Singer-songwriter Sarah Blasko is looking forward to kicking off her first national tour in four years at the Theatre Royal Castlemaine this month.
Performing without a band for the first time in her storied career, the veteran musician will lay bare her extraordinary songwriting and iconic voice in The Soloist, accompanied only by piano and keyboard, guitar and ukulele.
Blasko has just finished recording a new album which will be mixed after the tour ends, and will pair a couple of new songs with reimagined material from her earlier albums.
"I have an inkling of what people want to hear so I try to be thoughtful and not selfishly just play what I want to play," she told the Express.
Blasko has performed at the Theatre Royal a couple of times before, and remembers the crowd as "discerning" and something of a challenge.
"When I've played there before I feel like people have been really vocal," she said.
"People are generally respectful when I'm playing but it's during the breaks they feel compelled to share something with you.
"I tend to take it as a compliment and I kind of enjoy just guessing what they're saying and getting it really wrong!"
The decision to take to the stage solo and strip it all back, especially after so often performing with a big ensemble or orchestra, felt right for the artist this time.
"It's actually quite humorous in a sense because I'm a solo artist embarking on a truly solo tour.
"I think it's partly reconnecting with the songs, and in a sense it's a return to what I used to do, and I just haven't done it for a long time.
"It's the challenge to feel that you, on your own, are enough."
And while orchestras have their place, the singer most enjoys not having to compete with anything else.
"The essence of the songs, it's a really nice thing to get back to," she said.
Blasko is known for her beguilingly simple melodies, and ever honest and direct lyrics. She has a deserved reputation as one of Australia's most commanding live performers whether she's playing in the most intimate theatres or the grandest opera houses.
From her game-changing debut The Overture and The Underscore (2004) through to 2015's stunning synth-laden paean to love Eternal Return, the multi-platinum selling, three-time ARIA Award winner has continually proven herself one of the most compelling live performers in Australian music.
Tickets for The Soloist at the Theatre Royal Castlemaine (Thursday, May 25) are selling fast. Book online via www.theatreroyalcastlemaine.com.au