So, you think you know Deborah Conway? You think seeing her scowling and striding and smouldering in her music videos over the years means you know who she is?
The Australian music icon reckons you don't know half of it.
But you might find out more as she and husband Willy Zygier tour Australia with a series of shows.
Conway has been a musician for more than 40 years. She first hit the charts with Do Re Mi's feminist anthem Man Overboard.
Her debut album String of Pearls yielded the classic single It's Only the Beginning.
Innovator, motivator, role model, facilitator and entrepreneur, Conway is fearless in her risk taking, has pushed and pulled existing boundaries and has always argued her cause with integrity and intelligence to pursue the highest standards of whatever is in her sights.
For the last three decades Willy Zygier, musician, songwriter and composer, has been her primary collaborator and husband.
Aside from releasing a dozen studio albums and playing countless live shows, Conway has been a producer, festival director, actor and now a published author with the release of her autobiography Book of Life (Allen and Unwin, $34.99).
Publicity for the book describes advertises: "Conway pulls back the curtain on the fevered world of 1980s post-punk and the spectacular rise and fall and rise of one of the more obstreperous women in Australia's music industry."
"Obstreperous" is a word that pops up often when describing Conway and it's something she is proud of.
She started writing the book in 2020 when her hometown of Melbourne was the most locked-down city; something she was opposed to.
It was borne out of frustration at not being able to perform.
The couple have embarked on a national tour including sold-out Sydney Festival performances.
Songs from the Book of Life sees Conway, 64, and Zygier explore their four-decade-long musical careers, charting a course through the pair's own stories of youth, rebellion, falling in love, ageing, money, and music - revealing behind the scenes details about one of the most powerful women to rock the Australian music industry.
It has been hailed as a tour-de-force, told with unflinching honesty and humour and an expression of the irrepressible desire to 'let it all hang out".
Featuring original music and theatrical storytelling, this masterwork is directed by Michael Kantor and choreographed by Stephanie Lake, with set design by Chloe Greaves, video design by Nick Roux, lighting design by Stephen Hawker and sound engineering by Siiri Metsar.
Conway said that Songs from the Book of Life is a distillation of her memoir, rendered as a theatrical, musical piece of storytelling, using movement, lighting and sets to convey a life story.
"We have constructed what we hope is an entertaining, revealing evening of theatre for our audiences. The many who have seen it already have responded with laughter, tears and standing ovations," she said.
If you have listened to any of Deborah's iconic songs and were curious about their origins; if you ever wondered what happened to that singer who covered herself in Nutella and was photographed shovelling cream cakes into her mouth; if you gave a second's thought to whose bare bum adorned the giant billboard ads for jeans in the 1980s; if you liked Tracy Mann's vocals in Sweet and Sour but asked yourself, 'did she really sing them?', now's your chance to find out all this and so much more.
In 2020 Conway was created a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia and received the Australia Council's Don Banks Award for outstanding contribution to music.
See the full list of dates where you can catch her:
- CAN: Canberra Theatre Centre, February 29
- NSW: Wagga Wagga Civic Centre, March 2; Qirkz in the Hunter, Abermain, April 5; Camelot Lounge, Marrickville, April 7
- VIC: Burrinja Cultural Centre, Upwey, March 23; Frankston Arts Centre, March 24
- QLD: Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), April 12-13.
- Tickets to all shows: deborahconway.com/
Besides the tour, Conway will be a special guest at the 2024 Perth Festival Writers Weekend, hosting the opening night on February 23 at 6pm. Click here for details.