interview. Vanessa Amorosi presents ‘Memphis Love’

"Dave Stewart is a great friend and one of my biggest mentors. I’m constantly learning every day spent with him"
26 February 2024

An Exploration of Musical Evolution and Creative Harmony

In this Music Industry Insights interview, we spotlight the gifted Vanessa Amorosi and her latest captivating release, Memphis Love. Amorosi’s musical path took a significant turn when she partnered with Dave Stewart’s Bay Street Records, a collaboration that she describes as being on the same creative wavelength, making the release of this album particularly special.

Amorosi shares her enchanting experience recording Memphis Love at the historic Willie Mitchell’s Royal Studios, highlighting the immersive and enjoyable atmosphere that contributed to the album’s authenticity and spirit. The album features a diverse range of tracks, including the focus track Lift Us Up, which showcases the powerful voices of the Tennessee Mass Choir, adding a profound gospel texture that Vanessa describes as a dream come true.

The album also includes a unique cover of Ace’s classic How Long, which Amorosi chose for its perfect fit and emotional resonance, carefully maintaining the song’s original vibe while infusing it with her unique style. The lead single Wolf reveals a more personal side, rooted in a moment of personal strife, showcasing Amorosi’s ability to channel raw emotions into her music, a process greatly influenced by her collaboration with Dave Stewart.

Amorosi reflects on her artistic growth, explaining how Memphis Love, her latest release and eighth studio album, signifies a pivotal moment in embracing her genuine musical essence. She combines her initial musical styles with fresh influences and sonorities, creating a rich, evolved sound. She explores her creative approach, highlighting the importance of spontaneous inspiration and the challenge of balancing life with musical passion.

Amorosi’s creativity spans music to painting, reflecting her wide artistic scope. This interview offers insights into her inspirations, challenges, and the journey behind Memphis Love.

Dave Stewart changed my outlook on music in general. He asked me not to hold back, to let myself out of the cage

Vanessa, congratulations on your new album Memphis Love. Can you share what inspired you to sign with Dave Stewart’s Bay Street Records and how has this partnership influenced the album’s direction?

Thank you! I’m so excited that this record is out for people to hear. Working with Dave from the beginning to end on this project was so special. It’s amazing to work with someone on the same creative wavelength, I couldn’t imagine releasing this with another label! 

Dave Stewart and Vanessa Amorosi

What was your experience like recording Memphis Love at Willie Mitchell’s Royal Studios? And how many hours per week did you find yourself spending in the recording studio?

I LOVED IT! The location, the team, the vibe it all just felt so new and exciting. We lived in the studio, it never feels like a long time when you’re enjoying every second of it. That studio is iconic! 

The focus track Lift Us Up features the captivating voices of the Tennessee Mass Choir. Can you tell us more about the process of working with such a powerful choir and how they contributed to the song’s gospel texture? 

Absolute dream come true! It’s always been me singing harmony parts, but to finally enter a room and hear it all come together was one of my favorite moments creating music. The Tennessee Mass Choir are beyond talented! 

How Long, a cover from Ace’s 1974 classic, finds a place on your album Memphis Love. What captivated you about this track to include it in your collection, and how did you balance injecting your unique style while respecting the song’s original vibe? 

We were in Dave’s studio making final touches to the record and the song came up in conversation. We just knew it was meant for the project. We recorded it straight away and it was a perfect fit. I love the original and wanted to stick with the initial tone. 

The concept of deception underpins Wolf, the compelling lead single of your latest album. Could you explore the inspiration and development process of this song, especially your work with Dave Stewart? 

We wrote and recorded Wolf in one afternoon! I was heated after a personal situation and was meeting Dave at his LA studio. It was a creative day, that’s for sure! I’m so happy it was the first single, it’s full of attitude and one of my favorite sounds on the record. 

Dave Stewart has openly admired your vocal strength and emotional resonance. In what ways have your joint songwriting efforts with him shaped the narrative and emotional landscape of Memphis Love

Dave changed my outlook on music in general. He asked me not to hold back, to let myself out of the cage. He’s a great friend and one of my biggest mentors. I’m constantly learning every day spent with him.  

With Memphis Love being your eighth studio album, how do you feel your sound and approach to music have evolved since your debut? 

A lot of people don’t know this, but if you listen to my debut album you’ll hear so many counter melodies and gospel arrangements in most of my early hits. It’s always been there, but this album is truly stepping into who I am. It’s a great representation lyrically and musically. I’m just really happy to have this record out there and a part of my catalogue forever. 

What steps do you take to enter the creative zone?

You can’t force it. I love doing writing sessions with people all over the world, but sometimes a song will just land in my head during the middle of the night. Most of the time I’ll write it down straight away and work on it the following day. 

What are the most difficult aspects of your creative process and how do you manage to overcome them? 

Time! Sometimes life is too busy and doesn’t allow you to be in a studio. I can have a really creative day but have 5 appointments that afternoon. It’s hard to balance life and my creative zone. How to overcome that? Plan haha. Putting a priority on it. 

Do you ever feel restricted by the medium of music or do you create in different mediums as well (painting, photography and so on)? 

I do such a broad amount in the studio it never really feels restricted to the one thing. There’s so much to making music. But yes, I have certain other creative outlets like painting. I use to paint quite a bit.