Song of Songs
Do Re Mi
Deborah Conway is a significant and eloquent contributor to Australian music, singing songs that chronicle the essential elements of life, love, loss, memory, the mundane and the spiritual. Restless and confounding, her powerful voice and presence has fascinated audiences for the past 30 years. A rare female agitator in a time when the music industry was male dominated; Conway continues to be a role model for young women and a mentor to emerging artists.From the moment her band, Do Re Mi released the iconic Man Overboard, off their debut album Domestic Harmony in 1985, Conway has always followed her own path. The song was radically different to radio playlists, a rant on gender politics and without a chorus, yet it sat at the top of the charts and introduced her as a compelling force.In 1986, relocated to Europe, Do Re Mi wrote & recorded a second album, The Happiest Place in Town. The single Adultery and album were well received but by the end of 88 the band had split and Conway remained in the UK to work on a variety of projects. These included singing on The Iron Man by Pete Townsend, alongside Nina Simone and John Lee Hooker; and acting and singing in Peter Greenaway s film Prospero s Books, scored by Michael Nyman. Throughout this period Conway continued writing and in 1990 returned to Australia with an album s worth of new material ready to record again.Conway s debut solo album String of Pearls, released in 1991, was a radical departure from Do Re Mi. Its themes of youthful reflection and tongue-in-cheek irreverence, embodied in It s Only The Beginning, Release Me & the bittersweet title track, won her Best Female ARIA award that year. One of Australia s emblematic female singer-songwriter albums, String Of Pearls found an essential and enduring place.The album release was accompanied by an extensive national tour with band The Mothers Of Pearl in which Willy Zygier played guitar. This was the start of a highly successful songwriting and personal collaboration for Conway & Zygier that has resulted so far in eight records and three children.In 1993, Conway & Zygier produced their first album together, Bitch Epic, the title coming from random words, cut up and pulled from a hat . From its distinctive cover, which saw Conway smeared with Nutella and little else, to its rich and complex musicality, Bitch Epic pursued a singular path. Once again radio was pushed unknowingly into adding unusual textures and sounds to their programming; the 5/4 beat of Alive and Brilliant and the loping, unique rhythm of Today I Am A Daisy both made their way onto the airwaves. Wanting to take music more respectfully at a time when most Australian acts were playing pubs and beer barns, Conway & Zygier became producers, underwriting The Epic Theatre tour in grand old theatres around the country.