Listen: Nick Bennett caught up with Christine Anu at the 2015 ARIA Awards nomination event in Sydney
20 years after her hit single My Island Home and her platinum-status album Stylin’ Up, Christine Anu is back—just in time for the holidays, with a Christmas album.
Island Christmas is an Aussie-centric collection of songs with a mixture of acoustic and gospel sounds, reflecting a mostly Australian Christmas experience.
Guest artists on the record include New Zealand’s Jay Laga’aia, and soul singer Steve Clisby, made famous by his success on the 2014 season of TV’s The Voice, as well as Christine’s own children Zipporah and Kuaim.
Another ARIA Award Nomination For Christine Anu
It’s already impressed the music industry, having been nominated for Best World Music Album in the 2015 ARIA awards.
Hope 103.2’s Nick Bennett caught up with Christine at the ARIA Awards nomination event in Sydney and asked how she felt to be a nominee.
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“To get the news that 20 years after I was first nominated in 1995, I get nominated again, and in the World Music category,” she said, “it’s wonderful. It’s a wonderful thing to be recognised.”
The Inspiration Behind Island Christmas
Christine said the title was named as a nod to her hit single My Island Home, and that she had tried to avoid the snow-and-ice theme, and stay true to her Aussie Christmas experience.
“I wanted to be able to produce a Christmas album that was Australian-themed, with no ice and snowmen, and all that stuff that’s commercialised from the Northern hemisphere,” she said.
Songs include acoustic versions of classics like Silent Night and Carol Of The Drum, with a touch of organ-rich gospel in Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (featuring Steve Clisby), and original tunes including the title track.
Still Performing After 20 Years In Industry
Earlier this year Christine released an album called Restylin’ Up, a live version of her 1995 record, which she and recorded in one day.
In reflecting on her 20 years in the industry, she told Nick that “a lot of guts and grit” were the key ingredients to surviving so long.
“And you evolve,” she said. “I think if you’re growing to grow old in the industry, you need to do it with a lot of open-mindedness and invention.
“[I’m] constantly inventing ways to extend on my talent. I’ve gone into screen, into theatre, everywhere.
She said “knowing how to get up when you fall down, and doing it gracefully,” was also crucial.
“I think if you’re growing to grow old in the industry, you need to do it with a lot of open-mindedness and invention.”
“Do it for the love, not for the gongs, and when you get nominated, be absolutely grateful,” she said.
Singing is the role where Christine is most comfortable, but theatre has also become a significant part of her career, with roles in Little Shop Of Horrors and Rent in the 1990s, and more recently, South Pacific.
“The stage is my home,” she said. “That’s where I belong, whether it’s myself as a singer, where I’m more comfortable, or acting where I love the challenge and that scared feeling, on stage, translating someone else’s story.”