Performing around this country with fervour since the 90s under the moniker of George, Elixir, The Captains, and with chamber orchestras, ballets, and most recently with a circus, Katie Noonan is known as talent personified. This June, Katie – and THAT voice – is set to return with the gentlemen of Elixir for the Mornington Winter Jazz Festival. Noonan took some time to share her unique experiences in life and the music world with PEARL in the lead up to the very special show.

PEARL: Elixir is such a fitting name for what you do. Can you remember who thought of it and how it came about?
NOONAN: Not really! I think it was me, but it was such a long time ago. We were originally known as “Succubus”! Which was not very suitable! We got over that name pretty quickly. The idea of Elixir, first of all, is that its Australian poetry set to music. We are writing our next record with Michael Leunig.

PEARL: I’m sorry, did you say Leunig?
NOONAN: Yeah, which should be fun! He’s obviously known very much as a philosopher and a cartoonist and artist but I find his poetry really inspiring and deeply beautiful.

PEARL: Can we expect to hear some of this new material at the Mornington Winter Jazz Festival show or more of our old favourites?
NOONAN: I’d definitely say we’ll be playing some new material. In fact this weekend we are writing and demoing with Elixir, we’ll be delving back into that world again.

PEARL: Zac Hurren in Elixir is also your husband, what’s your favourite part of having a working relationship with your partner?
NOONAN: It’s wonderful to escape the routine and domesticity of being parents and life partners. It takes us back to being purely musicians. We were always about music before anything else.

PEARL: You are considered quite a role model, as a singer, as a musician and as a woman. Do you ever make decisions or career moves with that in mind?
NOONAN: No… Early on, people would tell me really extraordinary things about their life, about how a song may have influenced them to make a decision or has had some effect.  That was a very beautiful thing but also a very profound thing. So I did realise that being a musician comes with a certain responsibility that I took quite seriously. Also, I guess as a woman in an industry that is predominantly male, I’ve always been aware to ensure that gender is completely irrelevant. When I was making my way as a working mum with breast feeding children, it was difficult to explain to people that I need to take a break every couple of hours to feed my child, and making that fit into a company promo schedule was a challenge! I remember thinking to myself; “oh I hope this gets easier for other women”.

PEARL: If you could impart one piece of wisdom to another musician, what would it be?
NOONAN: To be as unique as possible and to sound as unique as possible because that is your strongest asset. Comparison is erroneous and not conducive with creating art. Art should come from a place of purity.

To hear Elixir’s amazing art with Noonan’s majestic voice in real life, head to The Grand Hotel in Mornington on Sunday June 8. You can get tickets and find more info on the Mornington Winter Jazz Festival in general at www.morningtonjazz.com.au

LOUISE MACGREGOR

 

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