Tracey Roberts: a unique vision

Ben Cameron | Bendigo Weekly | 16-Feb-2012 12.45pm

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The accomplished pianist has "multi colour synesthesia".
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Melbourne artist Tracey Roberts has a unique view into the realm of art and music.

She has “multi-colour synesthesia”, which allows her to see colours, shapes and images when she hears music.

Both a visual artist and a singer-songwriter-pianist, it's no surprise her artwork and songs are very closely related. But what’s her preference, art or music?

“No, I love them both equally,” she says. 

“Always have. To me, the two are inextricably linked, as so much of music is about imagery and colour for me as well as the sounds and where music takes you.  

“I’ll never forget at high school in Form 3 (Year 9) we had elective subjects and I had to choose between music and art - it broke my heart. 

“I chose music, which is why my foray into the professional art world took another 30 years!”  

Roberts has been a pianist pretty much from birth.

“My mother told me that I could play songs on the piano with both hands when I was three,” she says.

“I come from a musical family so I think it was always in the genes. 

“My father plays piano and my mother sang a lot and there was always a piano and music in the places where I grew up.

She loves the contrast in emotions a good piano player can conjure.

“What I love about playing the piano to this day is the total escape into beautiful sounds that range in colours from very low powerful dark places to gorgeously light and airy atmospheres,” she says. 

“I also love the way that music can transport you into a different place, both mentally and emotionally, and that I have some control over that to a degree.”

She just wrapped from performing at Newstead Live!, where she released her eighth CD Shades of Blue, recorded in Melbourne on a full length Steinway grand piano. So how was it?

“It was hot!  Literally.  It was nice to launch the new album there - it’s one of my favourite festivals,” she says.

She’s become a regular in the area after playing Chewton a few years back.

“I remember it was so hot that it was over 50 degrees on stage and we were putting ice blocks down our bras!” she laughs.

Roberts feels blessed to have produced so many albums.

“It’s nice to have a recorded body of musical work that reflects those particular periods of your life,” she says.  

“Generally albums are pretty expensive to produce too, so I’m very grateful to be in a position where I can work towards producing an album every few years.

“The main difference with this album... it is a very personal sound.

“The other albums have involved other musicians which introduces a whole different dimension in terms of performance and arrangement 

Shades of Blue CD is more representative of a solo performance that you would experience when I am playing a grand piano. 

“That’s why I love the idea of playing at the Penny School (Maldon) on their grand piano. 

“You don’t see too many of them at music venues so it’s always a real treat. Not just for me but for everyone.”


Tracey Roberts plays the Penny School Gallery in Maldon on Sunday, February 26. More info at www.traceyroberts.com


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