Morning Melodies with Alinta Chidzey at Arts Centre Melbourne
From stage to screen, Alinta Chidzey is one of Australia’s most versatile leading ladies. Alinta brings an exciting catalogue of new arrangements by the great female artists of the last century in her show, Divas – Past to Present.
Alinta’s vocal abilities cleverly jump through the genres of early jazz masters Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald, soul powerhouses Aretha Franklin and Etta James, folk icons Joni Mitchell and Carole King, through to modern-day artists Amy Winehouse and Adele.
Taylor spoke with Alinta about music's greatest divas and vocal powerhouses, why they've inspired her, and the importance of celebrating women in the arts. Read the full interview below:
Your show honors some of music’s greatest divas and female powerhouses, from Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone, to Joni Mitchell and Carole King, and even Adele. What was the process of deciding which songstresses, and then song, would be included in the performance?
It’s a tough one because there are so many great songs out there. But I narrowed it down to the people who have I’ve always been attracted to musically and influenced my sound vocally. Each song I connect to in some way, usually a combination of a great melody and beautiful lyrics that myself and I believe the audience will connect to.
With such a broad repertoire being showcased, is there a particular song that you’re looking forward to performing? And if so, what was your first interaction with this song and why is it one that has remained special to you?
Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now has to be one of my favourite songs to sing and recently recorded with Hook Turn Orchestra. It has the most magnificent lyrics that fill your heart and mind with so many colours married with a beautiful melody. I remember hearing the orchestral version of this and it brought tears to my eyes with how deep the song travels.
Who were some of your inspirations for your musical career? Were there some that are being saved for perhaps another performance?
These women are definitely my inspiration musically. But if we are talking more current songwriters, Gregory Porter, Esperanza Spalding and D’Angelo would have to be at the top of my list. Check them out! They already creep into my repertoire on some of my jazz gigs.
The show celebrates the music of women – why do you believe it is so important in today’s day and age to really showcase the achievement of women in the industry and to celebrate their accomplishments? Do you think that this is something that women…and men…need to see now more than ever or is it something that you hope we can always enjoy?
To me everything is about balance. Women and men should be celebrated equally. I think there is a great movement happening for women being empowered in society which is important and necessary in all industries to keep things in balance.
Divas - Past to Present is sure to be an incredible performance. Can you give us a little sneak peek about what audiences should expect from the show? What do you hope that audiences leave talking about after the show concludes?
We will bring our audiences on a great musical journey of fantastic jazz, soul, pop and folk songs reimagined by my band 6 piece band, The Jazz Emperors. All of the arrangements are written by my Musical Director/Saxophonist Remco Keijzer. He has transformed these great pieces to have our own flair, making it exciting to hear again. I have also thrown in a song that I have written and will be available after the show to take home.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS:
Favourite production you have ever seen?
Once the musical
You’re getting on a plane tomorrow and you can go anywhere in the world, where do you go?
South America, it’s been on the cards for a long time now.
Dream show to perform in?
I get to live that dream later this year in Chicago. But if I was to choose another it would have to be Hamilton the Musical.
Plays or musicals?
Musicals, it’s my profession.
A hobby you have beyond the theatre?
Food and Travel!!! I am manifesting to have my own food and travel show in the future.
What’s next for you after this show?
It’s a really amazing year ahead. At the end of this month I’m launching my debut album of original songs I wrote with my band Alinta and the Jazz Emperors. In June, I’ll be performing in Victorian Opera’s production of A Little Night Music in the role of Petra. And following that I’ll be playing my dream role of Velma Kelly in the Australian tour of Chicago.
Morning Melodies with Alinta Chidzey opens at Arts Centre Melbourne on 15 April 2019. You can get your tickets here.