articles & interviews
including Emma & The Hungry Truth articles

Articles and interviews are listed in chronological order (latest first)...
2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010

2015 Articles & Interviews
Scenestr Issue 1068, August 2015

link to (Win tickets to Gig!)

Go toTop, 17 March 2015
Photo: Kate Davies from KD Photography

Celebrating female artists: Introducing Emma Dean, musician and choir leader

March the 8th is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate and highlight the valuable contributions women make to our world. One day is not enough, so this is part of a month-long series of posts celebrating female artists.

Today’s feature artist is Emma Dean, a vivacious and prolific musician and performer based in Brisbane but who regularly performs all over the country and sometimes overseas, including New York.

1. What art do you make?
My name is Emma Dean and I make musical art. Sometimes I write music and perform it with a band called “Emma & The Hungry Truth”. Other times I teach it. And on Wednesday nights I lead my very own community choir called, Cheep Trill, which has reminded me why I fell in love with music in the first place.

2. What is one of your proudest achievements as an artist?
Starting my community choir. This project grew out of a deep sense of loneliness and a distinct lack of community. Instead of wallowing in self pity, I decided to put a call out for people interested in joining a singing group. I thought I might receive 10 replies, but when I opened my emails, I had about 100 eager people waiting for more information.

This project has reminded me that music is about connection (for me). It heals and inspires people.

It brings people together from all walks of life and belief systems and gives them permission to harmonise, both musically and personally. It is such a gift.

3. What has been a challenge recently, and how did you overcome it?
Time management is always a challenge for me. I say “yes” to lots of things because I love life and I don’t want to miss out on anything. This can be problematic when you’re trying to factor in down time, which I am realising is equally as important as work time. I’m still working on overcoming this problem. Actually, I’ve been working on this for about ten years. When will I ever learn? ; )

4. What are you most excited by creatively right now?
I’m always excited about workshopping new material with my band.

However, I’m really excited about the concept of simplifying my life and figuring out creative ways to live a more balanced and sustainable existence.

I want to create more space in order to create. Does that make sense?

5. What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given about growing your career as an artist?
If you sing from your heart, you can never be wrong.

6. Where can we find your work and connect with you?
We are mid-way through a national tour and have two public shows remaining!
20 Mar 2015– Adelaide – The Wheatsheaf – with Sam Buckingham and Emily Davis
28 Mar 2015 – Brisbane – The Old Museum – with Sam Buckingham

You can find us at:
Instagram: emmaandthehungrytruth

link to online article (accessible as at 19Mar15)

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Blank Gold Coast (, Early March 2015

Up Close with Bleach: Emma & The Hungry Truth

Bleach, the Gold Coast’s biggest arts and cultural festival, kicks off on Friday 6th March (lasting until the 22nd) and brings with it art installations, theatre, film, street parties and, of course, live music. In Up Close with Bleach, Liz Ansley gets to know some of the incredible local talent who’ll be playing at Bleach 2015 a little better.

Emma Dean, of Emma & The Hungry Truth fame, is next up. 2014 saw the band release their EP Feast to critical acclaim; and score spots on the lineups at Wonderland, Mona Foma Festival and Cygnet Folk Festival. Their brand new single The Hungry Truth (Will Feast On You) recently debuted in video form, and the result is a wonderfully debaucherous visual feast. You can catch Emma and The Hungry Truth on March 8th performance at Bleach*, as part of their self-titled tour that kicked off in Victoria in late February.

How would you describe the music you make to someone who’d never heard it before?
Theatrical, rock, pop, old world meets new world!

Why are you looking forward to being a part of Bleach this year?
We love the festival atmosphere, we love the arts, and we love the beach! These are a few of our favourite things.

What are three albums that have helped to shape you (either musically or as a person) the most? Why are they so important?
Tori Amos: Under The Pink. Because she taught me that chicks behind a piano can be just a rock and sexy as guys with guitars.

Enigma Variations: Edward Elgar. Because this was my first memory of seeing my dad cry during a performance of this epic work with the Queensland Youth Orchestra. Maybe my memory is warped, but it made me realise the intense power of music and how difficult it is to describe why a song or a piece can move us so very much.

Without You I’m Nothing: Placebo. Because I found somewhere to put my teenage angst and I learned to appreciate (and fall in love with) men in dresses and mascara.

Describe the most rewarding, surprising, or bizarre moment in your career so far.
Performing an intimate house concert in a penthouse in New York City and having Alan Cumming in the front row. Only a year or so earlier I had played Sally Bowles in Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatres “Cabaret” the musical, and I had to research the Sam Mendes version in which Alan Cumming plays the MC. As one of the most captivating film and stage actors, I’m obviously a big fan. Quite a surreal and utterly terrifying moment for me.

What does 2015 hold for you?
We are about to embark on a national tour followed by a North American tour! Such a busy and exciting time for us. For dates and deets you can visit

Who or what are you looking forward to seeing or doing most this year at Bleach?
There are so many brilliant artists on the lineup. I’m loving Karl S Williams and Clare Bowditch not to mention the awesome aerial show going on at Sequins and Sinew, so hopefully we’ll get to catch them.

You can catch Emma and The Hungry Truth at 6.20pm and 7.20pm on Sunday March 8. They’ll be playing at Sequins and Sinew in Roughton Park on Musgrave St, Kirra.

link to online article (accessible as at 19Mar15)

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AAA Backstage Article (18 Feb 2015)

Emma & The Hungry Truth Crazy New Clip and Tour
"This one is not for the feint hearted. Upcoming Brisbane band Emma & The Hungry Truth have just dropped their latest music video for single The Hungry Truth (Will Feast On You) and all we can say is wow...."

Read AAA Backstage Article (accessible as at 27 Feb 15)

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2014 Articles & Interviews
the music magazine Brisbane 10 December 2014

Above text below::

Member answering/role:
Emma Dean - lead singer/keyboards/violin/percussion

How did you all meet? Tony (drums) and Emma have known each other their their whole lives. They share parents. Francesca (keyboard) and Emma had a get-to-know-you-coffee in 2008 and became fans of each other's music. James (theremin/other bits) used to cover Emma's songs on YouTube. Laura (cello) and Emma went to school together. Emma developed a girl crush on Laura when they bumped heads at the water bubbler. Emma was drawn to her yellow hair and page boy haircut. Nathan (guitar) and Emma met each other at various shitty covers gigs at The Plough (I think?). They bond over food platters.

Your're on tour in the van - which band or artist is going to keep the most people happy if we throw them on the stereo? Kate Bush

Which Brisbane bands beforer you have been an inspiration (musically or otherwise)? George (feat. Katie and Ty Noonan), Gorgeous (Fi Claus and Emma Heeney), Kate Miller-Heidke, Jake Diefenbach, The Boat People, Fronz Arp.

What part do you think Brisbane plays in the music you make? After living in New York, I feel I'm surrounded by a supportive community here in Brisbane more so than ever before - musical or otherwise. It's so much easier to sustain a music career when you have that kind of network around you. I also realise now how important space and quiet is for me to create. Brisbane has the right amount of hustle and bustle mixed with the right amount of stillness.

What's in the pipeline for the band in the short term? We're making a music video for our second single The Hungry Truth (Will Feast on You) (Editor: View the completed video here), performing at Wonderland at The Brisbane Powerhouse on 14 Dec, performing at the Cygnet Folk Festival and MONA FOMA in Tassie during January! It's a busy time of year!

Creative Drinks Interview (30 October 2014)

"Theatrical pop Brisbanites Emma and The Hungry Truth could possibly be the most uniquely interesting group of musicians about to explode onto the scene.
With a tour underway and an upcoming debut EP, Holly Woodward had plenty to chat about when we caught up with the band’s front-woman Emma Dean""

Read Creative Drinks Interview (accessible as at 31 Oct14)
MX Newspaper Brisbane, 29 October 2014

Above text below:

Take a Bite:
Brisbane siblings Tony and Emma Dean, of Emma & The Hungry Truth, are inviting you to chew on their musical talents this Saturday night. The pair are performing at the Old Museum from 7.30pm, showcasing their audio-cocktail of theatrical pop and their new EP, Feast. See more at

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Weekend Notes (late October 2014)

Kath Chown says "Don't miss the opportunity to hear this special lady sing."

Read Article (accessible as at 31 Oct14)
4ZZZ Brisbane Queer Radio Program (broadcast 29 October 2014)

"Queer Radio's Blair Martin and Jonathan Waters speak with Emma & Tony Dean, James Halloran & Hayden Robins of Emma & The Hungry Truth."

Go to ZZZ Radio Interview (accessible as at 31 Oct14)
Live Music Media Q&A (27 October 2014)

"Brisbane based six-piece Emma & The Hungry Truth can best be described as a combination of theatrical pop, tribal beats, soaring vocals and break-your-heart lyrics. With the launch of their debut EP “Feast” singer/songwriter Emma Dean took time out to answer a few questions for"

Read Live Music Media Q&A (accessible as at 31 Oct14)
SK Starving Kids (20 October 2014)

Keara Coe describes the band and looks to the 1 Nov gig at the Old Museum.

Read SK Article (accessible as at 31 Oct14)
AU. Exclusive Music Video Premiere (16 September 2014)

"Always The Last To Know" is the exciting first taste of Brisbane-based band Emma & The Hungry Truth’s debut EP, Feast, and today we premiere the video on the AU...."

Go to Premiere (accessible as at 31 Oct14)
Brisbane News, 26 March 2014

You're the Voice
Brisbane choirs sing their hearts out, writes Hannah Davies

Extract from article covering Emma's choir Cheep Trill:
They smile, socialise and sing (some better than others). But, when it comes to the swelling ranks of Brisbane's community choir scene, a good voice is not essential. It is having fun that counts.

Brisbane is home to dozens of community choir groups and the success of TV shows such as Glee and the Choir of Hard Knocks, and the movie Pitch Perfect, has given choir singing a new cool quotient. The demographic is changing and young hipsters are being attracted to what was once a pastime dominated by the city's more mature residents.

One of the funkiest choirs in town is Cheep Trill, launced by singer Emma Dean on her return home after a stint living and performing in New York. Under the talented 30-year-old's direction, Cheep Trill ( tackles popular songs, such as Lorde's Royals, Owl City's Fireflies and Ellie Goulding's Burn, and performs at community events, such as festivals and school fetes.

"When I started the choir it became apparent that there are not a lot of community choirs that cater for an audience that likes modern music," Emma says. "Music by Rodgers and Hammerstein is lovely, but there are other things out there. We like to do contemporary arrangements of songs that are in the charts at the moment. It's pretty good fun. When I am having my darkest days I go to a choir rehearsal and it really lifts me. People are so hungry to connect and sing these days and it's great to be able to give them an outlet."....

612 ABC Brisbane Drive with Tim Cox (broadcast 18 March 2014)

Emma speaks to Tim Cox about her performances in New York and her debut gigs with her new band Emma and The Hungry Truth at the Judith Wright Centre in Brisbane. The interview ends with a live performance of My Heart My Blood from her Red EP.

Duration:10:33 (includes live performance of My Heart My Blood from Red)

MX Newspaper Brisbane, 18 March 2014
4ZZZ Brisbane Megahertzzz Show (broadcast 16 March 2014)

Emma talks to Megahetzzz about the debut of her new band Emma and The Hungry Truth and her experiences in New York in 2013.

Duration:  13:37

Brisbane News, 12 March 2014

Click here to enlarge and read the above Brisbane News article

The Sunday Mail (U on Sunday), Brisbane 5 January 2014

Click here to enlarge and read the above Sunday Mail article

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2013 Articles & Interviews
The Saturday Courier Mail, Brisbane 2 February 2013

Click here to enlarge and read the above Courier Mail article

2012 Articles & Interviews
Skippers InFlight Magazine Issue22 2012

Click here to enlarge and read the above Talk Back article

612 ABC Brisbane Afternoons (broadcast 16 April 2012)

Emma speaks to Kelly Higgins-Devine about her music, including her album Dr Dream and the Imaginary Pop Cabaret, her New York shows, a side project with Jake Diefenbach, and the Crossbows Festival to be held at Southbank Brisbane in May 2012 (See Gigs for further details).

Duration:18:38 (includes two songs from Dr Dream)

Radio Adelaide Breakfast (broadcast 13 April 2012)

In this interview broadcast 13 April 2012 on Radio Adelaide Breakfast, Emma spoke to Angus Randell about the Adelaide Cabaret Festival to be held in June 2012 and of her Festival show Stripped....
Duration: 6:41

Map Magazine Brisbane 12 April 2012

Click here to enlarge and read the above feature article by Frances Frangenheim

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Joy-FM 94.9 Melbourne (broadcast 14 March 2012)

In this interview broadcast on 14 March 2012 during Joy FM's The Cabaret Room show, Emma provides a sneak preview of An End to Dreaming, performed in Melbourne on the following Friday.
Duration: 4:01

2011 Articles
Sunday Mail Brisbane 31 July 2011 - U on Sunday Magazine

Click here to read the above feature article Edge of Stardom
by Sally Browne (photography Adam Armstrong)

Rave Magazine Brisbane 26 July 2011

INFORMER ARTS: Cabaret - Emma Dean Interview

here does Sally Bowles (hot pants and all) fit into Brisbane in 2011?

It’s not the first time Zen Zen Zo and cabaret have tangoed. In 2010, a duo of performers schooled in the physical theatre company’s characteristic style shadowed pop-cabaret partners-in-crime Emma Dean and Jacob Diefenbach in My Sublime Shadow. Dean returns to the company to take on the lead role in Cabaret – Zen Zen Zo’s first foray into musical theatre.

“If there’s any musical Zen Zen Zo should be doing,” says Dean, “it’s Cabaret.” We are sipping coffee in oversized red armchairs in a cafe near Dean’s temporary Brisbane digs (where, incidentally, Dean has been teaching your humble arts reporter the tricks of the singing trade – brave woman). “As a company, I think they really embody the spirit of the Weimar Republic era.” That the cast’s majority aren’t necessarily trained dancers or singers is no hindrance; in fact, Dean believes it’s what will set apart this production of Cabaret – that infamous celebration of the decadent, the grotesque and the burlesque.

It’s not only a new experience for Zen Zen Zo. “The choreography’s very elaborate – and very athletic,” admits Dean. “I had to be very open to working with my body, but the training schedule has been fabulous.” Just as Dean had to adapt for a physical theatre troupe, Zen Zen Zo’s crew took a little convincing to realise the dangers of belting out Liza Minnelli tunes for eight hours a day – but Dean emphasises the company’s supportive environment. “We’ve all been learning about each other’s special skills and how we fit together as an ensemble,” she says.

Perhaps a few surprise wake-up calls helped bind the cast and crew together. Cabaret takes place against what Dean calls a “political backdrop” of Nazism spreading like fire ants over Berlin. “We easily forget,” she says, “being surrounded by such open-minded people, that this shit still goes on.” It was just outside Brisbane’s Old Museum – Zen Zen Zo’s traditional stomping ground – that part of the cast encountered a bus stop covered with anti-Semitic and homophobic graffiti. Later, the Cabaret cast came to a chilling realisation: had they stayed in Berlin in 1933 doing “what we were doing as cabaret performers, as artists, as activists” – the entire ensemble would have been sent to concentration camps.

The character of the Emcee, played by Sandro Colarelli, is for Dean the voice of these artists – “the voice of the underground,” she says. “He’s the one who goes down with the ship.” Dean describes Colarelli (fresh from DragQueensLand) as “a superstar” – the right choice for a memorable role. Dean describes her own role, Sally Bowles, as something of an onion. “She’s very hedonistic, totally preoccupied with herself, with having fun, with fucking around with men and drinking gin,” Dean explains, but these traits hide layers of insecurities. “She’s a bit of an onion. As each of my scenes goes on, layer by layer comes off, and in the end there’s a moment where Sally’s real.”

In a show concerned with grotesque fantasies and burlesque parodies, those moments where what is real sneaks in are all the more resonant. In the words of Oscar Wilde, “Give a man a mask, and he’ll tell you the truth.”

CABARET runs at the Cremorne Theatre, QPAC, from Thursday Aug 4 to Saturday Aug 20.

link to online version of Rave article (accessible as at 2 Aug11)

Go to Top (posted 6 June 2011)

Emma Dean – Stripped Down!
by RubinaInRadelaide

Pop-cabaret starlet Emma Dean was in Adelaide over the weekend for her only show, “Stripped”, during the 2011 Adelaide Cabaret Fringe Festival at Tuxedo Cat. Today, I managed to catch up with the singer/songwriter over email to ask her a few questions…

RC: Who inspired you to take up dancing and music in your younger years?
ED: My father, Christopher was one of the founding members of a station called 4MBS Classic FM. Every Saturday morning, when I was about 3 or 4, he would go on air as one of the radio announcers and I’d listen intently at home and try to talk to him through the speakers. Of course, he never heard me (he he). But, being around music from such a young age sparked something deep within me. If I wasn’t playing music, I was dancing. I loved to move and to feel the rhythm of life flow through me. It’s such a natural and inherent thing for me.

RC: Tell us about your first-ever on-stage appearance…
ED: To be honest, I’m sure I was far too young to remember the very first time!! I started learning ballet at the age of 2 and began at a music school at the age of 3. I’d guess that I would have been amongst a large group of obnoxious yet stupidly cute toddlers playing the recorder (badly)…

RC: The last time you were in Adelaide, you performed as part of The Wheel of Frank Confession at the 2010 Adelaide Fringe. How does performing your solo show ‘Stripped’ compare to performing as part of quartet?
ED: When you are performing as part of a group, you tend to feel supported at all times (that is, if they are awesome like my group were!). When you are solo, it’s all up to you! So in that regard, it can be quite high pressure. Having said that, I love the musical freedom you have as a soloist. If I feel like drawing a phrase out…I will! If I accidentally skip a verse…that’s ok! ha ha. I’ve learnt so much about myself as a performer through “STRIPPED” and I feel I’m one step closer to achieving some of my performance goals. When you strip back to the bare essentials it’s either make or break. It’s my aim to be able to command a stage, even in stillness. I continue to work towards that.

Emma Dean's Latest Album

RC: You’ve just released your second album, Dr Dream and the Imaginary Pop Cabaret. What inspires you when writing songs?
ED: Everything and anything. This particular album is like a therapy session! Each song has it’s own personal story.

RC: On your most recent blog entry, I noticed that you’re ‘ [keeping] open to possibilities after “Cabaret” ‘. Where would you like to see yourself next – perhaps returning to ballet?
ED: Oh god no!!! My bum is too big (or so they tell me!). To tell you the truth, I was never much of a dancer! It breaks my heart to say that, but it’s true. I would love to continue some physical-theatre and actor training to keep “topping up” my performance skills. I feel that this has been an integral part of my development. I’d also like to tour overseas and take some time out to reflect and ponder before I launch in to any new projects or albums. It’s a bit exciting, really. I feel like I’ve got a creative volcano bubbling away inside of me. :)

A review of Dean’s show will be posted here on Adelaide ArtBeat shortly…

Adelaide Art Beat review available here

link to online article (accessibe as at 2 Aug11)

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Cabaret (posted 31 May 2011)

Interview: Emma Dean's Pop Cabaret Universe

by Lena Nobuhara
Cabaret Confessional Associate Editor

Singer/songwriter Emma Dean, who hails from the city of Brisbane, has created her own unique, magical universe and established herself as “pop cabaret” performer. Her signature style of catchy alternative pop music and visual feast of imaginative costumes, make-up and theatrics has won over many fans – including the New York Post, who named her as “1 of 10 Artists to watch in 2011”.

With her Cabaret Fringe Festival show in Adelaide approaching fast (see gigs), Emma takes us through her quirky and creative mind.

You’ll be performing your show Stripped soon. What was the process for writing the show like?

To be honest, it was a very backwards process. I had been hired to perform every week for three consecutive weeks at a wonderful Cabaret venue in Sydney called El Rocco. I wanted to make the shows low-key but still involve my “theatrical flair”. I knew I couldn’t afford to include any other performers so it needed to be a one-woman-show!

I had just released my new album Dr Dream and The Imaginary Pop-Cabaret so I had already rehearsed most of the songs that I wanted to perform. In the end it became a question of how I could string them together in an interesting and different way using just one person on stage – me! Remember, I’m used to performing alongside flamboyant physical-theatre performers, so I was feeling the pressure!

I decided the theme of my show would be about stripping back the musical layers and revealing the raw emotion and some of the stories behind the songs – all the things that are sometimes lost in a big theatrical production. Then on another layer I’ve incorporated a mannequin in to the mix who helps me with my costume changes where I literally “strip” on stage. Don’t worry…no pink bits. Totally PG!

How did you decide which songs to include and which ones to leave out?

I always find this tough. But, the great thing about this show is that there is so much room for movement. The formula is set, so I can now add and subtract songs as I write them as long as they fit in to the four scenes/themes. In fact, my Adelaide show will be different to my Sydney show!

The shows and videos you create are visually striking and dreamy. Where do you get the ideas and inspirations for the costumes, make-up and the whole look of the stage/videos?

I am so lucky to be surrounded by an incredible creative community of artists, dancers, costume designers, make-up artists, actors, musicians and dreamers. Most of us work independently and understand the financial difficulties that sometimes exist in our chosen fields, so we often help each other out with various projects. Some of the artists I have collaborated with on a long term basis are: Angela White Costume And Couture (who made many of my film clip and performance costumes), Lia Reutens (who features in my “Something They Can Hold” video and is also an imaginary friend), Amanda Laing, Walter Davis-Hart, Giema Contini, Dale Thorburn and Jamie Kendall (who all act/have acted as my imaginary friends) and Jonny Williams (who has made two of my film clips), and Tony Dean and Ben Stewart (who have played in my band and recorded my albums).

Outside inspiration comes from all things magical. I’ve always loved Tim Burton movies. I’m fascinated in exploring the world where reality meets Gothic-fairytale-fantasy and the place where music and theatre meet and explode! This is the world I want to live in when I’m performing and creating.

How would you describe your distinctive ‘pop cabaret’ style?

To break it down simply, I’d say it’s “piano-driven alternative pop music presented in a theatrical or cabaret style.”

You were named as “1 of 10 Artists to watch in 2011” in New York Post. Apart from the size and competitiveness, what are your thoughts on the American market?

The American market is something I’d like to explore. I’d been working really hard in Australia for 9 years without much airplay (which is a shame) and then BOOM…New York came calling! After the New York Post surprise, my single “Sincerely Fearful” was in the US specialty radio charts top 15 for a month alongside the likes of R.E.M and PJ Harvey. Surreal.

I often wonder if America, due to its large population, has the ability to sustain an artist like me who sits outside the mainstream box. I’m not sure. But I’m going to go over and find out whilst having an adventure at the same time!

How did you discover cabaret?

I’ve always been theatrically inclined and have been interested in musical theatre since I played the lead in my high school musical. Cabaret was an obvious step for me. After working with a company in Brisbane called Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre, I became interested in performance techniques, which work on the power and energy of the body in performance. That’s when I began to incorporate some physical-theatre actors into my show. It was a really natural progression. To listen to my music without seeing the visuals often doesn’t seem like a typical cabaret experience, although, my songs and themes are clearly theatrical. For me, it’s all in the live show!

Cabaret to you is….?

A medium in which the “others” of the underground have a voice…

What appeals to you the most about performing cabaret?

I love the feeling of being in a cabaret club where the rules of society have flown out the door. I love the freedom. Of course, it was not always like this for cabaret artists, especially during WWII. I feel very lucky to be able to express myself artistically to the fullest extent.

The biggest source of inspiration?

I’m so inspired by the people around me, particularly my friends and family. Some of my musical inspirations are Tori Amos, Queen, Wicked (the musical), Cabaret (the musical), Chicago (the musical), Kate Bush, Silverchair, Jacob Diefenbach and mucho mucho more!

The best thing about performing as part of the Cabaret Fringe Festival?

Being in Adelaide again for the first time since the 2010 Adelaide Fringe Festival. Being recognised as being part of a thriving musical genre that has SO much to offer. Seeing my dear friends and meeting new ones.

What’s in store for you next?

I’m playing Sally Bowles in the next Aussie production of “Cabaret” with Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre! Then I’m planning some shows overseas! Can’t wait.

link to Cabaret article (accessible as at 1 June 2011)

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the AU Review - we were there (posted website 8 April 2011)

STCH Tour Show @ The Basement 14May11 (Photo Courtesy Johnny Au for AU Review)

Emma Dean announces May/June 2011 tour
by Layla Clark

With The New York Post naming her one of "10 Artists to Know in 2011”, Emma Dean is starting to glow in the international spotlight. On her latest national tour, however, she's decided to find a shadowy corner in which to embrace her dark side and ponder the release of new single “Something They Can Hold”...

After her sold out album launch tour in November 2010, featuring the kooky talents of her 'imaginary friends', Emma is back on the road in celebration of the latest single from internationally acclaimed album Dr Dream and the Imaginary Pop-Cabaret, the haunting Something They Can Hold. These shows will distill her chaotic, spellbinding show to it's most basic visceral elements. She'll leave the 'imaginaries' at home and embrace the black, nebulous, murky world of a neurotic cabaret songstress fronting a group of musicians.

“Singer, songwriter and self proclaimed ringmaster Emma Dean is a hobobag full of crazy pills. Like the really awesome hallucinogenic kind. Driven by her child-like imagination and bouncy exuberance, her new album “Dr Dream and the Imaginary Pop Cabaret” has a title that describes it's sound with sheer perfection.” Ryan Brockington , The New York Post

So, why is it important to indulge in the darker side of life?

“As an artist I think it's important to indulge and explore all parts of life!” Emma explains. “I don't see myself as a particularly dark person but as a songwriter, I often find myself drawn to the piano when a dark or turbulent thought hits. I think it's healthy for me. Perhaps it's a kind of free therapy? I'm very intrigued by the underground world where the fringe folk live as well as the cabaret scene, where the rules of society fly out the door. That's why I'm constantly drawn to working with company's like Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre and artists like “my imaginary friends” who are known for exploring this territory. It's dark. It's sometimes twisted. And the line between crying and laughing is often very thin.”

"...Curious, funny, astute and above all, weird. She could well stake a good claim to be the new Millennium's Kate Bush with (her) theatrical approach to music...."Patrick McKiernan , United Kingdom

"Its just right. Move over Rufus and Tori. You have company" Noel Mengel. The Courier Mail

link to Au Review website

the recently released Something They Can Hold video clip
Buy the single from iTunes

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2010 Articles
The Courier Mail Brisbane 7 December 2010

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The Courier Mail Brisbane 4-5 December 2010

Make Believe: Emma Dean with dancers
Lia Reuters, Walter Davis-Hart and Amanda Laing

The Muse has many identities (text)

Brisbane-raised songwriter Emma Dean gets physical to take her music to another level of art, writes Noel Mengel.

EMMA Dean is enjoying sharing secrets with some of her closest friends. Imaginary friends, that is. And they say things she'd never dare say in public.

The friends first started appearing in her songs, and then in her stage show, and now in the Brisbane-raised songwriter's second album, Dr Dream and the Imaginary Pop-Cabaret.

"I found different parts of my personality coming through in my songs and these characters. Henry was my disturbed imagination, Gee Gee my sensual imagination, Dr Dream my imaginary psychotic psychiatrist, who is the part of me that likes to analyse people," Dean says.

"From that grew the idea of this concept album, having a therapy session with Dr Dream, which is like having a therapy session yourself, all these little confessions."

Like Kate Miller-Heidke and Megan Washington, Dean is a graduate of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, where she studied jazz vocals. There must be something in the water there; Dean's approach is as quirky as that of the other two.

But Dean's music and her stage show are also influenced by her passions for dance and theatre. She studied classical ballet for 12 years and more recently has been involved in collaborations with Brisbane physical theatre troupe Zen Zen So.

"A thing that they didn't teach in my musical studies was an awareness of my body, which is what dance gave me," she says. "When I see a performance I find a lot of musicians are let down by not being aware of what their bodies are doing and how they react to an audience.

"The training I did with Zen Zen So was all about developing the energy that makes an audience not want to take their eyes off you.

"You can have that energy even with absolute stillness. You don't have to be jumping around all over the stage to have that impact."

That's handy when you are a keyboard player and mostly tied to that instrument. When she can, such as in her Brisbane show at the Old Museum building last week, she works with three dancers, helping illustrate the characters in the songs.

"It's physical theatre with elements of dance, movement, acting. I knew when I started writing these songs that I wanted a theatrical element but I didn't know what that would be. When I met performers from Zen Zen So, I knew that was the answer," she says.

"Even in the songs I was writing before thinking of the Dr Dream concept, I found there was an underlying theme there - of imagination, of hope and dreams. It was like finding the key to bring it all to together."

Dean also performs with her brother, drummer Tony Dean, with assistance from her partner in music and life, Ben Stewart.

After spending all her life in Brisbane, Dean this year moved to Sydney, where she teaches music to sustain her creative career.

But she takes advice from American theatre director Anne Bogart, who she quotes on the sleeve on Dr Dream: "Do not assume that you have to have some prescribed conditions to do your best work. Do not wait for enough time and money to accomplish what you have in mind. Work with what you have right now."

Dean has no shortage of ideas, nor the drive to take them to the world.

Dr Dream and the Imaginary Pop-Cabaret is available from

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Time Off Brisbane 24 November 2010

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Rave Magazine Brisbane 23 November 2010

Dream Believer (text)

This week cheeky pop princess EMMA DEAN and her ‘imaginary friends’ launch album Dr Dream & The Imaginary Pop-Cabaret with a flamboyant spectacle at the Old Museum. Fears, nightmares and confessions – BIRDIE finds it’s all in the bag and more for this ex-Brissie showstopper.

“The ‘imaginary friends’ are myself and three physical theatre performers who act as different facets of my imagination,” explains Dean. “There is my sensual side, my disturbed side, and Dr Dream the imaginary psychotic psychiatrist. The show is incredibly theatrical as you can imagine; people have been calling it pop-cabaret with some burlesque.”

Which makes the Old Museum the ideal venue for Dean’s quirky circus-like performance. Inspired mainly by insanity and rambling thoughts, Dean says she boldly reveals all to a usually spellbound audience.
“ Dr Dream is the part of myself that always wants to analyze and tell people they’re right or wrong,” she claims. “He tries to diagnose what’s wrong with people. So it’s me sitting in his room, on his big black chair, and I’m letting him basically judge me as I divulge all my confessions that stem from my own insanity.”

Letting rip her anger, insecurities, and complaints about life, Dean says both the live performance and the album itself have proven to be the perfect combo of being at once cathartic as well as entertaining.

“Some of the songs are about the music industry too,” she adds. “Not feeling as though I fit in sometimes. There is a song called Bigger Than Me, Bigger Than You, which is about a phase where I felt incredibly lonely as a solo performer. I wanted very badly to be a part of a community and I had this vision of running away and joining the circus. I would be the ringmaster and the leader of all the circus freaks. I think it was a dream that stemmed from the fact I’d moved from Brisbane to Sydney and I was scared of being isolated from old friends and musicians I’d worked with.”

But the transition hasn’t been as rough as Dean first feared … In fact, with the success of both the album and the live show, she’s hardly even had time to soak it in!
“ When I moved, straight off the bat I was doing a headlining tour which was called Emma Dean Meets Dr Dream,” she says. “It’s been pretty crazy ever since then. I’d love for my audience to grow and to break into the mainstream. It’s tremendously important as an artist to be stubborn. About five years ago I saw a fortuneteller and they actually predicted the exact costume that I would wear at my first album launch, which was pretty quirky when I realised it. They said I was going to be really big in the Asian market and to try my luck there! Those were the exact words that were said to me. That was probably five years ago now, so I’ve got two years to hurry up and make it happen!”

EMMA DEAN launches DR DREAM & THE IMAGINARY POP-CABARET at the Old Museum on Friday Nov 26 (all ages), supported by Safety Dance and The Jane Austen Argument.

Pop 5 With Emma Dean (text)

Who first told you about the birds and the bees?
“I always asked my parents how a baby is born but my mum always said the same words, ‘with a little bit of this, and a little bit of that’… So for an embarrassingly long time I pictured god up in the sky with salt and pepper shakers and I thought that’s how he made a baby. Then I discovered ‘The Joys Of Sex’ with my next door neighbour and got a rude shock when I saw the graphic pictures. It didn’t look as pretty as I imagined.”

Which popstar would you most like to spank?
“Someone I used to really fancy when I was younger was Mark Owen from Take That. I’d love to see their reunion show if they come to Australia, it all depends on finances, doesn’t it?”

Have you ever done anything ridiculous for a dare?
“Oh my gosh … I probably shouldn’t say this one … I was once arrested for stealing the Hanson Christmas album. It was a dare with my two high school friends – I got off more lightly than them. They were very naughty girls! The album was all originals with a few covers, I think I still might have a version of the album – not the stolen one!”

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened to you?
“I chopped off my thumb on my nanna’s exercise bike chain!”

What or who would you like to be reincarnated as?
“Oh! Tim Burton’s lovechild! With Helena, of course. Actually, I would love to star in a Tim Burton movie, I’d love to do music for the movie and to star in it, that would be the ultimate for me.”

link to web version of article (accessible as at 1Dec10)

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Eacham Times Nth Queensland 19 October 2010

Emma Dean at Tableland's Folk Festival (text)

A mistress of entertainment, merging theatre and music, this singer/songwriter will enthrall Tableland's Folk Festival goers with her perfect timing, uber-expression, lyrics and voice range.

With her first album Hanging Out The Washing, released 5 years ago at the tender age of 22, there's no stopping this live-wire. Having entertained at this year's national folk festival and last years's Woodford, Emma Dean is no stranger to the genre. "I found in the past my music goes down well at the festivals. I have a highly emotive voice and love musical theatre. Story telling is very important to me and being able to understand lyrics." says the jazz bachelorette who has been playing to packed audienes in recent musicals Downside Up and The Tempest..

The multi-instrumentaltist will be accompanied by her brother Tony on drums, and three physical performers, urging the audience through their wacky pop cabaret journey. The entertainer's circus of face-painted personalities represent 'facets' of Dean's personality - Henry, her disturbed imagination, GG, her sensual imagination and Dr Dream, her imaginary psychotic psychiatrist. The 'dancers' negotiate the stage with manic movements while their songstress mesmerises the audience with keyboard and vocals.

The Tori Amos inspired musician spent two years in Kate Miller Heidke's band. "I was on the violin and keyboards and it was lots of fun." This classically trained musician is vaudevilling her way to the top.

Emma Dean and the Imaginary friends will be playing at the Pavilion Frisay at 9.30pm, Saturday at 8.30pm and Sunday .345pm

To catch a preview of her magical world visit or for the 30th Tablelands Folk Festival site.

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The Chronicle Guide Toowoomba 23 September 2010

Theatrical Sound (text)

Emma Dean fuses many forms of expression

Emma Dean is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose music and performances delve into the magical world where live music meets theatre.

In Real Life Computer Game, the debut album from this unique performer, Emma continues to delve into new sonic territory.

It's bigger, it's bolder, and it's more ambitious than anything she's ever done.

Her theatrical fascination led Emma to the dark side in early 2009 - the decadent world of cabaret.

The musical Downside Up (co-written with Jacob Diefenbach) debuted to a sold-out audience at The Judith Wright Centre in Brisbane.

Shortly after, she began another theatrical collaboration with world renowned Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre Company, for their óff-kilter'adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest.

Question: What are your influences?
Answer: champagne and the theatre, nfroufrou and Angela White Costume and Couture, Tim Burton and fairytales, love, hate, life, death, sex, longong and observation.

Q: What are some of your favourite current artists?
A: Fiona Apple, Tori Amos, Taylor Mac, Imogen Heap, Amanda Palmer, The Dresden Dolls, The Killers, Liza Minnelli, Angela White, Steven Mitchell-Wright, The Danger Ensemble, Wicked the musical, Chicago the musical, Ben Stewart, Tony Dean, Jacob Diefenbach and my imaginary friends...

Q: How do you see yourself as an artist?
A: A piano slammin', strange movin', neurotic boofy-red-haired pop-cabaret singer.

Q: What sets you apart from other acts?
A: The on-stage explosion when pop music collides with theatre, the use of physical theatre creating a visual feast as well as an aural feast, boofy-red hair and men in tutus.

Emma Dean will join Australian entertainer Deni Hines and Toowoomba's Cool Nights Big Band for one night at the Empire Theatre on Saturady September 25.

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Rave Magazine Brisbane 31 August 2010

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The Courier Mail Brisbane 26 August 2010

| © Emma Dean |