"A striking performer with a commanding voice... Mesmerizing, intelligent and effective"- THE HUFFINGTON POST
Rachael Dease’s artistic practice encompasses the realms of pop culture and art music. She is currently known primarily for creating a new type of music theatre that derives much of it’s narrative structure from music, without belonging in the world of ‘musicals’.
Graduating with honours from WAAPA in composition, Dease has been front woman and songwriter for the critically acclaimed band Schvendes, receiving sixteen West Australian Music Industry Award nominations, as the composer and chanteuse in Matt Lutton’s Antigone, and Weeping Spoons/Perth Theatre Company’s Helpmann award nominated production It’s Dark Outside. Proof of her diversity came in 2010, when Dease won the WAM Song of the Year in both the Pop and Experimental category.
In 2012 Dease won the inaugural top tier Western Power Martin Sims Award for Best Overall Performance and also Best Musical Work at Fringe World for her haunting contemporary song cycle City of Shadows. City of Shadows has since had acclaimed seasons in New York and at the Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne, where it took out the Melbourne Fringe award for Best Music.
In 2013, Dease was chosen for the competitive Besen Artist Placement Program at the Malthouse Theatre, where she was mentored in directing, sound design and composition by leading industry professionals and worked on the critically acclaimed work The Bloody Chamber
Currently Dease is currently composer on the Declan Greene’s new play 8Gb of Hardcore Pornography (Griffin Theatre/PTC), collaborating with dub producer YLEM, finishing her first solo record and writing a number of new works for national and international art music ensembles
Her solo work has been likened to Beach House, PJ Harvey, Patti Smith and Nick Cave
September 2013 – City of Shadows Season, The Malthouse Theatre
September 2013 – It’s Dark Outside, Edinburgh Fringe Festival
July 2013 – The Besen Artist Program, Associate Artist, Malthouse Theatre
February 2013 - Encore Presentation of City of Shadows at FringeWorld 2013
January 2013 - It's Dark Outside season at Sydney Festival 2013
August 2012 - City of Shadows season at New York Fringe receives critical acclaim
July 2012 - Collaboration with YLEM
June 2012 - Composer for Perth Theatre Company's It's Dark Outside. Directed by Tim Watts
Feb 2012 - City of Shadows premieres at FringeWorld. Winner of "Best Music Performance" and top tier award "The Martin Sims Award for Best Fringe Performance"
Feb/Mar 2011 – String Quartet Installation for Dialogues with Landscape for Perth International Arts Festival
Sept 2010 – Winner of the WAM Pop Song of the Year and Experimental Song of the Year
March 2009 – Composer and performer in Antigone (Dir Matthew Lutton, Perth International Arts Festival)
Sept 2008 – Finalist in the Qantas “Spirit of Youth Awards”
2007 - Graduated from WAAPA with honours
"a striking performer with a commanding voice... Mesmerizing, intelligent and effective"- THE HUFFINGTON POST
“Armed with omnichord, a drummer and her haunting voice, Dease had little trouble casting her hypnotic spell over the audience. Through her solo work Dease has been picking up a lot of buzz lately and it's not hard to see why. The dark, moody, ambient synth tones made a perfect match to her rich voice. She wove through "All In All Out" and "Win The Losing Game" with the sort of power and vocal control any talent show wannabe would sign their soul over for “- XPRESS MAG
“Known by most as the front woman of Schvendes, it is clearly evident from her performance tonight that Dease’s solo career is one to watch. Her vocals, ranging from dreamy ethereal pop to an eerie, almost terrifying croon, made for an enigmatic and exciting performance.” - LIFE IS NOISE
“Maintaining pop sensibilities among some sorcerous songwriting (think Karen O under the influence of David Lynch), the engaging vocal talents of Dease allowed her to pull off a very challenging aesthetic “- DRUM MEDIA
"Rachael Dease fascinated with her Twin Peaks-y ambient-pop" – DRUM MEDIA
"The standout here was easily Rachael Dease, proving that, even without a full band behind her, her amazing voice can captivate a room" - Xpress Mag
"Armed with an Omnichord and a voice, Schvendes temptress Rachael Dease was welcome relief in the beer garden. The crowd swayed to Give Up the Ghost with its air of Casio country and crooning on a doomed ocean cruise." - FasterLouder
CITY OF SHADOWS
"Hauntingly beautiful...Dease is a striking presence. Her vocals can be ethereal one moment, and then shortly afterwards her powerful voice takes on a harsher quality.” TheatreMania NYC
"City of Shadows has no plot and no characters; instead it offers gorgeous music, a look into the past, and a dark, yet compassionate view of humanity.
Surely one of the simplest productions at this year’s Fringe, City of Shadows is also likely to be among the grimmest and the most moving. Combining photography, video and music, it creates a haunting atmosphere that’s hard to resist. You may not know exactly what you’re feeling, but you’ll be feeling something.
Dease’s music is by turns eerie, poignant, and even warm, and the level of musicianship among the company is excellent. City of Shadows is ultimately an enigma, much like the act of murder itself." – Theatre NYC
"What I was not expecting was a meditative state that sometimes overtook me—the gorgeous, haunting and sometimes nerve-rattling music at times had a physical effect on me when paired with the photos.
There were moments of true compassion, where my CSI brain stopped trying to put the pieces of the crimes together and where I genuinely felt for my fellow human beings from a completely foreign place and time. In this way, I think Rachel Dease accomplished her mission.
A show like this doesn't come along too often. I would highly recommend having the experience." NY Theatre
"Rachael Dease is an accomplished artist whose compositions transcend a label. She is a poet with exceptional depth. Bold, perceptive, and endearing her hymns deliver the knowledge of awareness and sense of peace.
And so as this critic’s mind was kissed with the last projected image, my heart was warmed with a smile of hope and the words of a stranger. Do not miss the chance to experience the beauty and evocative sounds of ‘City Of Shadows” at the Robert Moss Theater as part of the NY Fringe Festival." - NYC Theatre Review
"City of Shadows is an impression of life’s fragility and preciousness...a unique and compelling work of theater" - Backstage NY
“Elevating the text even further are the superb original song cycles crafted by Schvendes band singer and lyricist Rachael Dease. The raven-haired songstress commands a pivotal place on stage; … her sung pearls of wisdom is an exciting new input to Lutton’s work.” The Australian
“Dease’s voice was superb as always, no surprises there. Strong, cutting, lyrical yet never in the way of the action or story.” Australian Stage