5 Minutes with...ANDY POBJOY 'Piano Bar'

Published on 22 March 2022

Piano Bar South Side Festival
  1. What influences and inspires your creative practice?
    • Collaboration and community inspires me. Every week, I rehearse and perform with talented artists who I love and respect.  Friendships within the arts community are particularly special, and these bonds have carried our “tribe” through the tumult and turmoil of COVID.
    •  I regularly take time to support and attend shows, events, or exhibitions by my fellow creatives. The support and feedback of our peers is so important.  We can all inspire each other with our unique talents, ideas, perspectives, and energy.  So much of our work as creatives involves the “pouring out” of ourselves, and there is value in being able to “soak in” the inspiration and strength from the work of our peers.


  2. What does the term “arts and culture” mean to you?
    • Arts and Culture speaks to the core of what it means to be human.  There is a creative spark inside each of us, longing to work itself out through any creative medium: dance, singing, visual arts, poetry, song-writing , you name it!  Every creative expression is framed through the lens of our experience, and art serves as the vessel.  Art has the power to overcome obstacles and smash through barriers of unconscious bias or deep-seated prejudice, bypassing the mind and going straight for the soul.  The arts have the power to speak prophetically to society: to shine light on injustice, to tell stories that need to be told, and to give voice to the voiceless.  The arts also have the power to bring joy, smiles and laughter, even just through a simple singalong around the piano.


  3. Out of curiosity, what is your perception of Frankton? Be honest!
    • As a lifelong resident of Geelong, Frankston strikes me as a very similar city with a long, rich history and a bright future.  Somehow, Geelong has maintained its sense of independence and separation from Melbourne, most clearly evident during the COVID shutdowns.  Geelong is classified as regional, whilst Frankston remained locked down as part of the metropolitan Melbourne area.  My perception is that Frankston should step boldly into the future as its own city, standing proudly in its own right, distinct and separate from Melbourne.


    • In my experience, local creative people need to focus less on work in the “big smoke” and start working locally as much as possible.  Many of the preconceived negative notions about provincial and regional towns actually come from within the local community itself, rather than from outsiders looking in.  The huge surge in people moving from metropolitan Melbourne to provincial centres like Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat is driving positive change as new residents discover the amazing potential of these cities.  Just like Dorothy in the Wizard Of Oz, sometimes the things we as creatives have been longing for have been right there in our home towns the whole time.


  4. How do you view the relationship between the artistic creator and audience?
    • We live in a world dominated by social media.  As end users, we are encouraged to give everything a “star rating”: from an app, to a dining experience, to a rideshare driver.  Our audiences are easier to connect with than ever before, and our audiences have expectations and tastes that we as performers can tap into.  Our business, Piano Bar has taken this concept to a new level, and with five venues across regional Victoria, we have been very successful at connecting performers to their audience and vice versa.


    • Our creativity without an audience is like a fire without oxygen.  We need an audience to engage and react to our art.  It’s a metaphorical case of perpetual motion: the pendulum swinging between the creator and the audience.  The creative arts must do its utmost to reach out and meet the audience where they are at, especially in a post-COVID world where so many people have been unable to physically attend exhibitions or shows.  In many ways, the audience shapes the art as much as the art shapes the audience.  For a creative, we must become attune to what is working for an audience and subsequently lean into that audience’s appetite or yearning.


  5. What song would be your theme song in the movie adaptation of your life?
    • “I Am What I Am” by Shirley Bassey is always a good place to start!  So many young people feel as though they have to apologise for just being themselves.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

    • “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life” would also feature in the mix somewhere.  During the depths of rolling COVID lockdowns, this song became a mainstay throughout the hundreds and hundreds of Piano Bar livestreams.

    • Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” always reminds me of the duality of life: the ups and downs, the give and take, the light and darkness.

    • My entire life story is defined by these songs I sing every day of my life.  Songs are like old friends, offering me comfort and strength on life’s journey.


  6. Describe yourself or artistic practice in five words (Note: you are infinitely awesome beyond these 5 words).
    • Sing us a song, pianoman!


Let Andy Pobjoy and the Piano Bar Group 'wow' you as the take over Cube 37 from Thursday 12 - Sunday 15 May during the South Side Festival. Click the link for more details.


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