This interview with singer and former Bardot star Katie Underwood is part of our regular Backstage Observer series with gay Australian singer Greg Gould. In the series, he’ll chat with interesting and well-known people in the community.
What is you dream musical collaboration?
I would love to work with someone like Gotye or Sia – two incredible talented people I respect and admire. They have achieved so much because they were not afraid to be different.
What’s one song you wished you’d written?
Can’t Get You Out Of My Head by Cathy Dennis. Such an iconic track. I had a recording session with her once in the UK while working on the second Bardot album. She wrote the track Hit and Run. Sadly I never got to feature on it as my vocals had to be removed after I left.
You currently sell out shows of different kind – how did the ‘sound healing’ come about?
I discovered sound healing about four years ago. Essentially it involves using various instruments, sounds and in my case, the voice, to induce deep states of relaxation and meditation. This work is profoundly effective at shifting stuck emotional and energetic blockages in the body. It provides the perfect combination of physical, emotional, and spiritual healing in a subtle but powerful way.
Everything in the universe is a vibration and sound healing taps into that frequency. I am also a trained meditation teacher so I am passionate about encouraging people to develop their own meditation practice at home, even if it’s a few minutes each day. A little regular meditation goes a long way.
If you could have a lead role in any musical, who would you love to play?
I don’t think I’ve seen enough musicals to give a good answer to that! I think a role in Cats would be fun.
Do you keep in close contact with any of the Bardot girls?
Not close contact, no. The occasional message on Facebook with Tiffany. I admire her parenting and managing a brood of five children while running a singing school. Super mum!
You recently sang your hit Beautiful at one of the first same-sex weddings in Melbourne, what are your thoughts on marriage equality passing in Australia?
I’m overjoyed and relieved that this legislation has finally passed. So many of my friends have had to fly overseas to have their vows and commitment recognised. All love is equal and now we finally have the law to support this.
What do your LGBTI fans mean to you?
LGBTI fans are my tribe, my people. Over the years many fans have said to me that my alternative fashion and bisexuality gave them something to connect to, in a world of predominately straight and conservative people; that I helped them to feel okay with their own identity.
The community has in turn offered me so much support over the years. Performing at events like the Midsumma Carnival here in Melbourne and Sleaze Ball in Sydney will go down as some of my most memorable gigs for my sheer level of excitement and appreciation. Also, I don’t think the straight world ever really understood my anti-fashion sense – but my queer community did.
Do you ever get sick of performing Poison?
The truth is I’ve only performed Poison twice in the last 16 years so the novelty is still fresh! As for a favourite, I remember in our live shows Higher than Heaven was always a good one. So uplifting.
Best experience at a gay nightclub?
Too many to mention and probably the best ones I’ve forgotten in a blur of disco lights and vodka. I can say I’ve met some of my best friends in gay nightclubs. Favourite hangout was definitely The Market in Melbourne. I was so sad when they closed down. I have not seen its equal since.
With Mardi Gras just around the corner, what is your favourite Pride anthem?
I heard It’s Raining Men on the radio the other day. What a cracker of a track! Belted it out singing in the car. So satisfying!
Katie Underwood will be at the upcoming Mindful Women event at the National Gallery of Victoria, and will be headlining the Seven Sisters Festival in March at Mount Martha.
Her new album Madrigal will soon be released on digital platforms and Underwood will be performing at the next Popchops party on Friday 23 February at the Greenwood Loft.