A person’s life can change in a moment. For singer/songwriter Felicity Burdett, everything changed when she lost both her daughters, aged eight and ten, and her ex-husband in a car crash just outside Braidwood NSW.
Burdett has had a leave of absence from performing, and now hot off the heels of her European tour she is ready to share her music with north coast audiences.
Burdett talked frankly toThe Echo about her very difficult journey.
‘It’s obviously been really, really difficult, understanding my emotions and how to work with that sadness that is there all the time. You tend to almost go off into daydreams like you feel detached from reality. You will be talking to people, and then you’re not there. My motto is to be right there in the present moment; that’s my major way of dealing with my grief.’
What is astounding about Felicity Burdett is her quiet courage. Her refusal to be angry or bitter.
‘The whole self-pity thing is not for me. I kind of believe that what is meant to be will be and I feel that it was meant to happen for some reason; whether it was to affect a whole lot of people around me or strangers because they were such amazing people, or all three of them. They had such a beautiful effect, people. For them all to go touched everyone’s hearts and it still continues to.’
In a relatively short time Burdett has reframed her tragedy, finding something positive in her loss.
‘I am looking at life in a different way now – it’s about really, really appreciating what you have in your moment – what you have right now. Death is a huge part of life and at any stage you can lose someone close to you, and you don’t want to have regrets. You need to follow what your heart says. If you are not happy you need to change it.’
Burdett’s songwriting has been a place of healing and solace.
‘I guess now I am even more honest with my words – that’s probably the best way to explain it. It’s more real, and I am digging deeper and I am still continuing on with the message because I like to inspire people and give people hope. All those barriers between strangers and me were stripped. People know where I have been so they open their hearts to me straight up, so when I am singing, it’s all truth and honesty – I connect with people even more than before.’
Her new album is Make a Life Count. ‘Pretty much all the songs I wrote after the accident were as a healing process for me. I set up a studio in Skye’s room and I used that time to go in and record stuff. I’d wake up at all hours; on Skye’s birthday I woke up and wrote a song for her. That album is what I am touring with right now.’
Once a frontperson of a band, Felicity has gone solo, and her latest musical love affair is the ukulele. ‘I have taken up ukulele and I absolutely adore it – it’s so cute!’
Getting back on stage wasn’t easy, but with the support of her two close friends in the Hussy Hicks she made the step.
‘Getting back on stage can be quite daunting. I have been over in Europe touring with the Hussys. It was a good way to throw myself into it. They were my first shows after the accident, and I thought I’ll deal with it or I won’t and I will find out soon enough, and if I can’t do it I have my good buddies who were capable of covering my show. I have learnt how to separate my emotions in a positive way and not get to that point of tears – which can be quite difficult; I am only able to do it now.
‘I think this tour is going to be a lot more confronting though, especially coming to Byron Bay. There will be lots of crew rocking up who I may not have seen since the accident. I like to face my fears, and playing music is such a good distraction for me and it’s healing. Being on stage is like being in a bubble. But it’s a powerful thing and it makes you feel good. Like you are doing your bit for the world. If you can reach one person in a good way… just a little… well then it’s worth it.’
Felicity Burdett at the Sheoak Shack on Saturday and at the Rails in Byron next Monday. For more information on tour dates and where to buy music go to felicityburdett.com.
Find this and many other great gigs in Echonetdaily’s North Coast Gig Guide.