The Melbourne Cabaret Festival is back celebrating 10 years of some of the best Cabaret in Australia. A festival like no other, the Melbourne Cabaret Festival is famous for launching new shows and award-winning performers. This year is no different, featuring Australian singer/songwriter Emma Dean and her new show,  Broken Romantics: A Unicorn’s Quest for Love.

Read on as I spend 5 minutes with Emma Dean:

How would you describe your show to someone who knew nothing about it? 

Gig-Theatre. Think of a pop music gig mashed with a theatre show and that’s Broken Romantics. It’s a show with a lot of heart – about heartbreak, healing and most importantly…discovering your inner-unicorn! There is original music performed by a killer four piece band, kooky covers, a splash of comedy, story-telling, and a sublime physical-theatre performer who weaves in and out of the show. We like to think there is a little bit o’ something for everyone.

What/Who was its inspiration?

The idea came to me while I was travelling through Japan…heartbroken. My friend, Katie Swan (who is in the show) was with me and we began to discuss kintsugi – the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer mixed with gold and silver to highlight the unique cracks instead of hide them. I wanted to try and turn my emotional cracks and breaks into something beautiful.

What do you think its best quality is? 

We have been told that the audience never knows what’s around the corner! One minute they are bopping along to a Sia song, the next they are crying, and then they are hysterically laughing. It’s definitely a journey through the spectrum of human emotion. The other highlight is the extraordinary performers I share the stage with – Tony Dean, Katie Swan, Wayne Jennings and Jamie Kendall. I consider myself extremely blessed to be working with these world class humans!

Why should people see it? 

For a musical reminder that it is possible to turn something broken into something beautiful.

If there is one thing you would like to say to your fans, what is it? 

You are a f*%king unicorn!

Who or what has been the greatest influence in your career? 

I am influenced by so many things – my own life experiences, love, heartbreak, the world around me, my talented family and friends, my community choir ‘Cheep Trill’, and at the moment…Celtic music!

Who makes you want to sing

My gorgeous choir! We have just been performing at the Cork International Choral Festival and despite being a non-competitive choir, the festival awarded us with one of the five awards – The Peace Award – which is for the choir who most embodies the spirit of the festival.

When did it become clear to you that music and entertainment were your passions? 

When I popped out, bum first, to the sound of a Spohr’s ‘Nonet’…and dad dropped the cassette player. It was written in the stars.

What does music, song and entertainment mean to you? 

I believe music has the ability to channel and convey the emotions and feelings that we often find difficult to express. It can be one of the most healing practices and can also help us to connect with others and find a greater sense of belonging. Through music, I have found my ‘tribe’! They are people from all walks of life but we focus on our commonalities which, over time, helps us to understand our differences. I’m constantly learning from these people and it’s through sharing our passion for music that we have found a safe space and a supportive community.

What are 3 words that describe you? 

Mischievous, kind and creative! 

What are 3 things that  would surprise people to learn about you?

  1. When I was two I chopped off my thumb in my Nanna’s exercise bike chain.
  2. I have my AMusA in Classical violin with distinction.
  3. I am a herbivore.

What is next for you?

I am going on tour, in a teeny tiny plane, with the legendary Glenn Shorrock from Little River Band as part of Queensland Music Festival! I’m his opening act. I will also be teaching my choral arrangement of his famous song – ‘Help Is On Its Way’ – to regional communities around Queensland with the hope of starting a dialogue around mental illness especially for our boys and men. As we know, group singing helps us to feel a sense of belonging and is a great healer of the blues as it releases those ‘feel-good-chemicals’! It’s a very special project which I am honoured to be part of.

Emma Dean’s Broken Romantics:  A Unicorn’s Quest for Love, part of the Melbourne Cabaret Festival, Wednesday 19 until Sunday 30 June 2019, Chapel Off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel St, Prahran.  Bookings: