On the Couch with Gian Slater

Gian Slater AAR On the CouchWho is Gian Slater?
I am a vocalist, composer and educator, whose performance approach incorporates wordless singing and improvisation, original songs with lyrics; electronics and extended vocal techniques; new music and contemporary composition and collaborations with theatre and dance practitioners. I am also a passionate teacher of voice and improvisation, lead my own improvising vocal ensemble, Invenio and a loving Mum.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
In another life I would do something very practical like nursing or counseling that would contribute to essential and everyday physical and psychological needs. In this, my musical/artistic life, I would push myself to take more risks, ask more difficult questions and back myself more.

Who inspires you and why?
The remarkable performers/creators within Rawcus Theatre are endlessly inspiring- the breadth of life experience and challenge is met with such genuine optimism, empathy, humour, artistry, dedication and love. It is an enormous privilege to share the stage with them. Since becoming a mother, I feel more inspired my incredible Mum and all of the amazing Mums I know.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
It’s easy to feel really irrelevant and useless as an artist in this world, especially when you’re in a hospital-watching people actually saving lives. However, music and art undoubtedly enrich people’s lives – pulling people through times of great suffering, provoking reflection and self-criticism, giving people a feeling of connection, of our shared vulnerabilities and strengths. Singing and making music is my way of expressing something thoughtful, reaching out and connecting. I hope it makes and will continue to make even the smallest difference.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
A holiday of any kind in any beachy location sounds amazing – I’ll take it!

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Melbourne has so much great music going on all the time – so I’d definitely take them to see some music. For friends with kids, I would take them to the Melbourne Museum – it has the best under 5’s area and so many great exhibits.

What are you currently reading?
The Museum of Modern Love – Heather Rose.

What are you currently listening to?
Two exquisite Melbourne singer/songwriters: Hannah Cameron – I Lay Where You Lie and  Natalie Carolan – EP. Two Stunning New York Based pianist/composers: Fabian Almazan – Alcanza and Matthew Sheens – American Counterpoint.

Happiness is?
Singing and making music. On my own and with others, for myself or for listeners. Hearing other people sing their hearts out – especially my 2 year old son, when he wakes up in the morning.

What does the future hold for you?
In the immediate future, I’m thrilled to be performing in Song For a Weary Throat with Rawcus and my vocal ensemble Invenio for the Melbourne International Arts Festival. Invenio are also performing a new work of mine for Melbourne Music Week, Hands For Clay in November and a new project at the Melbourne Recital Centre called Music For A While in January.

I am set to release a new solo album in 2019 and am also celebrating the 10th anniversary of one of my solo albums, Creatures at the Crossroads with a special performance at the Melbourne Recital Centre in November. Beyond that, there are some exciting collaborative projects and commissions on the horizon and lots of things to look forward to with my beautiful family.

Gian can be seen in Song For a Weary Throat at Arts Centre Melbourne as part of the Melbourne International Arts Festival until 14 October 2018. For more information, visit: www.artscentremelbourne.com.au for details.

Image: Gian Slater (supplied)