BBy Naomi Fallon August 16, 2012
For someone who earns a crust by exercising her vocal cords, the past week has been very difficult for Kate Miller-Heidke.
The pop singer was forced to spend seven days in silence after receiving strict instructions to rest her voice while recovering from a throat infection.
In an email interview with Fly, she says it has been a hard slog.
''I've never been mute for this long before,'' she says. ''It's quite isolating and I can't wait to speak again. The hardest part is when a stranger speaks to you in public. It's easy to come across as rude or, more commonly with me, a little bit special.''
Despite the difficulty of keeping her lips sealed, Miller-Heidke knew she had to follow doctor's orders.
She says she wasn't the first musician to be in such a situation.
''I think if a singer pushes themselves too hard they'll get to the point where they have to stop speaking for a few days - it's quite common,'' she says.
''Bjork came out to Australia for the Big Day Out with a big piece of sticky tape over her mouth.''
Miller-Heidke kicked off her Australian tour this month, hitting venues across the country to promote her third studio album, Nightflight.
Released in April, Nightflight entered the ARIA chart at No. 2 - the singer's highest chart position to date.
Throughout the album, she uses her brand of melodramatic ''popera'' to explore the topics of homesickness, mortality, love and surrender.
''It's a darker, folkier album than Curiouser,'' she says. ''I wanted to create something more expansive and beautiful.
''It's by far the best thing I've ever done on recording.''
In an unusual move, Miller-Heidke chose not to produce any official singles prior to the album's release date.
''I wanted people to hear the album in its entirety before putting out a single,'' she says.
Miller-Heidke is touring with her band, featuring the Boat People's James O'Brien on bass, Dan Parsons - ''an incredible singer-songwriter'' - on drums, Madeleine Paige on backing vocals and her husband, Keir Nuttall, on guitar.
While she's played alongside some amazing musicians, Miller-Heidke says Nuttall was her favourite person to work with.
The pair's electronic side project, Fatty Gets a Stylist, received global recognition when its song Are You Ready was used in television advertisements for the New York Lottery and the Seven Network.
''The two of us are a band, really,'' she says. ''I've loved collaborating with others, too … RocKwiz duets with people like Paul Dempsey and Henry Wagons. I'd like to do more of that.''
Following her Australian tour, Miller-Heidke will spend a month touring the US with Ben Folds Five.
''It's their first tour in a long time and I suspect it'll be kind of mind-blowing,'' she says.
''I've toured quite a bit with Ben Folds solo, and there's just hardly anyone in his league, really. [He's] frighteningly talented.''
The trained opera singer returned to her roots earlier this year with her performance in the English National Opera's The Death of Klinghoffer.
''I had been working with Richard Thomas in London and Klinghoffer sort of came about through that,'' she says.
''I couldn't really say no to the English National Opera. It was an incredible experience.''
While Miller-Heidke is open to the odd one-off project, she says she is still committed to pop music.
''I always got more of a kick out of writing my own songs,'' she says.
''I've always felt drawn to stories and theatre in pop music, too.''
WHEN: Tuesday, August 21
WHERE: Zierholz @ UC