Hetty Kate is one of Australian jazz luminary James Morrison’s favourite singers, has graced stages from New Zealand to New York, released six acclaimed albums, sung for the lindy-hop/swing-dance community across Europe, Asia, North America and Australia, and more recently has joined the ABC Jazz / Universal Music stable of vocalists.
Born in England, Hetty came to Melbourne, Australia as a young teenager and now enjoys dividing her time between Europe and Australia. Hetty is working on two new albums, and preparing to tour in New Zealand and Europe later this year.
Hetty is often lauded by both musicians and audiences for what she ‘doesn’t do’ as a jazz singer. Originally trained in classical voice, Hetty swings her way through The Great American Songbook with clarity and diction, along with creative phrasing and timing. Her approach honours the composer by keeping true to the melody and lyric; and uses improvisation in a way which never detracts from the story of the song. It is this rare quality that led Mal Stanley, from ABC Jazztrack (ABC Jazz Radio) to invite her to record an exclusive album of treasures from the catalogues of Julie London, Peggy Lee and June Christy. Titled Dim All The Lights, it features some of Melbourne’s best musicians and was released by ABC Jazz / Universal in Australia in 2014 along with Japan and New Zealand the following year.
Around the same time, Hetty spent two years as part of James Morrison’s acclaimed touring bands. One of many highlights was her role as the featured soloist in his acclaimed symphony concert ‘The A to Z of Jazz’ which was performed with the Melbourne, Sydney, Tasmanian and Western Australian Symphony Orchestras as well as Christchurch, Auckland and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestras. These yielded a live recording (by James Morrison, Ben Northey, Hetty Kate and the MSO) which won a coveted ‘Bell Award’ in the Australian National Jazz Awards in May 2015; and Hetty is honoured to appear with James Morrison and this concert at the Prague Proms in 2016.
Though the last decade has been full of too many wonderful musical experiences to list them all, Hetty’s favourites include singing at the Sydney Opera House, treading the boards as Ava Gardner in Eric McCusker’s original musical ‘Ava at the End of the World’, singing twice for the RACV Australia Day celebrations (as a migrant to Australia it was a particularly special concert for her), and participating in the Melbourne Recital Centre’s ‘Music Always’ program to bring vintage music to elderly members of the community.
A seasoned traveller, Hetty performed in eight countries during 2015 with her own bands and as a guest of many others and looks forward to visiting the Czech Republic, Germany, New Zealand, China and the US in the next 12 months. Having earned the respect of her fellow musicians and the admiration of critics, audiences and devoted fans, her career continues to go from strength to strength – while she continues to sing the songs she loves.