Multi-ARIA award-winning Australian artist, Kate Ceberano, is celebrating her illustrious 40-year career with the release of her 30th album, My Life is A Symphony. In an industry that is ever-changing Kate’s demeanor stays the same. With love and respect for the world around her, she does her part with wisdom, artistry, and purpose. And hopes she’s laying a path that is strong and visible for others to follow.
Tell us a little bit about your career in the Australian music industry. My career I think has just hit that milestone of being uncommon, in that I can’t be at this stage of my career “Un-Kate Ceberano’d!”
You set out on a path and you may or may not expect to arrive at a destination so far away from where you started.
I dreamt I’d be on the stage as a kid, but it was a pipe dream all small children probably have. It was when I actually got on the stage that I realized it was the place where I was most comfortable socializing from. It had the right balance of reality and fantasy for me. I felt larger than my everyday self and I still do four decades later.
With 40 years in the industry and 30 Albums, what has been the highlight of your career?
There have been so many to mention. Meeting and singing for Lady Diana, performing on stage and in video clips with Micheal Hutchence, Christie Amphlett + The Models, and many more.
Sharing the stage with international icons like Bryan Ferry, Prince, Grace Jones, and Malcolm Maclaren was memorable. But being on the tour of Jesus Christ Superstar with all the famous Johns of my generation; Farnham, Stevens, and Waters, and a cast of other legends playing in stadiums each night for a year was intoxicating!
Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently when you were first starting out? I don’t think that in an industry like mine, and during the times in which I was making my way back then, there was much I COULD change. It seemed that there were conditions impenetrable and that simply had to be endured. Whereas these days you don’t have to comply with old traditions simply for tradition's sake. The world has opened up for the independent, self-motivated, and self-managed artist. They are running their own marketing and setting their own parameters of what they will and won’t do. They control their image, their clothes, and their private lives and are more demonstrative in production, recording, and streaming. It’s really inspiring to witness.
What have you sacrificed (both personally and professionally) at each stage of your music career? I come from a generation that doesn’t like to over-share personal sacrifices and one day I’ll write a book and in my own words carefully navigate my way across those times where I struggled, failed, and ultimately picked myself up and got back up on the horse.
I think I learnt the most about myself when I did fail. I learnt what my character flaws were and tried to amend them. I learnt about leadership and the highs and lows of being a boss. But I’m still here to tell the tale so I guess I got more right than I got wrong.
What advice would you give to the next generation of female artists looking to start a career in the Australian music industry? You have to be hardy and quick to change your mind. If you galvanize too many opinions, too early, you stand to break in the face of opposition. Be like the kung fu panda and bend and sway like bamboo. Be Flexible, but strong.
Do you have a woman leader as a mentor or are there specific women who inspired you and why? My mother has always been a fierce role model. Original and powerful she hasn’t always got it right but she has always demonstrated that anyone can change! I admire her career path throughout her life. She has managed me at times and counselled others in the arts, and now she is a committed painter and teacher for women who are discovering their artistic selves after a life in service to others. She has always stayed her course and her integrity is rock solid.
In the end that is what we hope to be known for, Integrity. It is such a beautiful word. And can only be manifested within. It can’t be bought, manufactured, or commercialized. It either is or it ain’t.
What's one thing every woman should know about being successful in her career and life?
Success is only truly success when you own, design, control, and govern your own dreams and live by them. Be brave and self-determined. You will never have to blame or regret anything if you discipline yourself toward your own dreams. It’s hard to do. But you will KNOW when you have succeeded. No doubt about it
What’s on the horizon for you in 2023?
I celebrate my ruby anniversary of 40 years in a business that I love. I have released a beautiful album with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra “My Life is a Symphony”, and will be touring the country performing the material with all the state orchestras of Australia.
It feels very beautiful and grown up and I’m happy to feel like an elder in my field. I’m proud of my status and position as one of the “last of the Mohicans”.
Location: MELBOURNE | VIC
Photography: Justine Walpole