NICKI Gillis cannot wait to step foot on stage in Drysdale and be back in front of a live audience once again.
The award-winning musician from New South Wales will perform her Carole King show at the Potato Shed next month and it will signal a long-awaited return to doing what she loves.
It will also be the first performance of the season in the black box theatre which Gillis says only adds to the excitement.
“Because of the pandemic we haven’t been able to do the show and the Drysdale performance will be exactly 12 months to the day since I last performed live,” she said.
“I am really excited but I won’t believe it until I am on that stage and the audience members take their seats.
“We can’t take anything for granted and have had to take it one day at a time.”
Gillis will perform songs from Carole King’s second album, Tapestry, including the hits It’s Too Late, I Feel the Earth Move, So Far Away, and Beautiful.
Accompanied by a pianist and guitarist, she says the performance is stripped back and raw, staying as true as possible to the live representation of the 1972 Album of the Year which sold 14 million copies worldwide.
While she said it was tough to choose a favourite song from the album, Way Over Yonder does hold a special place in her heart.
“When it gets to the point in the show where I sing that song I just feel so in the moment – it is a highlight for me,” she said.
Born in Western Australia, the talented country rock singer grew up surrounded by music – her mother, Lucy D’Olimpio, is also a singer and her two aunties are sopranos.
Gillis said her mum has been her greatest inspiration and her expansive record collection ensured a young Nicki grew up in a house filled with the incredible voices of Roberta Flack, Stevie Nicks and, of course, Carole King.
“I just thought it was normal – I didn’t know any different,” she says of being brought up with music all around.
Gillis was awarded a Young Talent Time scholarship at the age of 12 which she said was a huge confidence booster for her at the time.
She went on to win to the Gympie Muster Talent Quest in 1996 and a string of other awards, with her career taking her around the world to perform on tour in countries such as the UK, US, South Pacific, Middle East, Germany and South East Asia.
But with international travel not an option for now, Gillis is relishing the opportunity to share the much-loved songs of Carole King with music lovers closer to home.
“I would just encourage everyone to come along and share with me the music of the incredible talent that is Carole King,” she said.
“I’m so excited to see everyone and it’s going to be a wonderful show.”
Nicki Gillis Sings Carole King is on March 13 at 8pm in the black box theatre at the Potato Shed. COVID safe plans will be in place. Tickets cost $38 for adults and $34 for concession.
To book go to geelongaustralia.com.au/potatoshed