Ella Hooper wears many professional hats these days but music remains her first love.
The Killing Heidi singer is also a solo artist and songwriter who collaborates with, and mentors, other musicians and is an ambassador for Music Victoria.
But wait, there’s more.
Hooper, 34, is also a seasoned television presenter best known for her role on ABC TV’s Spicks and Specks and guest appearances on programs such as Channel 10’s The Project. Her resume also includes stints as a radio presenter.
She’s come a long way since entering Triple J’s Unearthed competition at the age of 13 with her brother Jesse, then 15. At the time the Hooper siblings lived in a small rural town north of Melbourne. They jammed together and played the odd gig before forming Killing Heidi with Adam Pedretti and Warren Jenkin.
A couple of years later the band were playing the Big Day Out stage on the strength of hits Weir, Mascara and Live Without It.
Killing Heidi had multiple tracks in the top 20 of Triple J’s Hottest 100 in the early naughties. They also have four ARIA awards to their name, a four-times-platinum status and the critically-acclaimed APRA songwriters of the year award.
Killing Heidi broke up in 2006 but have recently reunited for a national tour that just keeps growing. Fans can’t get enough of the Hoopers and no one is more surprised than the siblings themselves.
“It’s been amazing,” Ella Hooper tells Weekender.
“We were just going to dip our toes in the water and see how it went but the reaction has been so strong and positive that we keep signing on for more and more dates.
“I had no idea there would be such a warmth and such a positive reaction from the people out there.”
She had played down the reunion tour in her own head, presuming people “weren’t going to care” and that it “wasn’t going to be a big deal”.
“Well, I was wrong,” she says, laughing.
“We’re selling out shows, people are buying the album on vinyl and buying the merch and singing along to every song.
“I have been blown away by the reaction.”
Despite enjoying a career as an in-demand radio and television presenter, Hooper says she has never strayed too far from her music roots.
“All that time I have continued to do a lot of work behind the scenes and most of the music I have been doing is a little bit underground,” she explains.
“It’s my number one love. I love media but music is my reason for getting up every day. It feels very much like putting on the most comfortable pair of pants.
“I feel most powerful when I’m up on stage singing – it’s like, ‘I got this’.”
Hooper is working on a new solo album at the same time as she belts out all the Killing Heidi classics. She says she is “always craving new experiences” but still gets a kick out of performing songs she wrote 20 years ago.
“I’ve got these old songs that are tried and tested with the band and people just have a connection with them, people love them, they’re part of people’s history,” she says.
“But at the same time I am still making brand new music so I feel like I am still expressing my current self.
“It can be hard for your fans to come with you all the way but if you can pull that off you are very lucky.
“I have a fan base that I’m happy with for my solo stuff and now I’m getting to play with all the Killing Heidi fans as well, which is pretty cool.”
The indie and alt-rock ’90s vibe is enjoying a resurgence and Hooper describes herself as “a ’90s chick”.
When she burst onto the music scene with her facial piercings and long, multi-coloured dreadlocks flying she certainly personified one.
“It was a different time and people had a different appreciation for music. The ’90s was a very pro-art era, a reaction against the plastic of the ’80s. There was a lot of digging deep.”
Hooper is as energetic as ever on stage, throwing herself about and giving it her all.
Killing Heidi has never been a “shoegazer” band.
“We’re the opposite. We’re stargazers,” Hooper says, laughing again.
“We’re kind of a weird mix between an angsty band and a really fun band. We put in 110 per cent each time because we want to give people an amazing night. That’s our job.
“We’re entertainers, we’re songwriters and we take it really seriously even though it looks like we’re just having a ball.”