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q&a: molly contogeorge

Describe your sound in five words or less.
Soulful, Jazzy, Rock driven Pop.

Was there a particular moment or artist that made you want to pursue music when you were growing up? Who were your early influences?
Music has been a founding part of my life. Both of my parents were musicians and teachers and when I was growing up their principal place of business was our home. My nights were spent sitting in on my Mum’s band rehearsals, listening at my Dad’s teaching room door and falling asleep to the sounds of laughter and music. There was never a quiet moment in our house and I truly believe that those early influences helped shape the direction my life would eventually take. I suppose it also helps that we were never in short supply of music. When I was 9 years old my listening tastes varied from Aqua (I’m a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world) to The Beatles (Waaaah! Helter Skelter!) to Angelo Badalamenti (Twin Peaks) – all in one sitting.

What are your other interests?
I enjoy blobbing out on the couch with a stack of DVD’s and an endless supply of chocolate. On a more serious note, I really love literature – I was going to study English lit at University when I finished High School, but music won out in the end.

Who do you most admire?
I admire anyone brave enough to pursue their own dreams. I know it sounds a bit corny and clichéd, but it takes a lot of guts to go out on your own and make something of yourself.

Greatest achievement to date?
In May I flew to Cuba to perform at The Romerias de Mayo World Festival of Arts. I’ve performed at international festivals before (e.g. SxSW) but Cuba is unlike any country I’ve ever visited. For one thing, it takes a bloody long time to get there. I flew from Sydney to Auckland to Santiago de Chile to Panama to Havana to Holguin – and walked straight off a rickety, propeller driven aircraft into an exhausting round of press conferences, television interviews, bar side gigs and a performance in a stadium packed full of people at the Romerias closing ceremony. On the way back to Sydney I remember thinking, “Well, at least I’ve made it in Holguin, Cuba.” – Molly Contogeorge, La cantante Australiana.

 A song I wish I wrote is…
This is almost impossible to answer. The Beatles, Burt Bacharach, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Michael Jackson, Tom Waits, Jack White and Jamie Cullum are all names I’ve come to associate with my musical upbringing. I’d love to have written anything by any one of the above songwriters and performers.

I couldn’t live without…
I couldn’t live without my old upright piano. It’s been in my family for almost 50 years and even though it’s been a bit battered around and needs a good tune, it reminds me of my Dad (and I mean that with love.)

The best advice I ever received was…
“They poo too.” Yep, even Madonna.

Do you think the music industry treats female musicians differently to male musicians? Do you think it’s more difficult for women to establish themselves?
That’s a tough question. I think the music industry definitely treats male and female musicians differently, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. If you’re asking me, do female artists have a harder time of it than men – then I’d say it depends on the artist in question. It’s a slog and male or female, you have to be tough enough to deal with the demands of the job. Australia is littered with strong, talented and highly established women who’re all holding major positions within the music industry. A few who spring to mind are Kylie Minogue, Missy Higgins, Megan Washington, Sarah Blasko, Kasey Chambers and Clare Bowditch.

Is there anything you’ve always wanted to be asked?
“Where should I put your keyboard, Miss Contogeorge?” Ah, if only I could afford to hire roadies. That’ll be the day.

Molly Contogeorge is releasing her second EP, Glasshouse Living, at the El Rocco Room in Sydney on October 14! For more on Molly, check out her facebook page here.

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