Australian folktronic artist Vera Blue, who plays The City this week, has a fascinating origin story.
When she auditioned for season two of “The Voice Australia” in 2013, she was known as Celia Pavey, and she wowed coach Delta Goodrem with a shimmering acoustic mashup of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair” and “Canticle.”
As episodes progressed, she struggled with debilitating stage fright, but Goodrem, a former child star, taught her to perform comfortably and confidently.
“Delta helped me calm down, get my head in the game, and go out there and really feel the music instead, of freaking out,” says the singer, who finished third on the show.
Pavey, 23, who stunned “Voice” viewers with gentle folk renditions of songs like “Jolene,” followed by dutifully releasing a 2013 album, “The Music,” in that vintage style.
But a coffeehouse-circuit career under her birth name wasn’t in the cards.
“I did ‘The Voice’ as Celia, but afterwards I was going through a phase where I was listening to a lot of electronic music, like Alt-J and Banks, and I felt like blending the two genres together would really enhance the emotion in my songs and make them so much more,” she says. “It was an experimental thing, and I felt like I should give the project a name.”
Vera Blue was born.
“Perennial,” her debut album under the name, has already hit the Down Under Top 10 and earned her a 2017 ARIA nomination for best pop release; she wrote its ethereal single “Mended” on a trip to Malibu.
The concept stemmed from her experience at The Native Tongue, an Aussie songwriting camp where she began working with her future composing-production collaborators Andy and Thom Mak. Their aesthetic vision meshed perfectly with hers.
“I had this folk song I’d written called ‘Fingertips’ that I needed help finishing,” Blue says, of what became the title track of her new persona’s introductory EP. “Andy just took it and went for it, and experimented with sounds. There’s just something really special about the way he produces my music.”
For her new moniker, she chose Vera after Vera Wang, creator of the first perfume she wore as a teenager, Princess, and Blue because it’s an old Australian nickname for redheads, her family’s hair color.
She responds to both names. She says, “At my Australian shows, some people yell out ‘Vera,’ some yell out ‘Celia,’ and that’s totally fine. Even a couple of my band members call me Vera. They just like the name!”
IF YOU GO
Where: Independent, 628 Divisadero St., S.F.
When: 9 p.m. Nov. 4
Tickets: $15 to $18 (sold out)
Contact: (415) 771-1421, www.ticketfly.comAndy MakCelia PaveyDelta GoodremelectronicfolkMendedPerennialPop MusicThom MakVera BlueVoice