The four singers, who have all contributed their services for free, come from radically disparate backgrounds. Gerry DeVeaux is an internationally-renowned singer-songwriter, who has worked with Chaka Khan, Lenny Kravitz and Vanessa Paradis (among others). Robyn Loau is the former lead singer of the Australian girlgroup Girlfriend. Shauna Jensen is an acclaimed veteran who has worked with everybody who was ever anybody in the Australian music industry. Michal Nicolas is the bright up’n’comer who wowed them with a Gay Games Farewell party show last year.
But the project is the brainchild of Andreas Zehntner. His entrepreneurial/ community spirit was fired up late last year when he learnt of the possible demise of Mardi Gras. While others dithered or bitched, he enlisted the help of four industry mates and went to New Mardi Gras with a proposal for a fundraising anthem CD. They were enthusiastic about the project from the outset, he says.
We’ve all been looking for an opportunity to work together, Zehntner says of the collaboration. When Michal and I heard about what happened with Mardi Gras we said we couldn’t imagine Sydney without Mardi Gras. So this is our bit to give back to them.
Loau says she was instantly attracted to the project.
Coming from my point of view, I’ve been in the industry for a long time, and I’ve had a lot of support from the gay community, she says. That’s why I jumped on board.
The track has also given her a chance to show off her studio skills: she co-produced the radio edit.
This is a way for me to show how much I’ve progressed, she says.
The CD also features a number of remixes, by Kate Monroe, Wayne G and new DJ on the block, DJ Goodwill.
When we talked to New Mardi Gras about the track, we said we wanted to integrate it into the Mardi Gras season as much as possible, because we really need a sense of community taking it and feeling attached to it, Zehntner says.
So does this suggest the song will get the full party show treatment?
The answer is yes. We’ll be a presence in the parade, and there will definitely be a presence at the party, says Zehntner. But they’ve allowed us to creatively drive that ourselves, so we’re planning a few different things.
Of the four performers, only Shauna Jensen has performed at a Mardi Gras party before, although Nicolas had a similar experience last year when he performed at the Gay Games Farewell party.
As much as you prepare for something like that, it really was the most amazing experience, Nicolas says. I’ve been on the other side, partying like the rest of them, but performing at the Gay Games was just incredible.
Our presence at the party will be something to watch, Zehntner promises.
Never Miss The Water is available now from Hum and Central Station.