WHEN Vera Blue released the video for her latest single The Way That You Love Me, it's fair to say eyebrows were raised among her fan base.
Gone was the sweet folk-pop songstress from the NSW country town of Forbes, who first found fame as a teenager on The Voice under her real name Celia Pavey.
In her place was a confident black leather-clad dominatrix, dancing and brandishing a whip while men hung tied from the rafters.
Pavey's slow transformation as Vera Blue had taken another dramatic turn.
While this new sexualised side of Vera Blue was pitched by The Way That You Love Me's director Benn Jae, who also produced her Regular Touch clip, the 25-year-old says it's an avenue she was excited to explore.
I didn't want to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but at the same time I need to express myself.Vera Blue
However, Pavey tells Weekender she felt some trepidation about how the video would be received.
"I guess I'm always thinking about my audience, how they react to things as well," Pavey says.
"That's the part that made me a little nervous. I didn't want to offend anyone. I didn't want to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but at the same time I need to express myself.
"I need to evolve and I need to do things that are a little bit different as an artist. It felt right for me and I had lots of fun doing it.
"It doesn't necessarily mean a crazy new direction and that will be the whole project, it just felt right for the song and I love it."
The Way That You Love Me also features the heaviest and darkest electro-pop sound Pavey has produced yet in collaboration with Central Coast brothers Andy and Thom Macken.
It's the third single Pavey has released since her second album Perennial in 2017, following the tracks All The Pretty Girls and Like I Remember You.
Pavey says she's in no hurry to record album No.3. Instead, she's enjoying the freedom of dropping regular singles where she can explore different musical styles.
"The stuff we're making at the moment is a bit of everything," she says. "It really depends what the song is about.
"At the moment I'm working on love songs, others are obviously about things that are darker and heavier, but I think it all depends on what the song is about.
"We're doing all kinds of stuff and not locking ourselves into any specific genre."
It's a plan that's paying dividends too. Last month she made a surprise appearance at Lollapalooza in Chicago when she performed with Australian producer megastar Flume.
"It was incredible," she says. "I got the opportunity last year to do my own set at Lollapalooza, so it was really good to come back and do a performance with Flume.
"I got to sing Never Be Like You. It's a really crazy experience to get back on stage with him.
"The last time I did that was at Splendour [In The Grass] three years ago, so it was nice of him to have me back."
It's all part of Vera Blue's plan to spread her music overseas, but at a manageable pace.
"I've gradually been putting music out there and capturing people around the world," she says.
"It's nice to get opportunities where I'm put in front of huge audiences, like Flume audiences, so they can be exposed to my music and my voice."
READ MORE:Not forever Vera Blue for Celia Pavey
While the electro-pop of Vera Blue remains Pavey's main focus, she maintains that one day she'll return to her folk roots.
"Obviously the Celia Pavey stuff is very much there and it's not gone for good and I'll definitely bring it back eventually when I have the time and the right kind of collaborations," she says.
"A lot of fans probably prefer that sound and want it back. But the thing with music is things aren't gone for good completely and they'll always come back, so we'll see what happens."
Vera Blue performs at Wests NEX on Saturday with Alex The Astronaut.
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