On the Couch with Emma Dean

Emma Dean AAR On the CouchWho is Emma Dean?
I am an imperfect, romantic, passionate, plant-powered, human-being who loves to write theatrical pop songs about love and the human spirit. When I’m not on stage performing in my own shows, I’m leading my beloved Brisbane-based community choir – Cheep Trill – as well as writing various choral arrangements for singers who are a lot more famous than I am. I absolutely love travel, being by the ocean, walking long distances, coffee, wine, cooking, reading, and I’m currently obsessed with Celtic music, my fur-nephew Buckley the cavalier, and drinking hot cacao.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
When looking back, the only thing I would change would be to learn how to say ‘NO’ sooner, and also to chill out and smell the roses a bit more. Aside from that, I feel so grateful for the life I’m leading and I absolutely love what I do.

Who inspires you and why?
My parents, Anna and Christopher Dean. They have always encouraged my brother, Tony, and I to pursue a life in the arts. The older I get, the more I realise what a rare and beautiful thing this is. Mum and Dad knew that our lives were likely to be pretty inconsistent and unstable in many respects but they always encouraged us to work hard in order to find that sense of stability within our chosen career. When most parents would just say: “This is too tough, can’t you choose a more stable career?”; our parents would say: “You’ve chosen a difficult path, but we believe you’ve got what it takes. Work hard. You’re fabulous!” If I ever have children I hope I do half as good a job at encouraging their chosen passion as my parents did for Tony and I!

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I would make every single Politician start their day with a choir rehearsal in parliament. If you want a lesson in respectful negotiation, acceptance, listening, and embracing diversity… join a choir!

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I absolutely loved my time in Ireland recently! I was there with 30 members of my choir Cheep Trill singing at the Cork International Choral Festival. We were a non-competitive choir but we ended up winning the PEACE award for the choir who most embodied the spirit of the festival! It was such a life highlight and such a surprise. I also love visiting a quiet little beach shack I often stay at in Noosaville, Queensland. I absolutely love the Sunshine Coast and hope to live there one day.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Eating and drinking delicious things is high on my list of priorities, so I usually take them to The Green Edge which is Brisbane’s largest vegan super store and café! Perhaps we’ll go for a walk along the river around Southbank and take a trip to GOMA or even a day trip up the coast to the beach!

What are you currently reading?
I’m reading two books at the moment. 1. The Good People by Hannah Kent which is dark and mysterious, set in Ireland and all about fairies and changelings. 2. Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton which is set in Brisbane and so far very intriguing!

What are you currently listening to?
Aurora’s new single – The River.

Happiness is?
The simple things. Being with the people I love, the smell of the ocean, reading a good book, the spark of a new show idea, collaborating with my brother Tony on a new song, the first sip of a soy flat white, sharing a bottle of yummy wine with a friend, deep chats in the park, cooking a new recipe, holding hands, seeing my choir light up when the music comes together, and playing with my fur-nephew Buckley.

What does the future hold for you?
After Melbourne Cabaret Festival, I’m going on tour with Glenn Shorrock (Little River Band) as part of a wonderful project with Queensland Music Festival called Help Is On Its Way – all about fostering a dialogue around mental illness, particularly for our men and boys. We finish the tour in Brisbane singing my choral arrangement of the song with Glenn and choir of 3000 singers! What. A. Buzz! And then, for the first time in my life, I really really don’t know. It’s quite a beautiful feeling, after all.

Emma stars in Broken Romantics: A Unicorn’s Quest For Love at Chapel of Chapel: 21 & 22 June – as part of the 2019 Melbourne Cabaret Festival. For more information, visit: www.melbournecabaret.com for details.

Image: Emma Dean (supplied)