Duo takes on King’s Tapestry

NATURAL WOMEN: Vika Bull and Debra Byrne celebrate the hits of Carole King.

By Luke Voogt

Australian music icon Debra Byrne cringes when she remembers her first time singing the music of Carole King.
Byrne sang It’s Too Late as a nervous 14-year-old on Young Talent Time in 1971.
“I can’t bear to hear it,” she told the Indy Tuesday.
“I’m sure I’d do it a whole lot better with a whole lot of life experience behind me.”
She and fellow music veteran Vika Bull will perform the music of King’s legendary 1971 album Tapestry in Geelng next month.
“I’ve adored Carole King and that genre of music since I was 13,” she said. “It’s pretty much going back to my musical roots.”
“Carole King doesn’t write to get on the radio; she writes because it’s all coming from her heart. That is why I love her.
The Tapestry regional tour is the first time the two have worked together.
“I absolutely love working with Vika,” Byrne said. “She’s a very straight-forward and intelligent musical women.
The pair will belt out classics like I Feel The Earth Move, You’ve Got A Friend, A Natural Woman and Will You Love Me Tomorrow.
“Vika and I both have very powerful voices, so it’s not a problem for us,” she said.
“They’re very special songs I think – lyrically they are very truthful and no-nonsense.”
Byrne is long-time theatre and television actress – most recently appearing in ABC’s Upper Middle Bogan.
But she scaled her career to become a carer for her two grandchildren – one who has special needs.
“He’s adorable, but hard work,” she said.
While two of her daughters are in their thirties, she still cares for her youngest, aged 17.
“I’ve got a very interesting family, and I seem to have been a mum for very many years,” she said.
“Which isn’t always conducive with the type of work we do because a lot of it involves being away.”
The musical grandmother has a unique connection with Geelong – she worked as a music teacher at Nelson Park School with special needs students.
“That was really fun,” she said. “I really enjoyed that.”
Byrne said now that she was able to leave her grandson with other carers, she could get back out on the road.
“It’s been a great thing for my soul. I get to have some me time and perform.”
She looked forward to returning to Geelong Performing Arts Centre on 4 August, where she had “performed heaps of times”.
“It’s kind of the soundtrack of people’s lives,” she says. “To take Tapestry far and wide will be a joy.