Award winning, international jazz chanteuse, Fem Belling, brings to life the rare and racy songs of the early decades in her Melbourne Cabaret festival show, FEM ‘N ‘N ORGAN.
Read on to spend 5 minutes with Fem Belling
How would you describe your show to someone who knew nothing about it?
It’s a show that shines a light on some of the incredibly powerful, confronting and shocking lyrics coming out of the 1920’s and 30’s. Songs that were a creative outlet for women in positions of oppression and subjection that don’t get talked about much. Myself, Jake Mason and Eamon McNelis will try to pay tribute to these delicious songs that would make Eminem blush – in our own swinging way.
What/Who was its inspiration?
I stumbled upon an old recording of Lucille Bogan’s SHAVE EM DRY and my jaw nearly hit the floor. The titillating tongue in cheek honesty and colourful expression made me want more. I did some extensive research in to songs of this ‘dirty blues” genre and knew I had to take the time to share this with an audience. These women were standing up in the face of social oppression, colour profiling and gender norms and singing out at the top of their voices. I want to celebrate that!
What do you think is its best quality?
A hammond organ, a trumpet and the gritty stories of some loose mouthed working women can only make for a decadent night out right???
Why should people see it?
60 minutes of soul strengthening, salacious songs is exactly what we need to rethink what we know or don’t know about women in music in the 30’s. To dip our toes into a world filled with subjection, sass, pride and prejudice and feel the power of lyrics and music is exactly what cabaret should be doing today.
If there is one thing you would like to say to your fans, what is it?
Netflix will be there when you get home from the theatre – I promise! Come and support live theatre, music and storytelling.
Who or what has been the greatest influence in your career?
There are so may extraordinary people who have inspired different parts of who I have become and as performer and a person, and I hope I keep gathering these inspirations as my goal posts shift. From my family and friends to people at my shows to random artists on Spotify. Knowing that there a people out there who are behind me makes everything possible!
Who makes you want to sing
Gregory Porter – I have a hundred tunes at the ready to sing with him!!!
When did it become clear to you that music and entertainment were your passions?
They are not just passions but are my oxygen… I can’t breathe without them. Music and entertainment are as much a part of my family as eggs on toast. I hail from an artistic family and have always had the support to follow my dreams (Thanks mom & dad)
What are 3 words that describe you?
Tenacious, Empathetic, Fabulous
What are 3 things that would surprise people to learn about you?
I love pickles more than chocolate
I can’t ride a bicycle
I secretly dream of performing in a full LED light dress
What is next for you?
I am heading over to Europe in (their) summer for a mini tour, performing in London and Germany and am planting the seeds for a USA / Australia recording collaboration soon – so watch this space.
Melbourne Cabaret Festival, Wednesday 19 until Sunday 30 June 2019, Chapel Off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel St, Prahran. Bookings: http://melbournecabaret.com