Not many artistes can sing while holding a cut-out of a bee without looking ridiculous. But Australian singer-songwriter-actress Lenka makes even peculiarity endearing.

With the 35-year-old, you can be assured that nothing’s going to be run-of-the-mill, and that’s her biggest appeal.

Here to perform at the Esplanade Theatre on Nov 26, the woman-child seemed like a fictional character from Neverland, in her flirty 50’s halter neck polka dot dress and the flower wreath headband on her crown of wavy brown locks. Add to that quirky mannerisms such as tiptoeing around the stage and you have Tinker Bell– albeit a multi-talented one, in the flesh.

Accompanied by her 2 band members, she kicked off the concert with “Nothing Here But Love”, a track off her third and latest album, Shadows. Her lilting voice was pitch perfect as she played some of her old tunes such as the haunting “Like A Song”, requested by an audience on Twitter, as well as “Don’t Let Me Fall”, which she described as “an insecure love song”.

Unabashedly girly, Lenka entertained the audience with her candid interaction especially when she took out a cutesy miniature keyboard to play, and some in the crowd couldn’t help but break into amused laughter.

In reply, she remarked, “Did somebody laugh? This is a very serious instrument. Some people play the harp, some people play… whatever this guy is called.”

Midway through her set, Lenka, along with her band members began murmuring and having a quick discussion when Lenka cheekily turned to the audience and announced, “Ahem… staff meeting.” She then invited everyone to clap along to the cheery “Everything’s Okay”.

Lenka shot to international fame with the release of her eponymous debut album in 2008. Her debut single “The Show” was an international hit, gaining spots in soundtracks of movies like Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, and Moneyball, as well as an Old Navy commercial, just to name a few placements.

Before she performed “We Will Not Grow Old”, she shared that it’s somewhat her manifesto. “It’s all about staying young at heart forever, which in case you can’t tell, I do intend to do.”

As she sat on the front of the stage close to her fans, she seemed determined to prove that age is really just a state of mind. Most probably find it hard to wrap their heads around the fact that this ivory-skinned beauty is in her 30s, let alone a mother of one.

1 big advantage of motherhood was it chiefly inspired Shadows, dubbed as lullabies for adults, because it’s filled with soft, dreamy tunes, a departure from her previous work, which featured upbeat numbers.

In addition to their own material, the band served up a great rendition of the classic “Don’t Worry Be Happy”, the first a cappella song to hit the number 1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Lenka also dedicated “Mr. Tambourine Man” to all Bob Dylan fans.

The biggest highlight of the concert came during the performance of “Heart To The Party”, where Lenka encouraged the audience to take out their mobile phones, turn on the flashlight function to make them look like lightsticks, and wave them in the air and “pretend it’s like a Pink Floyd concert or something”. Most were eager to comply and the auditorium looked beautiful lit up.

“Her entire performance felt so dreamlike, it was like I was drifting into another world,” said 20-year-old undergraduate Cheryl Tan.

Local fans were treated to their first performance of a new song, “Long Way Home”, written for Believe, an upcoming American sci-fi television series. Although Lenka forgot her lyrics halfway, she casually dismissed it with a laugh and her fans didn’t seem to mind anyway.

She quickly recovered from that slip by reminiscing on her last visit to Singapore 2 years ago: “You know, the last time I was in Singapore there was a review of my show that said it was ‘too perfect’, so I’m just trying to balance it out… trying to please that reviewer. You want ‘not perfect’, I can give you not perfect!”

Photos courtesy o f Joanna Kwa.