You might know him from Oscar Theatre Co’s Boy&Girl and now Josh RH Daveta is back with his own show, a satirical bedroom romp of song and spooning adventures with Katy Perry, Jessie J, Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, Beyonce and Christina Aguilera. At Brisbane Powerhouse for two nights only. Book here.
Josh, tell us about your show Teenage Dreams? How did it come about?
Teenage Dreams has been swimming around in my head for a little while now. All I knew is that I wanted to do some type of show that had Katy Perry’s catalogue intertwined with it. I was then approached by Troy Armstrong Management to do a cabaret and the brief was to make it about top 40 divas. Without even a second thought I said, “I already know what I want to do” and since then I’ve been choosing songs I love from the radio and seeing what topics arise from that. Shazam, we have ourselves a cabaret.
Was it your dream to be a performer? Can you tell us about your early stage experiences and training?
It was definitely my dream to be a performer. I feel like to this day I achieve a different part of that dream in different ways. You would never believe it, but I actually started out singing lead in my church choir and then when I was in my older teens I realised that I wanted a performing life outside of “the four walls” and that led me down the path of gigging regularly, acting, voice training at uni and even had a crack at Australian Idol.
Tell about your experience with Australian Idol. What did you learn about your voice? About yourself? What opportunities did it open up to you?
When I look back at my small 5 minutes on Idol, I think about how young and naive I was. I thought that this was the only way I was going to get a “break” in my industry.
It ended up not being the most positive experience but there are two main things I learnt.
I have to walk away from this knowing I am still a good singer without the approval from the judges.
There has to be a different path than a television competition.
The opportunities from that really arose from me realising if I’m going to do this then I have to be the driving force behind what I do and 7 years later I can safely say that the path that’s been set for me has been so rewarding. I love being an independent artist!
Tell us about working with Oscar Theatre Co.
Emily Gilhome (Director Oscar Theatre) is someone I have much respect and love for. She is creative, crazy and her business mind is actually inspiring. I’ve been so blessed to have worked with her twice now and I’ve learnt so much from her as a person and a performer, and will take that gold with me everywhere I go. She and her creative team really confirm for me that an independent arts sector can be an incredible road to go down and I love that she has the balls to do it!
What’s the best thing about cabaret and what IS it about cabaret that makes it so accessible to artists and audiences?
Cabaret reminds me of that iconic line from Fight Club – “The rules are, there are no rules…” and that is the PERFECT way to sum up cabaret! The artist gets to be creative and the audience gets to be a part of that journey. It sounds like “stereotypical theatre” but the audience really is the other character in this genre. They lead where the show takes itself and our job as the artists is to help steer it along a course that still makes sense! We don’t have to follow the 101s of theatre or acting. We just need to make sure our audiences feel something. I don’t know what that something is though. HAHA!
What’s the best thing about Queensland’s performing arts scene at the moment?
The best thing is that it is emerging. Queensland is getting hungry and excited for the arts again. The people are wanting to see entertainment that isn’t just in a nice venue.
Our community of artists are being encouraged to think outside the box and realise that their value as an artist increases the more they realise what their worth is.
You can feel a shift in the culture of our great state! It’s so exciting!
Where would you like to perform? And with whom?
I don’t really have a “dream venue” in mind. Just give me a space and we’ll just do it! Just make sure there’s an admission fee… I need to pay my phone bill still. I actually want to perform with Katy Perry. She’s sexy, sassy and our sense of humour is really similar. I could probably throw in a sick harmony underneath her as well.
Who were/are your greatest musical influences?
Besides the old gospel standards I am hugely inspired by Michael Jackson, Freddie Mercury, Beyonce and Christina Aguilera. All powerhouse performers, vocalists and true masters of their craft!
Who’s your favourite pop star? Diva?
Pop Star: Katy Perry Diva: Mariah Carey
Whose music do you love singing?
Oh my goodness. I’ll have to press shuffle on the iPod in my mind to find out. It changes all the time. At the moment, I’m all about Ariana Grande, and I’m not ashamed to admit that.
Will we see you in professional musical theatre sometime?
You most probably will! I’ve been lucky enough to have been in eight musicals in the past two years: Hair (Hud), Songs for a New World (Man 1), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Mitch Mahoney), boy&girl and boy&girl2 (Oscar Theatre Company), Little Shop of Horrors (Voice of Audrey II) and Legally Blonde (Emmett). I’ve been bitten by the bug, I love it!
What’s next for you?
There are a couple of irons in the fire at the moment. I’m really passionate about new work so there will be a couple of creative developments in the ring of Brisbane soon and have been offered an opportunity to start producing shows as well. Watch this space, the independent artist business will increase again in 2015!
Teenage Dreams at Brisbane Powerhouse Friday April 17 & Saturday April 18 at 7:30pm. Book here.