Personal struggle laid bare

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
Simone Keane
Camera IconSimone Keane Credit: Lata Wright

Simone Keane is a singer-songwriter who wears her heart on her sleeve.

The audience will realise that when they hear her play at the Albany Club on Saturday at 5pm.

Open about the emotion in her music and her struggle with depression, Keane said she was inspired by a sense of helplessness coupled with a sense of hope.

“I am acutely sensitive to issues where there’s nothing I can do to help directly,” she said. “I try to overcome this by releasing songs about these issues in hopes that it adds to raising enough awareness for change to occur.

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“My recent single, Durga and the Little Girl, was inspired after reading Padmini Emmaneni’s novel, Kaalachakra, about a child bride in India. I can feel people relating to certain songs as I am writing, before anybody has heard them. It all comes down to basic humanity.”

Keane is working on an album, expected to be released this winter. Audience interaction means the Albany show will be far from background music — a trait the school teacher by trade felt was a must.

She said she was back with a passion after six years away from the music industry, having given up being a working musician after being consumed by the “black dog” of depression.

“When I released my first full-length album, Burning,in 2010,I won two WAM song of the year awards,” she said. “I was euphoric, pinching myself because I thought songwriting competitions were usually won by artists known in the industry.

“After the excitement of winning died down, I found myself feeling exhausted trying to keep up with expectations to keep the momentum going.

“As an independent female artist with little funds at the time, I had to promote myself and liaise with venues and event managers, but I wasn’t a business person and ‘selling’ myself felt unnatural.

“I wound up emotionally and mentally exhausted. I almost lost the use of my finger breaking up a dog fight and it has made me realise that our skills and talents cannot be taken for granted and that those who offer opportunities and create safe spaces in which ‘mature-aged’ female musicians can perform are a blessing.”

Keane will be accompanied by local violinist Ellie Honeybone, with a special rendition of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ song I Put a Spell on You.

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