We all know her voice by now. Without question, they are some of the most gloriously elastic vocal chords in contemporary music. In one song, she will sound as hushed and intimate as a lover before sleep, before reverberating with an operatic force so great, it seems possible walls might collapse and time will fold in on itself. Across the Pacific and Atlantic-from Australia to Asia, the US and UK-stunned audiences have been mesmerised and transformed, one at a time, by the extraordinary talent that is Kate Miller-Heidke.
Now, following double-platinum sales for her last album (2008's Curiouser), sets at Coachella, international dates supporting Ben Folds, acclaimed opera performances in Australia and the UK, and catching US critics-from the New York Times to the New Yorker-off-guard, Kate Miller-Heidke returns with Nightflight, her first solo album in three years. Over 11 songs, Nightflight signals a new-found sophistication in songwriting that sees Kate meditate on homesickness, mortality, love and surrender, in an album that is both sonically lush and emotionally stark, deeply personal and yet utterly panoramic.
Written between the frenetic jolt of London and the rising floodwaters of Toowoomba, Nightflight showcases songs about real people's lives: family members who have died, teenagers who went missing in the '90s, friends looking for love in the wrong places and Kate's own longing for home. In previous albums, Kate has immersed herself in high cabaret drama, polished electro-pop and heart-arresting ballads. With Nightflight, her mission was simple: to focus on the craft of pure human storytelling with clear-eyed clarity.
"Everything I've ever done has been a reaction against the previous thing," Kate says. "Nightflight is definitely a more vulnerable and exposed record than anything I've done before. If Curiouser was a playful, dysfunctional adolescent, Nightflight is more like a damaged, melancholy person in her late 20s. With Nightflight, we wanted something darker and more organic, more beautiful and more expansive."