Described as mixture of Abby Dobson, Julia Stone and Lisa Mitchell, Adelaide-girl Julia Henning is coming to the Sydney Opera House. The indie pop cabaret songstress took some time out to answer our questions.

When did you first become interested in cabaret?

My Dad brought me up on Flanders and Swann, a cabaret comedy duo from around the 1960s. I used to sing their songs and recite their patter from heart. From there it was an easy step over to other cabaret artists and a love of cabaret as a whole.

What was the first album you ever bought?

My parents bought me lots of CDs growing up but the first album that I bought with my own money was a compilation CD. I was obsessed with Dead or Alive’s You Spin Me Right Round Baby after seeing The Wedding Singer and I just had to have that song.

Do you have any rituals when it comes to songwriting?

I tend to write alone. Often I’ll write in my pajamas with a cup of peppermint tea at hand. Mostly I just sit and think a lot. I try to figure out what emotions I need to explore and express, then I’ll sit down at the piano, let my fingers find their way to a few nice chords and then warble over the top until it starts to sound like a song.

What’s your favourite musical?

Les Misérables! I was on a family trip to Melbourne around age 8 and we were lucky enough to get front row seats. It was a life changing experience – the music and emotions, the moments of tragic beauty and the history. I was in love. I still am.

Who are your musical influences?

I am influenced by many different genres let alone artist but my top 5 at the moment would have to be Leonard Cohen, K.D Lang, Bette Midler, Edith Piaf and Katie Melua.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a performer/musician?

I’ve always been passionate about history. If I wasn’t so in love with music I would be immersed in studying all of the wonderful and interesting things history had to offer. It’s my second love and I miss it but luckily, to a certain extent, I can combine my love of history with my music.

What are you listening to right now?

Right now I’m listening to I’m Reading A Book by Julian Smith. He’s a ‘youtube famous’ comical songwriter with clever lyrics and great hooks. Plus his production values are amazing.

If you could perform anywhere in the world where would it be?

On whatever stage Leonard Cohen was on at the time. I’ve seen him live twice and both times he left me completely awe inspired. I’m not even sure that I would be able to stay standing if I was on a stage with him.

Published in City News online and in print on Aug 25, 2012


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