Bertie Blackman is one of the newest up and coming musicians to grace our radio waves. She is getting rave reviews on the music circuit, and if you have not heard of her yet, you will soon. We speak with Bertie as she heads to the east coast.
Bertie, there is so much hype around you at the moment! You’re on all the big radio station’s rotation lists – how are you coping?
It’s going really good! Triple J have played both ‘Heart’ and ‘Secrets and Lies’ (current album) since their release and have been super supportive!
> You’re an independent artist and musician … is this difficult? Or is it something you take great pride in?
I take a lot of pride in this. Yeah, of course it’s hard, and just like anything it will have its challenges. I have been independent my whole career, and I definitely think it’s something great I have achieved in this country.
Also, I’m a bit of a stubborn control freak person! Perhaps it would be nice to have a little more structure. Oh and also, because we have been nominated for an ARIA, I am especially proud!
> Have you been chased by the record labels?
Yes. They have been chasing for a while to tell the truth … trying to “catch me early before I am too expensive” kind of style. Remaining independent in this country and having a profile and making a living is quite rare … so I am really happy to continue on as this stage.
> Speaking of touring, I have heard you’re an absolutely mind blowing performer! Do you love being on the stage?
It’s pretty amazing! I just did the Parklife tour recently and did more of an electronic set rather than a guitar. It was good, because getting away from the barrier of a guitar was a challenge and I really got in the mood with the audience. The whole 5,000 of them who were just riled up and ready to go.
I really love performing. I’m not a naturally outgoing person … I am quite insular. I like to sit at the back and drink my glass of wine and talk art and curse people. But when I get on stage, it is a really special time for me. I get lost in doing what I do, and it’s really raw and passionate.
> You grew up in Darlinghurst. Tell us a bit more about your life pre-fame!
I grew up in Darlinghurst, and both of my parents were painters who worked really odd hours. So that meant I was always out and about in the early hours of the morning. I got streetwise at an early age. I would sit up in the trees at the front of my house and always throw berries at the joggers going by and giggle.
Living in the inner city, there were a lot of homeless people around, and I was quite exposed to these things. Culturally, it was really dense, and it always has been. Lots of interesting characters in my house all of the time, and a loving open fun house that we lived in, so I socialised with adults, poets and artists from a really young age, and that made me who I am today.
> What are you up to now? Concentrating on the tour or looking to start on the follow up to ‘Secrets and Lies’?
I am booked for a couple of festivals, and then I am off to write for a week, then off to the UK. More festivals and then the ARIAS!
The new record starts early 2010, and then more festivals! Busy!
> You sound so down to earth. Do you ever get freaked out by the sudden snowball of fame and recognition?
Um, I don’t get freaked out, but it feels a little funny. It’s nice to sell records and it’s nice to play to a full audience – it is not an ego thing for me. Half the time I am at home in my rags writing poetry and relaxing. It’s something that has always been within me … this music.
My management are wonderful and really creative about how we put projects together. For example, I am working on an art exhibition and holding it in Melbourne soon, and all of the proceeds go to charity. I do ink drawings. Also, I do all of my own T shirt designs … anything to keep my artistic side up too.
>Thank you Bertie.