About

Debra Manskey is a full-time writer, multi-instrumentalist, music educator, blogger and part-time gardener, uni student and urban farmer.

Born into a musical family in rural South Australia, for the first ten or twelve years of her life, Debra thought everyone lived in a home where music was on the menu most nights of the week.

“Growing up, it was a revelation for me to discover that some families didn’t play music together or even own a musical instrument. We used to sit around the kitchen table and just do it! Looking back, it’s a gift I can’t thank my parents enough for.”

One of the founding members of Australian 80′s indie icons “Wild Pumpkins at Midnight”, Debra’s trademark soaring vocals contributed to the Pumpkins’ 1990 ARIA award for “This Machine is Made of People”

Throughout her long career, Debra has graced many concert stages and festivals, including Pt Fairy, Moomba, Cygnet Folk Festival and Tasmania’s jewel, 10 Days on the Island. In recent years as a solo performer she has also supported other outstanding artists such as The Stiff Gins, Neil Murray, Stefan Grossman, Sophie B Hawkins, Mick Thomas, Dave Steel and the inimitable Dave Graney.

Debra is also highly regarded as an arts administrator and educator, regularly conducting specialist workshops for adults and children in voice, songwriting and performance skills. She has worked as a Writer-In-Residence, been celebrated as Tasmanian Living Writer and released a live CD in 2006 which received excellent reviews and has now sold out.

Her first full-length studio album “The Woman on the Edge of the World” was released in January 2012 and is available as a digital download through SoundCloud. This proved so successful, she is planning a limited, numbered and signed CD release in 2015.

Besides her solo work, Debra has played played bass with punk/pop trio “Straddlepuss” and played rhythm guitar and sung with roots/blues/rock outfit “The Fringe Dwellers”. This featured guitarist/songwriter and recording whizz, Malcolm Battersby from Belfry Studios. Their album “After Time” was released in 2012.

Currently, Debra is working on a new recording project, “The Lucky Six” covering six songs that have influenced her, as well as writing new work for another solo release. There is also a book on singing technique and interpretation on the drawing board, narrative/dialogue for an independent game and, as always, more blogging!

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Christine
    Sep 21, 2015 @ 17:41:02

    Hi Debra,
    Is it possible to get a digital version of the Wild Pumpkins at Midnight – ‘Living’ record online anywhere? Remembered seeing you guys play at Gellibrand in Vic years ago and my friends and I had the vinyl version back when record players were the go! Now I’m trying to find the music so I can load onto my phone. Any ideas?
    Also will be in Tassy in December are you playing anywhere around that time?
    Cheers
    Christine

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    • Debra Manskey
      Sep 21, 2015 @ 18:57:50

      Hi Christine,
      Alas, no digital versions of any early WPAM recordings exist that I know of. I have seen the occasional copy of Living in record stores and the like.
      Not sure what’s happening at the moment in December! I was supposed to be going to New Zealand but that’s fallen through. I better get on that!!!
      Regards,
      Debra

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  2. Belinda Graudins
    May 09, 2016 @ 00:08:59

    Hi Debra,
    I have loved hearing about ‘The superstars’ group at Oak that you have been working with. 🙂
    I am working as a teacher assistant at Rosny College with some amazing disability students. We try to do some music stuff with them in drama and lunch breaks. Last year we had the drama class performing on the taiko drums for the whole school, and plan to do that again this year. We also get them singing a song and create a music video of it for end of year presentations.
    I was wondering if there might be a possibility of you visiting the school some time to inspire and guide us a little? Totally understand if you can’t manage, sounds like you are keeping very busy, and I would need to discuss with our teachers.
    Kind regards,
    Belinda

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    • Debra Manskey
      May 09, 2016 @ 08:37:58

      Hi Belinda,
      Lovely to hear from you! Were you with the group that came to OAK last Monday? I’m sure they were from Rosny!
      Yes, discuss with your other staff and contact me here or via Facebook if you’re interested in discussing it further 😀
      Cheers,
      Debra

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