"Initially, I tried to translate, to soften, to bring my voice to the same place. To try to sound like Abby. This was a mistake."
One of the most touching Australian rock ballads, Even When I’m Sleeping, by Leonardo’s Bride, has been given a new lease of life thanks to Mark Seymour.
The tender love song, originally sung by Abby Dobson, has been covered by John Farnham on his 2005 covers album, I Remember When I Was Young, and is now honoured as part of Mushroom Group’s 50th-anniversary celebrations.
The second single from Leonardo’s Bride’s debut album, Angel Blood, Even When I’m Sleeping, was a huge hit upon its April 1997 release. The track landed at #4 on the ARIA Singles Chart and was certified Gold.
With Seymour’s rich, unmistakable voice, he honours an Australian classic that he holds in high regard.
“When I first heard it, ‘Even When I’m Sleeping’ was a benchmark for me,” Seymour shared in a press release. “Here was a love song with real gravity that professed real events of great personal intimacy. A song that appealed to the most basic human need. The need for affection, comfort and intimacy.”
On adding his own spin to a beloved ballad written by Leonardo’s Bride’s guitarist and keyboardist, Dean Manning, Seymour added, “The great difficulty for me was to get the tone right. Abby has a character voice. She brings everything to the table, what I call real soul. The crack, the quaver and the hurt … Initially, I tried to translate, to soften, to bring my voice to the same place. To try to sound like Abby. This was a mistake.
Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter
“To do a cover well, authenticity lies in the capacity to live inside your own condition as you sing someone else’s words, which isn’t something I often do. To own the song. To draw on my own inherent character. To sing proudly with truth.”
You can listen to the original track and Seymour’s cover below.
Seymour’s cover is the eighth in a series of the Mushroom 50 project, following WILSN and Budjerah’s take on Crowded House’s Better Be Home Soon, Dan Sultan’s stirring rendition of Archie Roach’s Took The Children Away, The Temper Trap’s spin on Under The Milky Way (originally by The Church), Missy Higgins’ version of Wide Open Road by The Triffids, Bliss N Eso’s cover of The Rubens’ Hoops, Paul Kelly’s tribute to the Sunnyboys with Alone With You and Gordi’s spin on Violent Soho’s Covered In Chrome. You can check out the other Mushroom 50 Singles here.