In my early teens, I mostly listened to the music my parents played, from Randy Crawford and Stevie Wonder to Boz Scaggs, Santana, The Eagles and The Beach Boys – very laid-back American music from the late 70s. Then, on the radio, you’d hear a lot of Australian music, which we’d listen to avidly. Melbourne’s 3XY played Air Supply, Little River Band, Australian Crawl, all the Australian artists that were starting to break overseas. 

Kate Ceberano

Kate Ceberano. Photo © Claudio Rastrella.

At 13 or 14, I hit the stage for my school’s musicals, and I thought, “Here’s something I can actually do!” I think I had a subliminal, unconscious connection with musical theatre, because I had glandular fever for about three months at high school. I watched midday movies from the couch, and they were often musicals – Sweet Charity, West Side Story, The Sound of Music. So, the first thing I wanted to be was a jazz siren draped across a piano, dressed like Rita Hayworth.

When I was 17, maybe 16, I had a blinding realisation and popped out of that reverie. It was like Back to the Future. I woke up and...