Venus Gets Even in Paris

by Madeleine Hamilton , March 6, 20131 Comment

Nadeah on stage at So Frenchy, So Chic Festival, January 2013. Photo credit: Justin Hamilton

After nearly two decades performing abroad, Nadeah Miranda is at last hitting her stride with her first solo album. The Australian-raised singer-songwriter discusses her journey through drug abuse, mental illness, loss, and having to start over and over again.

It’s the evening before the So Frenchy So Chic festival at Werribee Park and Nadeah Miranda is terrified of losing half her deposit for a small Parisian apartment. And with good reason: she has $25,000 cash hidden in rolled up complimentary airline socks in her hotel room. Her father, (‘a gambler or something’) produced the money from a series of 60s-era Flora Margarine tubs last night after her Perth show. ‘I just need to get to a bank,’ she frets, as the other performers on the bill enjoy a pre-dinner glass of sparkling on the immaculate Werribee lawn. Given Nadeah’s history of losing passports, visa violations, and her own eccentric personality, it is an alarming – but not inconceivable – prospect that the money may not make it into her mortgage account.

After completing Year 12 at Sandringham Secondary College in 1995, Nadeah bought a ticket to Paris on the pretence of pursuing a modelling career. What she really wanted to do, however, was sing. She quickly self-sabotaged her modelling prospects by compulsively eating to deal with her fraught situation: she’d left her passport on the Eurostar, had no friends in Paris, and didn’t speak French.


Nadeah performs at Readings St. Kilda in January, 2013. Photo credit: Justin Hamilton

Nadeah lived by her wits, busking to earn just enough to live and introducing herself to ‘boys who looked nice’. This combination of charisma, ballsiness and good looks repeatedly resulted in her capturing the attention of connected male musicians. With the first, Art, she moved across the Channel to Brighton, England and established the alterna-punk band, The loveGods. The group garnered a big local following and were, for a time, ‘in development’ at Island Records. On the verge of being the next big thing for several years, a series of personal and professional calamities – including Nadeah being refused re-entry into Britain for visa violations – meant she had to start all over on her own in France. ‘It was like my baby died. I couldn’t get up for a year.’

But get up she did, writing and recording a new album, Venus Gets Even, with collaborator and new partner, classical arranger, Nicola Tescari. (The pair met at a bar where a desperate Nadeah worked briefly as a coat check girl). She also started touring with highly popular French covers group Nouvelle Vague, performing bossa nova versions of punk classics.

The lush orchestration and carnival mood of Venus Gets Even jars with the intensely dark lyrics. While the subject matter of Nadeah’s songs is bleak and shot through with irony, she felt compelled to lighten her music through instrumentation and her voice. ‘Even Quadriplegics Get the Blues’ is about Dave, her high school boyfriend who taught her how to play guitar and suffered calamitous injuries after a car accident in 2005 (he died later in 2008). There is also ‘An Asylum on New Year’s Eve’ in which Nadeah sings:

Number 24 looks at me knowingly/Says ‘Involuntary?’/‘Yes,’ I say with pride, ‘I’ll take some good advice.’/‘Beyond these walls/A thousand eyes are watching for your sweet demise.’

And in ‘At the Moment’, accompanied by jaunty piano and snare drum, she croons about packet of Nitrazepan pills and ‘how lovely it would be to take that suicide ride’.

Six years ago Nadeah was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Previously she had attributed her rebelliousness and romance with illicit drugs to perpetual adolescence. Her insomnia and manic energy levels she thought just made her ‘function better than everybody else.’ Though she is now on a low dose of prescription medication – which dampens her ‘religiosity and grandiosity’ – she believes it is music that really keeps her alive.

Nadeah has also ‘cleaned up’ her stage persona. To her, ‘punk rocks suits really young people,’ so she’s trying to keep herself composed – and play her instruments properly. This has disappointed some of her long-term fans who complain she no longer goes ‘mental’ onstage. Channelling Patti Smith, Nadeah now prefers to hint at being on the edge, rather than routinely going over it. ‘That’s the annoying thing, though,’ she concedes, ‘it is exciting to watch people go over…but you’re not going to stay alive. You do expend your life force.’ Instead, she’s trying to engage her audience with humour. ‘If I say something funny, or if I show some of my vulnerability hopefully we’ll cut through all that and then you can receive the music and get more from it.’

Nadeah’s 30s era Paris apartment with its original cage lift will be waiting for her while she tours France, England (including a performance at the Royal Albert Hall), Austria, Germany and Switzerland. And yes, that $25,000 in cash did safely make it into her mortgage account.


Madeleine Hamilton is a part-time historian, part-time writer, and full-time mother of two little girls. She is the author of Our Girls: Aussie Pin-ups of the Forties and Fifties and co-author of Sh*t on My Hands: A Down and Dirty Companion to Early Parenthood. She blogs at

  • kristina bratich

    Madeleine, did my daughter Nadeah give you authority to release this blog and did you sent her the article before releasing it for public consumption?


Chris Gordon

The Readings Prize Shortlist Showdown: Chris Gordon defends Last Day in the Dynamite Factory

At our recent Readings Prize Shortlist Showdown event, six writers gave a speech in defence of the book they believed most deserves to win the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction. Readings Events Manager Chris Gordon spoke in praise of Annah Faulkner’s novel Last Day in the Dynamite Factory. Read more »


Michaela McGuire

The Readings Prize Shortlist Showdown: Michaela McGuire defends Hot Little Hands

At our recent Readings Prize Shortlist Showdown event, six writers gave a speech in defense of the book they believed most deserves to win the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction. Writer and Emerging Writers’ Festival Director Michaela McGuire spoke in praise of Abigail Ulman’s short story collection, Hot Little Hands. Read more »


Kill Your Darlings

What We’re Reading: Readings staff share their September picks

Looking for a book recommendation? Staff from Readings bookshop share what they’ve been reading this month. Read more »


Rebecca Shaw

Playing It Straight: On queer actors, queer characters, and ‘bravery’

In the past few weeks, I’ve noticed an unwelcome trend reappearing; one I had hoped was long dead and buried, along with frosted tips. It is the discussion around whether queer actors can play heterosexual characters. Read more »


Rebecca Shaw

Girl Gang: The value of female friendship

For two years I was the only girl in my class, along with four boys. Perhaps this would have been some kind of fantastic Lynx-filled utopia for a boy-crazy pre-teen girl, but for someone who was just beginning to figure out that she didn’t like boys in the same way other girls seemed to, it wasn’t what you could call ideal. Read more »


Rebecca Shaw

Written On the Body: Fat women and public shaming

The policing and subsequent shaming of women’s bodies is not unique to famous women. It happens to all women. Feeling entitled to denigrate fat bodies, and fat women’s bodies in particular, is one of the last bastions of socially acceptable discrimination. Read more »


Anwen Crawford

Throne Of Blood: Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth

For more than four centuries, we have found versions of ourselves in Shakespeare’s plays precisely because his characters are so human in their flaws and follies. At the same time, the arc of these characters’ stories unfolds somewhere above and beyond us, in the realm of grand tragedy or grand comedy, or both. Read more »


Anwen Crawford

Memorable Chills: Edgerton’s Gift

The Gift is Australian actor Joel Edgerton’s directorial debut — he also wrote, produced, and stars in it — and it bodes well for Edgerton’s directing career. A psychological thriller, The Gift is efficiently and quite memorably chilling, at least for the first half. Read more »


Joanna Di Mattia

Escaping The Wolfpack: Inside and outside the screen

The Wolfpack introduces us to the six Angulo brothers, who were kept virtual prisoners for 14 years in their Lower East Side apartment. More than a captivity narrative, this is a film about the influence of cameras and screens, and the transfixing, liberating power of cinema. Read more »


Alexis Drevikovsky

Have You Ever Felt Like This: Going Round the Twist again

Working from home one day, I took my lunchbreak away from my laptop and flicked idly through the TV channels, hoping for a midday movie with Reese Witherspoon or, even better, an old episode of Cheers. What I found was beyond my wildest dreams. I excitedly texted my mate Alison: Round the Twist is on ABC3! Read more »


Jane Hone

How the Golden Age of Television Brought Us Back Together

I recently heard someone say that it used to be that at 6pm, everyone would sit down to watch The Cosby Show. It seemed at once a quaint and almost sci-fi notion ­– millions of people watching the same show at the same time. How things have changed. Read more »

glitch abc tv

Stephanie Van Schilt

A Glitch in the System: The ABC’s undead gamble

In one gasping breath, Glitch shows that the ABC is stumbling towards something beloved by TV audiences the world over, but that regularly eludes the Australian and film and TV industry: genre. And not just any genre, but the ‘return-from-the-dead’ zombie-style genre. Read more »


Katie Williams

The More Things Change: Choice and consequence in Life is Strange

You can either be a benevolent hero or a monster, but few games deal with the multitudes contained by actual people. And what does it matter, anyway? There’s no such thing as regret when it comes to in-game decision-making – not when you can so easily restart the game to see what outcome will result from choosing Option B instead. Read more »

svfw crop

Katie Williams

Silicon Valley Fashion Week?: Fashion, technology, and wearability

Last week saw the inaugural Silicon Valley Fashion Week? (yes, with a question mark) unfold in San Francisco. The show promised ‘drones, robots, and mad inventions’, and tickets sold out swiftly; attendees were clearly eager to see more inventive clothing in this heartland of nerds. Read more »

AnimalCrossing copy

Katie Williams

Digging For Meaning in Utopia: Storytelling in Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing is a series of games in which – as my partner once remarked incredulously – ‘nothing ever happens.’ In its latest incarnation, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, you become the unwitting mayor of a town populated by anthropomorphic, bipedal animals. Read more »

Straight White Men - Public Theatre - Photo by Julieta Cervantes

Jane Howard

Unbearable Whiteness: Young Jean Lee’s Straight White Men

Though I am delighted to see Young Jean Lee gain traction in Australia, a work by playwright who is a woman of colour should not be such a rare occurrence; nor should this only come in the form of a play that blends effortlessly into the fabric of the work that is programmed around it. Read more »


Jane Howard

Putting Words In People’s Mouths: Performing the unseen, speaking the unknown

‘Do you ever get the feeling someone is putting words in your mouth?’ A performer asks an audience member in the front row. ‘Say yes.’
‘Yes,’ comes the reply.
This theme ran through multiple shows at Edinburgh Fringe this year, where occasionally audience members, but more often performers, were asked to perform scripts sight unseen. Read more »


Jane Howard

The Impenetrable City: Getting lost at Edinburgh Fringe Festival

I just saw a one-on-one performance piece that ended in my bursting into tears and the artist sitting with me and holding my hands in hers for maybe ten, maybe fifteen, maybe twenty minutes. We had a shared piece of history, and her work was delicate and took me by surprise, and I have a cold, and I am homesick, and I don’t know why I’m in Edinburgh, and I’ve cried a lot, and now I’m in a gallery because I couldn’t face another show. Read more »