Katie Noonan is a 4-times ARIA Award winner, a musician with an impressive technical mastery and a voice so pure she has become one of Australian’s most versatile and beloved vocalists.
For her latest tour Noonan offers audiences a chance to get up close and personal when she takes the stage with just her piano.
‘Basically I have been dipping in and out of my Songbook Project. I released the album last year when I realised I have been a musician for half my life – it’s stripped back, just me an a string quartet.’
Having played as she says for half her life, Noonan reflects on how life changes how the lyrics sit with her.
‘It’s weird. It’s like the lyrics take on different meanings as life paints deeper colours. I will go back to songs – and I only wanted to perform songs I still have a connection with; some I have moved on from but some are like talking to an old friend!’
Katie has been embracing the challenge of being solo.
‘It’s one of those things I haven’t done very much. It was a challenge that presented itself to me, and when I relaxed, I mean really super relaxed, it was just me. There is nowhere to hide. It brings a strong sense of intimacy. It’s just you and your audience. It took me a while to get used to it but now I really enjoy it. I try to keep it as relaxed as possible. I don’t write a set list. I am happy if someone calls out a song!
‘When I was touring solo for the first time I found it kind of lonely then I realised it’s more about opening it up and making it like friends sitting in a room together. I love to make the show inclusive. After all it’s just like friends hanging out together!’
An impressive songwriter, Noonan is reflective on the process.
‘It’s tricky songwriting; if you edit yourself too much you are your worst critic, and you are too tough with yourself and you are judging yourself too quickly. In the moment of inspiration, it’s important to be gentle with yourself; you are like a channel with yourself. There is this great thing Ani De Franco said once about songwriting, that half of learning what to say is learning what not to say, and what to play, what not to play, say what you need to with the least amount of words, that’s what you want to do. It’s about what you can say in five words rather than 50; the same with music!
Noonan is not an artist who is hard to classify. Classically trained, pop, jazz…
‘When it comes to music,’ she says, ‘I am not interested in the genre at all, it’s just me being me. The palette is getting broader and broader – in the end it is all about feeling connected and feeling a part of something bigger than yourself in the world. It is easy to feel disconnected; in the world it is a friend. You can sit next to a stranger and it’s like they are your friend because you are sharing something to make you feel connection.’
Katie Noonan performs at the Bangalow Bowlo on Friday. Tickets at the venue.