Bertie Blackman
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Bertie Blackman

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Band Alternative Pop

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Friday 17th July 2009

Since their inception in 2005, the J Awards have become one of the most respected in the industry. Selected on quality and what defined that year in music, the awards are widely recognised as a stamp of excellence. Unearthing and developing emerging Australian artists is a key component of what triple j is and the j awards embody that philosophy.

The J Awards include Australian Album of the Year, Australian Music Video of the Year and Unearthed Artist of the Year. Previous winners indicate the calibre of the awards: Wolfmother (2005), Hilltop Hoods (2006) and The Panics (2007), The Presets (2008) have gone on to make a significant impact both domestically and overseas.
Nominees for all three awards are deliberated over and chosen by judges from triple j and triple j tv’s music experts, including the Music Director, Program Director and triple j presenters.

Announcing the first ‘Australian Album Of The Year’ nominations for this year’s J Award: ?Hilltop Hoods ‘State Of The Art’?Bertie Blackman’s ‘Secrets & Lies’ ?Karnivool’s ‘Sound Awake’

Stay tuned for more announcements over the coming months. Winners will be announced in the first week of December, after the culmination of Aus Music Month.

What the artists said of their nominations:

MC Suffa from the Hilltop Hoods – “We are honoured that State Of The Art has been nominated for such a prestigious award and would like to thank triple j and its listeners.”

Bertie Blackman – “Joy! An overwhelming desire to buy a kitten! And a bat! and Champagne! A big kiss to triple j!”
?Karnivool - “Everyone in the Karnivool camp are absolutely chuffed to be nominated for the J Award. It's an honour to be recognised amongst all the previous nominees and winners. Thanks and credit goes out to triple j and its listeners for embracing ‘Sound Awake’. It has made the 4 years that were spent creating it all the more worthwhile.”
- triple j radio


Sydney singer/ songwriter Bertie Blackman is what I call an artist who is not afraid to create music that continues to grow, what comes to mind is an artist who never plays by the rules, an artist who does what she feels. That’s why her career has never been solidly one thing, or one sound. Her debut release in 2004, Headway, was more acoustic based, Black her second LP more rockier, and now she shows us another side as she launches her new release Secrets and Lies, a mix of deep rock and electro, as she made it along side producer Lee Groves (Goldfrapp, Gwen Stefani).
Revolver Upstairs started to fill and I could feel the anticipation grow as we waited for her and her band to take stage. Tonight was all about Bertie Blackman, a showcase specifically held to perform the new material off the album to friends, family, media and dedicated fans.
The gig began with the sounds and imagery of a clock ticking faster and faster projected back of stage, the music that went with it was dark, mysterious. Right away I could feel what this album was going to be about. Blackman and her band entered to a cheer by the audience. She was dressed in all black, with silver glistening shoes, her necklace was a big key dangling, which has been the recent imagery of all her new artwork for the album. The band was extremely tight, and all members had a really strong presence on stage. The line up consisted of keys; synths, drums, bass guitar and Blackman performed most of the set with her guitar.
What really worked throughout was the mix of rock and electro, the set began with the rockier songs, and then she left us with the electro gritty songs that really blew me away. Because I was not familiar with any of the songs, I found myself staring up at her in amazement as I watched her body shake to the songs in an unusual yet playful way. She definitely had something about her that was unrecognisable. Her voice was raw, and when she really belted out notes, her voice soared. Then she went into falsetto easily with high notes that gave her a more pure tone. I really could not fault her singing.
To me she is like a new PJ Harvey but with a more electro edge, although she seems as though she is not influenced by anyone else but herself, as her style is truly unique. For me highlights of the set were track Thump, it is pop at its best, rocky guitar and bass lines, skilful drumming and a thumping heart breakdown where Blackman really showcases her eccentric nature. The whole bands energy during this track was really high and the crowd felt this and started to dance around. Byrds Of Prey, was also another standout track, a dark electro track that featured synths, electronic drums and a new sound for Blackman. Baby Teeth also another track that really shook the place, before Blackman admitted that she had kept her baby teeth, she brought in more dirty synths, sexy seductive vocals and a deep and dark sound, I could really picture this track in a club, but it still had its gritty rock moments as well. Shout Out is when we really got to hear the talent of Blackman’s voice as she did this track just with vocals and guitar, as the band rested. She mentioned that this track was about her friend, and was a very special track to her.
Stand out track of the night was the first single that is off the album, Heart it has just been released to radio a couple of days ago. It is pop infused electro and got the whole crowd going. It began with the whole band clapping, and electro drums entered with unique and well thought out beats and dirty wavering synth lines. The chorus was more pop with a catchy vocal and heavy live drums. I am sure you will all be hearing this track soon.
Bertie’s voice is seductive, sexy and extremely powerful. A great showcase of an album that I am sure is set to go really well.
- FasterLouder


Bertie Blackman, what a remarkable singer. The Sydney based singer songwriter has gone to a whole new level with her third album `Secrets and Lies`.
This album is world class.
Bertie cites her influences as Bjork, Erykah Badu, Suzanne Vega, Joni Mitchell's and Radiohead. On ‘Secrets and Lies’ you may her the occasional reminder of some of those acts, but Bertie has established her own sound with this record.
Track one ‘Sky Is Falling’ is dark, dreamy and atmospheric but track two, appropriately titled ‘Thump’ is a sudden jar, featured by her dynamic vocals.
What is so impressive with this album is the constantly evolving sounds. By track three, we are into electronica with ‘Black Cats’, a song ripe for a remix if ever Bertie wanted a chart hit.
‘Heart’ at track four is a left turn again. This is where you start to hear those Radiohead influences start to creep in.
You get a sense of the theatric on ‘White Owl’, and ‘Come To Bed’ while ‘Clocks’ returns to that atmospheric, Floydish sounds of the opening track.
There is another hit to happen in ‘Byrds of Prey’, a song that could be pop with a subtle push to the right.
By the time you get nine tracks deep in at ‘Shout Out’ who will be sold completely on this album because there are no hidden surprises. It is an album you can listen to from start to finish and then want to play again.
‘Lost and Found’ conjures up the ghost of Kate Bush past while ‘Town of Sorrow’ slow us back down to world music level and a pace slightly faster than Enya.
The light and shade of this album is the hook. Bertie can bring you down in one song and lift you with the next. ‘Baby Teeth’ harks back to 80s synth but ‘Valentine’ ends the album where it started, in the quietest moment.
‘Secrets and Lies’ was produced by Lee Groves (Goldfrapp, Gwen Stefani) and Francois Tetaz (Goyte, Architecture In Helsinki).
This is one of the most innovative Australian releases so far for 2009.
- Undercover.com.au


Just as it seemed 2009 would be bereft of anything shockingly original, Blackman saves our sonic day. Even after the 17th airing of the Sydney Songwriter's jawdropping new single, it's brilliance leaves you reeling. The verses recall Bjork's minimalist beat and melody mastery before giving way to infectiously joyous '60's pop. But the lyrics are oh-so dark and existential.
4.5 out of 5 - SYDNEY DAILY TELEGRAPH


SYDNEY singer-songwriter Bertie Blackman isn't about to be caught out standing still.
The pint-sized pocket rocket crashed on to the Australian music scene in 2004 with the raw single Favourite Jeans, a Triple J hit with a peppery, indie-folk flavour.
Lifted from her debut album of the same year, Headway, Blackman's acoustic leanings soon evolved into a rock assault with 2006's follow-up album Black. While standout tracks such as the drum-driven Fast Bitch and You Kill Me took her to a wider audience, it's the reception for Blackman's new album that has the local music industry buzzing. With Secrets & Lies, due out Saturday, Bertie Blackman has truly arrived.
Elements of her folk and rock roots remain, but the polish on Secrets & Lies, courtesy of renowned producers Francois Tetaz (Gotye, Architecture in Helsinki) and Lee Groves (Goldfrapp, Gwen Stefani) could send Blackman pirouetting into a new stratosphere. Already the album's debut single, Heart, has won fans from radio play. On release, it was picked up by Nova stations, country and regional networks, as well as garnering loyal support from Triple J. It was iTunes' Single of the Week and was reviewed by The Courier-Mail as "jaw dropping" and "infectiously joyous".
Elements of electronica, strings, 1960s pop, dark, brooding edges and bare-bone beats abound, all sewn together by Blackman's irresistible smoky vocal tone and knack for a twisty melody. Third albums are where artists often hit their stride – think of Powderfinger with Internationalist – and Blackman feels this is definitely her best work. "I'm really excited about it," Blackman says."Because I wrote the album track-by-track, I spent a lot of time with each song." Rather than sitting down and developing a concept or a distinct feel for the new album, Blackman wrote the tracks in an eight-month period. Each song, she says, had time to develop its own life. When she had a handful ready, they were recorded in the studio, before she moved on to the next batch.
Blackman says she found the process more natural and believes, as a result, Secrets & Lies feels like her most personal and accomplished album yet. "It does have an electronic element all the way through it but there are also poppier bits and grower-songs that take a little bit longer to creep in. I like that about a record. For me when I listen to other people's records I really like, it's great when you notice something about a song you didn't notice before."
Some of the credit for the broader appeal of Secrets & Lies goes to producers Tetaz and Groves, whose services on the album are described by Blackman as "happy accidents". Brit Lee Groves has just moved to Australia, and as an old friend of Blackman's manager, found his first producing gig within a week of arriving. "We didn't intend doing the whole album with Lee, but we just kept making songs," she says. "Then I met Francois and there were couple of tracks I wanted him to work on because his sound is so polar opposite to Lee's sound – that really warm, handmade feel." Tetaz was at the controls for Heart, White Owl and Byrds of Prey, which beautifully combine on Secrets & Lies to give the album its backbone.
Despite the reception her new album is receiving at home, Blackman has one eye on overseas, particularly the UK and Japan, but promises fans will see her touring soon.
"We'll be doing a big national tour at the end of June and July," she says. "Brisvegas will definitely be seeing Bertie Blackman soon."
- Courier Mail


Discography

December 2009: Black Cats (AU Single) November 2009: Thump (UK Single)
October 2009: Byrds Of Prey (AU Single)
August 2009: Thump (AU Single)
May 2009: Secrets And Lies (AU Album)
April 2009: Heart (AU Single)
July 2007: Fast Bitch (AU Single)
October 2006: Black (Album)
December 2005: Television (AU Single)
July 2005: You Kill Me Everytime (AU EP)
August 2004: Headway (AU Album)
March 2004: Favourite Jeans (AU Single)
October 2003: Blue Sky Pueblo (AU EP)
May 2003: Criminal Of Desire (AU Single)

Photos

Bio

Bertie Blackman's first encounter with her artistic self came as a child sashaying across her mother and father's paint strewn studio floor. The daughter of iconic Australian artist Charles Blackman, not many musicians can boast a foundation of emotional expression like Bertie, "I come from a family of painters, so everything I do is pretty visual. You can see and feel my music".
Bertie first stepped onto the scene with 'Headway' (2004), her folk-inspired debut album powered by acoustic guitar. The album’s single 'Favourite Jeans' became Bertie's radio breakthrough and saw her dubbed "Australia's underground queen". On her second album, 'Black' (2006) Bertie returned armed with an electric guitar delivering a sexier, gritty rock sound. "There's always been something about a feisty girl with an axe and a pen..." (Mess + Noise - 2006)
Constantly evolving as an artist, Bertie continues to develop her sound on 'Secrets and Lies' (2009) blending electronic influences with her signature vocal style and penchant for brutally honest lyrics in a modern exploration of pop music. "I wanted to do something more electronic and less band-oriented" says Blackman, "It's dark, but it's also a pop record".
'Secrets and Lies' is a result of the meeting of great minds including Sydney based UK producer Lee Groves (Goldfrapp, Gwen Stefani) and Francois Tetaz (Gotye, Architecture in Helsinki.)
The album's first single 'heart' is a pulsating rhythmic track that buzzes with a fusion of tribal beats and acid-Motown grooves. 'heart' was released in March 2009 and was added to high rotation on Triple J and across the board on commercial radio network Nova. Altogether 'heart' was the 4th most added song on Australian radio in its premiere week of release. 'heart' was also an Australian iTunes Single of the Week in April and received more than 17,000 downloads, one of the nation's most downloaded Singles of the Week of all-time.
The album Secrets and Lies was released on May 8, 2009 on Forum 5 Recordings with distribution through MGM and was presented as a Triple J Feature Album received widespread critical acclaim. Haunting vocals soar, industrial electronics collide and the track troughs into eerie breaths of quiet throughout. For Bertie, 'Thump' captures that "feeling of walking home late at night; your footsteps hit the pavement and your whole body pulsates. You become really aware of your breath and heartbeat."
In the lead-up to a 15-date Australian album tour throughout August 2009, 'Secrets and Lies' was nominated for a J Award, Triple J's highest accolade for the best Australian album of the year. The 'Secrets and Lies' tour precedes national performances on the Parklife Festival in September/October 2009 alongside LaRoux, The Rapture and Metric.
Bertie delivers pop music with depth. Her voice is seductive, her lyrics are inventive and honest and she mesmerizes as a live performer. 2009 has been an incredible year for Bertie Blackman in Australia, with her picking up gongs for 2009 ARIA Award for Best Independent Release and the 2009 AIR Award for Breakthrough Independent Artist. This success has only bolstered her growing international awareness with huge support in the UK from Radio 1, 1xtra, KISS FM and XFM.