Isabella Manfredi: On Creativity

The Preatures's Front-Woman Debuts Alter-Ego Jackaroo Manfredi and Talks Creative Process

Everybody’s creative; we’re creative beings, that’s how we were built… but someone who is ‘artistic,’ well that’s a bit different.

As frontwoman of The Preatures, Isabella Manfredi is contemporary Rock N Roll royalty. One sunny Wednesday in the early days of 2018 she welcomed the ASTROPHE team to her throne-room, and we welcomed her in to our hearts...

Sinead: What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview?

Isabelle Manfredi: Would you like a cup of tea?

And your answer is?

Yes!

What is your favourite song you’ve written and why?

I don’t have a favourite. I think actually one of my favourites is one we’ve never released.

What does being creative feel like to you?

It’s like, um... it’s like talking to the fairies. That’s how it feels. Or, sometimes it’s like getting a message. Sometimes you can’t actually answer the message, so you have to drop it. Or you have to drop everything. Sometimes that can be really weird for the people around you and also - particularly being a woman sensitive to other people—it can be tough to have the guts to be selfish about it. Because when you’re creating stuff, you have to drop everything to attend to a song just like you’d tend to a child; a child that collapses in the middle of a shopping mall. You’re like ‘f*ck, I’ve got a song! Well, I’ve got two choices. I can put it down or I can continue on with my day.’ Usually I’m the former. At the moment I am. Sometimes it’s a few messages backed up on the cosmic voicemail and you’re like, "how do I even begin?" I actually prefer the word "artistic," rather than "creative." Everybody’s creative; we’re creative beings, that’s how we were built… but someone who is "artistic," well that’s a bit different. They get better at listening to the messages and also conjuring them. They have to respond. I think artistry is craft and diligence and practice and… inspiration. In short, I have no f*cking idea what creativity means.

How often does that happen; the "Oh no! I have a song!" moment?

It’s really annoying, but you’ve gotta be grateful. I’ve been at funerals; I’ve had it happen to me at a PJ Harvey concert and I had to leave. It happened last night. Jack and I were heading out to dinner. We were just walking up on the promenade towards North Bondi and I just started to… well, the "song" happened. I had to say to him: “Look, you go inside and get a table, I’ve just got to spend 15 minutes out here putting this down on a voice memo.” It’s damn pesky and inconvenient, because that’s the moment right there, and if I wasn’t on a date, I would’ve just gone home and worked on it. And by the end of dinner, of course, it had gone. Then there’s the other, sensible way: sitting at your desk, committing something that happens through the physical practice of showing up at the page. Or as Charles Bukowski used to say, “F*cking with the poem."

When do you feel strongest?

DANCING.

What would you like your legacy as an artist to reflect?

I don’t care. You know, as long as I can one day have a family and raise a couple of kids that aren’t, you know, spoiled brats, I’ll be really happy.

Finally, what is your experience of love?

Oh, love! Well, I’ve been in a relationship for a long time now. Before that, I had so many boyfriends. I’ve forgotten how many boyfriends I’ve had. And a lot who weren’t my boyfriend. But… what’s my experience of love? It’s… love is what I always come back to. I always come back to it. Love is what keeps me making things and drawing, writing, singing, and trying to find presence all the time.  Love is really hard. It’s not all about happiness. It’s about hope.  

Interview by Sinead Curry for Astrophe. Image by Simone Taylor.

Dress and Hat: Route 66. Jewellery: Reliquia.

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