Born in 1984, Australian singer/songwriter Bertie Blackman is the daughter of two painters -- her father being the renowned Charles Blackman, a member of the Melbourne-based collective the Antipodeans. Having grown up in a creative and productive bohemian atmosphere, Bertie soon developed her own taste for the arts, albeit through music as opposed to oil paints. Bertie -- short for Beatrice -- began playing African percussion instruments before she reached her teens and took up the guitar at the age 15. Her folk-inspired debut album, Headway, released in 2004, was typified by the acoustic-driven single "Favourite Jeans," the diet of Gypsy Kings and Fleetwood Mac from Blackman's upbringing shining through as obvious influences. But while this emotive and dreamy effort was well-received, it gave no indication about what was to follow.
In 2006, the Sydney-born songstress returned with Black, which took the melodic sharpness of Headway and injected electric guitars and plenty of gutsy attitude to create a record that helped Blackman gain an entirely new fan base, while arguably isolating those who found her expression through the genre of folk more enticing. Single "Fast Bitch" garnered more radio rotation on Aussie station Triple J than anything Blackman had previously put out. But while press attention was clearly gaining momentum in the artist's homeland, it would be 2009's Secrets & Lies that would help launch Bertie Blackman's career into international territory.
Showing once again that she could adapt her style to provide an even more eclectic back catalog, Blackman added '80s synth pop aesthetics to her arsenal. Having signed to the Forum5 label, she was clearly given a new lease of life on Secrets & Lies, which was produced by Lee Groves (Goldfrapp, Gwen Stefani) and François Tetaz (Gotye, Architecture in Helsinki). The release resulted in an AIR (Australian Independent Record) award for breakthrough independent artist and a hit single with "Heart." Furthermore, after playing a handful of Australian festivals, including Falls Festival and Southbound, Bertie Blackman embarked on a string of live dates in the U.K. -- including a headlining slot at London's Club NME -- before returning to Australia in early 2010 for a tour in support of La Roux. ~ Daniel Clancy