Thanks to Sony Music Australia, we had the chance to get in touch once again with the always lovely and very talented singer, actress and songwriter Jessica Mauboy in order to find out more about her experience recording a personal selection of live tracks that will be released as an exclusive iTunes Session on Friday July 18, 2014.
SR. Hi Jess. How are you today?
JM. I’m well thank you. I’ve actually been quite busy today promoting my EP, which will be dropping on Friday, so I’ve been pretty excited about that.
SR. You are about release a new exclusive iTunes session EP this Friday. What can you tell us about it?
JM. Basically, I have never released an EP before. I have always released a normal album but this is kind of like an album but just a short version of an album so I’ve got six tracks that I have covered that I have recorded live in a studio with a full band and pretty in a round circle and we are all counting in one, two, three and basically singing the songs straight through and trying not to mess it up, otherwise if anyone messed up, we’d have to do it all again.
This is something really special because I have gone back to some of my older stuff and stuff that I released on the Been Waiting album from Burn to Running Back. And I kind of restructured, or rather revisited, you know how we would want to make it sound live and different from the original version. So it was fun to get together with my band and work with my musical directors and be in the world of music.
SR. The session includes a cover of Frank Ocean’s ‘Thinking About You’. If you could pick another song to cover, which one would you pick and why?
JM. Oh that’s a tough one. I’m a big fan of Frank Ocean and the reason why I chose that song was because he is so musically intelligent and he is a great singer as well. So hearing him sing in that certain tone and without trying, I felt really connected with this song and it was nice to kind of put my flavour on it. So it was great, but if I would pick another song to cover I would have to say that my current favourite song at the moment ‘Am I Wrong’ by Nico and Vinz.
SR. Great song choice. With this opportunity, you joined the likes of The Black Keys and Kelly Clarkson – how did the idea start?
JM. You know, well, I had heard of iTunes session before and I got the opportunity to do my own live studio session and collaborate with iTunes so hearing that I will be joining the ranks of Kelly Clarkson, Emeli Sande and many more. I feel pretty honoured in fact, and quite special and to know that we have been able to do this live and recreate some of my songs and make them sound live and just to have fun with it.
SR. You have been recorded live on television as well as worked in a studio, does this feel different to those times?
JM. Yes, there is definitely a difference. I think coming from the studio when everything is tidied up, you know, you are constantly redoing certain vocals and having to go back to make it sound a little bit more pretty, or making it sound a little bit more perfect. Whereas, doing a live show is time to sing, there is no time to stop and retouch, its basically like you have to right, right there and then. That’s is the fun part, it’s the whole beauty and magical moment of singing live. You can actually express and connect with a live audience or whoever is watching through the TV.
SR. Speaking of a live audience through television, you were part of Eurovision this year, you must have so many stories and experiences that you could share but how did it feel to represent Australia?
JM. It was absolutely crazy and I think for me, I felt very honoured to go over there and represent Australia as a guest. I think people over there were wondering why Australia was part of Eurovision and also asking the question well then why isn’t Australia competing. So I had the best of both worlds and I had such an incredible crowd acknowledge when I walked out on stage. I was very nervous on the last few days headed up to the performance.
SR. You recently joined Keith Urban on stage as well, how much did you guys rehearse and how did that come about?
JM. It was so crazy, I was apart of being an ambassador of Swisse, and they put on a ball for a Life Foundation. Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban were there and watched on to my performance and I ended up receiving an email a few days later and it was crazy! It was like ‘Hey Jess, its Keith Urban and I saw you perform and you smashed it. Look I’m performing in Sydney and I’m about to go on tour and I love if you could join me on stage’.
It was kind of whack, it was kind of crazy to receive an email and I ended up getting back to him and suggesting certain songs that we could possibly sing. I basically turned up to the show and we had rehearsed a bit and then he invited me up on stage and it was like we had been friends forever. He was very warm and welcoming, he introduced me to his band and I will never forget that. I think that is how music should be, you know where artists can support one another and help each other out. You know, he didn’t have to do that but he did and we obviously felt a connection. So I’m very thankful and he is such an intelligent man when it comes to music, so I learnt a lot just by watching and observing him on his tour.
SR. When are you planning to hit the road again?
JM. Hopefully, I can get back on the road soon, maybe at the end of the year. I’m hoping to possibly to put together another show and to tour again and do a national tour. But for now, I’m just in the studio, making beautiful music and possibly writing for the next album.
SR. So when it comes to touring, do you prefer to do the big arena shows or smaller intimate shows?
JM. I like small intimate shows. I think I can connect to and have a better all round connection with a smaller audience. But they are both different in many ways. You know, in arenas you can just go crazy and live intimate shows you can just be who you are and say whatever you want and just be the artist – honest and true. It’s not that far of a distance to really connect with the audience. But both are really incredible to do, but yeah the small, intimate shows are my personal favourite.
SR. You had your big screen debut a couple of years ago with the Sapphires – Do you have any plans to get back onto the big screen?
JM. I loved my time on that and being apart bringing the Sapphires to life. It was definitely an incredible script to read. I remember sitting there and I had to read it twice through and both times I got emotional so it was something I felt really connected to and it resonated with me.
I would love to do more acting; it really helped me a lot. It wasn’t my first acting role, I was in a film called ‘Brand New Day’ which was my very first. But I think Sapphires is on an action, blockbuster level and it’s really kind of amazing, and if there was ever the opportunity just like that character, like Julie, than I would love to do it again.
Jessica Mauboy – Exclusive iTunes Session Available from Friday July 18, 2014.