articles & interviews

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2018 Articles & Interviews
Article:, posted 23 August 2018

Interview: Emma Dean: the woman behind the unicorn
Interviewers: Claire Richardson and Kathryn Tann

"....And here are a lot of shows about heartbreak at the Fringe, and most of them manifested in sarcastic stand up. Emma escapes gimmicky unicorns and bitter comedy, and instead creates this glittering, musical masterpiece that we think everyone, not just the heartbroken, should see."

Read the full online article here (accessible as at 25Aug18)
Full article reprinted below:

When we met Emma Dean at the start of the month (shout-out to Greenside for a wonderful show speed-dating event) her rainbow spangled garments and vivacious enthusiasm for music made her shine. We sent some reviewers, they gave five stars, and so we went to see for ourselves what was on the other side of this rainbow. “It’s a show for anyone who’s ever been heartbroken”, Emma tells people when she hands out flyers. It contains everything from beautiful ballads, to cheeky fetishes, to her anthem of the summer – “I’m a f*cking unicorn.”

“Sometimes, when you’re in your darkest moments the littlest thing can speak to you.” Emma found her mantra in a simple blog post, and it has become her buoyancy aid. “I’ve not found anything else quite like it.” And so Emma embraced her past pains, put a ‘magical horn on her head’, and boldly built a show around her heartbreak.

But it dawns on us that not everyone has experienced heartbreak. Emma agrees – she says she’s learnt a lot about her show through flyering – some will scoff, happily married and uninterested in such a show. But the singer goes on to make the point that even so, everyone has felt insecure, has needed a boost of self-worth, has had friendships fail. These are issues everyone faces, and with ‘Broken Romantics’, Emma hopes to give a little light. The show is metaphor which lets the audience make up their mind – you can interpret Emma’s unicorn horn as you please.

So from this mantra, how did Emma then write her songs? She says her writing process is hard to explain; ‘it just happens’. But she does talk about the ‘I Heart Songwriting Club’ back in Brisbane, which helped springboard a number of our favourite ‘Broken Romantic’ songs.

While Emma might, on stage, be a rainbow clad, horn-wearing unicorn, she sits down with us as a friendly, relatable, and even (as she admits herself) slightly shy singer-songwriter. “The Fringe has always been on the bucket list… We raised a portion and I just saved the rest. And here we are.” She tells us that back home she runs a community choir with her brother, and then recounts all sorts of amazing stories about singing at the recent Commonwealth Games, entertaining children by day, even opening big-name drag shows in New York! Having come all the way from Australia, we imagined Emma’s large suitcase might be brimming with rainbow tights and glittery makeup, but she assures us that her dazzling costumes are quite separate from her usual attire. Apart from the hair: that’s always one bright colour or another.

‘Broken Romantics: A Unicorn’s Quest for Love’ is a quintessential fringe piece – brilliant, weird, touching and hilarious, all at once. Unicorns are a familiar symbol in popular culture at the present; emblazoned across t-shirts and decorating stationary. And here are a lot of shows about heartbreak at the Fringe, and most of them manifested in sarcastic stand up. Emma escapes gimmicky unicorns and bitter comedy, and instead creates this glittering, musical masterpiece that we think everyone, not just the heartbroken, should see.

The LBGTQ Arts Review, London, England, 8 August 2018

Interview: Emma Dean, speaking about her cabaret Broken Romantics: A Unicorn's Quest for Love
Interviewer: AmiePudgeTaylor
© Amie Taylor

.... ED: "We jokingly say ‘Enter as a human, leave as a unicorn.’ A lot of people by the end of the show have previously said that they’ve been dulling their light for a long time, and that they feel as though the show has given them permission to shine. So I guess this idea of unleashing your inner unicorn is my way of saying ‘stand in your light and shine brightly.’

Read the full online article here
(accessible as at 9Aug18)
Full article reprinted below:

Having travelled from Australia, Emma Dean has arrived at the Edinburgh Fringe with her cabaret show Broken Romantics: A Unicorn’s Quest for Love. Based on some of her real life experiences of being heart-broken and of creating a vibrant unicorn persona, Emma, along with her 4 piece band, will make you laugh and cry with this spectacularly colourful piece. We interviewed her to find out a little more about what we can expect from the show.

AT: Tell us a little about you and your performance background:

ED: I am a musician from Australia, I’m primarily a singer-songwriter, and I love to tell stories through song. I’ve been writing music since I was about ten years old, it’s always been a way of expressing my feelings; I was very shy growing up, so it was a way of putting those thoughts down on paper. I studied at a music school on the weekends from the age of two, my dad is a musician, my mum is a music enthusiast and my brother, Tony, is in my show. I found the genre of cabaret because I never really fitted in to a box and I love that cabaret is such a broad genre and so many different styles of music fit under that genre.

AT: And is this your first show in Edinburgh?

ED: Yes.

AT: What inspired you to come and do the Edinburgh Fringe?

ED: I had a really bad experience with another Fringe Festival, not Adelaide Fringe (who are fabulous), but a lesser known Fringe Festival. And after that I said never again, I had this very irrational fear of Fringe festivals following my experience, but I’d always had Edinburgh Fringe in the back of my mind. It was the dream, but of course travelling from Australia is hugely expensive, and bringing five people you multiply all of those expenses by 5. But I felt like I finally had the show I wanted to showcase at this amazing melting pot of art, it’s the biggest performance market in the world; an extraordinary festival. It’s a bit of a bucket list thing, being able to say to myself that I did it.

AT: And what’s the show about?

ED: It’s a show about heartbreak healing and unleashing your inner unicorn. It’s an adult cabaret, which is very important to say, as we’re often out flyering on the mile, and as you can imagine, lots of little children get excited by our unicorn costumes, and we have to break the news that it’s an 18+ show. It’s a mixed tape of songs that have nursed me through my most broken hearted moments, mostly songs I have written myself, but also some well known, kookily arranged covers that we perform as well. It’s a mixed bag of emotions; there are moments where the audience are belly laughing, and moments where they are crying. It’s a show for anyone who’s ever been heartbroken, taking the audience on a journey and by the end of it hopefully fixing some broken hearts. It’s got a 4 piece live band, and a beautiful physical theatre performer who weaves in and out of the show playing The Heartbreaker.

AT: What do you hope the takeaway will be for the audience?

ED: We jokingly say ‘Enter as a human, leave as a unicorn.’ A lot of people by the end of the show have previously said that they’ve been dulling their light for a long time, and that they feel as though the show has given them permission to shine. So I guess this idea of unleashing your inner unicorn is my way of saying ‘stand in your light and shine brightly.’ In the show we have a theme song called ‘I Am A Fucking Unicorn’. The inspiration for this song came from a blog my friend sent me called ‘Fuck it and five other mantras’. I read through these mantras, and one of those mantras was, ‘I am a fucking unicorn’. It really resonated with me during a time when I seemed to be attracting people in to my life that were putting me down and dulling my light, which was probably due to their own stuff, and these words just resonated with me, and I took on this persona of a unicorn, and anytime I felt really bad I would say ‘I am a fucking unicorn.’

AT: You’re also doing these Unicorn Jams around the show – what are they?

ED: Yes, they will happen regularly, I’ll announce on social media, 24 hours before they happen with the time and location. People dress up in their most flamboyant, unicorn inspired costume, come to the location and we will
sing for them and teach them a dance and the best unicorn costume will get free tickets to the show.

Go to Top, London, England, 12 July 2018

Broken Romantics: A Unicorn’s Quest for Love comes to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Interviewer: West End Wilma (WEW)

....ED: "Pick our show if you want a night of original theatrical pop music, a killer band, heartfelt story-telling, soaring vocals, comedy, dance, wild fetishes and one gorgeous scantily clad man. Arrive as a human; leave as a unicorn."

Read the full online article here
(accessible as at 9Aug18)
Full article reprinted below:

WEW: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?

ED: I am an imperfect, romantic and passionate human-being/unicorn who loves to write and perform theatrical pop songs about love and the human spirit. I have performed in North America, Germany, Costa Rica and all over Australia. This is my first time performing in Edinburgh and I cannot wait! As well as writing and performing my own cabaret shows, I’ve been lucky enough to share the stage with artists like Macy Gray, Placebo, The Amanda Palmer, The Dresden Dolls, and Jinkx Monsoon. Earlier this year I was thrilled to be a featured vocalist in the opening ceremony of The Commonwealth Games. A large part of my work is also dedicated to nurturing and strengthening communities using the power of music and group singing, so when I am not on stage you can find me conducting my colourful community choir, Cheep Trill!

WEW: Tell me about your show, what it is all about?

ED: Broken Romantics: A Unicorn’s Quest for Love is my new cabaret about heartbreak, healing, and unleashing your inner unicorn. The show is a mixed tape of songs about heartbreak that have nursed me through my most broken, romantic times. Featuring my ‘Broken Romantics’ four-piece band and astonishing physical theatre performer Jamie Kendall, we hope to enchant you with a delicious and decadent musical feast of originals and wicked covers. There are moments for belly laughs and moments for tears, so prepare yourself for a night of madness and mischief as we revel in the messiness of what it means to be human.

WEW: How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?

ED: The concept of the show came to me when I was sitting on a balcony in Tokyo in February 2017, pondering the art of Kintsugi. I was thinking how beautiful it is to repair something broken using lacquer mixed with gold and silver to highlight the unique cracks instead of hide them. I wanted to write a show that bared all my own cracks, scars and heartbreak and turned them into something beautiful. So, Broken Romantics was born. These are strange paradoxical times where we are technically more connected than ever, but so many of us still feel very much alone. Due to the social media phenomenon, we are constantly comparing ourselves to others. This show is about finding human connection through our imperfections, finding the strength to step into your light and be exactly who you are, and discovering that you indeed…a f*%king unicorn.

WEW: Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?

ED: I’ve not been before so I am on the lookout for hot tips myself!
What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
Too many to mention. Some things are far too embarrassing to write here, but one experience that springs to mind is when my costume fell off seconds before the curtain opened in front of an audience of 7000…

WEW: Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?

ED: The creative women who bravely and boldly paved the way before me. Forever grateful.

WEW: Do you have any pre-show rituals?

ED: Apart from vocal warm ups and the application of copious amounts of glitter, my band form a circle and say a little prayer to the unicorn goddess.

WEW: What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?

ED: I have always wanted to see fellow Aussie, Anya Anastasia. I’m looking forward to her show, The Executioners.

WEW: Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?

ED: Pick our show if you want a night of original theatrical pop music, a killer band, heartfelt story-telling, soaring vocals, comedy, dance, wild fetishes and one gorgeous scantily clad man. Arrive as a human; leave as a unicorn.

City North News, Brisbane, 5 July 2018
Warp, Hobart, June 2018

Text of article appears below:

Heart Breaker

Cabaret Artist and Singer Emma Dean is busy as hell. Frankly, I feel bad even taking up the fifteen minutes for this interview. The previous night she had a gig with Katie Noonan and a community choir she runs (called Cheep Trill – cute). She recently sang at the Commonwealth Games; she is preparing for two shows with the Festival of Voices and she’s preparing to head over to the massive Edinburgh Fringe for the first time in August. She’s got a lot of balls in the air but she’s happy.

“There’s the performance stuff, and admin that goes along with that as well. Like I’m wearing fifteen different hats,” she says. “I wish people had warned me (laughs); when I was young, I had this dream of being a professional performer. The image we’re fed is that once you make it – whatever that means to you, once you’ve got to a certain level or age, even – you’ll have this team of people, but the reality is that this is not the case. But on the flipside, I think it’s sometimes more rewarding, you get to the end of a big long season and think, ‘I did that all myself, I nearly killed myself but I did it all myself’. Having that artistic control is important to me.”

Dean will be bringing two shows to Festival of Voices. The First, Broken Romantics: A Unicorn’s Search for Love is a cabaret about heartbreak. Dean and her band will perform an array of heartbreaking covers and originals to celebrate, perhaps, the importance of romantic despair.

“It’s about heartbreak and healing and finding your unicorn,” Dean explains. “Basically it’s a mixtape featuring a lot of the songs I’ve been collecting that have got me through my most broken romantic times. Sometimes the stories I tell are a bit sad or sometimes the audience are in stitches, like when I’m talking about terrible Tinder dates. Hopefully there’s a little bit of something for everyone.”

The other, slightly more mysterious show, is a ‘short course’ called Unicorn Flashmob. It’s a workshop, of sorts, that allows you to actually become a part of Broken Romantics.

“Basically the idea is come and be a part of the show. That’s been a way to engage the community and everyone has responded really well. We’ve got all the stories to tell, and it’s those cracks in us that

make us really beautiful. It’s a part of the show that gives me goosebumps, seeing those beautiful people, some have never sung before. They’re owning their own stories which is a powerful thing.”

The long-time musician (with ten albums under her belt) doesn’t just do cabaret, of course. As mentioned, Dean was asked to perform at the Commonwealth Games this year.

“I write a lot of choral arrangements,” she explains “and I was asked to write an arrangement for John Farnham. It was all very top secret. There was John Farnham and 2,500 choristers all singing my arrangement of his song! And from that they knew they wanted to feature You’re the Voice in the Commonwealth Games. They said, ‘we need someone to sing the lead vocal for the opening, would you be interested?’ I was like, ‘yeah, obviously!’.”

“In the end my choir arrangement was dropped actually (laughs). It was completely surreal standing out into the stadium with thousands of people, knowing there was a billion people watching at home, and on top of it all, I lost my voice! I was a coughing spluttering mess, but somehow a miracle occurred. I channelled my inner unicorn hardcore. The body does incredible things when you work yourself into that warrior mindset (laughs).”

Be ready to experience all things that makes you human as well as your inner unicorn.

Lisa Dib

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2017 Articles & Interviews
The Sunday Mail Brisbane, 19 November 2017
Courier-Mail Brisbane, 15 July 2017

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Hobart Mercury, 2 July 2017
Enlarged Version (if necessary zoom up your browser to enlarge text further)

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Blog of Emma Dean, 24 January 2017

This page is usually devoted to articles and interviews by the media. In this article, however, Emma Dean writes about the origins of the song Clare The Dragonfly (released January 2017)

Late last year I had the honour of collaborating with a group of vocalists on a project that we were tentatively calling:

The Grief Project.

Since then, the plan for this creative research project has evolved, but what remains is the song we worked on together.

It is called 'Clare The Dragonfly'.

This song was inspired by a story that was sent to me by a dear friend. I have included the original story below. To me it is a story about transformation, and when I first read it, I cried and cried. It has stayed with me ever since.

My personal fascination with grief started as a very young child when my Aunty passed away very suddenly. As my curiosity was piqued, my mother was inspired to write and publish a children's book about a young girl, Meggie, who dies but whose magic and memory lives on in her family garden. The book is called, Meggie's Magic. Perhaps seeing this beautiful story come to life sparked my life-long drive to try to create simple, beautiful things out of painful things; often trying to come to terms with and make sense of my own questions surrounding heartbreak whilst striving to find the joy and light in what can often seem like interminable darkness.

Grief is universal and we all process and experience it in different ways.

The people involved in this video have all experienced grief. Some were grieving for loved ones at the time of this recording. We came together over two days. We cried, shared stories, sang, laughed and remembered. Thank you to these amazing souls. They are all listed in the credits of this video.

Special thanks to my brother and musical comrade, Tony Dean.

I hope you enjoy Clare The Dragonfly.
And download our live recording FREE on Bandcamp.
Please feel free to share x

The story:

Once, in a little pond, in the cool water under the lily pads,
there lived a little water beetle in a community of water
beetles. They lived a simple and comfortable life in the pond
with few disturbances and interruptions.

Once in a while, sadness would come to the community when one of
their fellow beetles would climb the stem of a lily pad and
would never be seen again. They knew when this happened; their
friend was dead, gone forever.

Then, one day, one little water beetle felt an irresistible urge
to climb up that stem. However, she was determined that she would
not leave forever. She would come back and tell her friends what
she had found atop the lily pad.

When she reached the top and climbed out of the water onto the
surface of the lily pad, she was so tired, and the sun felt so
warm, that she decided she must take a nap.

As she slept, her body began to change
and when she awoke, she discovered she was no longer a beetle,
but had turned into a beautiful dragonfly.

So, fly she did!

And, as she soared, she embraced the beautiful vista of her new world.
A world beyond what she had ever imagined.

Then she remembered her beetle friends and that they would believe
she was dead. She wanted to go back to tell them, and
explain to them that she was now more alive than she had ever been
before. Her life had been fulfilled rather than ended.

But, her new body would not allow her to enter the water. She could
not get back to tell her friends the good news. Then she
understood that the time would come, when they too, would
discover what she now knew.

At peace, she raised her wings and flew off into her new life.

The Video:

View the video here.

The Lyrcs:

Emma's lyrics based on this story are here.

The Dragonfly Choir:

  Aimee Wilson, Ara Williamson, Caitlin Apelt, Chani Ridley, Christine Richards, Christopher Dean, Claire Stephensen, David Truong, Frances Turner, Ian Burridge, James Casey, Jasmine Richardson, Janene Stack, Jane White, Jen Dobbyn, Katie Swan, Lauren Kippin, Linda Charlton,
Linda John, Lyn Fairlie, Maria Woolford, Michael Wyper, Michelle Roberts, Natasha van Kempen, Paula Nutting, Paul Dobbyn, Pippa Daines, Ray Sharpe, Tony Dean, Yasmin Powell

With special thanks to Kath Quigley and Backbone Youth Arts!

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2016 Articles & Interviews
The Queensland Times, 26 October 2016

Artist feeds us pop straight from heart
Emerge's Calen Le Couteur recently caught up with Brisbane singer/songwriter Emma Dean for a chat about music, David Bowie and her influences.

C: When did you first start performing?
I first started performing when I was two, my mum enrolled me in a dance school and I fell in love with dance. Shortly after I started learning violin at a music school in West End. I started performing from a really early age.

C: Do you have any musical influences?
I have many and they are forever changing, I was a big classical music nerd growing up. Edward Elgar was one of my classical influences, and when I was a teenager I found Tori Amos and I thought she was... I don't know, she made piano music cool and sexy. She'd sit there with her legs spread wide open and you know, hitting the keys like it was a guitar so she became my music idol when I was a teenager. I used to try to decipher her lyrics, back in the day when we actually had CDs with booklets and lyrics printed with the artwork.

C: You recently released your song 'Feed It', what is that song about?
That song is about someone who chose the darkness over the light basically, it's a conversation between myself and that person in which, I say 'if you choose to feed your darkness, then I can't be with you', and that's pretty much it.

C: How many of the instruments did you play in 'Feed It'?
That song was actually produced by my brother Tony Dean, who is a multi-instrumentalist and it was the first song that he professionally produced. I played a lot of the keyboard parts, then he added guitar and a lot of the extra layers and really gave it his own flavour. So I think of that song, along with "Fall Awake" as being collaborations between Tony and me.

C: You recently performed in a tribute for David Bowie at Brisbane's MELT festival, which sounds like an incredible experience, how was that performance for you?
That experience was wonderful, I was performing with people who I had looked up to for a very long time. Some of the best performers and vocalists in Australia as far as I'm concerned, and also some up and comers like Sahara Beck. It was an incredibly moving experience.

C: You're performing at the Brisbane Powerhouse in December, what can we expect from the show?
Some of the things I can't tell you cause they are super top secret, there's a little bit of a surprise in store for everybody. You can expect myself on the piano and violin, as well as my brother playing the drums and guitar. Also an amazing violin/viola/piano player called Richard Grantham. He will be joining me along with a physical theatre performer called Jamie Kendall, who I performed with many years ago when I was in Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre and we also toured around Australia in my performance called Emma Dean and the imaginary friends, and she played my disturbed imagination called Henry (laughs). He spent a lot of time without a shirt on, spurting glitter all over the place. There might be more of that, I don't know.

C: If you only had three words to describe your music, which three would you use?

Heartfelt, theatrical pop

Online Booking Details for 3 December Powerhouse Concert

link to online interview Including audio clip (accessible as at 11Nov16)


Melbourne Cabaret Festival (, 22 May 2016

Mike McLeish sits down with Emma Dean
May 22, 2016

When we at MCF found out that Emma Dean would be gracing our fair shores as one of the vocalists performing in The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, we instantly hoped we could convince her to find the time to do a show of her own, showcasing her stunning, ethereal vocals and her beautifully crafted original songs. It worked!

For my money, Emma is right up there with your Kate Miller-Heidkes and your Sarah Blaskos and your Katie Noonans. Emma's performing a one-off show with her brother Tony accompanying her. He's not too shabby in the talent stakes either.

Mike: I'll kick off with a really boring, clichéd question that has made songwriters roll their eyes for generations: what comes first for you, words or music?

Emma: Words and music have always come at the same time for me! Of course, sometimes my first draft lyrics are totally crap and I have to go back and edit them, but generally it all splats onto the page at once. When things are really flowing, I feel like I go into a trace-like state and I often can't remember the process at all!

Mike: How do you think being a creator of original material informs the way you interpret and perform other artists' work?

Emma: I think being a songwriter means you often hear things through your own musical filter. Sometimes it gets a bit annoying, but it can be of great assistance when trying to interpret other people's songs. Over the years I have developed a better understanding of the harmonic colours and textures I like to create with. I also think your interpretation can have a lot to do with the current backdrop of your life; how you hear the lyrics may change depending on your own story.

Mike: I mentioned Kate Miller-Heidke and Katie Noonan while I was blowing some well-justified smoke up your arse in the intro. You've performed with the former and supported the latter, both of whom have carved out such distinctive and diverse careers, whilst simultaneously staying very true to themselves artistically (at least from this punter's point of view). And they – like you – are quite prolific collaborators. Do you actively seek out collaborators, or do you find yourself crossing paths with the right people at the right time?

Emma: Kate and Katie are phenomenal artists and I absolutely love that they have chosen to follow their heART and creative calling, venturing down a less mainstream road which has resulted in them both creating some truly ground-breaking art. I can't speak for them, but I know I get bored pretty easily. It's one of my downfalls because it means I am always looking for new and exciting creative options to explore. Maybe I'd be more 'successful' if I stuck to one thing, but I have always been hungry to try and feel new things. I have been very lucky that sweet synchronicity has brought me together with many of my fellow collaborators, although if I really admire someone's work, I will definitely reach out to them!

Mike: It's been a while since you last performed in Melbourne. Why do you hate us?

Emma: Ha ha! I couldn't hate you if I tried. I have been to Melbourne twice since returning from New York but the last time was in early 2015! Then I went back to the US to tour for a couple of months and things got exceedingly busy. Let me just say how pleased I am to be back in Melbourne. It is always a pleasure to be inside you.

Mike: Your show is called Emma Dean In Concert, which leaves a tantalizing amount to the imagination of what treasures you might lay out before us. I can't bloody wait! The broad question is, what do you wish for your audience?

Emma: At the moment, I am trying to live without having too many expectations. I don't have much control over what my audience feels or how I am received, especially considering our gigs explore such a wide range of human emotion. Perhaps one can apply the concept of 'self-validating intimacy' in relationships to the stage? That is to say, we will all experience the show differently; the performers and the audience. We will all have different 'favourite moments'. We will enjoy some songs more than others. We will hear and take away some messages more clearly than others. And that is ok; in fact, that is fucking beautiful! Tony and I will be performing a selection of original songs of the pop/theatrical/folk/alternative variety – both old and brand new – as well as some covers performed through the 'Dean filter'. Due to where I am at in my own life, our chosen songs explore themes of love, light and loss. It truly is such an eclectic mix of music and we hope there is something in there for everyone. It is one of my greatest joys in life to perform music with my brother, as we have a somewhat symbiotic musical relationship. Needless to say, we are so looking forward to sharing this music with our beautiful audience at The Melbourne Cabaret Festival.

link to online interview (accessible as at 27May16)

4ZZZ Brisbane Queer Radio Interview (broadcast 6 April 2016)

Blair, Shannon and Sam sit across from sister and brother musical duo Emma and Tony Dean (from Emma & The Hungry Truth) to discuss Emma's newest single endeavour Feed It.

Go to ZZZ Radio Interview (accessible as at 10April16)

2015 Articles & Interviews
612 ABC Brisbane, Evenings (broadcast 9 October 2015)

Emma speaks to David Curnow about her music, and the coming Women in Voice show at the Judith Wright Centre, Brisbane. (See Gigs for further details.) The interview includes a live in-studio performance of her song Light of Day, sung by Emma on keyboards and accompanied by Tony Dean on backing vocals, snare drum and floor toms.

Duration: 15:21 mins (Note: Your browser requires requires Flash to play this clip.)

the creative issue (, 26 September 2015

Interview: Emma Dean
by Madeleine Dale

Emma Dean is an artist of many hats. Between being front-woman of Emma and the Hungry Truth, an occasional solo artist, an international performer and a community choir leader, she spoke to us about her band, making it in the music industry and a Theremin called Terri.

It’s been almost exactly a year since The Creative Issue last spoke with Emma, and the past eleven months have been big ones for her and her band. After the release of their debut album in late 2014 and an Australian tour, Emma packed the band’s huge, six-piece sound into a suitcase and took The Hungry Truth to the States, with her brother and drummer Tony Dean.

“We had him playing not only drums,” she says, “he was playing guitar, and he was playing the bass with his foot, so [he had] these pedals set up on the floor that he’d activate as he played all of these other things, and he was singing at the same time. It was just such a spectacle.” The duo swept through New York, Philadelphia and Amanda Palmer’s Cloud Club in Boston, which was “a bit of a dream.”

This miniature tour is all the more impressive considering the usual scale of Emma and the Hungry Truth: the band features six artists with a dozen instruments between them. Was it a difficult transition, from solo-artist to major player in such a rich collective? Emma says no, though it has been a change. “The difference with this particular band is that it feels that we’re all contributing. Everybody is quite invested in the project.”

“We do actually perform songs from other band members, which is something I haven’t really explored before in the past—every single member in the band is a song-writer in their own right, and that makes for a really interesting combo, and lots of different ideas always being thrown around. I mean, it could be a recipe for disaster, but somehow we just work so well together. All of our difference influences and inspirations kind of explode, and become the Hungry Truth!”

While the band’s sound has evolved, stripping back tribal drums and a plethora of strings for a “rock-ier edge”, they’ve maintain their reputation for weird and wonderful instruments. I want to know if Emma has a favourite and if she shares my love for Theremins: yes, on both counts. “The Theremin’s name is Terri the Theremin and it’s named after Terri Irwin,” she tells me. It’s apparently temperamental and will sometimes add an uncalled for screech during songs, which is surely just another reason to head along to a show. “I wonder if Terri knows she’s got a Theremin named after her?” Emma muses. If anyone knows Terri Irwin, I beg you to pass this news along immediately.

Currently, things have quietened down as band members take time to pursue their own projects—“which is a great problem to have, because they’re all so fucking talented”—but the possibility of recording new material is tantalisingly floated for the second half of next year. In the meantime, however, Emma has her hands full, with an upcoming Women in Voice concert, a secret project she can’t tell me much about, and, of course, her choir, Cheep Trill.

Cheep Trill got its start when Emma returned from her fist stint in New York, looking for a new community. When I ask if she’s found it, the answer is unequivocal. “I’ve found it in abundance. Cheep Trill choir has changed my life, to be really honest. I was absolutely miserable living in New York City, although it was an incredible time in many ways, and I was getting all sorts of great opportunities with my music, I felt really, really lonely.” After posting a call-out on Facebook, Emma found herself with a hundred responses from people equally hungry for that sense of community, and who can currently be found flash-mobbing Brisbane Festival. “It’s just gone from strength to strength, and I think it’s a place where we all get together and we heal—you know, there’s always stuff going on in everybody’s life and for two hours a week we get to put that stuff aside and it doesn’t matter what religion, what sexuality, what political leaning you are, we come together and we sing in harmony and we get along and it’s just a glorious, glorious thing.”

Emma is perhaps unusually community minded, in that she’s one of a few artists to come back to Brisbane after success elsewhere. And, having returned, she’s quick to extoll the virtues of the local scene. “I think the art that’s happening in Brisbane and in Australia is world class, I think sometimes we don’t realise how amazing the talent is here, and I don’t think we celebrate it nearly enough. You hear stories of theatre and opera companies getting overseas artists in to perform, or movies hiring overseas international acts to play the lead roles—honestly, we have such talent and its rich and it’s cutting edge. New York is fabulous, it’s New York, there are so many talented people there, but I would love so much for us to be able to celebrate the uniqueness and richness of the talent here.”

I ask if there’s a responsibility for artists to give back to the communities that grew them. Emma says it’s about doing what makes you happy. “I’ve heard a lot of artists talking about moving to Melbourne because they think that’s the obvious next move, and they get there and they’re really unhappy. And for me, I moved to Sydney, I tried the same thing, and then further to New York and those places, although they had great benefits—I wasn’t particularly happy there.” Her advice to young artists is along the same lines: make decisions based on your desires, rather than industry trends or what people say you should be doing.

“It sounds a bit cliché, but just go with your gut and do what you love, and give yourself time to develop your art and really work on it. There’s a lot of pressure for young people to be on the radio, and to get that hit on triple j and I think, you know, that’s all well and good, but creating really great art and just honing your skills takes time.”

Image Credits: Esther Art Photography and Kate Davies.

link to online article
(accessible as at 12Oct15)

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4EB Brisbane, Outside In (broadcast 28 August 2015)

Outside In is a weekly radio show about culture and the life of different people in Brisbane. This segment is from a program discussing love across cultures and includes Emma's tale of breakup and the love song Take My Love, written and sung by Emma, featuring Hayden Robbins.

Duration: 8:48 mins (Note: Your browser requires requires Flash to play this clip.)

Scenestr Issue 1068, August 2015

link to (Win tickets to Gig!)

Go toTop, 17 March 2015
Photo: Kate Davies from KD Photography

Celebrating female artists: Introducing Emma Dean, musician and choir leader

March the 8th is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate and highlight the valuable contributions women make to our world. One day is not enough, so this is part of a month-long series of posts celebrating female artists.

Today’s feature artist is Emma Dean, a vivacious and prolific musician and performer based in Brisbane but who regularly performs all over the country and sometimes overseas, including New York.

1. What art do you make?
My name is Emma Dean and I make musical art. Sometimes I write music and perform it with a band called “Emma & The Hungry Truth”. Other times I teach it. And on Wednesday nights I lead my very own community choir called, Cheep Trill, which has reminded me why I fell in love with music in the first place.

2. What is one of your proudest achievements as an artist?
Starting my community choir. This project grew out of a deep sense of loneliness and a distinct lack of community. Instead of wallowing in self pity, I decided to put a call out for people interested in joining a singing group. I thought I might receive 10 replies, but when I opened my emails, I had about 100 eager people waiting for more information.

This project has reminded me that music is about connection (for me). It heals and inspires people.

It brings people together from all walks of life and belief systems and gives them permission to harmonise, both musically and personally. It is such a gift.

3. What has been a challenge recently, and how did you overcome it?
Time management is always a challenge for me. I say “yes” to lots of things because I love life and I don’t want to miss out on anything. This can be problematic when you’re trying to factor in down time, which I am realising is equally as important as work time. I’m still working on overcoming this problem. Actually, I’ve been working on this for about ten years. When will I ever learn? ; )

4. What are you most excited by creatively right now?
I’m always excited about workshopping new material with my band.

However, I’m really excited about the concept of simplifying my life and figuring out creative ways to live a more balanced and sustainable existence.

I want to create more space in order to create. Does that make sense?

5. What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given about growing your career as an artist?
If you sing from your heart, you can never be wrong.

6. Where can we find your work and connect with you?
We are mid-way through a national tour and have two public shows remaining!
20 Mar 2015– Adelaide – The Wheatsheaf – with Sam Buckingham and Emily Davis
28 Mar 2015 – Brisbane – The Old Museum – with Sam Buckingham

You can find us at:
Instagram: emmaandthehungrytruth

link to online article (accessible as at 19Mar15)

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Blank Gold Coast (, Early March 2015

Up Close with Bleach: Emma & The Hungry Truth

Bleach, the Gold Coast’s biggest arts and cultural festival, kicks off on Friday 6th March (lasting until the 22nd) and brings with it art installations, theatre, film, street parties and, of course, live music. In Up Close with Bleach, Liz Ansley gets to know some of the incredible local talent who’ll be playing at Bleach 2015 a little better.

Emma Dean, of Emma & The Hungry Truth fame, is next up. 2014 saw the band release their EP Feast to critical acclaim; and score spots on the lineups at Wonderland, Mona Foma Festival and Cygnet Folk Festival. Their brand new single The Hungry Truth (Will Feast On You) recently debuted in video form, and the result is a wonderfully debaucherous visual feast. You can catch Emma and The Hungry Truth on March 8th performance at Bleach*, as part of their self-titled tour that kicked off in Victoria in late February.

How would you describe the music you make to someone who’d never heard it before?
Theatrical, rock, pop, old world meets new world!

Why are you looking forward to being a part of Bleach this year?
We love the festival atmosphere, we love the arts, and we love the beach! These are a few of our favourite things.

What are three albums that have helped to shape you (either musically or as a person) the most? Why are they so important?
Tori Amos: Under The Pink. Because she taught me that chicks behind a piano can be just a rock and sexy as guys with guitars.

Enigma Variations: Edward Elgar. Because this was my first memory of seeing my dad cry during a performance of this epic work with the Queensland Youth Orchestra. Maybe my memory is warped, but it made me realise the intense power of music and how difficult it is to describe why a song or a piece can move us so very much.

Without You I’m Nothing: Placebo. Because I found somewhere to put my teenage angst and I learned to appreciate (and fall in love with) men in dresses and mascara.

Describe the most rewarding, surprising, or bizarre moment in your career so far.
Performing an intimate house concert in a penthouse in New York City and having Alan Cumming in the front row. Only a year or so earlier I had played Sally Bowles in Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatres “Cabaret” the musical, and I had to research the Sam Mendes version in which Alan Cumming plays the MC. As one of the most captivating film and stage actors, I’m obviously a big fan. Quite a surreal and utterly terrifying moment for me.

What does 2015 hold for you?
We are about to embark on a national tour followed by a North American tour! Such a busy and exciting time for us. For dates and deets you can visit

Who or what are you looking forward to seeing or doing most this year at Bleach?
There are so many brilliant artists on the lineup. I’m loving Karl S Williams and Clare Bowditch not to mention the awesome aerial show going on at Sequins and Sinew, so hopefully we’ll get to catch them.

You can catch Emma and The Hungry Truth at 6.20pm and 7.20pm on Sunday March 8. They’ll be playing at Sequins and Sinew in Roughton Park on Musgrave St, Kirra.

link to online article (accessible as at 19Mar15)

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AAA Backstage Article (18 Feb 2015)

Emma & The Hungry Truth Crazy New Clip and Tour
"This one is not for the feint hearted. Upcoming Brisbane band Emma & The Hungry Truth have just dropped their latest music video for single The Hungry Truth (Will Feast On You) and all we can say is wow...."

Read AAA Backstage Article (accessible as at 27 Feb 15)

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2014 Articles & Interviews
the music magazine Brisbane 10 December 2014

Above text below::

Member answering/role:
Emma Dean - lead singer/keyboards/violin/percussion

How did you all meet? Tony (drums) and Emma have known each other their their whole lives. They share parents. Francesca (keyboard) and Emma had a get-to-know-you-coffee in 2008 and became fans of each other's music. James (theremin/other bits) used to cover Emma's songs on YouTube. Laura (cello) and Emma went to school together. Emma developed a girl crush on Laura when they bumped heads at the water bubbler. Emma was drawn to her yellow hair and page boy haircut. Nathan (guitar) and Emma met each other at various shitty covers gigs at The Plough (I think?). They bond over food platters.

Your're on tour in the van - which band or artist is going to keep the most people happy if we throw them on the stereo? Kate Bush

Which Brisbane bands beforer you have been an inspiration (musically or otherwise)? George (feat. Katie and Ty Noonan), Gorgeous (Fi Claus and Emma Heeney), Kate Miller-Heidke, Jake Diefenbach, The Boat People, Fronz Arp.

What part do you think Brisbane plays in the music you make? After living in New York, I feel I'm surrounded by a supportive community here in Brisbane more so than ever before - musical or otherwise. It's so much easier to sustain a music career when you have that kind of network around you. I also realise now how important space and quiet is for me to create. Brisbane has the right amount of hustle and bustle mixed with the right amount of stillness.

What's in the pipeline for the band in the short term? We're making a music video for our second single The Hungry Truth (Will Feast on You) (Editor: View the completed video here), performing at Wonderland at The Brisbane Powerhouse on 14 Dec, performing at the Cygnet Folk Festival and MONA FOMA in Tassie during January! It's a busy time of year!

Creative Drinks Interview (30 October 2014)

"Theatrical pop Brisbanites Emma and The Hungry Truth could possibly be the most uniquely interesting group of musicians about to explode onto the scene.
With a tour underway and an upcoming debut EP, Holly Woodward had plenty to chat about when we caught up with the band’s front-woman Emma Dean""

Read Creative Drinks Interview (accessible as at 31 Oct14)
MX Newspaper Brisbane, 29 October 2014

Above text below:

Take a Bite:
Brisbane siblings Tony and Emma Dean, of Emma & The Hungry Truth, are inviting you to chew on their musical talents this Saturday night. The pair are performing at the Old Museum from 7.30pm, showcasing their audio-cocktail of theatrical pop and their new EP, Feast. See more at

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Weekend Notes (late October 2014)

Kath Chown says "Don't miss the opportunity to hear this special lady sing."

Read Article (accessible as at 31 Oct14)
4ZZZ Brisbane Queer Radio Program (broadcast 29 October 2014)

"Queer Radio's Blair Martin and Jonathan Waters speak with Emma & Tony Dean, James Halloran & Hayden Robins of Emma & The Hungry Truth."

Go to ZZZ Radio Interview (accessible as at 31 Oct14)
Live Music Media Q&A (27 October 2014)

"Brisbane based six-piece Emma & The Hungry Truth can best be described as a combination of theatrical pop, tribal beats, soaring vocals and break-your-heart lyrics. With the launch of their debut EP “Feast” singer/songwriter Emma Dean took time out to answer a few questions for"

Read Live Music Media Q&A (accessible as at 31 Oct14)
SK Starving Kids (20 October 2014)

Keara Coe describes the band and looks to the 1 Nov gig at the Old Museum.

Read SK Article (accessible as at 31 Oct14)
AU. Exclusive Music Video Premiere (16 September 2014)

"Always The Last To Know" is the exciting first taste of Brisbane-based band Emma & The Hungry Truth’s debut EP, Feast, and today we premiere the video on the AU...."

Go to Premiere (accessible as at 31 Oct14)
Brisbane News, 26 March 2014

You're the Voice
Brisbane choirs sing their hearts out, writes Hannah Davies

Extract from article covering Emma's choir Cheep Trill:
They smile, socialise and sing (some better than others). But, when it comes to the swelling ranks of Brisbane's community choir scene, a good voice is not essential. It is having fun that counts.

Brisbane is home to dozens of community choir groups and the success of TV shows such as Glee and the Choir of Hard Knocks, and the movie Pitch Perfect, has given choir singing a new cool quotient. The demographic is changing and young hipsters are being attracted to what was once a pastime dominated by the city's more mature residents.

One of the funkiest choirs in town is Cheep Trill, launced by singer Emma Dean on her return home after a stint living and performing in New York. Under the talented 30-year-old's direction, Cheep Trill ( tackles popular songs, such as Lorde's Royals, Owl City's Fireflies and Ellie Goulding's Burn, and performs at community events, such as festivals and school fetes.

"When I started the choir it became apparent that there are not a lot of community choirs that cater for an audience that likes modern music," Emma says. "Music by Rodgers and Hammerstein is lovely, but there are other things out there. We like to do contemporary arrangements of songs that are in the charts at the moment. It's pretty good fun. When I am having my darkest days I go to a choir rehearsal and it really lifts me. People are so hungry to connect and sing these days and it's great to be able to give them an outlet."....

612 ABC Brisbane Drive with Tim Cox (broadcast 18 March 2014)

Emma speaks to Tim Cox about her performances in New York and her debut gigs with her new band Emma and The Hungry Truth at the Judith Wright Centre in Brisbane. The interview ends with a live performance of My Heart My Blood from her Red EP.

Duration:10:33 (Note: Your browser requires requires Flash to play this clip.)

MX Newspaper Brisbane, 18 March 2014
4ZZZ Brisbane Megahertzzz Show (broadcast 16 March 2014)

Emma talks to Megahetzzz about the debut of her new band Emma and The Hungry Truth and her experiences in New York in 2013.

Duration:  13:37 (Note: Your browser requires requires Flash to play this clip.)

Brisbane News, 12 March 2014

Click here to enlarge and read the above Brisbane News article

The Sunday Mail (U on Sunday), Brisbane 5 January 2014

Click here to enlarge and read the above Sunday Mail article

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2013 Articles & Interviews
The Saturday Courier Mail, Brisbane 2 February 2013

Click here to enlarge and read the above Courier Mail article

2012 Articles & Interviews
Skippers InFlight Magazine Issue22 2012

Click here to enlarge and read the above Talk Back article

MXNews Brisbane Cover 4 October 2012

Cabaret duo Emma Dean and Jake Diefenbach have combined their multitude of talents to start electro-pop band Geppetto. The imaginative pair will launch their debut EP Into The Woods at the Judith Wright Centre tomorrow. Tickets from $27.

U On Sunday Magazine(Sunday Mail Brisbane) 23 September 2012

----------------------text cropped here - full text retyped below-----------------------

Complete text here:

Sweet Sound of Brilliance

This finely tuned duo are mixing traditional music methods to create performances that are shaking up audiences worldwide, writes Sally Browne

Geppetto isn’t the kind of act you can put in a box. Unless that box was encrusted in candy-canes and hidden within a witch’s house deep in the middle of an enchanted forest.
In simpler terms, Geppetto is the musical collaboration between Brisbane artists Emma Dean and Jake Diefenbach.

Each has pursued successful solo careers in their own right – Dean as a well respected, quirky pop artist, who recently starred as Sally Bowles in Cabaret, and Diefenbach as a Green Room Award-winning cabaret artist who has also had a hit show at the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

They are both classically trained (he in piano, she in violin), they both play piano as their instrument of choice, and their voices are eerily similar. They’re like the boy and girl version of each other, they say.

Geppetto is their first musical collaboration, and they’ve already released one EP and performed in New York City.

The Hansel and Gretel of the music world, they describe their shows as a “dark, electronic pop fairy tale”.

Now, at a musical café in Brisbane, with the coffee machine tuning up behind us, they’re explaining how they met.

“I was doing a show at the old Troubadour,” says Dean, “and I remember being onstage and seeing Jake walk up the stairs. We caught each other’s eye while I was playing. Then afterwards, I got an email from Jake.
“He sent me a demo CD. It was kind of surreal because I thought, oh no, he sent me the wrong CD, because I just found our voices so similar. Basically, I thought he sounded like a woman, and I say that with love because his voice is so amazing and unique.”

The pair ended up corresponding but didn’t see each other for a time until they accidentally snubbed each other at a Tori Amos gig.

“We were both really shy and I thought, he’s not going to remember me,” says Dean.
“I thought she snubbed me,” recalls Diefenbach.

Fortunately they got over that and have since produced their debut EP, Into the Woods, and toured their show, End of Dreaming, in Adelaide, Melbourne and New York.

In that fabled city, they performed as part of the International Fringe Festival, where they certainly got people talking.

Their show polarized audiences – earning them some rave reviews and some harsh ones too, to the point that Diefenbach avoided reading them.

“A lot of the audience responded exactly as people did in Australia and really loved it and felt the music and I think were drawn into the magic,” he says. “(But) from time to time, you come across people who are really closed to the sense of magic.”
“Everybody’s opinions are valid,” says Dean. “We took on board some of their criticisms.”

Into the Geppetto cauldron has gone all manner of influences from electro-pop to instrumental and classical composers from Danny Elfman to Claude Debussy.

“We sat down and talked together about what we wanted Geppetto’s sound to be,” Says Diefenbach.
“You’ve got these saw synthesisers, Moog synthesisers, mixed with harpsichord, strings, piano. So it’s a real mix of old world and new world.”

On stage it’s a case of duelling pianos – although Dean says she leaves the tricky stuff to Diefenbach.

“Jake is, to be honest, a far better pianist than I. He takes all of the crazy piano solos.”
“We switch around a lot,” says Diefenbach. “Emma cracks out the violin.”
“Or cracks up,” she jokes.

“I think we’re both kind of influenced by our classical training,” she adds.
“We’re not afraid to embrace it.”

Diefenbach agrees: “So much contemporary music has its roots there anyway. We just don’t realize it. There’s a real urgency in the classical music I’m drawn to, like Bach and even Mozart or Beethoven. I love that sort of urgent quality about it; it feels really dramatic.”

But as well as their grown-up instruments, there are some fun, childlike elements on stage too.

This fairytale pop prince and princess also bust out the toy xylophone, lollipop drum and let’s not forget the frog-shaped maracas.

“There’s something about Geppetto that I really like, too. On one level, it’s really dark and adult,” says Diefenbach. “And on another, it’s clearly in touch with our inner child.”

That vibe is captured in their latest single, Won This Game Before – for which they made a video in New York, directed by Sydney-based director Shane Anthony. For the shoot, they filled a theatre studio with fairy lights and 500 white balloons.

“It’s basically about hope and remembering throughout our lives that when we’ve come across the same demons we continued to battle them,” says Dean.
“We’ll look back and see that, well, actually last time it was OK and we made it through,” adds Diefenbach.

Into the Woods is out now. Geppetto perform at the Judith Wright Centre, Brisbane on October 5.

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MXNews Brisbane 27 April 2012

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612 ABC Brisbane Afternoons (broadcast 16 April 2012)

Emma speaks to Kelly Higgins-Devine about her music, including her album Dr Dream and the Imaginary Pop Cabaret, her New York shows, a side project with Jake Diefenbach, and the Crossbows Festival to be held at Southbank Brisbane in May 2012. The interview includes two songs from Dr Dream) (See Gigs for further details).

Duration:18:38 (Note: Your browser requires requires Flash to play this clip.)

Radio Adelaide Breakfast (broadcast 13 April 2012)

In this interview broadcast 13 April 2012 on Radio Adelaide Breakfast, Emma spoke to Angus Randell about the Adelaide Cabaret Festival to be held in June 2012 and of her Festival show Stripped....
Duration: 6:41 (Note: Your browser requires requires Flash to play this clip.)

Map Magazine Brisbane 12 April 2012

Click here to enlarge and read the above feature article by Frances Frangenheim

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Joy-FM 94.9 Melbourne (broadcast 14 March 2012)

In this interview broadcast on 14 March 2012 during Joy FM's The Cabaret Room show, Emma provides a sneak preview of An End to Dreaming, performed in Melbourne on the following Friday.
Duration: 4:01 (posted 12 March 2012)

Interview: A modern day dark pop fairytale comes to life

Brisbane based performers Emma Dean and Jake Diefenbach have been leading the contemporary cabaret scene. With their respective successes of their solo shows in 2011 behind them, the long-time musical collaborators teamed up again to pen a dark pop cabaret fairytale filled with 10 of their original songs. As Emma and Jake get ready for a tour in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to showcase An End to Dreaming, they had a chat to Cabaret Confessional about this brand new creation, their collaboration styles, cabaret, Mozart’s wig and spooning.

How did this collaboration to create An End to Dreaming happen?

Emma Dean: Jake and I wrote the song An End To Dreaming in 2006 as part of an 8-minute epic performance with Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre for The Dresden Dolls tour. Jake actually ended up performing the song at The Round House Theatre in London because Amanda and Brian (from The Dresden Dolls) loved the show so much. Six years later, it still remains one of the most exciting pieces of music I’ve ever been part of writing. So, Jake and I decided to touch base and write a gothic fairytale cabaret around it…as you do.

Jake Diefenbach: Emma and I have worked together in the past, but for me, An End To Dreaming is our most personal collaboration to date. For Downside Up (2009) and My Sublime Shadow (2010), we both stepped into clearly defined, theatrical roles. An End To Dreaming is our own story. It’s a fantastical piece of pop theatre that reflects our personal journeys.

In what ways do you think your individual styles fit together for this show?

ED: I feel like Jake and I have always been musically joined at the hip, but naturally I feel like we’ve figured out our separate roles when working as a duo. It’s not as black and white as this, but in basic terms I think Jake tends to add all musical finishing touches and I add the final theatrical and visual elements. Jake is brilliant with musical ornaments and arranging and I love directing the larger theatrical vision. Having said that, these roles do cross over all the time and that’s what makes it so exciting to work with Jake.

JD: We’re both bat-shit crazy, which is a good starting point. It’s difficult to tease out the separate strands that go into our songwriting. At the end of the day, there’s a strange alchemy that happens when Emma and I combine our writing style and vocal sound. It’s very special.

How did you come up with the concept?

JD: Em and I wanted to create a show that was uniquely us, our own music and own journey, but present it in a way that wasn’t just honest, but also fresh and exciting. We talked it over and felt really inspired by the idea of “fables”, which have been used to convey shared experience for millennia.

There’ll be 10 music short stories in the An End to Dreaming. What was the process of writing them like? Where there many stories to choose from, or did you decide on 10 and worked from there?

ED: The 10 musical short stories tell our own fairytales. The show follows Jake and I on a five-step journey from darkness and despair into the light. The stages are: the darkness, the awakening, the reckoning, the healing and finally, the light. The songs were chosen from both our own solo back catalogues, but mostly we play new songs we’ve worked on together specifically for An End To Dreaming.

If you could have any guest star on the show, dead or alive, who would you choose, and why?

ED: Tim Burton, so he could do some narration and then hopefully make our show in to a movie. Move over Danny Elfman.

JD: Mozart. His wig was hot.

What was the most challenging part of writing this show?

ED: Trying to focus while Jake attempts to distract me with his Butoh faces and Sufi spins.

JD: It’s been a busy year, so time has been a factor. That being said, Emma and I are (ridiculously) compulsive organisers and we’ve gotten there.

What aspects of the pop-cabaret style appeal to you the most?

ED: Pushing musical, stylistic and societal boundaries whilst hopefully still making the audience walk away humming your tune.

JD: Dry humping the piano seat.

What is cabaret to you?

ED: A form of theatrical performance that umbrellas music, satire, comedy and burlesque as well as other styles that cannot and perhaps WILL NOT be boxed.

JD: Above all else, honesty.

The best cabaret performance you’ve ever seen and why?

ED: The Beast Of Taylor Mac. I saw this a few years ago at The Brisbane Powerhouse. It opened my eyes to the fact that one person on a stage, without barely any props or lighting, can hold my attention for over an hour, make me laugh, make me cry and leave me feeling completely empowered about being who I am, imperfections galore. It reinforced the fact that I don’t need thousands of dollars to put on a great show; I just need to be really good. So this is now what I try to focus on.

JD: I’d have to say Britney Spears, when she last came to Australia for her Circus tour. She delivered a (suspiciously) flawless vocal performance. Upside down. On a swing.

You’ll be taking this show to Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. What are you looking forward to the most about this tour?

ED: Jake and I have never toured together, so I’m just looking forward to spending this special time with him. We have to share a bed in a couple of cities and I kind of hope he spoons me.

JD: Hopefully becoming a real boy …

link to online interview (accssible s at 2Apr12)

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2011 Articles
Sunday Mail Brisbane 31 July 2011 - U on Sunday Magazine

Click here to read the above feature article Edge of Stardom
by Sally Browne (photography Adam Armstrong)

Rave Magazine Brisbane 26 July 2011

INFORMER ARTS: Cabaret - Emma Dean Interview

here does Sally Bowles (hot pants and all) fit into Brisbane in 2011?

It’s not the first time Zen Zen Zo and cabaret have tangoed. In 2010, a duo of performers schooled in the physical theatre company’s characteristic style shadowed pop-cabaret partners-in-crime Emma Dean and Jacob Diefenbach in My Sublime Shadow. Dean returns to the company to take on the lead role in Cabaret – Zen Zen Zo’s first foray into musical theatre.

“If there’s any musical Zen Zen Zo should be doing,” says Dean, “it’s Cabaret.” We are sipping coffee in oversized red armchairs in a cafe near Dean’s temporary Brisbane digs (where, incidentally, Dean has been teaching your humble arts reporter the tricks of the singing trade – brave woman). “As a company, I think they really embody the spirit of the Weimar Republic era.” That the cast’s majority aren’t necessarily trained dancers or singers is no hindrance; in fact, Dean believes it’s what will set apart this production of Cabaret – that infamous celebration of the decadent, the grotesque and the burlesque.

It’s not only a new experience for Zen Zen Zo. “The choreography’s very elaborate – and very athletic,” admits Dean. “I had to be very open to working with my body, but the training schedule has been fabulous.” Just as Dean had to adapt for a physical theatre troupe, Zen Zen Zo’s crew took a little convincing to realise the dangers of belting out Liza Minnelli tunes for eight hours a day – but Dean emphasises the company’s supportive environment. “We’ve all been learning about each other’s special skills and how we fit together as an ensemble,” she says.

Perhaps a few surprise wake-up calls helped bind the cast and crew together. Cabaret takes place against what Dean calls a “political backdrop” of Nazism spreading like fire ants over Berlin. “We easily forget,” she says, “being surrounded by such open-minded people, that this shit still goes on.” It was just outside Brisbane’s Old Museum – Zen Zen Zo’s traditional stomping ground – that part of the cast encountered a bus stop covered with anti-Semitic and homophobic graffiti. Later, the Cabaret cast came to a chilling realisation: had they stayed in Berlin in 1933 doing “what we were doing as cabaret performers, as artists, as activists” – the entire ensemble would have been sent to concentration camps.

The character of the Emcee, played by Sandro Colarelli, is for Dean the voice of these artists – “the voice of the underground,” she says. “He’s the one who goes down with the ship.” Dean describes Colarelli (fresh from DragQueensLand) as “a superstar” – the right choice for a memorable role. Dean describes her own role, Sally Bowles, as something of an onion. “She’s very hedonistic, totally preoccupied with herself, with having fun, with fucking around with men and drinking gin,” Dean explains, but these traits hide layers of insecurities. “She’s a bit of an onion. As each of my scenes goes on, layer by layer comes off, and in the end there’s a moment where Sally’s real.”

In a show concerned with grotesque fantasies and burlesque parodies, those moments where what is real sneaks in are all the more resonant. In the words of Oscar Wilde, “Give a man a mask, and he’ll tell you the truth.”

CABARET runs at the Cremorne Theatre, QPAC, from Thursday Aug 4 to Saturday Aug 20.

link to online version of Rave article (accessible as at 2 Aug11)

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Emma Dean – Stripped Down!
by RubinaInRadelaide

Pop-cabaret starlet Emma Dean was in Adelaide over the weekend for her only show, “Stripped”, during the 2011 Adelaide Cabaret Fringe Festival at Tuxedo Cat. Today, I managed to catch up with the singer/songwriter over email to ask her a few questions…

RC: Who inspired you to take up dancing and music in your younger years?
ED: My father, Christopher was one of the founding members of a station called 4MBS Classic FM. Every Saturday morning, when I was about 3 or 4, he would go on air as one of the radio announcers and I’d listen intently at home and try to talk to him through the speakers. Of course, he never heard me (he he). But, being around music from such a young age sparked something deep within me. If I wasn’t playing music, I was dancing. I loved to move and to feel the rhythm of life flow through me. It’s such a natural and inherent thing for me.

RC: Tell us about your first-ever on-stage appearance…
ED: To be honest, I’m sure I was far too young to remember the very first time!! I started learning ballet at the age of 2 and began at a music school at the age of 3. I’d guess that I would have been amongst a large group of obnoxious yet stupidly cute toddlers playing the recorder (badly)…

RC: The last time you were in Adelaide, you performed as part of The Wheel of Frank Confession at the 2010 Adelaide Fringe. How does performing your solo show ‘Stripped’ compare to performing as part of quartet?
ED: When you are performing as part of a group, you tend to feel supported at all times (that is, if they are awesome like my group were!). When you are solo, it’s all up to you! So in that regard, it can be quite high pressure. Having said that, I love the musical freedom you have as a soloist. If I feel like drawing a phrase out…I will! If I accidentally skip a verse…that’s ok! ha ha. I’ve learnt so much about myself as a performer through “STRIPPED” and I feel I’m one step closer to achieving some of my performance goals. When you strip back to the bare essentials it’s either make or break. It’s my aim to be able to command a stage, even in stillness. I continue to work towards that.

Emma Dean's Latest Album

RC: You’ve just released your second album, Dr Dream and the Imaginary Pop Cabaret. What inspires you when writing songs?
ED: Everything and anything. This particular album is like a therapy session! Each song has it’s own personal story.

RC: On your most recent blog entry, I noticed that you’re ‘ [keeping] open to possibilities after “Cabaret” ‘. Where would you like to see yourself next – perhaps returning to ballet?
ED: Oh god no!!! My bum is too big (or so they tell me!). To tell you the truth, I was never much of a dancer! It breaks my heart to say that, but it’s true. I would love to continue some physical-theatre and actor training to keep “topping up” my performance skills. I feel that this has been an integral part of my development. I’d also like to tour overseas and take some time out to reflect and ponder before I launch in to any new projects or albums. It’s a bit exciting, really. I feel like I’ve got a creative volcano bubbling away inside of me. :)

A review of Dean’s show will be posted here on Adelaide ArtBeat shortly…

Adelaide Art Beat review available here

link to online article (accessibe as at 2 Aug11)

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Cabaret (posted 31 May 2011)

Interview: Emma Dean's Pop Cabaret Universe

by Lena Nobuhara
Cabaret Confessional Associate Editor

Singer/songwriter Emma Dean, who hails from the city of Brisbane, has created her own unique, magical universe and established herself as “pop cabaret” performer. Her signature style of catchy alternative pop music and visual feast of imaginative costumes, make-up and theatrics has won over many fans – including the New York Post, who named her as “1 of 10 Artists to watch in 2011”.

With her Cabaret Fringe Festival show in Adelaide approaching fast (see gigs), Emma takes us through her quirky and creative mind.

You’ll be performing your show Stripped soon. What was the process for writing the show like?

To be honest, it was a very backwards process. I had been hired to perform every week for three consecutive weeks at a wonderful Cabaret venue in Sydney called El Rocco. I wanted to make the shows low-key but still involve my “theatrical flair”. I knew I couldn’t afford to include any other performers so it needed to be a one-woman-show!

I had just released my new album Dr Dream and The Imaginary Pop-Cabaret so I had already rehearsed most of the songs that I wanted to perform. In the end it became a question of how I could string them together in an interesting and different way using just one person on stage – me! Remember, I’m used to performing alongside flamboyant physical-theatre performers, so I was feeling the pressure!

I decided the theme of my show would be about stripping back the musical layers and revealing the raw emotion and some of the stories behind the songs – all the things that are sometimes lost in a big theatrical production. Then on another layer I’ve incorporated a mannequin in to the mix who helps me with my costume changes where I literally “strip” on stage. Don’t worry…no pink bits. Totally PG!

How did you decide which songs to include and which ones to leave out?

I always find this tough. But, the great thing about this show is that there is so much room for movement. The formula is set, so I can now add and subtract songs as I write them as long as they fit in to the four scenes/themes. In fact, my Adelaide show will be different to my Sydney show!

The shows and videos you create are visually striking and dreamy. Where do you get the ideas and inspirations for the costumes, make-up and the whole look of the stage/videos?

I am so lucky to be surrounded by an incredible creative community of artists, dancers, costume designers, make-up artists, actors, musicians and dreamers. Most of us work independently and understand the financial difficulties that sometimes exist in our chosen fields, so we often help each other out with various projects. Some of the artists I have collaborated with on a long term basis are: Angela White Costume And Couture (who made many of my film clip and performance costumes), Lia Reutens (who features in my “Something They Can Hold” video and is also an imaginary friend), Amanda Laing, Walter Davis-Hart, Giema Contini, Dale Thorburn and Jamie Kendall (who all act/have acted as my imaginary friends) and Jonny Williams (who has made two of my film clips), and Tony Dean and Ben Stewart (who have played in my band and recorded my albums).

Outside inspiration comes from all things magical. I’ve always loved Tim Burton movies. I’m fascinated in exploring the world where reality meets Gothic-fairytale-fantasy and the place where music and theatre meet and explode! This is the world I want to live in when I’m performing and creating.

How would you describe your distinctive ‘pop cabaret’ style?

To break it down simply, I’d say it’s “piano-driven alternative pop music presented in a theatrical or cabaret style.”

You were named as “1 of 10 Artists to watch in 2011” in New York Post. Apart from the size and competitiveness, what are your thoughts on the American market?

The American market is something I’d like to explore. I’d been working really hard in Australia for 9 years without much airplay (which is a shame) and then BOOM…New York came calling! After the New York Post surprise, my single “Sincerely Fearful” was in the US specialty radio charts top 15 for a month alongside the likes of R.E.M and PJ Harvey. Surreal.

I often wonder if America, due to its large population, has the ability to sustain an artist like me who sits outside the mainstream box. I’m not sure. But I’m going to go over and find out whilst having an adventure at the same time!

How did you discover cabaret?

I’ve always been theatrically inclined and have been interested in musical theatre since I played the lead in my high school musical. Cabaret was an obvious step for me. After working with a company in Brisbane called Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre, I became interested in performance techniques, which work on the power and energy of the body in performance. That’s when I began to incorporate some physical-theatre actors into my show. It was a really natural progression. To listen to my music without seeing the visuals often doesn’t seem like a typical cabaret experience, although, my songs and themes are clearly theatrical. For me, it’s all in the live show!

Cabaret to you is….?

A medium in which the “others” of the underground have a voice…

What appeals to you the most about performing cabaret?

I love the feeling of being in a cabaret club where the rules of society have flown out the door. I love the freedom. Of course, it was not always like this for cabaret artists, especially during WWII. I feel very lucky to be able to express myself artistically to the fullest extent.

The biggest source of inspiration?

I’m so inspired by the people around me, particularly my friends and family. Some of my musical inspirations are Tori Amos, Queen, Wicked (the musical), Cabaret (the musical), Chicago (the musical), Kate Bush, Silverchair, Jacob Diefenbach and mucho mucho more!

The best thing about performing as part of the Cabaret Fringe Festival?

Being in Adelaide again for the first time since the 2010 Adelaide Fringe Festival. Being recognised as being part of a thriving musical genre that has SO much to offer. Seeing my dear friends and meeting new ones.

What’s in store for you next?

I’m playing Sally Bowles in the next Aussie production of “Cabaret” with Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre! Then I’m planning some shows overseas! Can’t wait.

link to Cabaret article (accessible as at 1 June 2011)

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the AU Review - we were there (posted website 8 April 2011)

STCH Tour Show @ The Basement 14May11 (Photo Courtesy Johnny Au for AU Review)

Emma Dean announces May/June 2011 tour
by Layla Clark

With The New York Post naming her one of "10 Artists to Know in 2011”, Emma Dean is starting to glow in the international spotlight. On her latest national tour, however, she's decided to find a shadowy corner in which to embrace her dark side and ponder the release of new single “Something They Can Hold”...

After her sold out album launch tour in November 2010, featuring the kooky talents of her 'imaginary friends', Emma is back on the road in celebration of the latest single from internationally acclaimed album Dr Dream and the Imaginary Pop-Cabaret, the haunting Something They Can Hold. These shows will distill her chaotic, spellbinding show to it's most basic visceral elements. She'll leave the 'imaginaries' at home and embrace the black, nebulous, murky world of a neurotic cabaret songstress fronting a group of musicians.

“Singer, songwriter and self proclaimed ringmaster Emma Dean is a hobobag full of crazy pills. Like the really awesome hallucinogenic kind. Driven by her child-like imagination and bouncy exuberance, her new album “Dr Dream and the Imaginary Pop Cabaret” has a title that describes it's sound with sheer perfection.” Ryan Brockington , The New York Post

So, why is it important to indulge in the darker side of life?

“As an artist I think it's important to indulge and explore all parts of life!” Emma explains. “I don't see myself as a particularly dark person but as a songwriter, I often find myself drawn to the piano when a dark or turbulent thought hits. I think it's healthy for me. Perhaps it's a kind of free therapy? I'm very intrigued by the underground world where the fringe folk live as well as the cabaret scene, where the rules of society fly out the door. That's why I'm constantly drawn to working with company's like Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre and artists like “my imaginary friends” who are known for exploring this territory. It's dark. It's sometimes twisted. And the line between crying and laughing is often very thin.”

"...Curious, funny, astute and above all, weird. She could well stake a good claim to be the new Millennium's Kate Bush with (her) theatrical approach to music...."Patrick McKiernan , United Kingdom

"Its just right. Move over Rufus and Tori. You have company" Noel Mengel. The Courier Mail

link to Au Review website

the recently released Something They Can Hold video clip
Buy the single from iTunes

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2010 Articles
The Courier Mail Brisbane 7 December 2010

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The Courier Mail Brisbane 4-5 December 2010

Make Believe: Emma Dean with dancers
Lia Reuters, Walter Davis-Hart and Amanda Laing

The Muse has many identities (text)

Brisbane-raised songwriter Emma Dean gets physical to take her music to another level of art, writes Noel Mengel.

EMMA Dean is enjoying sharing secrets with some of her closest friends. Imaginary friends, that is. And they say things she'd never dare say in public.

The friends first started appearing in her songs, and then in her stage show, and now in the Brisbane-raised songwriter's second album, Dr Dream and the Imaginary Pop-Cabaret.

"I found different parts of my personality coming through in my songs and these characters. Henry was my disturbed imagination, Gee Gee my sensual imagination, Dr Dream my imaginary psychotic psychiatrist, who is the part of me that likes to analyse people," Dean says.

"From that grew the idea of this concept album, having a therapy session with Dr Dream, which is like having a therapy session yourself, all these little confessions."

Like Kate Miller-Heidke and Megan Washington, Dean is a graduate of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, where she studied jazz vocals. There must be something in the water there; Dean's approach is as quirky as that of the other two.

But Dean's music and her stage show are also influenced by her passions for dance and theatre. She studied classical ballet for 12 years and more recently has been involved in collaborations with Brisbane physical theatre troupe Zen Zen So.

"A thing that they didn't teach in my musical studies was an awareness of my body, which is what dance gave me," she says. "When I see a performance I find a lot of musicians are let down by not being aware of what their bodies are doing and how they react to an audience.

"The training I did with Zen Zen So was all about developing the energy that makes an audience not want to take their eyes off you.

"You can have that energy even with absolute stillness. You don't have to be jumping around all over the stage to have that impact."

That's handy when you are a keyboard player and mostly tied to that instrument. When she can, such as in her Brisbane show at the Old Museum building last week, she works with three dancers, helping illustrate the characters in the songs.

"It's physical theatre with elements of dance, movement, acting. I knew when I started writing these songs that I wanted a theatrical element but I didn't know what that would be. When I met performers from Zen Zen So, I knew that was the answer," she says.

"Even in the songs I was writing before thinking of the Dr Dream concept, I found there was an underlying theme there - of imagination, of hope and dreams. It was like finding the key to bring it all to together."

Dean also performs with her brother, drummer Tony Dean, with assistance from her partner in music and life, Ben Stewart.

After spending all her life in Brisbane, Dean this year moved to Sydney, where she teaches music to sustain her creative career.

But she takes advice from American theatre director Anne Bogart, who she quotes on the sleeve on Dr Dream: "Do not assume that you have to have some prescribed conditions to do your best work. Do not wait for enough time and money to accomplish what you have in mind. Work with what you have right now."

Dean has no shortage of ideas, nor the drive to take them to the world.

Dr Dream and the Imaginary Pop-Cabaret is available from

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Time Off Brisbane 24 November 2010

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Rave Magazine Brisbane 23 November 2010

Dream Believer (text)

This week cheeky pop princess EMMA DEAN and her ‘imaginary friends’ launch album Dr Dream & The Imaginary Pop-Cabaret with a flamboyant spectacle at the Old Museum. Fears, nightmares and confessions – BIRDIE finds it’s all in the bag and more for this ex-Brissie showstopper.

“The ‘imaginary friends’ are myself and three physical theatre performers who act as different facets of my imagination,” explains Dean. “There is my sensual side, my disturbed side, and Dr Dream the imaginary psychotic psychiatrist. The show is incredibly theatrical as you can imagine; people have been calling it pop-cabaret with some burlesque.”

Which makes the Old Museum the ideal venue for Dean’s quirky circus-like performance. Inspired mainly by insanity and rambling thoughts, Dean says she boldly reveals all to a usually spellbound audience.
“ Dr Dream is the part of myself that always wants to analyze and tell people they’re right or wrong,” she claims. “He tries to diagnose what’s wrong with people. So it’s me sitting in his room, on his big black chair, and I’m letting him basically judge me as I divulge all my confessions that stem from my own insanity.”

Letting rip her anger, insecurities, and complaints about life, Dean says both the live performance and the album itself have proven to be the perfect combo of being at once cathartic as well as entertaining.

“Some of the songs are about the music industry too,” she adds. “Not feeling as though I fit in sometimes. There is a song called Bigger Than Me, Bigger Than You, which is about a phase where I felt incredibly lonely as a solo performer. I wanted very badly to be a part of a community and I had this vision of running away and joining the circus. I would be the ringmaster and the leader of all the circus freaks. I think it was a dream that stemmed from the fact I’d moved from Brisbane to Sydney and I was scared of being isolated from old friends and musicians I’d worked with.”

But the transition hasn’t been as rough as Dean first feared … In fact, with the success of both the album and the live show, she’s hardly even had time to soak it in!
“ When I moved, straight off the bat I was doing a headlining tour which was called Emma Dean Meets Dr Dream,” she says. “It’s been pretty crazy ever since then. I’d love for my audience to grow and to break into the mainstream. It’s tremendously important as an artist to be stubborn. About five years ago I saw a fortuneteller and they actually predicted the exact costume that I would wear at my first album launch, which was pretty quirky when I realised it. They said I was going to be really big in the Asian market and to try my luck there! Those were the exact words that were said to me. That was probably five years ago now, so I’ve got two years to hurry up and make it happen!”

EMMA DEAN launches DR DREAM & THE IMAGINARY POP-CABARET at the Old Museum on Friday Nov 26 (all ages), supported by Safety Dance and The Jane Austen Argument.

Pop 5 With Emma Dean (text)

Who first told you about the birds and the bees?
“I always asked my parents how a baby is born but my mum always said the same words, ‘with a little bit of this, and a little bit of that’… So for an embarrassingly long time I pictured god up in the sky with salt and pepper shakers and I thought that’s how he made a baby. Then I discovered ‘The Joys Of Sex’ with my next door neighbour and got a rude shock when I saw the graphic pictures. It didn’t look as pretty as I imagined.”

Which popstar would you most like to spank?
“Someone I used to really fancy when I was younger was Mark Owen from Take That. I’d love to see their reunion show if they come to Australia, it all depends on finances, doesn’t it?”

Have you ever done anything ridiculous for a dare?
“Oh my gosh … I probably shouldn’t say this one … I was once arrested for stealing the Hanson Christmas album. It was a dare with my two high school friends – I got off more lightly than them. They were very naughty girls! The album was all originals with a few covers, I think I still might have a version of the album – not the stolen one!”

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened to you?
“I chopped off my thumb on my nanna’s exercise bike chain!”

What or who would you like to be reincarnated as?
“Oh! Tim Burton’s lovechild! With Helena, of course. Actually, I would love to star in a Tim Burton movie, I’d love to do music for the movie and to star in it, that would be the ultimate for me.”

link to web version of article (accessible as at 1Dec10)

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Eacham Times Nth Queensland 19 October 2010

Emma Dean at Tableland's Folk Festival (text)

A mistress of entertainment, merging theatre and music, this singer/songwriter will enthrall Tableland's Folk Festival goers with her perfect timing, uber-expression, lyrics and voice range.

With her first album Hanging Out The Washing, released 5 years ago at the tender age of 22, there's no stopping this live-wire. Having entertained at this year's national folk festival and last years's Woodford, Emma Dean is no stranger to the genre. "I found in the past my music goes down well at the festivals. I have a highly emotive voice and love musical theatre. Story telling is very important to me and being able to understand lyrics." says the jazz bachelorette who has been playing to packed audienes in recent musicals Downside Up and The Tempest..

The multi-instrumentaltist will be accompanied by her brother Tony on drums, and three physical performers, urging the audience through their wacky pop cabaret journey. The entertainer's circus of face-painted personalities represent 'facets' of Dean's personality - Henry, her disturbed imagination, GG, her sensual imagination and Dr Dream, her imaginary psychotic psychiatrist. The 'dancers' negotiate the stage with manic movements while their songstress mesmerises the audience with keyboard and vocals.

The Tori Amos inspired musician spent two years in Kate Miller Heidke's band. "I was on the violin and keyboards and it was lots of fun." This classically trained musician is vaudevilling her way to the top.

Emma Dean and the Imaginary friends will be playing at the Pavilion Frisay at 9.30pm, Saturday at 8.30pm and Sunday .345pm

To catch a preview of her magical world visit or for the 30th Tablelands Folk Festival site.

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The Chronicle Guide Toowoomba 23 September 2010

Theatrical Sound (text)

Emma Dean fuses many forms of expression

Emma Dean is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose music and performances delve into the magical world where live music meets theatre.

In Real Life Computer Game, the debut album from this unique performer, Emma continues to delve into new sonic territory.

It's bigger, it's bolder, and it's more ambitious than anything she's ever done.

Her theatrical fascination led Emma to the dark side in early 2009 - the decadent world of cabaret.

The musical Downside Up (co-written with Jacob Diefenbach) debuted to a sold-out audience at The Judith Wright Centre in Brisbane.

Shortly after, she began another theatrical collaboration with world renowned Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre Company, for their óff-kilter'adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest.

Question: What are your influences?
Answer: champagne and the theatre, nfroufrou and Angela White Costume and Couture, Tim Burton and fairytales, love, hate, life, death, sex, longong and observation.

Q: What are some of your favourite current artists?
A: Fiona Apple, Tori Amos, Taylor Mac, Imogen Heap, Amanda Palmer, The Dresden Dolls, The Killers, Liza Minnelli, Angela White, Steven Mitchell-Wright, The Danger Ensemble, Wicked the musical, Chicago the musical, Ben Stewart, Tony Dean, Jacob Diefenbach and my imaginary friends...

Q: How do you see yourself as an artist?
A: A piano slammin', strange movin', neurotic boofy-red-haired pop-cabaret singer.

Q: What sets you apart from other acts?
A: The on-stage explosion when pop music collides with theatre, the use of physical theatre creating a visual feast as well as an aural feast, boofy-red hair and men in tutus.

Emma Dean will join Australian entertainer Deni Hines and Toowoomba's Cool Nights Big Band for one night at the Empire Theatre on Saturady September 25.

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Rave Magazine Brisbane 31 August 2010

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The Courier Mail Brisbane 26 August 2010

| © Emma Dean |