Katie de Veau returned to her home town of Armidale to film the video clip for her heartfelt song, Remember – She shares with Focus her musical journey and the inspiration behind this special song …
Take us back to where your journey with performing and music first began …
I was born and bred in Armidale. I attended PLC, and was awarded the inaugural music scholarship at the school in 1985, and was Music Prefect in 1990. I’m the daughter of John and Betty de Veau, who owned Armidale Arts Supplies and were committed supporters of the Performing Arts in Armidale, especially the Eisteddfod. I performed in many local productions, with organisations such as the New England Theatre Company (my first at the age of five in The Miracle Worker), as well as productions at the Armidale Play House and with the Musical Society. I was also involved with the productions at The Armidale School. I performed regularly in the Armidale Eisteddfod for singing and flute, as well as composition.
How has growing up in the country influenced your life and music?
Growing up with a father who was heavily involved in the agricultural life of the district meant a love for the country was within me from an early age. I loved growing up in Armidale. I loved spending my childhood horse riding and attending pony camps and gymkhanas. I loved the solitude and connection with creation that comes with horse riding.
My love of composition was instilled in me by my music teacher, Mrs Deirdre Rickards. Songwriting became a passion and really took off as I left school, with my first studio album being released in 1994. Brand New Day is my fourth studio album. Having a teacher such as Mrs Rickards has inspired me to inspire young people in following their musical dreams. Three days a week I work as a High School music teacher, as well as a vocal coach to singing students. I have toured around the world and throughout Australia performing, speaking, and running music/vocal workshops. I have appeared on both Channel 9 and Foxtel, and TV channels in new Zealand performing my original songs.
When it comes to writing, where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration for writing from everyday life – my friends, my family, heartache, faith, loss, joy. It is always best to write from your own experiences. I have written journals from when I was young, so the discipline of writing down my thoughts and feeling was crafted from a young age.
You mentioned you’ve just released your fourth studio album, Brand New Day. What was the creative process behind this album?
This album was quite different from any others that I have done. My producer was going to Nashville to record someone else’s album as well as for a family wedding, and he knew I had some songs ready. So I gave him eight songs – not quite a full album. I then Skyped a couple of the sessions in Nashville, recorded at Watershed Recording Studios. This album is the result of stunning collaboration with seasoned musicians such as guitarist Chris Rodriguez (Keith Urban, Kelly Clarkson, Amy Grant) and instrumentalist Wanda Vick (Taylor Swift, Keith and Kristen Getty).
After Nashville, additional recordings were made in Sydney and on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, as well as in LA with guitarist Bob Somma.
I had a separate vocal producer (Jeff Crabtree) and the album took three years to complete – much longer than any other project I have done.
The video clip for the song Remember was filmed right here in Armidale at Saumarez Homestead. What was involved in selecting the location? Tell us about some of the locals involved in creating the clip …
The music video Remember was filmed at Saumarez Homestead by E-Motion Media’s Creative Director Ben Abbott, who is based in Armidale. Horses were provided by Lynda Lynch and piano by local Uralla company Keynote Piano Services. Hair was by Solo Hair Design, and makeup by Face 2 Face Beauty Salon.
The Saumarez property provides amazing cinematography for the clip. It was also significant, as my mother (Betty de Veau, who passed away in 2012) is who the song is about; she was married at the property The Croft, which neighbours Saumarez, as her family lived there. My grandmother was the girl next door to the the girls at Saumarez. My dad, John de Veau, also volunteers at Saumarez Homestead as a guide. I’m very thankful to The National Trust for allowing us to film on the property. It is such an asset to the community and an amazing location for film.
Tell us about the workshops you facilitate …
Over the years I have found myself helping people with music. This comes from my deep passion for music education. I run workshops that range from developing vocal technique to working with bands and choirs.
I offer workshops to schools to train their staff to use their voice properly and avoid permanent vocal damage, as well as swimming instructors and sports coaches who also put their voices under a great deal of strain.
I also offer songwriting/composition workshops in schools and vocal master classes. In addition, I offer workshops to help develop music and creative arts within church communities. More information is available on the website www.katiedeveau.com
Lastly, where can we buy your new album and follow your journey?
My album is available from my website www.katiedeveau.com and from iTunes and the Koorong bookstore. You can also follow me on Facebook.