Celia Pavy aka Vera Blue is bringing her lady powers to Port Macquarie this month to headline Festival of the Sun. FOCUS chatted with the softly spoken yet fierce woman about life and her album, “Perennial”.
Hi Celia. How did music all start for you? When did you discover it as a passion and a talent?
Music was always in our family, so I couldn’t really avoid it – which is really lovely. It’s a nice thing to have. My older sister, Emily, sings as well, so I was always doing harmonies with her. My mum played the organ at church. I started to teach myself guitar when I was 15, which inspired me to want to sing while playing the guitar as well. I started writing my own songs when I was 16 …
What does your stage name, “Vera Blue” mean to you?
Well, before the project Vera Blue was born, I was writing music under my real name and the style of the music was very folky, very stripped back. At the time I was really inspired by Joni Mitchell, Angus and Julia Stone, early Taylor Swift – so it was all very acoustic and organic. After I started delving into electronic music, I totally fell in love with the sound and how folk and electronic blended together; so that for me felt like it needed to have its own project name, and that’s where Vera Blue came from. It’s a different way I can express myself, by dancing onstage and through feeling way more emotion; it’s kind of like electronica brings a heavier, darker feel to the music, which I really love and it definitely makes me feel more …
Would you say Vera Blue is a bit of an alter-ego?
Yeah, when I’m on stage doing the Vera Blue stuff I am feeling completely different things to what I would feel if I was playing folk music with my guitar. Folk music brings me back to my roots and brings me back to where I grew up and what I was going through as a teen. Vera Blue is inspired by who I became when I moved to the city and the relationships I fell into and what I’m going through now …
What space were you at when you were writing Perennial? Tell us about the process from writing to to production.
I met my producer at a writing camp, and we wrote the first EP together. That was when I really started to love the electronic music and that’s when the project started. When I started writing the album I had just come out of a heavy break up; the album was inspired by overcoming heartbreak and figuring out myself and learning things. It was written over the course of two years, so it was a time frame of nurturing and learning and discovering who I am, and I guess that’s what life is all about.
A lot of the production came from feeling, or whatever the song was about; for example, Private, which is quite an angsty song, is about frustration, the production was very heavy. But then a song like Mended, when you’re feeling pain but there’s also a light shining through – it’s almost triumphant, like you’re getting through something. So, the production was always heavily connected to the lyrics.
Tell us about the single Lady Powers; what inspired you to write this powerful song in particular?
This song was one of the more recent songs written for Perennial, and it was from a phase where I had developed more of a sense of self. It is an empowerment song for women and girls who have been through s***ty relationships, or if you feel disrespected in a situation – it’s a song to make people feel strong, and it makes me feel strong whenever I perform it.
You’re headlining FOTSUN this year. What can your fans expect and most importantly, what are you looking forward to?
Festivals are one of my favourite things to do, I think because there is so much positive energy in the air and everyone’s there to have a really good time. I’m looking forward to connecting to the audience and having a great time.
Catch Vera Blue at FOTSUN 2018, “The Roll on Up Edition!” 13th / 14th and 15th December.