Celia Pavey first stepped into the world’s gaze during the second season of Australia’s The Voice 2013 in which she mesmerized the audience and judges with her ethereal cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s Scarborough Fair Canticle, (srs, it’s worth a search on Youtube). Today, she’s transformed so far away from that shy yet so obviously talented budding musician, and has since created a whirlwind of a storm in the Australian music scene under the name of Vera Blue. Combining folk with electronica, Vera’s debut album Perennial is brimming with emotion—both powerful and intimate, and each song is dripping with achingly raw honesty. We catch up with the starlet to chat about the importance of vulnerability, the reinvention as Vera Blue, and her recent release, “Regular Touch”.
You’ve had quite a journey to reach where you are now, which began with participating in The Voice in 2013. What would you say has been the biggest lesson?
Yeah! It’s been amazing!! I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that it’s going to take a lot of hard work to get somewhere in this industry, but to make sure that you have fun and always be yourself. Enjoy meeting new people, making connections and being your creative passionate self is no.1.
Your actual name is Celia Pavey, but your stage name is Vera Blue. How did you come up with the name?
It was the change in music that inspired the name change. I just thought of things that I love or words and names that resonated with me and Vera Blue just felt right. I love having a stage name. I feel I’ve really grown into who Vera is as a performing artist. It’s fun and it’s incredibly freeing.
You started off as a folk musician but after falling in love with electronic music, in 2015 you decided to take your music into a new direction. How did this shift develop?
I always write folk music. I was just at a time where my ears were pricking towards experimental and different sounds. I began to listen to alt-J and FKA Twigs, and noticed the electronic influence more and more on the radio in Beyoncé and Rhianna songs.
I was doings loads of writing camps at the time too. I did a writing camp called ‘The Native Tongue’ where I met Andy my producer and Thom, my co-writer along with singer-songwriter Gossling. We collaborated on a song called Fingertips that I’d begun writing on my own and I had Andy go to town with experimental electronica. We were the perfect fit! That’s where the project was born.
What artists inspire your sound?
There are so many. Ranging from acoustic folk to heavy electronic music. I love classic folk artists like Joni Mitchell, Simon and Garfunkel, ABBA and Crosby Stills Nash and Young.
I also love artists like Angus and Julia Stone, Sohn, Jack Garratt, Halsey, Lorde just to name a few.
How would you describe your own music?
Vera Blue music is a blend of Folk, electronic and pop music. All genres that I resonate with. The music we make is very honest, real and emotional. The upbeat songs are fun too!
The album Perennial is structured into three chapters which reflect your progression of getting over a heartbreak and the process of becoming stronger as a person because of it. The first chapter discusses the vulnerability that comes with heartache, and the end finishes with an empowered, positive outcome. Was it hard to be so honest with your lyrics?
My co-writer Thom structured the album in the chapters of how he saw me develop as a person throughout the duration of writing the record together. He saw my transitions from vulnerability and strengths and self-growth and awareness. This is something I wouldn’t have seen myself unless I was told. I love that I can see it now. It’s extremely empowering for me.
It must have been difficult yet therapeutic to go through. Do you usually listen to artists who are as honest in their lyrics as yourself?
The thing I try to remind myself all the time is that I’m not the only one who went through this. Young and older people are going through heartbreak, weaving in and out of vulnerability in many stages of their lives. So I like to remind myself that I’m not alone, which is why this record has related to so many people. Through honesty and telling my story to those who may be feeling the exact same way.
I listen to artists that I connect with lyrically and sonically. Words that speak to me and production that makes me feel so much in a song. I feel like it’s such a powerful connection between the listener an artist when you’re able to relate to situations through music.
You’ve discussed before how important it is to feel vulnerable—to be able to accept those feelings and view them as a strength, and be okay with the fact that you may be hurting. I think that’s such a great message.
I love connecting to my audience. Especially live. I am at my most vulnerable state when I perform my own songs live to my fans. This is an intense feeling, though I’ve developed a certain kind of comfort in feeling vulnerable. I think it’s come from knowing that I’m not alone and that the people I’m performing to have felt it or are going through it too. Vulnerability may be many different feelings but recognizing it and learning to deal with it is important. It is challenging and may not be consistent but just knowing the feeling is something in itself.
I love your song Regular Touch. What was the inspiration behind the lyrics and it’s video?
Regular touch was written during a time where I was struggling with independence after coming out of a long term relationship. I had this vision of myself, the person that I wanted to be. I wanted to feel freedom and contentment on my own.
We shot the film clip in the beauty of New Zealand. There are so many scenes where I am dancing alone in beautiful landscapes that I’ve never been before. This symbolises strength and empowerment with a sense of freedom and happiness in ones self. I loved dancing surrounded by galloping horses too. That was a moment I’ll never forget.
You’ve collaborated with a few different artists including Flume, Illy and Slumberjack. Are there any other artists who you’d love to work with one day?
I’m always inspired by artists. Some artists I’d love to collab with would have to be Harry Styles, Halsey, Lorde, Jack Garratt. Just to name a few.
What can we expect from you in the future?
New music for sure! Loads of touring and especially internationally. I can’t wait!