Hard rocker’s hard times

SINGER/SONGWRITER Abbe May will do a special Q&A at her upcoming gig in Fremantle to raise money to record her new album Red Flag.

“An open discussion about her creative processes, life and philosophies,” her flyer says.

“There’s no question she is not willing to answer, as long as you are brave enough to ask.”

On the phone to the Herald, May talks about her life, her sexuality (she came out as gay aged 24), how she cherishes her young nieces and nephew, and her close friend’s terminal cancer.

She says a lot of her songs are “basically an intersection of narcissism and existentialism”.

Narcissism

“A study of the way we can become free of narcissism by becoming aware of our place in the universe.”

It’s heavy stuff but May prefers to remain true to her craft than churn out bubble-gum pop.

“Maybe I wouldn’t have to fund raise, if I had,” she jokes.

May’s Fruit was shortlisted in last year’s Australian Music Awards in the most important album category

Gurrumul Yunupingu’s posthumously released Djarimirri won, but May was stoked to “have that level of respect given to your work”.

A lifelong independent artist, May had been releasing an album every two years, but Fruit took five.

Despite its upbeat mix of soul and rock, the album was written during a torrid time in her personal life.

In 2013 her hard-living rock-chick lifestyle caught up with her and she had a seizure. Although she recovered from the episode, May found herself battling depression and anxiety for two years.

Then her infant nephew almost died from a life-threatening illness.

He recovered, but then another blow: “My best friend is battling incurable cancer,” May says sadly.

Music remains central to restoring balance amid the turmoil, and she hopes her audience finds it too.

“Nothing feeds you quite like somebody coming up and saying they got though a hard time in life because of the music you make.”

Head down to Clancy’s Fremantle on June 15.

by JENNY D’ANGER

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