On Saturday 9 February, Australians got to choose which artist represented us at the Eurovision Song Contest in May 2019. We got to know each of the 10 contenders as they prepared for the big live events on Queensland's Gold Coast.
Kate, what’s your own connection to Eurovision? Have you watched it throughout the years?
I have. And you know, being an ABBA fan, I've always known of Eurovision, but I suppose it's only in recent years that, since Australia's involvement, that I've felt more invested in it and more in touch with what's going on. My friends have had Eurovision parties and everybody dresses up, so, yeah, I'm really into it.
I think what I love about Eurovision is the permission to go a bit bonkers and I love how it embraces all different genres and different levels of experimental music and performance. I love how theatrical it is.
Let's talk about the lineup. You and your fellow contenders are all so eclectic.
Yeah. It's such an eclectic lineup. You would never see this lineup anywhere else. And I think, today, probably more than ever, people want to categorise artists. On Spotify, you click on certain genres and you stay within that lane. But something that I love about Eurovision is that it doesn't care about any of that; it's about true inclusion and diversity, and as someone, as an artist who's always been interested in crossing genres, that appeals to me.
So having gone from watching and enjoying Eurovision as a viewer, what sparked your interest in participating in the national song selection show?
Well I just felt ultimately it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up. It wasn't an easy decision because I felt apprehensive about entering a competition. I really did. I've never done any sort of competition, like a televised competition in my career, and in fact, I've deliberately avoided it. But I just felt that, in this case, it was different. There was an element of celebration and so I felt it was worth it.
What can you tell us about Zero Gravity, and its back story?
Well, it's a song about coming out of depression and it tries to capture that feeling of transcending a long period of feeling low. Especially, what coming out of that feels like, and what it feels like when the world gets its colour back and things come back into focus. For me, after the birth of my son, Ernie, I went through a long period of feeling like I'd lost my identity and feeling very sort of foggy and down in a lot of ways, and it took a couple of years after he was born for me to feel like I was regaining my strength and clarity and motivation and regaining a sense of who I was as well. And that was just an amazing feeling and so that's what this song tried to capture.
Kate Miller-Heidke: 'Zero Gravity'
By Kate Miller Heidke and Keir Nuttall
Is it second nature for you to want to disclose such a personal experience, through song?
I think song writers, the ones I know, anyway, tend to approach tragedy or negative things in their lives with a slight edge of, ‘at least this will make a good song’ [laughs], and yeah, I'm no different. I mean, I just shamelessly plumb the depths of my experiences and when they run out I steal stuff from my friends. So ultimately, I think that's the wonder of song writing is you do make a song that's personal to you and meaningful to you, but then it goes out into the world and it becomes something different. It actually transforms through the ears of the people that hear it, and so in the end, it doesn't belong to me anymore.
And putting it out in to the world, there’s the hope that new mums who may be in a similar predicament might take comfort in your story.
Yes. Well, it wasn't what I was sort of setting out to do, but sure. I mean, especially having a baby; everyone I know says it's the most difficult thing they've ever done!
Now, Eurovision is a show as much as it is a song contest. What can you tell us about the way you’ll perform ‘Zero Gravity’ on stage?
Well, obviously without giving away any spoilers, we've come up with some beautiful ideas that are filled with drama but also emotion and I think people are going to find it quite surprising in that way. But to be clear, it's not at all a literal interpretation; if anyone's expecting to see me in a spacesuit, flying over the audience, that's not gonna happen!! It's ... the visuals are going to resonate with the emotional core of the song.
Did you happen to catch the YouTube videos of people’s immediate reactions to the songs?
Yeah, there's a particular guy I linked to on my own Instagram because he's just so gorgeous and wonderful. I loved it.
Yeah, it's great fun. And he voted you his number one pick, so...
Obviously, he's got excellent taste.
If you want to relive Kate's incredible performance at the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 tune into SBS on Friday 15 May at 1:15PM. Available to catch up at SBS On Demand after broadcast.