Singer/songwriter Angie Hart is perhaps best known for her role as the lead vocalist in Frente.
A born collaborator, Frente has teamed up with fellow musicians Katie Noonan, Melody Pool and Sam Buckingham to present The Songs That Made Me, a moving showcase of the songs that have shaped these singers’ lives. The show and album are also a Pink Ribbon fundraiser for cancer research for breast and gynaecological cancers.
Angie, why did you choose When You Were Mine by Cyndi Lauper for The Songs that Made Me?
I have been a rabid Prince fan ever since seeing the movie Purple Rain, when I was around 12 years old. Frente even managed to get Paisley Park producer, Michael Koppelman, to fly to Melbourne and produce our debut album Marvin The Album.
The songs Prince writes for women are both gutsy and vulnerable at the same time. Cyndi’s rendition of this song does not let him down. What a sentiment, ‘I love you more than I did when you were mine’! I wish I’d written that.
What is it do you think about the quality of a particular song or lyric that undoes a person? is it just about timing? Tone?
Different parts of different songs all speak to us individually. Sometimes we love a song, even though we have the lyrics wrong or don’t understand the meaning! They transcend on such an internal level. A good song speaks of something that we’ve all been through in our own way; a heartbreak, a driving lust, an unrequited love.
The elements that make that are a mystery. Certain notes, scales, timing maybe. The performance, the combination of personality and subject. Sometimes it’s mastery, mostly it’s just chance.
What have been the songs that have best described the narratives of your life?
I love a good song of sorrow and loss. Not that this is the narrative of my life, it’s just that this is one of the key moments in my life when I turn to music to resonate my feelings for me. I find going to the dark places in song cathartic and positive in that way.
What was the inspiration for the show?
Katie came up with the idea for the show. I think it was for a number of reasons. One of them was the chance to bring some of her favourite female artists together so that we could all experience each other’s way of working and spend some quality time together. A mentorship up and down the ages, if you like.
Pink Ribbon supports those affected by female cancers – gynaecological and breast. Everyone has been affected on some level in their lives. I think there is an added solidarity from both of these elements. I hope that we offer some solace to women and girls who are suffering directly and indirectly from these cancers. On a tangible level, 100 per cent of the profits from the Songs That Made Me album go to the Cancer Council Pink Ribbon organisation.
What has it been like touring a show while pregnant?
Wonderful and exhausting! I am so pleased to be sharing this tour and the songs with my baby. I know they can hear all of the music and feel the love and support that comes from the women I am working with and from the beautiful audiences that we play to. I’ll be happy if these songs become songs that made them!
Do you think being pregnant changes your song choice or how you sing ?
Not the song choices, I don’t think, but physically my voice has changed during my pregnancy. That is interesting! I’ve had to surrender to the changes that are not always welcome and remember that I am blessed to be singing and touring during this time in my life. The baby particularly likes Melody’s voice and guitar, so I’m getting some serious dancing from the inside sensations going on while I’m onstage!
How has it been for you doing the shows – how do you share the songs, what do you collaborate on etc?
Being a part of this tour has been so wonderful for me, especially seeing as I’ve been able to do it twice! I really get a lot out of working closely with other women in my field. Funnily enough, you don’t get to do this so often. It always brings something new to the way you do things by yourself.
Working out what each other will bring to the songs has been a pretty straightforward thing, with each of us stepping up with our strengths and all of us sharing a similar language for what we like and don’t like. We’re a natural team! There is some sort of collaboration on almost every one of the songs we perform. We’re all on stage all the time. Some things were planned, but more spontaneous parts come to life as we play together live and bounce off the response from our audiences.
What should we expect for the show at the Byron Theatre?
Expect to find out something that you did not know before about each of us, as we talk freely about the songs that made us. The train of thought travels wildly when spurred on by one another in a very casual environment. It’s quite the musical salon. Also expect some new interpretations of songs that might have made you, too.
Friday at the Byron Theatre, Community Centre. Tickets are available from byroncentre.com.au.