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Anyone that remembers the eighties would no doubt have
fond memories of Deb Conway fronting a band called Do Rei Me. I'm certain
that there is a generation of young female rockers who took to the mic and
guitar as a direct result of seeing Conway strutting her stu on stage. Whilst it's many
years since Do Rei Me hung up their instruments, Conway has continued to be one
of this country's most proli c musos -- a producer, occasional actor and mentor to
many a young artist.
Unlike most musicians, Conway's childhood wasn't fuelled by rock 'n' roll dreams,
in fact she didn't pick up a guitar until she turned 18. She admits her mother is still
surprised that she "produced two children who can hold a tune" explaining that her
mum was "the only girl in her all-girls school choir asked by the teacher to mime."
Despite these less than perfect musical beginnings, Conway has one of the most
powerful and distinctive voices in Australian rock.
Initially Conway thought a career treading the boards would be on the cards, as
"acting was a passion for me at school," yet she soon found her rightful place on a
di erent kind of centrestage. Over the years Conway has fronted bands, worked as a
solo artist and spent much time as half of a duo with partner-in-crime Willy Zygier.
She admits that for her, "playing music is better as a shared pursuit."
She elaborates, "I'm always more comfortable being in the company of other
musicians on stage. Whether this takes the form of duo, trio or more, depends what
kind of music we're playing and what I've been doing a lot of most recently. It's more
enjoyable for me to yield to variety."
She describes her musical journey as "restless," explaining, "certainly the rst ve
solo albums are quantum leaps apart from each other. Willy Zygier, my long time
musical and life collaborator is certainly in uential, so was becoming a mother,
putting together four productions of Broad and working with all those uniquely
gi ed songwriters and performers, maybe just being alive long enough to feel
comfortable to drop pretensions to being anything other than who I am."
Her latest album HalfMan HalfWoman sees her join forces once more with Zygier,
who she describes as easy to work with "not because we always agree but because we
can always be honest, e cient in our criticism and bypass ego, eventually."
She says the inspiration for the album has come largely from working together
as a duo and their shared desire to see how far they could stretch the boundaries.
"We were interested in how far we could push ourselves creatively using a minimal
palette; to avoid the gizmos, bells and whistles and stick largely to him and me, me
Half Man Half Woman is out now.
What a broad!
Deborah Conway delivers a new album,
Half Man Half Woman. By Cec Busby.
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