Toni Childs talks about intimacy, authenticity and art ahead of Retrospective tour visit to Murray Bridge

The sound of a familiar song on the radio can be like seeing the face of an old friend in a crowd: something half-remembered but welcome, like the years never went past at all.

That is the feeling Grammy-nominated recording artist Toni Childs hopes to bring to audiences in Murray Bridge on June 6 as part of her Retrospective tour - before catching them up on everything that has happened in the 30 years since.

"It feels like an intimate connection with old friends," she said.

"People have been listening to my music for many years, so we're connected, we have the same emotional landscape."

The singer grew up in a conservative family in the US, but broke out and recorded her most commercially successful music in London and Los Angeles in the 1980s and early 90s.

Life, love and health had given her a much broader perspective since then, she said.

"With time, living on the planet for a while, you begin to understand what a decade means," she said.

"In your 40s you're grappling with life in a way you're not really understanding.

"Now I've got more of that eagle point of view, where I can see the development and the trajectory of my life.

In 1997 she retired to Hawaii after being diagnosed with Graves' disease, a thyroid condition.

Only in the past few years has she returned to the creative life, after marrying an Australian and moving to Byron Bay, New South Wales.

But an energetic return it has been, an explosion of conceptual exploration, combining 3D animation and audience-driven art installations with musical sound as she riffs on detoxification, the plight of the world's bees and celebrating life.

Much of that will have to wait for now, but the Retrospective tour will offer a glimpse of her new aesthetic.

In the first half of the show, she revisits the classics audiences will know, including her 1991 hit "I've Got to Go Now"; in the second, she presents songs from her two recent albums, Citizens of the Planet and It's All a Beautiful Noise.

"I like to think of the evening being like a chocolate box of music," she said.

"When you get a box of chocolates, you eat your favourites first.

"I play a lot of music from Union, and other albums as well, and people feel satiated ... then we have a break and go into some new stuff."

As well as a six-piece band, the show's backing track features voices and other elements of the original recordings.

Audiences had been loving it, she said.

"A lot of people have got married to my albums, had children to my albums, maybe they've left their husbands to my albums," she said.

"That connection means we can be honest and real with each other.

"That level of authenticity, being where we are in the moment, it seems like we need that; and for artists who have the courage to allow themselves to be seen, that's what we want."

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