FOR a blues and roots singer lauded for her soulful, sultry tones, The Audreys’ Taasha Coates insists her foray into formal singing training wasn’t much chop.
One half of the ARIA-winning duo, Coates studied jazz vocals at the conservatorium in Adelaide before dropping out and eventually forming The Audreys in 2004 with Tristan Goodall.
The pair have released three ARIA-winning albums over their eight years together (Between Last Night and Us, When the Flood Comes and Sometimes the Stars), as well as as The Audreys Collected, a package of the three CDs.
Coates caught up with LIVE ahead of The Audreys Newcastle show at Lizotte’s tomorrow night and still recovering from a month-long flu, the singer was typically dry and self-deprecating, especially when talking about jazz training at the conservatorium.
‘‘I never was very good, I just don’t think I had any fire in me for jazz and you know, I was a teenager when I started,’’ Coates said. ‘‘I was a skinny white girl singing Ella Fitzgerald songs. I’d probably sing those songs a lot better now.’’
But the singer, who grew up on a diet of ‘‘mum and dad’s records’’ including ’70s singer-songwriters Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Steve Earle and Bruce Springsteen, has obviously come into her own with the folk, blues and roots fusion sound of The Audreys. So much so, she’s even been praised as a ‘‘diva’’ of Australian music, in the best possible way.
She’s also developed a reputation for baring her soul in her lyrics, something she considers to be part and parcel of being a musician.
‘‘Yeah, I really need to stop doing that,’’ she said with a laugh. ‘‘As a musician you’re almost obliged to over-share. I don’t do it with my personal life – I’m not one of those people that blabs intimate details on my life to strangers – but I think as a musician and a performer, I think a good performer is someone who isn’t afraid to be vulnerable and expose themselves in a way, I guess. I think it’s part of a deal.’’
Coates said she’s always been that way, but only really noticed it when The Audreys’ second record was released.
‘‘Someone commented on it as well and I thought yeah, I do have a lot of stories in my songs and characters as well. I like to create a character and then give them a story, it’s just the way I write,’’ she said.
But songwriting has been on the backburner for the past two years, thanks to a heavy schedule touring The Audreys Collected and being a mother to an 18-month-old who also goes on the road. It helps her partner is a self-employed graphic designer and part-time musician who is free to tour.
‘‘It’s just great. My partner comes on the road with me now with the baby. It’s really fun but I guess it’s not nearly as rock and roll as it used to be,’’ she said.
The Audreys play Lizotte’s Newcastle tomorrow night.