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Morris is a die-hard muso, having fronted bands and worked as a
backing singer for INXS before becoming a successful solo artist.
She is disenchanted by the trend to churn out one hit pop wonders.
"Manufactured music is one thing. Obviously it's more
commercially successful. But in another box altogether is the
singer-songwriter who makes music. Their driving force is not
fame or money; it's to create music. Whether I'm sitting around
playing for a few friends or playing to a stadium, my motivation is
the same. I hate greed. I hate people doing things just for the
money. You have to be made of music. I'm still full of the joie de
vivre of music."
Morris loves to write because it is in songwriting that "we
establish our culture and who we are as people." She keeps a
notebook of phrases and plays with the metre until a melody
comes. Or she might get a riff and fit lyrics to that. Sometimes
the process is almost effortless, like with 'Little Little', which
took half an hour to write from beginning to end, and remains
one of her favourites. Sometimes she has an inkling when she's
penned a hit, as in 'Break In The Weather' and 'You I Know'."
Sometimes, when art and commerce collide, a sure thing can slip
from grasp. The songwriter Rick Nowells approached her to
record any of his songs. Morris only liked 'In Too Deep' and
recorded it but it failed to chart successfully. Then ex-Go Gos'
Belinda Carlisle took the song and made it an international smash.
That's gotta hurt. Morris muses: "Well, I still prefer my version.
When I play it I tell the audience mine pisses all over hers."
Perhaps it is this sense of self-determination that makes Jenny
Morris so appealing to lesbians. Does she realise she has a huge
following in the community? She grins, clearly pleased. "Yes ...
I've never been backwards in coming forwards on women's
issues. I have a lot of close lesbian friends. I feel a lot of affinity
with lesbian issues, ideas and lifestyle."
Then there's her obvious status as a strong woman. Does she
admire any women in rock in the way that many admire her? "I
love Chrissie Hynde. She would be the most clever singer, and a
no bullshit person."
Morris is diminutive in stature and a self-described laid back
person but she packs a powerful and charismatic presence in
performance. This she must know. She smiles enigmatically.
"You've got to know who you are and what you're capable of.
I've just always had confidence; I've never really had to work at
that. I've always felt at home on stage."
This presence is captured on the Alive DVD in one of Morris's
favourite live experiences. "It was a really nice night. A lot of fans
had flown in from all over the place. I had family and friends
there and had thought long and hard about guest performers." e
Alive is available from good music stores for $29.95.
Jenny Morris tours nationally in May and June.
For more info visit www.jennymorris.com
0414 402 315
07 4099 3359 -- 0417799406
Sunday Markets in Port Douglas
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