Karise Eden didn’t let a motorbike accident, knee surgery and two broken vertebrae stop her from performing at the Opera House on Australia Day.
Not a chance.
She used a walking stick for balance as she belted out the opening song of the night to a sold-out crowd with musician Harts.
Eden’s voice and her on-stage presence is fierce these days. It’s where she’s at, musically. But the woman – whose voice Keith Urban famously said on The Voice in 2012 sounded like she had “swallowed Janis Joplin” – is as delightfully down-to-earth as they come. Her husky voice has a healthy Aussie twang as she talks about her son and her “gorgeous man”, a construction worker.
“He’s the one holding the fort doing the daycare trips to allow me to get out there and do my gypsy traveller fairy thing, whatever you want to call it,” Eden said, laughing.
“We joke and he says ‘Oh you’re such a rock star’ and he calls me Rocky. But really, when I run out of printer ink I go down to the local library and pay $1 per page to sign shit for work. My son has a good upbringing and a solid routine, and we have a solid income. Yes, I like my life.”
Musically, Eden is also in a good place. On her new album are songs that show her fiery side and her passion for blues and rock’n roll – and the odd power ballad.
“I’ve come out with this album (Born To Fight) and people are like ‘Ah she’s finally back’ and I’m like ‘I never f – – king went anywhere, I’ve been here the whole time’. A break between albums is normal for any artist, whatever level of fame they have,” she said.
“I’m like ‘Guys, chill, just because I haven’t been in your face on Woolworths and Napisan ads and all that doesn’t mean I wasn’t doing music’. I’ve still been touring, just not in the bigger venues. I’m not Lady Gaga. You come out, yell about your new album, you go on tour and then you tone it down and you write your songs and you focus on that side of things – and then you come back out again. That’s just how it works.”
Asked if she feels she has more control of her music choices these days, the answer is a firm yes. But factors still have to be taken into account – like fan expectations.
“My team and I, we tried our best to nail down as many great songs as we could. Songs we thought were awesome and would be received well. And I think we’ve done a really good job,” Eden said.
“As an artist you are always growing and changing so you can never really define what you are. Using me as an example, you can’t just be known for, say, soul music and then come out with a rock album. You still need to remain familiar with a few little hints into what you might be trying next and see how that gets received.”