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ODETTE MERCY: GIRLS NIGHT OUT The X-Press Interview


It’s time for a Girls Night Out. Next Thursday and Friday nights, May 30 and 31, will see this groundbreaking show launched upon Perth, with an all-woman extravaganza at the gorgeous Astor Theatre, bringing together some of our city’s finest singers with an all femme version of our talented Perth Symphony Orchestra. Initial demand for tickets was so great that a second show had to be added. It promises to be an epic celebration of sisterhood, so NATALIE GILES had a chat with the star of Hot Brown Honey and Odette Mercy and Her Soul Atomics, the one and only Odette Mercy (pictured far left above with Sophie Foster and Rose Parker) – diva, superstar and spokesperson for women everywhere. Fresh from a tour of North America with Hot Brown Honey, she’ll be tackling Nina Simone among others on the night, and Mercy’s enthusiasm for the upcoming show is positively infectious.

So tell me all about the show – it sounds brilliant!

The whole orchestra, the conductor, the women who compose and do the arrangements, the backing vocalists, every single one is a woman. From conductor Jessica Gethin with vocalists Rose Parker, Sophie Foster, Lucy Peach, and backing vocalists Alana Fay, Chelsea Cullen and Mia Matthiessen, even the scores are written by local talents Kathy Potter, Cara Fesjian, Julia Nicholls and Stephanie Nicholls. It’s an amazing line up of talent.

Amazing! Do you know if this is a world first? It sure sounds like it could be…

I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a first, because it’s so rare to find a woman conductor. Especially at her (Gethin’s) level. And her and Bourby Webster (Perth Symphony founder and CEO) come as an amazing package, just the most incredible power team. The two dream up everything from the Nirvana shows (PSO’s Unplugged: Nirvana Reimagined) and so on, they tried to get Dave Grohl to perform with the orchestra. And Bourby is teaching at WAAPA on arts management, and they’re both just so heavily involved in the arts industry as well as trying to help train other people up. They’re an amazing pair, those two.

It’s a testament to something we both already know – how much talent we have right here in WA. Does it make you proud to be West Australian?

Of course! And proud to be a West Australian woman. Some of our classical instrumentalists are world renowned. But even nationally, they’re doing some incredible things. I think some are coming home to Perth just to play in this show. Look, being involved with any live performance is a blessing, but when you’re on stage with some of the state’s most talented singers with an entire orchestra… all that energy in the one space! I can only imagine what it would be like to witness it as part of an audience, but I feel really special to be part of it.

And how do you feel about it being an experience for women, made by women?

I think if you were a smart man, you’d be buying as many tickets as you could, you know? If you were a smart man that wanted to be part of this change and be part of this energy of empowering women, you’d be buying tickets not only for your female friends but for yourself, and really putting it out there that you’re part of it, you know?

Put your money where your mouth is, allies. It is so important to back events if you want to show support to women, right?

Well yeah, that’s what ally really means. You’ve got to put your money where your mouth is, but you’ve got to show your face for it too. I’m really sick of people who say that they’re all for women’s rights but don’t show up for us. I feel like the Australian male culture could really do with a dose of witnessing what powerful women can do together, and I think that’s just the sexiest thing. Damn, I feel sexy just talking about it! As a hetero, cis woman, I feel sexy about this whole thing about being able to take centre stage and do what we do with an all-woman orchestra behind us. Like this is seriously driving my hormones right now!

But I think it’s that thing where, when people come together in celebration and empowerment, you can feel so many different emotions and it feels good. I feel like sometimes, we’re set up in different experiences, whether through art or live performance, whereby there’s a minimisation of how many emotions an audience can feel, and you’re just trying to help them get that out. The world is so complex right now, but I think this show, in particular, will give them what they need. There will be songs for people to cry to, to sing along to, to dance to. It’s going to be very freeing. I get very moved by the ability to witness that. It’s such a special space. But I also get very moved by hearing amazing musos do what they do. It’s made me feel so very humbled, but it’s also taken my journey as a performer to a whole new level, and I’m so excited about that.

Anything else you want to shout about?

It’s not just a fun girl’s night out – this is really momentous. The idea of having every single person in there being female is so important, but it’s in a really inclusive space as well. If you want to see this as an extravaganza, you should really get there. It’s huge in the timeline of what’s happening here, and in the music industry overall. Buy tickets just to be part of it.

Are you ready for Girls Night Out! 🥂🎶💃🏽

Guaranteed to be the most fun you'll have with your girlfriends this year! 🥂🎶💃🏽Join us for 'Girls Night Out' – a night featuring the music of power women throughout history, including Madonna, Tina Turner, Beyonce and Dolly Parton and so many more! Performed by Lucy Peach, Odette Mercy (from Odette Mercy & Her Soul Atomics, Rose Parker, Sophie Foster and BVs from Alana-Fay, Chelsea Cullen and Mia Matt Music, with a 100% female Perth Symphony Orchestra, all under the baton of Jessica Gethin – Conductor. Thursday 30th and Friday 31st May, Astor Theatre Perth. Tickets available via Ticketek Australia, details and tickets here: Girls Night Out!

Posted by Perth Symphony Orchestra on Tuesday, 23 April 2019

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