Following the success of her first online show, Someone Like Adele, Vanessa Ellen Powell is back with her latest creation, COVID Cabaret set for streaming this weekend. Ahead of her performance, I caught up with Vanessa to find out a little more about what she has planned.
First things first, why don’t you go ahead and tell me a little bit about yourself; who you are, where you’re from & what you do.
Well, I am Vanessa Ellen Powell, now where to start… These things always make me giggle – you truly have to be a force to be reckoned with these days… to stand out – Ha!
I lived/studied and performed in Singapore for 6 years and met my now-husband. We are settled back In Australia now since Dec 2015 and trying to lay roots and make our mark in the Australian music& performing arts industry. I am truly never going to give up – I am A determined woman!
I am starting to become a jack of all trades with the help of my ever-supportive family, friends, students and growing fan base.
I am a performer, singer, actress, creator, singing teacher, dreamer, acting coach, fancer (That mean “fake dancer” – carbs found me after completing my degree).
How did the COVID-19 lockdown affect your ability to create? Was it a positive or negative experience?
To be totally honest, I am turning all the negatives such as losing all my gigs and potential income that was booked this year into other opportunities. I have taken to social media platforms, which is scary for me. It is something I really struggle with and don’t do enough of. However, I’m changing and morphing into this online showgirl, it’s truly a lot of fun! Haha! I can certainly see the power of social media.
How have you had to adapt for the online medium?
From a technical point of view, I have needed to make sure my sound is appropriate and of a professional standard and of course play with camera placement and angles. As my camera is set and it’s a one-woman show, I need to remain active to ensure the show is dynamic, if that makes sense. I don’t have a crew helping me in my loungeroom (no matter how hard I wish I did) and I also am playing with song options and changing up lyrics to be a little tongue-in-cheek and a little risky for this online show. I want to show my naughty/comedic side.
Was making the transition to recorded media as easy as you thought it would be?
NOT AT ALL.
I am so technically challenged, I’ve only just realised what a watch party on Facebook actually is LOL and I thought I was the tech-savvy member in my family. I am winging it in every sense of the word and somehow just doing it by sheer luck. Thank god I upgraded my phone and I pad before COVID started!
What were the challenges you have faced?
I have a lot of gear and accessories for live performance in a “real” live setting, so transferring that to online live shows has been interesting for me because I literally have a $29.00 mixer from Jb hi-fi that I had purchased and forgotten about until March when I was cleaning out my place and found it and forced myself to figure out how to use it. Luckily, it’s designed for recording into iPads or phones on the go and has proved very useful in online content.
How do you think audience consumption of entertainment has changed during the lockdown?
People are excited to watch all different performers go live and perform from whereever they can; in their lounge room, or if they are so lucky enough a studio/staged setting. I have watched many friends online in their various shows from Minnie Cooper to Trevor Ashley to Dolly Diamond and many more.
In some ways, watching these performers with my wine inspired me to push ahead with this silly little idea of COVID Cabaret.
What plans do you have for when the lockdown is over?
I want to solidify plans to stage my first online show Someone Like Adele and get promo videos etc done so I can hit the ground running and start booking live shows when I can. I think I have something really special that I’ve finally pulled from a thought in my mind to an actual show. It’s really amazing what the gift of time can give us all!
How can your audience make a donation to you when enjoying your show?
As work is sparse at the moment, I have set up a paypal.me account for any donations people viewing may wish to contribute.
And I’d like to thank anybody who donates in advance – thank you 🙏