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Re-Stylin’ Up: Christine Anu’s New/Old Sound

Beatrice Smith

Christine Anu’s first album, Stylin’ Up, soared to popularity ten years ago in 1995, going platinum and making Christine a household name in Australian music. Now, a decade later, after six more albums, countless Australian and international tours and five Aria awards, Christine is touring nationally with her Re-Stylin’ Up Tour, a new take on her first album.

“Wouldn’t it be great if we thought outside the square and re-recorded a live version of the entire album from start to finish in a whole different reproduced style,” says Christine, describing the though process that brought her to re-recording her first album earlier this year. Despite ‘the masters’ refusing to re-master the original album – Christine’s initial hope – the novel way in which Christine and her team approached the second-coming of Stylin’ Up turned out to be as intuitive as it was pragmatic.

“That first album was fresh and different sounding for what it was, and trying to recreate all of that again in 2015…it was just not the way to do it,” says Christine. Luckily, she had a team that recognised this, and were solutions oriented.

“Steve Balbi, who is very time-poor like myself, came up with the concept of doing a live album and… the [idea of] recording [the album] in one day, as a novelty, seemed like a great idea,” says Christine.

“Steve and I go back to [December] last year when he did my first Christmas album and he was such a fantastic human being to work with; a brilliant musician, a wonderful, empowering person to bring out that performance in you. He’s about the raw-ness [and] the integrity.”

This novel approach to re-recording Stylin’ Up came to life with realistic planning and expectations by Christine and her team. “Steve said, ‘I’ve got this window of time’ and then he said ‘I’ve got a crazy idea’. We came up with a model that was…a live audience in the [studio] who were privy to the way he was recording, track-by-track, but in a performance set up.”

“We brought it to life the first time: we’re not resuscitating something that’s dead here,” says Christine of the re-recording process. “[Steve] wanted people to hear what the vocals were like now, no special effects, ten years down the track.”

“[Unfortunately] there were OH&S problems…we couldn’t get the studio audience in that we wanted…so we had a three day rehearsal to ‘get out’ any creativity that anyone had, for everyone’s ideas to come out and…it was great, it was such a fantastic process,” says Christine. “My version of leading up to the Olympics.”

As to the experience of playing the songs that kick-started her career with a new band, Christine is positive. “Recording the old songs with a whole new band who have never played them before was great, bringing their fresh take and incredible musical knowledge and creativity to the party…was an incredible experience and I’ve never had that before,” she says.

When asked whether re-recording her debut album brought up any moments of déjà vu, Christine’s answer is a firm “not at all!” She then laughs, “No déjà vu moments…there was just a lot of opportunity to talk about the difference between the ways things are done in my world nowadays and the ways things were done back then – they’re worlds apart,” says Christine. “I have more say in my life now, I’m grownup. People take me more seriously now than when I was 20 years old.”

While Christine might now be worlds away from her former self, her voice has remained the same prolific sound, which is overwhelmingly apparent on Re-Stylin’ Up. You can hear Christine’s signature sound when her Re-Stylin’ Up Tour comes to Canberra on August 28 at The Street Theatre. You can purchase tickets here: http://www.giggedin.com/christine-anu-anniversary-tour-2015 and purchase the Re-Stylin’ Up album here: http://christineanu.com.au/

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Beatrice Smith

Bea loves that her job as HerCanberra’s Editorial Coordinator involves eating, drinking and interviewing people - sometimes simultaneously. The master of HerCanberra’s publishing schedule, she’s usually found hunched over a huge calendar muttering to herself about content balance. Otherwise you’ll find her at the movies, ordering a cheese board or ordering a cheese board at the movies. More about the Author

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