Perfect (D.Franj/V Amorosi) 2008 and This Is Who I Am (V Amorosi/MachoPsycho) – Vanessa Amorosi 2009
It had been a hitless seven years for Vanessa Amorosi following her spectacular rise in the pop firmament with the chart-topping album The Power and three hit singles in 2000. In the interim she had released Turn to Me, a compilation album which included tracks from the international version of The Power plus several new songs which limped to #30 with no hit singles. In 2002 she released the album Change in Germany only, it flopped there and was never released in Australia, the single Turn to Me stiffed, and Spin (Everybody’s Doin’ It) was a minor hit here, but there were signs that Amorosi had lost her way.The working-class kid from Melbourne was struggling to handle her new celebrity status, she railed against record companies who wanted to sexualize her image, she refused to mime her songs, and she was determined not to be a Britney Spears clone. Her naturally defiant spirit and artistic integrity upset those in the industry who were focused on selling records regardless of their artistic merit, management of her career lacked a clear vision, she would need to make changes.
In 2006 she parted company with MarJac Productions, clearly Mark Holden (above with Vanessa) had been a big influence on her career from the age of sixteen, but at the age of twenty-five Amorosi needed to start afresh, she signed with manager Ralph Carr, left Sony BMG, and inked a new recording deal with Universal Music. For the next eighteen months she worked on her comeback album and experienced all the doubts and feelings of trepidation, of a performer who is re-emerging after dropping out of the scene for a long time. In 2007 she recorded the album Somewhere in the Real World, in Los Angeles with producer Ron Aniello (below) and the second single released was Perfect, the song had been demoed several years before by Australian songwriter David Franj (real name Frangiosa) who had written the song for his fiancee Nicole Brodie, Franj’s lyrics emphasised the purity and perfection of love as embodied in a person you intend to marry.Amorosi’s spin on the same theme was darker, more obsessive, she changed some of the lyrics to reflect the imperfections that partners bring to a relationship, the intriguing uncertainty and unpredictability of the human condition.
The song was guitar-based rock with a soulful sensibility, a more substantial track than some of Amorosi’s earlier Europop dance outings and flagged her return to form on the charts when it climbed to #3 nationally. The promo video was shot entirely on green screen and featured a glamorous Amorosi walking through the desert peeling back her layers of make-up, and adornment, to ultimately reveal an unaccessorised image of the singer. There was a brief spat between Franj and Amorosi when her management objected to his posting of a YouTube video featuring Miranda Kerr in various poses, as Perfect played over the images, they had the video taken down, but it was subsequently reposted under the title Angel. For her third album, Hazardous, Amorosi opted to work with the Swedish songwriting/production team of MachoPsycho (real names Niklas Olovson (right below) and Robin Lynch (left below)) and went into the Fishhead Music Studios in Gothenberg, Sweden and The Lab, in Los Angeles, in 2009 to record what was essentially an album of Amorosi/MachoPsycho compositions.The first single released was This Is Who I Am, a forthright statement by Amorosi which put her years of self-loathing and damaged self-esteem behind her, she was all grown up, assertive, sexy on her own terms and comfortable with her body image, in the promo video she looks fit and lithe, sporting a collection of Hopi and Navajo Indian tattoos, dyed auburn hair and projecting girl power credibility.Musically she had returned to her electropop roots, there was a glossy sheen and sophistication to the whole production, which would be expected from a team who had already produced hits for PINK, Justin Timberlake, Backstreet Boys, Jessica Simpson and Keith Urban. But the lyrics were more profound, more defiant, than the anthemic good cheer of Shine or Absolutely Everybody, the diva was back with a vengeance, This Is Who Am charted #1 the first week it was released and the album Hazardous climbed to #9 to continue her re-emergence on the charts following the heady days of The Power and her early new millennium success.
The second single lifted from the album was the title track which was a minor hit at #29 locally, but the third release, Mr. Mysterious was a slick electro-pop duet by Amorosi with rent-a-rapper Seany B, which was popular, climbed to #4 and sold over 70,000 copies, the accompanying video clip was shot by director Stuart Gosling, using Gosling’s Motion Cubism FX intensively throughout the video creating a fluid and mesmerizing visual performance.
Following the success of her first comeback album Hazardous, Amorosi would relocate to Los Angeles in 2011 to rejuvenate herself and did not release any new songs for the next eight years. But she met ex-Eurythmics guitarist Dave Stewart (below with Amorosi) who encouraged her to embrace her creative impulses and reject a formulaic approach to writing and performing her songs, he also worked with her in the recording studio. By now she had met and married mixed martial arts trainer Rod Busby (below) in 2017 and they had a son, the stars were now apparently aligning for Amorosi’s second career comeback. Musically she released a new single in April 2019, a gospel-inflected slow burner entitled Heavy Lies the Head, followed by a national tour with Daryl Braithwaite, John Farnham and Jon Stevens.In August 2019 Amorosi released a second single from the album entitled Hello Me, and her fifth studio album Back to Love was released in November 2019, but her comeback records were not getting much traction locally this time around.She decided to throw her hat in the ring and compete for the position as Australia’s representative at the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest, she was favored to win, but her song Lessons of Love, finished a disappointing third behind Casey Donovan’s Proud and the eventual winner indie singer Montaigne (below) with Don’t Break Me.