sara Fitzpatrick

PLUCKED from high school at just 16 to play along­side trum­pet great James Mor­ri­son, bub­bly Syd­neysider Emma Pask has en­joyed a colour­ful ca­reer in the world of jazz.

Mor­ri­son heard the theny­oung­ster sing when he vis­ited the cam­pus. Ad­mir­ing her voice and at­ti­tude – shirt un­tucked and tie skew-whiff – he asked her to join his band.

“It was one of those re­ally weird, be­ing in the right place at the right time, sce­nar­ios but then James and I of­ten like to think, since the years have passed, that it was fate be­cause we’re such good bud­dies,” Pask said.

Luck­ily Pask’s prin­ci­pal was a huge James Mor­ri­son fan and was happy to work around her tour­ing sched­ule.

“Mum had no idea that that was go­ing to be my ca­reer; she was ex­pect­ing me to go to busi­ness school and had a lit­tle plan in mind of what I would do but it was com­pletely shot out of the wa­ter and then mu­sic was it from then on,” Pask said.

“I was by James’s side for 20 years and for 20 years it was my ev­ery­thing. It was the start of my ca­reer and then a huge part of it and to­wards the end I got my own band and other things came up and I grew and ex­panded.

“Then about four years ago I de­cided to go on The Voice (Sea­son 2) which was me reach­ing a pe­riod and think­ing: ‘Wow, this ca­reer with James is in­cred­i­ble; it’s in­cred­i­ble how long it has lasted, but surely I’m not go­ing to be able to do this for another 20 years’.

“I thought I should be able to stand on my own two feet and take my own mu­sic out there, so I did that and the show was my op­por­tu­nity to reach out to a broader au­di­ence.”

The singer, re­cently nom­i­nated for an ARIA award for Best Jazz Al­bum, grew up lis­ten­ing to The Bea­tles, The Rolling Stones and her mum’s favourite, Frank Si­na­tra.

“You get at­tracted to what your heart is drawn to and what makes you feel good and for me it was cer­tainly the big band and those clas­sic singers, so when the chance came to sing with the big band at school I thought: ‘Oh I know this mu­sic, I love this’,” she said.

“If you heard me at 16 you prob­a­bly wouldn’t want to lis­ten much – I don’t know what it was that James heard, I think it was po­ten­tial – but the dif­fer­ence from then to now (I’m 40 this year) has changed a lot, ob­vi­ously just through growth and ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Emma Pask

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