Gabrielle Keogh (Mum)
My mum was a high school teacher. She taught literature and English history and she was really great at her job. Although I didn’t go to her school, as her son I still benefited from her talents. When I would write my essays and struggled to find the right words, Mum would dictate such clear, powerful, beautiful sentences.
They were absolute gold. I definitely inherited a love of language and having that emotional response to music and books from her. During my career she has helped me write and come up with some of the most important and best lines in my songs. Months before I wrote my song ‘Fire and the Flood’,
Mum had an idea. She said, “Everything is fine when your head is resting next to mine.” I tucked that line away in my phone and then, months later, I was in the studio and it came to this moment where I needed a line to put in the chorus – and that fit perfectly. I remember being very excited. It instantly took me back to those moments in high school when Mum would tell me how to write the conclusion of an essay. I always feel so indebted to her because her words are the shining jewels in my songs.
I remember hearing Sia on the radio around 2007 and her song just sounded different. It was on commercial radio but I was like “this sounds unique”. It sounded like a pop song but it also had this interesting flavour and heart to it that I couldn’t recognise in any other songs.
Her track ‘Soon We’ll Be Found’ blew my mind. I remember typing “Sia interviews” into YouTube, and just admiring the way she talked. I found her
so refreshing and real about watching sitcoms and not liking touring. I liked that she was very honest about wanting to make music that lots of people heard and was also not afraid of commercial success and wanting that – and better still did it in her own way. I feel like if you try to copy the people you really admire, through that you end up finding your own vibe, and she did that for me.
I met her once. It was so funny. I was in Italy, and I went on this date with this lovely girl, and we were just having a nice dinner. I looked over and I saw my friend Benny Blanco, who’s a producer. It turns out Sia was having dinner with him. She joined in on poking fun at us being on a first date, but in a very lovely way. It was a dream encounter.
When I think of the women who have been champions for my music, I think of my manager, Rach. She’s had such a huge impact and has been there for me every step of the way. We just have such a close connection and I feel really lucky to be on the same wavelength as her. Rach really believes in the music.
When I wrote ‘Fire and the Flood’ in a writing session, she called me up and said, “I cried when I heard this song.” I was like, really? I thought it was a pop song or that it was too simple or slow. There’s so many things that you can do to sabotage yourself when you write a song. She’s a great barometer and a champion of songs. I really do trust her instinct. She’s got really good taste in music, and she protects me. She’ll say, “Do you want to take a day off in three months to see your girlfriend?” She’s like a force field around me
Vance Joy’s new album, In Our Own Sweet Time, is out June 10. His Australian tour starts in September.