Talking Mardi Gras prep with Vera Blue


I think we need to create normality around discussing our sexuality.”

Even though it’s only February, it’s already been a big year for Vera Blue. The singer-songwriter took out the number two slot at this year’s Hottest 100 for her collaborative track with Flume, ‘Rushing Back’.

(The pair lost out to Billie Eilish’s ‘Bad Guy’, which effectively makes them number one.)

Come February 29, Vera (real name Celia Pavey) will add another tick to her bucket list,  joining the Mardis Gras festivities on the W Hotels’ float alongside drag superstar and Ru Paul’s Drag Race alum, Alyssa Edwards.

Ahead of what is set to be a very glamorous rendezvous, we quizzed Vera on all the big topics: sexuality and identity, style alter egos, Flume and peaches.

Hey Celia! First-time interviewer, long-time listener Jordan Drummond here.*

[Celia politely laughs]**

So, 2020 has kicked off with a bang for Vera Blue. Scoring number two at Triple J’s Hottest 100 with ‘Rushing Back’ is nothing to sneeze at. How did you celebrate?

I had a lot of friends over! Flume wasn’t with me, but we weren’t expecting it, at all. So it was a really, really crazy time. I actually broke my toe the week before, so I was hopping around trying to celebrate. I called Flume the next day and we were both like, ‘What just happened?’.

Hopefully Flume’s celebration didn’t involve any peaches?

No. Well, maybe not? At least definitely not where I was!

Speaking of peaches, Sydney is right in the midst of the magical time of year that is Mardi Gras. Why did you decide to get involved in the W Hotel’s ‘Love out Loud’ float?

I’ve gone to Mardi Gras most years, but this is my first time ever featuring on a float in the parade. It’s also a first for the W Hotels, so it’s going to be a serious vibe.

You don’t shy away from addressing themes like identity and sexuality in your music, why do you think it’s an important conversation?

I think it’s a subject that people shouldn’t be shy about. Everyone should be proud and confident in who they are, no matter what their sexuality, who they’re with, what their passions are or what they’re trying to say. I think we need to create normality around discussing our sexuality and it’s really important to me to be part of that conversation. I have a huge number of friends who are in the LGBTQI+ community and they should always be able to express themselves and be themselves. Mardi Gras is a beautiful celebration of that.

Well said. Mardi Gras is also synonymous with fashion and you clearly love to serve some serious looks. Is personal style important to you?

Ever since I was little, I loved sparkles, glitter and being OTT. Personal style is so important for my music. When I’m just being ‘Celia’, I’m pretty low-key but when I’m Vera Blue, it’s always gotta be colourful and bright…something I feel good in and happy dancing in.

So would you say that Vera Blue is your style alter ego?

Totally. When I’m doing Vera Blue stuff, I feel like it’s a different way of expressing myself. I can go out there and not feel weird about wearing whatever the hell I want, and be able to feel comfortable with who I am as an artist.

You’ve got a go-to stylist in the wonderful Jana Bartolo. Do you work closely together on most of your wardrobe?

Jana is such a good friend of mine. We’ve been working together since I was on The Voice and she’s incredible. She’s helped create a whole style and aesthetic for Vera Blue. We love to play with florals and different shapes and textures. Pieces that I wear on stage have to have movement or something that plays with the light.

Vera couldn’t be more suited to Mardi Gras. What have you and Jana cooked up?

We’ve themed my outfit around pinks, rose gold and sparkles. It has movement and a bit of shimmer, but you’ll just have to wait and see. I’m pumped.

I’m sure you and [Ru Paul’s Drag Race star] Alyssa Edwards will make a heavenly pair on the float! So what else has 2020 got in-store for Vera? Are we seeing another album on the horizon?

I’m in the studio working on lots of new music and experimenting with new sounds. At the moment, I’m just in an exciting phase of creativity, so I’m having a lot of fun making music and seeing where that takes me.

And no doubt plotting your rise to number one in next year’s Hottest 100?

You never know what could happen! Number two is basically number one, so I’m already feeling like a winner.


*Hack: lame jokes are key to starting any successful interview.

**Evidently, they’re not.

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