Christine Anu Interview

Christine Anu Interview

Christine Anu Pays Powerful Tribute To Aretha Franklin In REWIND – The Aretha Franklin Songbook

Australia's iconic Indigenous entertainer, Christine Anu, is returning to stages nationwide to celebrate the life and legacy of legendary soul diva Aretha Franklin in her hugely successful show, REWIND – The Aretha Franklin Songbook.

In this must-see show, Christine delivers a passionate and energetic performance to pay tribute to her idol, the Queen of Soul, who passed away on the 16th August 2018.

During the show, Christine will sing Aretha's most memorable and powerful tunes, including (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Angel, Today I Sing The Blues and many more unforgettable classics.

Christine will also sing songs from her own incredible back catalogue of hits, including the iconic My Island Home and Sunshine On A Rainy Day.

"I'm thrilled to be bringing my REWIND - The Aretha Franklin Songbook show to venues in NSW, Canberra, Victoria and Western Australia in the second half of 2019," Christine - who provides the big vocals, the glitz and the glamour of a true diva in one of her most captivating performances to date - said.

"I grew up listening to Aretha. She is one of my greatest influences and an idol. "I believe she is the greatest soul singer of our time and I'm truly grateful to have the opportunity to pay tribute to this wonderful woman in this way," Christine added.

REWIND – The Aretha Franklin Songbook was initially performed in 2012 to coincide with Aretha's 70th birthday and the release of Christine's album of the same title. The show has been brought back in 2019 after popular demand and a number of sold out performances. To add to this, Christine has just wrapped-up her two and a half year tour of her In Conversation and Song show, which saw her perform to approximately 45,000 people in intimate settings at theatres, galleries, festivals and schools.

Christine's illustrious career spans more than 20-years in theatre, dance, music and children's entertainment.

During this time, she's amassed multiple awards, including five ARIAs, eight Deadlys, a Green Room Award for Best Actress in a Musical and she's won Song of the Year for her chart-topping hit, My Island Home.

She's also had gold and platinum albums, and was recently the first recipient of the Australian Songwriters Associations inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to Australian First Nations music.

Christine has appeared in Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge, as well as in The Matrix Reloaded, Dating the Enemy and most recently, in the Australian film, UNSOUND. She's also had roles in a number of TV series including Wildside, The Alice, Playschool, Outland, Black Comedy, Kiki and Kitty and many more.

Currently, Christine is the host of the national radio show, Evenings across Australia, on Friday and Saturday nights on ABC Radio.

Show dates:
Saturday, 24th August – Riverside Theatre (Parramatta, NSW)
Saturday, 7th September – Freo. Social (Fremantle, WA)
Thursday, 12th September – Canberra Southern Cross Club (Canberra)
Thursday, 19th September – Brass Monkey (Cronulla, NSW)
Saturday, 19th October – Wyndham Cultural Centre (Weribee, Victoria)
Saturday 26th October – Montreal Community Theatre (Tumut, NSW)
Saturday 2nd November – Jetty Theatre (Coffs Harbour, NSW)
Saturday 9th November – The Vanguard (Newtown, NSW)

Interview with Christine Anu

Question: Can you tell us about your new material?

Christine Anu: I've just collaborated on a new project for the Healing Foundation. Alongside Philly, Mindy Kwanten and Radical Son, we released a song called Heal Together to further the conversation around healing. The writing and creative process for Heal Together was an interesting one. When you're talking about healing, you're talking about a massive subject. So I looked around to see what people were talking about in their own personal lives and really getting a lot of inspiration from the voices in the community about that. We're all needing to be healed for different reasons.

I am also in rehearsals for my upcoming tour of REWIND: The Aretha Franklin Songbook. I will be taking my show around the country. Reconnecting with Aretha Franklin's amazing body of work fills my heart each time I get to sing her songs.

Question: What motivates you most when writing music?

Christine Anu: I think a really good foundation of a track where it gives you that freedom to be creative and build upon it.

It's a really great motivational tool because you can take it where you want it.

You can try so many ideas that you don't need to commit to necessarily. You go in and put everything down and sometimes it works and other times you might need to go in another direction.

Question: What do you hope to achieve through your music?

Christine Anu: I hope my messages reach a far and wider audience. Music is the best way to get messages across and Heal Together is a great example of this. It's a song that promotes healing and the wonderful work of The Healing Foundation. Aretha's music also does this as well. I think it's really special when you get to shed light on important topics like healing, domestic violence, women empowerment and equality.

Question: How do you hope to end ageism within society before it continues through the generations?

Christine Anu: I'll be using every opportunity I can to point out ageism in society. But ultimately it comes down to all of us to make a difference.
We need to stop questioning if a person's ability is reflective of their age.
We need to stop criticising people for not acting a certain way that society approves as age appropriate.
And we need to be kinder to ourselves – knowing full well we can do anything if we put our mind to it.

Question: What should we expect from your upcoming tour?

Christine Anu: Lots of fantastic Aretha Franklin songs, and a really great night of toe-tapping and recognisable tunes being brought to life by me.

Question: If you could have anyone, in the world, attend a show, who would it be?

Christine Anu: Tina Turner! Her book 'I, Tina Turner' completely spoke to me when I was going through a particular experience. Her story was truly inspirational and I read it after I fell in love with her in the movie, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

Alicia Keys and Aretha Franklin would be others. But I think I would get really nervous if I knew any of these wonderful women were in the audience.

Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?

Christine Anu: Definitely live. Hands down. It's raw, it's spontaneous and it's immediate. None of those things would happen in a studio situation. The studio is very controlled and with live - once it has happened, it's gone, including the mistakes.

Question: What inspired the Rewind - The Aretha Franklin Songbook tour?

Christine Anu: Aretha is an artist I've been wanting to get to know for a very long time. It was an opportunity to be completely immersed in all things Aretha. You can't hide from those vocals, you can't hide from that career and you can't hide from that force that is Aretha Franklin and I want some of it.

Question: Which is your favourite song to perform live and why?

Christine Anu: I can't choose one. They are all amazing. I'm looking forward to doing the Rewind tour because every single song off the entire set is fantastic. It's so soul fulfilling if you know what I mean. They are really great big songs to sing. Like who wouldn't want to sing Natural Woman, Respect or Angel. Every single song is up in the heavens. There's no escaping it. You just have to bare your soul when singing one of these songs.

Question: Which music/artists are you currently listening to?

Christine Anu: I'm listening to Yebba.

Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?

Christine Anu: Childish Gambino or John Legend.

Question: What is the biggest challenge you've faced along the way to your musical success?

Christine Anu: Trying to stay relevant. Trying to keep the motivation when you have days that you wonder why you are even in this industry. Trying to stay on top of the digital and technological changes in the world and staying on top of that - and that's on top of it all.

Interview by Brooke Hunter