If you were to choose only a handful of things that had helped shape your identity, what would they be?
Former Leonardo’s Bride frontperson, Abby Dobson will join a group of six artists in a revealing performance entitled ‘Songs That Made Me’. The all-female show brings together renditions of songs that each performer believes have affected their lives and their music. “'Songs That Made Me' is a project that Katie Noonan conceived and put together,” Abby explains. “There's six of us on stage and we basically just all share the stage and tell stories about the songs that we love. We play a few original songs, there are a few group songs, and then there are songs that we've chosen that have been inspirational for us at various points in our life, so there's a lot of storytelling and revelations. It's really beautiful.”
Choosing a couple of meaningful songs out of a list of potentials could prove to be a difficult task to anyone. “A lot of songs that I wrote down, I thought, 'Oh, maybe that one, or maybe that, and how could I not do a Beatles song and how could I not do a Bob Dylan song'. So that was the hardest part about the show – choosing the song.”
The show is all about being able to share the stage with other artists, a privilege that is not often exercised in the music world. “For me as a singer, singing with other singers that I love in harmony is one of my favourite things to do. Even just being on stage listening to these iconic singers is lovely — just to sit there and behold their craft and stories. They’re really beautiful women and it's a lovely project.
"It's not texted or scripted or anything like that too, and every night seems to be a bit different. It's really quite conversational and I suppose it depends on how many glasses of red wine have been consumed,” Abby laughs. “It's a different kind of project for me and I love the fact that there's not a lot of pressure on me either. It's not up to me to hold everybody's attention all night. It's nice being a collaborator and a support person as well.”
On top of the show, Abby has been busy touring ‘Baby et Lulu’ — her latest batch of French songs as part of her musical collaboration with singer and violinist Lara Goodridge. “It's kind of weaving in between the other shows and we're hoping to get to Queensland. I seem to be in that point in my life where I'm just doing love projects and things that I love. I've always loved speaking French and visiting France whenever I've got any money in my pocket.
"Lara, who is a good friend of mine, also has a love of all things French and we discovered that while we were in Paris. We were like, 'Maybe one day we should do a song together in French', and it was that simple. We did that song together at a warehouse party and we sang in harmony in French on these milk crates and we were just like, 'Oh my god, we can't end — this is so much fun’. We found an accordion player to accompany us and then we put this band together and we'd just dress up and talk in a ridiculous French accent,” she laughs, pulling off a convincing accent.
The record includes a French version of Leonardo’s Bride’s most popular hit, ‘Even When I’m Sleeping’. “It's nice to give it a new lease of life in French,” Abby says, “and it still feels like it has the same essence.”
The youngest sibling in a musical family, Abby has her older brothers to thank for introducing her to some of her favourite artists. “I learnt to get into music through their love of music. It's probably the most effortless thing that I do. Putting the show on and getting warmed up and learning songs and writing songs – that's all hard, but when I'm actually up there and singing, it’s the easiest thing in the world and everything is right with the world at that point.
"It’s always been something that I've done that's always made me feel better, and in later years I've just grown into it and it's become something I've done to make other people feel better as well.”
Songs That Made Me plays at The Old Museum Concert Hall Saturday December 14.