Australian singer-songwriter Brett Every has a wonderful gift of tapping into contemporary issues involving the LGBT community through his songs and his music videos.
Every recently released to iTunes his new song, “What A Beautiful Day,” and worked closely with animator Jo Knox to create an amazing music-video animation that will touch the heart. Who knew that animation would poetically and emotionally humanize the issue of same-sex marriage?
The Sydney entertainer spoke with San Diego Gay & Lesbian News about his third album, the use of animation in his music videos, his inspirations and his future plans.
SDGLN: What has been the reaction to your new song, “What A Beautiful Day,” as you weigh in on marriage equality?
Brett: I’ve been thrilled by the response to “What A Beautiful Day,” and straight up I want to give huge credit to my friend Jo Knox for her amazing animation for the video. Many people have said how perfectly the video matches the song — it’s a simple message, and I think the video conveys it so beautifully. Both Jo and I have been thrilled with the response.
SDGLN: What is your prediction on whether Australian Parliament will approve same-sex marriage?
Brett: Well, surely they’ve just got to — and eventually they will. Especially since the polls show how the majority of Australians are happy to support marriage equality. I’m really not sure why our politicians are so scared of the issue.
SDGLN: Why do you choose to do animation on your music videos?
Brett: With this video especially, I think the emotions come across so clearly — partly because they are animated. I particularly love the mother in the second verse — she’s perfect!
SDGLN: What are your roots as a singer?
Brett: I started out listening to the wonderful 1980s and it seems I then worked my way backwards. ‘80s pop, then ‘70s folk, then ‘60s soul, and onto the ‘50s and earlier.
SDGLN: How would you describe your sound?
Brett: I guess it’s a mix of all of that. When you release albums on iTunes, you’re asked to select your genre, and I never know which box to tick — pop or rock or folk or blues. My sound is not strictly any of those, but somehow it’s a combination of all of them.
SDGLN: You have a lovely, deep and rich voice? Are you naturally gifted vocally or were you trained academically?
Brett: No, not trained. I just spent a whole lot of time listening to voices that I love — Cyndi Lauper, Alison Moyet, kd lang … a whole stack of female singers. And then I somehow had to work out how to sing with the throat I was given.
SDGLN: Who are your musical idols?
Brett: I’d have to put Stevie Nicks and Emmylou Harris right up top, for making music I would always turn to. I love the back catalogues of Bette Midler and kd lang, and kd’s latest album is brilliant. And I love what Patty Griffin has done for bringing the focus back on great songwriting.
SDGLN: What inspires your lyrics? Do you always go for the intellectual subjects, or do you have a lighter side too?
Brett: Well, the lighter side does come through every now and then. I mean, I’ve got a whole song about Blanche Devereaux, and “Swing By” is about having a half-hour rendezvous in a Berlin hotel (not autobiographical!). But true, there has to be a great idea behind a song for me … or at least a good angle to start with. Otherwise you’re just saying what’s been said a hundred times before.
SDGLN: Your song and music video “Man Walks Into A Bar” is brilliant in dealing with age and self-awareness. What was the back story on this?
Brett: Oh, thank you. Well, it’s about a 40-year-old meeting his 20-year-old self in a bar — and his 60-year-old self is standing by the jukebox looking on, bemused by their banter back-and-forth. And I wrote it when I was 30. So I don’t quite know what to make of it. Making the video with iPhones was a lot of fun.
SDGLN: What’s next on the horizon for Brett Every? Any plans to tour the States?
Brett: I sure would love to. I’ve just released my new album “Tales of Ten Men,” based on a live show we did in Sydney earlier this year. The songs are about 10 different men — Henry (a lover), Ollie (a friend), William (an ex), Mr. Smith (a boyfriend’s father), Brother Taylor (from Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode To Billie Joe”), Doctor Joe and so on. I’d love to build on that show.
SDGLN: If you could host a dinner party and invite three people (dead or alive), who would they be and why?
Brett: Oh, you know, just the usual: Madeline Kahn (preferably in character as Mrs. White from the film “Clue”), Margaret Cho’s mother, and… um… you. Are you busy this Saturday?