Expat poly-media artist gilli moon is set to rise again in her home country. Anthony Horan goes star-gazing.
Defiantly independent in everything she does, trans-Pacific citizen gilli moon has just released her third album, an accessible yet adventurous set of songs recorded with her Los Angeles based band. But this is one artist who's not content to simply get up on stage and play songs, then head for a recording studio to get them on tape. When not being gilli moon, rock performer, she's taking on painting, writing articles and a just-released book, doing motivational seminars and running a record lable. Oh, and she also wins the occasional award. Back in Australia for a couple of rare performances, gilli got on the phone from her second home in the Hunter Valley to explain how one woman can be so many things at the same time.
You're originally from Australia, now based in Los Angeles?
That's right - I'm from Sydney, and grew up in the inner city, though when I was about fourteen I moved to the Hunter Valley, which is more of an isolated bush area. And then I went to LA about five years ago.
So you're music career started in Australia, then?
The very first record that I made was done here, called Girl In The Moon - and I never released it. It was kind of my calling card overseas. Subsequently, through time, people have really wanted to hear those songs, because I play them live, so I'm going to do a release of it at some stage. My second album Tempermamental Angel I released early last year both here and in the States, and now I've just brought out Woman, my third release.
On the new album you've done a cover version of INXS's Need You Tonight - why?
For several reasons. Firstly, I've always wanted to do a song in memory of Michael. Secondly, I'm an Australian, so I guess as part of my homesickness I thought it would be great to do. But mainly, I've loved that song for a long time, and it fitted into the concept ofWoman well. I like to do concept albums. Temperamental Angel was like a rebellious teenager, going through emotions and angst.Woman was more about me growing up, being a woman and dealing with relationships, and how we should all relate to each other.Need You Tonight's lyrics talk about being very honest and open with how you feel about somebody, and that's what I wanted to bring into the album."
Your music gets categorised in the US as "Adult Alternative", but there's a definite pop element to it...
With my songs, the structure is pop - I like to write a good song that everyone can sing along to and relate to. But in the production side of things I like to make it a little quirky and different. That's why I go a little bit left of field, especially when I'm on stage. It's almost performance art. We've got a six-piece band in LA and we go off - it's full on. And then it goes really quiet when I do something on the piano.
You paint on stage as well, don't you?
I do - I call it SensuArt. I use plexiglass as a canvas, and every time I want to get off the piano or I'm singing out the front of the stage and there's a guitar solo, I'll go off and paint. It just adds a different dimension to the show.
You're also described as a motivational speaker...
I'm just starting to get into that. It was just because I wrote this book, "I AM A Professional Artist". I was invited in LA to do seminars for songwriters, about one hundred to two hundred songwriters at a time, about doing it the indie way. From that I've springboarded into doing seminars on that subject.
INTERVIEWS WITH GILLI