Kate Melina Miller-Heidke was born on 16 November 1981 in Gladstone, Queensland. She completed a Bachelor of Music degree in Classical Voice from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music at Griffith University, followed by a Master of Music degree at Queensland University of Technology.
As a classical singer, Kate Miller-Heidke has won the Elizabeth Muir Prize (2000), Donald Penman Prize (2001), Linda Edith Allen Memorial Prize (2002) and Horace Keats Prize (2002). She has performed as an understudy in productions, “Sweeney Todd”, “Don Pasquale” and “Un ballo in maschera”. In July 2005 she made her solodebut with Opera Queensland in the role of Flora in “The Turn of the Screw”.
From 2000, Kate Miller-Heidke played in several Brisbane alternative pop bands. Miller-Heidke became known in Brisbane from several performances and her 2005 appearance in Women in Voice 14 won her the Helpmann Award for Best Performance in an Australian Contemporary Concert.
In June 2004 Miller-Heidke recorded and distributed her first EP, “Telegram”. The songs were written by Keir Nuttall. He was the founder, lead guitarist and vocalist in Brisbane-based progressive rock band Transport, which formed in 2001. Nuttall and fellow Transport members have worked as part of Miller-Heidke’s backing band since 2004. In 2005 she released a second EP with four tracks, “Comikaze”, however only 500 copies were made.
In 2005 Miller-Heidke turned from classical to pop music when “Space They Cannot Touch”, a track from”Telegram”, became a hit on Australia’s national youth radio network, Triple J. It led to national attention for her music. She was able to sign a contract with EMI Music Australia, started a national tour and performed at festivals as Woodford and Blue Mountains. She performed in a lot of tv-shows.
Miller-Heidke was invited by Australian singer-songwriter Deborah Conway to take part in the 2006 Broad Festival project during August, with three other Australian female artists, they performed their own and each other’s songs.
Miller-Heidke released her third EP, “Circular Breathing” with six tracks, in May 2006. One of the songs, “Apartment”, was also released on single. In 2007 she was able to release her debut album “Little Eve”. It peaked at No. 11 on the ARIA Albums Chart and was certified gold in 2008 by ARIA for shipment of 35000 copies. The lead single, “Words”, released in the same month, reached the top 50 on the related ARIA Singles Chart. At the ARIA Music Awards of 2007 she received five nominations, Best Female Artist, Best Pop Release, Breakthrough Artist – Album for Little Eve and Producer of the Year for Magoo’s work on Little Eve, and Breakthrough Artist – Single for “Words”.
Miller-Heidke’s second album, “Curiouser”, was released in 2008. It was recorded in Los Angeles. The album’s lead single, “Can’t Shake It” debuted on the Singles Chart at No. 38 in October 2008, making it her first top 40 song. “Curiouser” was her first top 10 album: peaking at No. 2. In April 2009 Miller-Heidke returned to operatic works and won critical acclaim for her performance as Baby Jane in Jerry Springer: The Opera.
The single “Caught in the Crowd”, also reached the Australian singles charts. The team behind this song awarded the $US25,000 grand prize in the 2008 International Songwriting Competition for its composition. It was used by Australian secondary schools for anti-bullying programs. “Caught in the Crowd” was re-released in November and was accredited as a gold single in 2010.
Her following single, “The Last Day on Earth”, reached No. 3 in Australia, her first top 10 hit. It had been used in promos for TV soap opera, Neighbours. “The Last Day on Earth” and “Curiouser” were both certified platinum by ARIA for shipment of 70000 units. Miller-Heidke toured throughout the US, United Kingdom and continental Europe as support act for Ben Folds. She released her first music DVD, Live in San Francisco (October 2010).
On 24 June 2011 Miller-Heidke’s side project, “Fatty Gets a Stylist”, released a self-titled album. She had formed the project as a short-term, alternative pop duo with Keir Nuttall.
She sang the role of British Dancing Girl in the opera “The Death of Klinghoffer” for a two-week run in early 2012. Kate performed the role again at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in October 2014.
Also in 2012 Miller-Heidke’s third Australian studio album, “Nightflight”, was released. The album peaked at No. 2 in the charts. Three singles were released. However, none of the singles reached the top 50.
Kate sang the screen-role of Amber in the world premiere of Michel van der Aa’s opera “Sunken Garden”. She started to work on her fourth Australian studio album, “O Vertigo!”, that was released in March 2014.
Miller-Heidke was co-commissioned by Lyndon Terracini of Opera Australia in late 2014 to write an opera, “The Rabbits”, based on John Marsden’s children’s novel of that name. She took on the role of “female protagonist” in van der Aa’s interactive song cycle film, “The Book of Sand”. In November 2015, she issued a non-album single, “I’m Growing a Beard Downstairs for Christmas”, featuring comedy rock group, the Beards. The charity single was used to raise funds for bowel cancer research. She also debuted as a TV actress in the comedy opera miniseries, “The Divorce” and sang on the related soundtrack album.
In August 2017 a live album, “Live at the Sydney Opera House”, was released by Kate Miller-Heidke in cooperation with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Miller-Heidke and Nuttall co-wrote new music and lyrics for the musical theatre version of “Muriel’s Wedding”.
At the Helpmann Awards of 2018 she won Best Original Score (shared with Nuttall). During 2019 the musical toured to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Miller-Heidke and Nuttall also co-wrote the music for the 2018 production of “Twelfth Night” for the Melbourne Theatre Company.
In 2019 Miller-Heidke participated in Australia Decides, the national final for the Eurovision Song Contest. She won and thus represented her country in the Eurovision Song Contest. She reached the final and ended up in 9th position. Miller-Heidke received the Marcel Bezençon award in the Artistic category, given to the best artist as voted on by the commentators of the contest.
In October 2020 Kate released her fifth studio album, “Child in Reverse”, which peaked at No. 9. In the same year she participated in The Masked Singer Australia as the “Queen” and was the runner-up on the second season of the show.
Miller-Heidke and Nuttall collaborated again in 2021 with the Melbourne Theatre Company and Simon Phillips, writing music for their production of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”.