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Iva Davies , AO (Wauchope, New South Wales, May 22, 1955), born Ivor Arthur Davies , is an Australian singer-songwriter and instrumentalist, leader of the band of synth pop, new wave and rock Icehouse.
Davies has worked with notable musicians such as David Bowie, Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music, Yukihiro Takahashi, John Oates, Elvis Costello, Simple Minds, Peter Tosh, Robert Palmer, XTC, The Psychedelic Furs and Nik Kershaw, among many others.
Davies’ first performances were around 1971, at his age of sixteen, along with the Lucy Fields Jug Band, led by Lindsay Campbell, on the third basement of the Christian Youth Association building in Sydney. This venue was also the scene of artists like Bob Hudson, Mike Mclelland, Al Ward, Pat and Geoff Drummond, Al Head, Marion Henderson, Margaret Roadknight and Graeme Lownde. Influenced by David Bowie, Bryan Ferry and Marc Bolan, Davies began to become famous for his vocal style. The Lucy Fields Jug Band had secured a contract to record with the M7 company, but the label changed its signature and the band’s album was never released.
Davies played the oboe with the Sydney Youth Orchestra and was part of the band of the Epping Boys High School, [n. 1] where he also played the euphonium.
At the end of 1977, Davies, who had studied oboe and composition at the Music Conservatory in Sydney, joined bassist Keith Welsh to form a band called “Flowers”. In 1979, Davies reestablished contacts with Cameron Allan, director of the independent record label Regular Records, [n. 2] with which Flowers would sign at the beginning of 1980.
In 1985, Iva Davies and Bob Kretschmer, friend and also member of the band, worked with the Sydney Dance Company [n. 3] in the Boxes ballet. In addition to recording music for the ballet, Davies and Kretschmer were co-writers of the work, along with Graeme Murphy. 4] Boxes premiered at the Sydney Opera House in December of that year, and Davies had the multiple role of actor, singer and dancer for the three consecutive weeks in which the public sold out their tickets.
The year 1985 also saw Davies win the APRA [n. 5] Music Award as “Australasian music of a more interpreted film”, for the film Razorback. 6]
In 1988, Davies and John Oates – the latter as a collaborator – won an APRA Music Award for the song «Electric Blue», from the Man of Colors album, in the category “Australasian popular play more interpreted”.
On January 25, 1988, Icehouse performed “Electric Blue” at the New South Wales Bicentennial Concert, in front of Prince Charles and Princess Diana of Wales, at the Sydney Entertainment Center. He saw Davies very nervous, arriving at times to sing out of tune.
The Sydney Dance Company worked on the creation of a ballet that he named Berlin. In addition to recording the songs that composed the music of this ballet, Davies interpreted all the songs live, together with Icehouse, in all the presentations of the work. Davies thus became a fundamental part of the ballet, in a role similar to that played in Boxes, with great success in communication between dancers and the public. Berlin was an instant hit, and was on the scene for two seasons. Boxes and Berlin are two of the most successful shows among all that the Sydney Dance Company has set up to date. [Appointment required]
In 2003, Davies traveled to Los Angeles to record the soundtrack of Peter Weir’s film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, with Christopher Gordon and Richard Tognetti; together, they won the 2004 APRA / AGSC Screen Music Award in the category “Best Soundtrack Album.” In 2005 he composed the music for the miniseries The Incredible Journey of Mary Bryant: [n. 7] on November 6 of the following year he would receive the APRA / AGSC Screen Music Award in the category “Best music for miniseries or television movie.” Since June 15, 2008, Davies was a member of the jury of the talent contest Battle of the Choirs, Icehouse performed “Great Southern Land” in the final show of the contest, which was won by the chamber choir of the University of Newcastle.
- 1982: Countdown Award («Most Popular Male Artist»).
- 1985: Prize of the Australasian Performing Right Association (“Music australasiana of more interpreted film”) by Razorback.
- 1988: Prize of the Australasian Pefforming Right Association (“Australasian work more interpreted”) by Electric Blue.
- 1991: Nominated for “Best Male Artist” at the 16th annual Mo Awards (Australian Variety Artist Association).
- 2004: APRA / AGSC Screen Music Award («Best soundtrack album») by Master and Commander.
- 2006: APRA / AGSC Screen Music Award (“Best Miniseries Music or TV Movie”) by Mary Bryant.
- 2013: Order of Australia for its services to music, entertainment and the community.
- 1985: Boxes, ballet with the Sydney Dance Company at the Sydney Opera House, voted “event of the year” by Rolling Stone magazine.
- 1995: Berlin, with Max Lambert and the Sydney Dance Company; the show opened at the Sydney Opera House and continued its success in successive seasons in and outside of Australia.
- 1999: The Ghost of Time, with Richard Tognetti and the Sydney Symphony on New Year’s Eve, at the Sydney Opera House, as part of Australia’s contribution to the Millennium Celebrations and with a television audience of 2,500 millions of people.
- 2000: Circles in the Sky, song selected as the main theme for live events during the celebration of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
He married Tonia Kelly in 1990. They have two children: Brynn (born in 1993) and Evan (born in 1996). Iva and Tonia divorced in February 2010. Davies lives today in Whale Beach, New South Wales.
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