Most of us were locked in, all of us had lost the chance to socialise, to meet and drink and talk and eat and see music and work out and enjoy things outside the house. But music didn’t have to stop and The Great Confinement had opened up a chance to explore at home, to dig up old favourites and find new pleasures.
In this series we ask: what music made your life better? Today, actor, singer, dancer and star of the about-to-return-to-theatres Come From Away, Zoe Gertz.
WHAT ALBUMS OR ARTISTS HAVE YOU BEEN PLAYING SINCE BEING CONFINED TO HOME?
My music has been all about inciting joy during these crazy times, so there’s been lots of dancing around the house to Dua Lipa, Beyonce, Kim Petras, Ariana Grande. Chilling out to Maggie Rogers, Lorde, India Arie.
When I was really missing my family, it was all about the artists my parents were always playing when I was young: Carole King, Paul Simon, Hall & Oates, and an embarrassing amount of Phil Collins. I love him. I love his voice. Don’t @ me. I’ll always be loyal to Phil.
WHICH HAVE BEEN GETTING MULTIPLE SPINS?
Other than Mr Collins, Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia is on the highest rotation. When I’m exercising, when i’m needing a pick-me-up to get my day started, it’s my new go-to. It instantly puts a smile on my face and gets me doing a boogie in the kitchen.
HOW HAS LOCKDOWN CHANGED THE WAY YOU CONSUME MUSIC?
In the past, because listening to music is heavily intertwined with what I do for work, I don’t think I had even realised that I had stopped listening to music purely for my own pleasure. With Broadway and the West End only just coming out of lockdown, and therefore a huge lack of new cast albums being released- which in the past I’ve always been on top of for the purpose of “research”, I definitely had to go on a bit of a hunt for what I wanted to listen to.
And then when I found it, it wasn’t just something playing in the background whilst catching up on laundry anymore. Imagine having the time to just sit back, close your eyes, and feel like you’re really engaging with a new artist! Such luxury! It became my favourite kind of “me time”. I hope I make the effort to keep doing that when life becomes crazy busy again!
WHAT ALBUM FROM YOUR PAST HAVE YOU REDISCOVERED? WHAT DO YOU STILL LOVE ABOUT IT?
When I was a kid, I was obsessed with Bette Midler’s The Divine Miss M. It still holds up as the most incredibly fun & camp album ever, and it sounds like home to me. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy plays, and I’m a dorky kid in my parent’s living room, twirling around on my tip toes all over again.
HAVE YOU FOUND NEW MUSIC – OR AN ARTIST OR GENRE - THAT WAS UNEXPECTED? WHAT’S EXCITED YOU ABOUT IT?
I was watching The Voice this year because coincidentally I knew a few people competing on it, and in one of the first episodes, one of the contestants sang a song by Yebba, which I loved and googled immediately, and was thrilled to discover that she had an album coming out just a couple of weeks later.
Dawn has become an instant new favourite. Yebba’s vocal is incredible- she switches between this husky, folksy sound and a really grounded bluesy Adele-esque belt, and every song on the album is different in style. She’s an incredible story teller.
WHAT’S THE BEST MUSIC TO FLATTEN YOUR (ANXIETY) CURVE?
If I’m feeling particularly anxious, it’s all about that guilty-pleasure-pop for me: Britney, Christina, Mariah - all the queens. And you better believe the neighbours get a rendition of “Spice up your life” most mornings, live from my shower.
Amongst friends, I’m known for my love of the “un-cool”. At work once, during warm-up before a show, my cast mates were devastated/amused to discover that I know every word to Nikki Webster’s Strawberry Kisses. During lockdown, one of my former cast mates messaged me to let me know he was at Coles doing his weekly shop, and they were playing Miss Webster’s classic hit through the speakers- he didn’t know whether to laugh or cry because it made him miss me. I loved that.
I’ve also been having a chuckle at, and kinda loving, The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical by Barlow & Bear. Yes, THAT Bridgerton. These two fabulous women on TikTok received so much interest from their snippets of songs inspired by the Netflix series, that they went ahead and scored the whole thing! They do the voices of all of the characters themselves, and one of them does an extremely impressive Julie Andrews impersonation. It’s a real treat.
Zoe Gertz and the rest of the cast of Come From Away return to the Capitol Theatre on Wednesday, October 20. And if you hear someone singing along to Nikki Webster in a Coles near you, look again, it may be Zoe.