Miller-Heidke at the Byron Bay Bluesfest in April 2011
|Born||16 November 1981|
Gladstone, Queensland, Australia
|Origin||Brisbane, Queensland, Australia|
|Genres||Adult contemporary, pop, rock, alternative|
|Instruments||Singing, keyboards, acoustic guitar|
|Labels||Waterbear Records/Sony BMG, Epic US, RCA UK|
Kate Miller-Heidke (; born 16 November 1981) is an Australian singer-songwriter and actress. Although classically trained, she has followed a career in alternative pop music. She was signed to Sony Australia, Epic in the US and RCA in the UK, but is now an independent artist. She represented Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 in Tel Aviv, Israel. She is the only person to have sung at Coachella, the New York Metropolitan Opera, and Eurovision.
Born in Gladstone, Queensland, to dance teacher Jenny Miller and high school principal Greg Heidke, Miller-Heidke graduated from St Aidan's Anglican Girls' School in 1998 but previously attended Brigidine College, Indooroopilly. She then went on to university, completing a Bachelor of Music degree in Classical Voice from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music at Griffith University on full scholarship, followed by a Master of Music degree at Queensland University of Technology. As a classical singer, she has won many awards including the Elizabeth Muir Prize (2000), the Donald Penman Prize (2001), the Linda Edith Allen Memorial Prize (2002) and the Horace Keats Prize (2002). Her conservatorium performances include Orpheus in the Underworld (2000), Venus and Adonis (2002) and The Pilgrim's Progress (2002). As an Opera Queensland Developing Artist, Miller-Heidke has performed as an understudy in many productions including Sweeney Todd, Don Pasquale and Un ballo in maschera. In July 2005, she made her solo professional operatic debut with Opera Queensland in the role of Flora in Britten's The Turn of the Screw.
Miller-Heidke played in several Brisbane bands before going solo in 2002. Miller-Heidke was lead singer and songwriter with Brisbane band Elsewhere, formed in 2000, which released a self-titled EP of original songs before breaking up in 2003.
Miller-Heidke performed at the annual cult event Women In Voice in 2002, 2004 and 2005, when she shared the stage with such performers as Pearly Black, Margret RoadKnight, Jenny Morris and Divinyls lead singer Chrissy Amphlett. Miller-Heidke became well known in Brisbane through these performances, and her 2005 appearance in Women in Voice 14 won her the Helpmann Award for Best Performance in an Australian Contemporary Concert.
In June 2004, Miller-Heidke independently recorded and distributed her first EP, Telegram, a collection of songs, all written by Miller-Heidke herself (except for two songs written by her creative collaborator and now-husband, Keir Nuttall). In 2005, she released a second EP Comikaze, however only 500 copies were ever made. According to an interview in 2007, Miller-Heidke believed the EP's comedic material to have been a mistake and stopped pressing copies.
In 2006, Miller-Heidke was invited by Deborah Conway to take part in the Broad Festival project, with three other Australian female artists, they performed their own and each other's songs. With Miller-Heidke and Conway were Melinda Schneider, Mia Dyson and Ella Hooper.
Miller-Heidke was to have moved on to singing Gilbert and Sullivan tunes with Opera Australia; instead, she turned her back on classical singing to concentrate on popular music and songwriting when "Space They Cannot Touch", a song from Telegram, became a hit on Australia's national youth radio network, Triple J and was named Richard Kingsmill's "pick of the week" in September 2005. This radio support led to increased national attention for Miller-Heidke's music: not only did she gain thousands of fans, she also went on to sign a record deal, get her first manager, Leanne de Souza, and her first agent, Dorry Kartabani, at the Harbour Agency. Miller-Heidke then began touring the country with her band.
As well as touring throughout Australia and appearing regularly at festivals in Woodford - where she was named Queen of the Woodford Folk Festival in 2002/2003, - and in Port Fairy and Blue Mountains, Miller-Heidke appeared on Australian national television as a guest panelist on RocKwiz, Spicks and Specks and Q&A. She has performed on ABC TV's The Sideshow and Q&A, on Network Ten's Rove, Sunrise, The Morning Show and Good News Week, and twice on the live broadcast of the ARIA Music Awards.
Miller-Heidke's second album, Curiouser, was released in Australia on 18 October 2008. The album was recorded in Los Angeles, with Miller-Heidke working with co-producers Nuttall and Mickey Petralia, who has produced albums for Beck and Flight of the Conchords. The songs on the album were mostly written over a two-month period with creative collaborator and partner Nuttall. The album's first single, "Can't Shake It" debuted on the ARIA Singles Chart at number 38 in October 2008, making it Miller-Heidke's first top 40 song.Curiouser was her first top 10 album, debuting at number 8 and peaking at number 2 on the ARIA Top 50 Albums chart.
In April 2009, Miller-Heidke won critical acclaim for her performance as Baby Jane in Jerry Springer: The Opera at the Sydney Opera House. When Tom Morris saw her in that role, he asked her to audition for his production of John Adams' opera The Death of Klinghoffer for the English National Opera (ENO) at the London Coliseum; following two months' rehearsals, Miller-Heidke then sang the role of British Dancing Girl for a two-week run in early 2012. Miller-Heidke performed this role again at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in October 2014.
Miller-Heidke and Nuttall were awarded the $US25,000 grand prize in the 2008 International Songwriting Competition for their composition "Caught in the Crowd". They were the first Australians ever to win the grand prize. The song has now been adopted by the Australian High School curriculum as a part of the early secondary anti-bullying program. The second Australian single from Curiouser which had peaked at number 33 on the ARIA singles charts in June 2009. "Caught in the Crowd" was re-released in November 2009 and has since been accredited as a Gold single.
Her following single, "The Last Day on Earth" reached #3 in Australia, her first top 10 hit. Due to the single's success, Curiouser re-entered the top 50 and reached #1 on iTunes for three weeks. The song became her first song to reach #1 in any chart later peaking on the ARIA Australian Artist Singles Chart at #1. The single "The Last Day On Earth" and the album Curiouser both went platinum.
Curiouser has enjoyed critical success in the US. Sasha Frere-Jones, the music critic from The New Yorker, wrote "I got lucky last week and found a gem in the pile; Curiouser. If your favourite American pop star is coming across slightly washed out, you will want to hear Miller-Heidke. Curiouser is a big clutch of pantone swatches."
Miller-Heidke has toured extensively throughout the US, UK and Europe as the special guest of Ben Folds. Ben Folds is a fan of her, stating "she's one of those people that actually does deserve to be called a unique talent." She released her first music DVD, Live in San Francisco.
Throughout 2010/2011, Miller-Heidke played at many festivals around the world including Coachella, Lilith Fair, Rifflandia, Byron Bay Bluesfest, Southbound and Peats Ridge Festival. She also appeared on Passenger's album Flight of the Crow.
In June 2011, Miller-Heidke released an album by her side project band Fatty Gets a Stylist, another collaboration with Keir Nuttall. Their first single, "Are You Ready?", has been used in a New York Lottery advertisement on US television and for advertising the Seven Network, in which actors from various shows mime to the words while walking, ending with Alf Stewart from Home and Away yelling the end line "Let's go!".
The album Fatty Gets a Stylist (released as Liberty Bell outside Australia) was written and recorded on a lap top over several months in different locations in between Australia, South East Asia and West London. The album was released on 24 June 2011 and reached #90 on the official Australian ARIA albums charts.
On 13 April 2012 Miller-Heidke's third studio album, Nightflight, was released. No official single was announced, but Miller-Heidke has confirmed on her official Facebook page that two music videos were being filmed: "Ride This Feeling", and "I'll Change Your Mind". Upon release in Australia, the album reached #1 on the iTunes albums chart and #2 on the ARIA album chart.
In 2013, the single "Ride this Feeling" was selected as the promotional theme for the 'Visit Brisbane' television advertising campaign for Brisbane Marketing as part of the Brisbane City Council's Economic Development Board.
Miller-Heidke sang the screen-role of Amber in the world premiere of Michel van der Aa's opera Sunken Garden for the English National Opera in April 2013. In September 2013, Miller-Heidke announced she had left Sony Records, which she described as a "corporate juggernaut". She also revealed she is currently working on her fourth studio album O Vertigo! independently, and set up a store on PledgeMusic, pledging the money to be used for the album and for donations towards the protection of the Great Barrier Reef. Her request then broke a record on Pledge: in three days, it reached the target set for her album and continued to receive more crowd funding.
In 2014, Lyndon Terracini announced that Opera Australia had co-commissioned Miller-Heidke to write an opera based on John Marsden's children's book The Rabbits, to be performed in 2015.The Rabbits was first performed at the Perth Festival in February 2015, to critical acclaim. Miller-Heidke performed as the "female protagonist" in Michel van der Aa's interactive song cycle film The Book of Sand, and debuted as a screen actress in the ABC comedy opera miniseries The Divorce, which was broadcast in December 2015.
Miller-Heidke co-wrote the music and lyrics for the musical Muriel's Wedding, which was premiered by the Sydney Theatre Company in November 2017. She and Keir Nuttall wrote the music for the songs in Simon Phillips' 2018 production of Twelfth Night for the Melbourne Theatre Company where they were performed by Colin Hay.
In early 2019, Miller-Heidke was announced as one of the ten candidates to represent Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 with the song "Zero Gravity"; she won in February 2019 and represented Australia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2019. The singer was joined by Israeli backing singers for her performance at the contest. The song "Zero Gravity" won the first semi-final, before placing ninth in the final with 284 points. Miller-Heidke received the Marcel Bezençon award in the Artistic category, given to the best artist as voted on by the commentators of the contest.
On stage and in the studio Miller-Heidke spent the majority of her early years being backed by Brisbane band Transport, consisting of her husband Keir Nuttall (guitar, backing vocals), Scott Saunders (bass) and Steve Pope (drums).
The band included multi-instrumentalist and singer Emma Dean who left the band in 2006 to pursue a solo career. Dean was replaced by Sallie Campbell on keyboard and vocals. Early in 2008, Sallie Campbell left to focus on her own band Speed of Purple, and Nicole Brophy joined on guitar and vocals.
From April to June 2007, with Transport working in the US and UK, Miller-Heidke's touring band was Mark Angel (guitar), Ben McCarthy (bass, backing vocals) and Joachim Alfheim (drums), along with regular vocalist-violinist Sallie Campbell. Both Angel and Alfheim went on to play for Kristy London & The Other Halves. McCarthy stayed on with Miller-Heidke into 2008.
The 2011 line-up was composed of Nuttall, Brophy, Nathan Moore (bass, backing vocals) and Pope. Brophy and Moore both left the band the following year; and were replaced by Madeleine Page and James O'Brien, respectively.
Her 2010 U.S. tour featured only Miller-Heidke and Nuttall.
Her 2012 tour of the United States and Canada for the North American release of her third studio album, Nightflight, included only Dan Parsons and Madeleine Paige. Dates in support of Ben Folds included only Nuttall.
|2015||The Book of Sand||Woman||Interactive film|
|2018||Ladies in Black||Nightclub singer (cameo)||Feature film|
|2009||Jerry Springer: The Opera||Baby Jane|
|2012-14||The Death of Klinghoffer||British Dancing Girl|
|2015-16||The Rabbits||Songbird||Helpmann Award for Best New Australian Work (with Lally Katz and Iain Grandage)|
Helpmann Award for Best Original Score (with Iain Grandage)
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|2007||Little Eve||Best Female Artist||Nominated|
|Best Pop Release||Nominated|
|Breakthrough Release - Album||Nominated|
|"Words"||Breakthrough Artist - Single||Nominated|
|2009||"The Last Day on Earth"||Single of the Year||Nominated|
|Curiouser||Best Female Artist||Nominated|
|Best Pop Release||Nominated|
|2010||"The Last Day on Earth"||Most Popular Australian Single||Nominated|
|2012||Nightflight||Best Australian Live Act||Nominated|
|2014||O Vertigo!||Best Adult Contemporary Album||Nominated|
|2016||The Rabbits||Best Original Soundtrack/Cast/Show Album||Nominated|
|"I'm Growing a Beard Downstairs for Christmas"||Best Comedy Release||Nominated|
|2017||Live at the Sydney Opera House||Best Classical Album||Nominated|
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|2005||Women in Voice 14||Best Performance in an Australian Contemporary Concert||Won|
|2015||The Rabbits||Best New Australian Work (with Lally Katz and Iain Grandage)||Won|
|Best Original Score (with Iain Grandage)||Won|
|2016||MOFO 2016 Kate Miller-Heidke and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra with visuals by Amy Gebhardt||Best Australian Contemporary Concert||Won|
|2018||Muriel's Wedding||Best Original Score (with Keir Nuttall)||Won|
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|2009||"Can't Shake It"||Song of the Year (with Keir Nuttall)||Nominated|
|2010||"The Last Day on Earth"||Song of the Year (with Keir Nuttall)||Nominated|
|2009||International Songwriting Competition||Grand Prize (with Keir Nuttall) ("Caught in the Crowd")||Won|
|Age EG Awards||Best Female||Won|
|2018||Sydney Theatre Awards||Best New Australian Work (with Keir Nuttall and PJ Hogan)||Nominated|
|Best Original Score of a Mainstage Production (with Keir Nuttall)||Won|
|2019||Marcel Bezençon Awards||Artistic Award||Won|