Her Busiest Year Yet! An Interview with Singing Sensation Christine Anu
Katherine Sullivan | On 26, Feb 2016
Christine AnuÂ is arguably Australiaâ€™s most successful indigenous performer and one of Australiaâ€™s most popular recording artists, backed by an award-winning repertoire spanning across music, theatre, dance, film, television and childrenâ€™s entertainment.
Her illustrious career boasts over two decades of platinum albums, sell-out musicals, Hollywood blockbusters, and high-profile collaborations with showbiz and musical luminaries such as Baz Luhrmann, Paul Kelly and David Atkins.
Christine is a multi-ARIA nominee and recipient, has had platinum and gold albums, a Green Room Award for Best Actress in a Musical, won song of the year (for My Island Home) and is an eight-time Deadly Award recipient. She is currently the presenter for the Evenings program on 702 ABC Sydney and is gearing up to star as Motormouth Maybelle in Harvest Rain Theatre Company’s production of Hairspray. We sit down with Christine to talk about what exactly 2016 has in store for her.
TCI: Hairspray is such a popular musical – how excited are you to play Motormouth Maybelle?
Christine Anu: Iâ€™m thrilled to play Motormouth Maybelle – itâ€™s a bold and strong role. Motormouth is proud and never lets anything get her down.
TCI:Â What do you think it is about Hairspray that has resonated with so many people world-wide?
Christine Anu: The show tackles social discrimination with lots of humour, great songs with key messages and era-specific dance moves that make you wiggle in your seatâ€¦ and need I say, lots of hairspray.Â Itâ€™s about opposing social pressure to be a certain way and being okay with the outcome, whether itâ€™s good or bad. Youâ€™ve got to not take yourself too seriously!
TCI: Do you have a favourite musical number from the show to perform?
Christine Anu: I think MMâ€™s, â€˜I KNOW WHERE Iâ€™VE BEENâ€ is the tone changer, and is serious and moving and the audience is quite affected by the mood shift by the time we get to that song.
TCI: My Island Home continues to be such a popular song. Were you expecting it to be the hit that it was?
Christine Anu: My Island Home was a hit long before I made it my own. I never really had any expectations for Neil Murrayâ€™s song. When I was in Neilâ€™s band (Neil Murray and the Rainmakers) he would get me to sing My Island Home so he could have a break. Then when I recorded my first album, Neil offered up the song for my album and the rest, as they say.
TCI: You have just started an exciting new role as the presenter for the Evenings program on 702 ABC Sydney. How has the experience been so far?
Christine Anu: The role as presenter for â€œEveningsâ€ is such an amazing opportunity. I am really enjoying sinking my teeth into a brand new challenge in a medium Iâ€™ve only ever been at the opposite side of the presenting desk for. Iâ€™ve got a long way to go and there is a lot of air-time to clock up before I am going to feel really comfortable, but Iâ€™m learning a brand new skill and I havenâ€™t done something for the first time in twenty years. Itâ€™s exciting!
TCI: As a public figure, do you feel a responsibility to be a role model for indigenous children? Especially those who want to pursue a career in the arts?
Christine Anu: There were more Indigenous role models in sports than the arts, back when I was first starting out. I am more aware now than I ever was back in the beginning of my career, that the choices Iâ€™ve made, my work attitude, my resilience, all the skills Iâ€™ve acquired could one day help young people aspiring to be entertainers and still maintain my cultural identity and be strong and proud.
TCI: 2016 is shaping up to be a busy year for you! Is there a holiday planned after all the hard work?
Christine Anu: I would love a holiday but itâ€™s so expensive, so I just get on with work and mix it up so itâ€™s interesting! On my down time, I make sure I canâ€™t be disturbed or distracted, so I switch off from electronic devices. My friends and family visit a lot, so the catch ups are around food, music and a couple of bevvies, itâ€™s not a holiday but time with family and friends, you canâ€™t put a price on that!
WhereÂ Brisbane Convention Centre
WhenÂ 8Â â€“Â 10Â April, 2016
How Much $69 – 129
For more information or to book tickets, headÂ toÂ Ticketek’sÂ website here.
Images: Harvest Rain Theatre Company