Kate Miller-Heidke

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Kate Miller-Heidke
Kate at the Byron Bay Bluesfest, April 2011.jpg
Miller-Heidke at the Byron Bay Bluesfest in April 2011
Born (1981-11-16) 16 November 1981 (age 39)
OccupationSinger-songwriter, actress
Years active2000–present
Spouse(s)Keir Nuttall
Musical career
OriginBrisbane, Queensland, Australia
GenresAdult contemporary, folk, pop, rock, alternative, opera
InstrumentsVocals, keyboards, acoustic guitar
LabelsWaterbear Records/Sony BMG, Epic US, RCA UK
Associated actsTransport, Elsewhere

Kate Miller-Heidke (/ˈhdki/;[1] born 16 November 1981) is an Australian singer-songwriter and actress. Although classically trained, she has followed a career in alternative pop music. She signed to Sony Australia, Epic in the US and RCA in the UK, but is now an independent artist.[2] She represented Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 in Tel Aviv, Israel.[3] She is the only person to have sung at Coachella, the New York Metropolitan Opera, and Eurovision.[4]

Early life[edit]

Born in Gladstone, Queensland, to dance teacher Jenny Miller and high school principal Greg Heidke,[5] Miller-Heidke graduated from St Aidan's Anglican Girls' School in 1998 but previously attended Brigidine College, Indooroopilly.[6] She then went on to university, completing a Bachelor of Music degree in Classical Voice from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music at Griffith University on full scholarship,[7] followed by a Master of Music degree at Queensland University of Technology. As a classical singer, she has won many awards including the Elizabeth Muir Prize (2000), the Donald Penman Prize (2001), the Linda Edith Allen Memorial Prize (2002) and the Horace Keats Prize (2002). Her conservatorium performances include Orpheus in the Underworld (2000), Venus and Adonis (2002) and The Pilgrim's Progress (2002).[8][9] As an Opera Queensland Developing Artist, Miller-Heidke has performed as an understudy in many productions including Sweeney Todd, Don Pasquale and Un ballo in maschera. In July 2005, she made her solo professional operatic debut with Opera Queensland in the role of Flora in Britten's The Turn of the Screw.


2000–2005: Career beginnings, Elsewhere, and solo EPs[edit]

Miller-Heidke played in several Brisbane bands before going solo in 2002.[10] Miller-Heidke was lead singer and songwriter with Brisbane band Elsewhere, formed in 2000, which released a self-titled EP of original songs before breaking up in 2003.

Miller-Heidke performed at the annual cult event Women in Voice in 2002, 2004 and 2005, when she shared the stage with such performers as Pearly Black, Margret RoadKnight, Jenny Morris and Divinyls lead singer Chrissy Amphlett. Miller-Heidke became well known in Brisbane through these performances, and her 2005 appearance in Women in Voice 14 won her the Helpmann Award for Best Performance in an Australian Contemporary Concert.[11]

In June 2004, Miller-Heidke independently recorded and distributed her first EP, Telegram, a collection of songs, all written by Miller-Heidke herself (except for two songs written by her creative collaborator and now-husband, Keir Nuttall). In 2005, she released a second EP Comikaze, however only 500 copies were ever made. According to an interview in 2007, Miller-Heidke believed the EP's comedic material to have been a mistake and stopped pressing copies.[12]

In 2006, Miller-Heidke was invited by Deborah Conway to take part in the Broad Festival project, with three other Australian female artists, they performed their own and each other's songs.[13] With Miller-Heidke and Conway were Melinda Schneider, Mia Dyson and Ella Hooper.[14]

Miller-Heidke was to have moved on to singing Gilbert and Sullivan tunes with Opera Australia; instead, she turned her back on classical singing to concentrate on popular music and songwriting when "Space They Cannot Touch", a song from Telegram, became a hit on Australia's national youth radio network, Triple J and was named Richard Kingsmill's "pick of the week" in September 2005.[15] This radio support led to increased national attention for Miller-Heidke's music: not only did she gain thousands of fans, she also went on to sign a record deal, get her first manager, Leanne de Souza, and her first agent, Dorry Kartabani, at the Harbour Agency. Miller-Heidke then began touring the country with her band.

As well as touring throughout Australia and appearing regularly at festivals in Woodford – where she was named Queen of the Woodford Folk Festival in 2002/2003,[8] – and in Port Fairy and Blue Mountains, Miller-Heidke appeared on Australian national television as a guest panelist on RocKwiz, Spicks and Specks and Q&A. She has performed on ABC TV's The Sideshow and Q&A, on Network Ten's Rove, Sunrise, The Morning Show and Good News Week, and twice on the live broadcast of the ARIA Music Awards.

2006–2007: Circular Breathing and Little Eve[edit]

Signed to Sony Australia, Miller-Heidke released her third EP Circular Breathing in 2006, followed by her debut album Little Eve on 15 June 2007. The album was certified gold in Australia.[16]

2008–2010: Curiouser and mainstream success[edit]

Miller-Heidke's second album, Curiouser, was released in Australia on 18 October 2008. The album was recorded in Los Angeles, with Miller-Heidke working with co-producers Nuttall and Mickey Petralia, who has produced albums for Beck and Flight of the Conchords. The songs on the album were mostly written over a two-month period with creative collaborator and partner Nuttall.[17] The album's first single, "Can't Shake It" debuted on the ARIA Singles Chart at number 38 in October 2008, making it Miller-Heidke's first top 40 song.[18] Curiouser was her first top 10 album, debuting at number 8 and peaking at number 2 on the ARIA Top 50 Albums chart.[19]

Performing in 2009

In April 2009, Miller-Heidke won critical acclaim for her performance as Baby Jane in Jerry Springer: The Opera at the Sydney Opera House.[20] When Tom Morris saw her in that role, he asked her to audition for his production of John Adams' opera The Death of Klinghoffer for the English National Opera (ENO) at the London Coliseum; following two months' rehearsals, Miller-Heidke then sang the role of British Dancing Girl for a two-week run in early 2012.[21] Miller-Heidke performed this role again at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in October 2014.[22][23][24]

Miller-Heidke and Nuttall were awarded the $US25,000 grand prize in the 2008 International Songwriting Competition for their composition "Caught in the Crowd". They were the first Australians ever to win the grand prize. The song has now been adopted by the Australian High School curriculum as a part of the early secondary anti-bullying program. The second Australian single from Curiouser which had peaked at number 33 on the ARIA singles charts in June 2009.[25] "Caught in the Crowd" was re-released in November 2009 and has since been accredited as a Gold single.[26]

Her following single, "The Last Day on Earth" reached No. 3 in Australia, her first top 10 hit. Due to the single's success, Curiouser re-entered the top 50 and reached No. 1 on iTunes for three weeks. The song became her first song to reach No. 1 in any chart later peaking on the ARIA Australian Artist Singles Chart at No. 1. The single "The Last Day On Earth" and the album Curiouser both went platinum.[27][28]

Curiouser has enjoyed critical success in the US. Sasha Frere-Jones, the music critic from The New Yorker, wrote "I got lucky last week and found a gem in the pile; Curiouser. If your favourite American pop star is coming across slightly washed out, you will want to hear Miller-Heidke. Curiouser is a big clutch of pantone swatches."[29]

Miller-Heidke has toured extensively throughout the US, UK and Europe as the special guest of Ben Folds. Ben Folds is a fan of her, stating "she's one of those people that actually does deserve to be called a unique talent." She released her first music DVD, Live in San Francisco.

Kate Miller-Heidke in 2013

Throughout 2010/2011, Miller-Heidke played at many festivals around the world including Coachella, Lilith Fair, Rifflandia, Byron Bay Bluesfest, Southbound and Peats Ridge Festival. She also appeared on Passenger's album Flight of the Crow.

2011–2013: Fatty Gets a Stylist and Nightflight[edit]

In June 2011, Miller-Heidke released an album by her side project band Fatty Gets a Stylist, another collaboration with Keir Nuttall.[30][31] Their first single, "Are You Ready?", has been used in a New York Lottery advertisement on US television[32] and for advertising the Seven Network, in which actors from various shows mime to the words while walking, ending with Alf Stewart from Home and Away yelling the end line "Let's go!".

The album Fatty Gets a Stylist (released as Liberty Bell outside Australia) was written and recorded on a lap top over several months in different locations in between Australia, South East Asia and West London. The album was released on 24 June 2011 and reached No. 90 on the official Australian ARIA albums charts.

On 13 April 2012 Miller-Heidke's third studio album, Nightflight, was released.

2013–2018: O Vertigo! and Muriel's Wedding[edit]

In 2013, the single "Ride this Feeling" was selected as the promotional theme for the 'Visit Brisbane' television advertising campaign for Brisbane Marketing as part of the Brisbane City Council's Economic Development Board.

Miller-Heidke sang the screen-role of Amber in the world premiere of Michel van der Aa's opera Sunken Garden for the English National Opera in April 2013.[33]

In September 2013, Miller-Heidke announced she had left Sony Records, which she described as a "corporate juggernaut". She also revealed she is currently working on her fourth studio album O Vertigo! independently, and set up a store on PledgeMusic, pledging the money to be used for the album and for donations towards the protection of the Great Barrier Reef.[2] Her request then broke a record on Pledge: in three days, it reached the target set for her album and continued to receive more crowd funding.[34]

In 2014, Lyndon Terracini announced that Opera Australia had co-commissioned Miller-Heidke to write an opera based on John Marsden's children's book The Rabbits, to be performed in 2015.[35] The Rabbits was first performed at the Perth Festival in February 2015, to critical acclaim.[36][37] Miller-Heidke performed as the "female protagonist" in Michel van der Aa's interactive song cycle film The Book of Sand, and debuted as a screen actress in the ABC comedy opera miniseries The Divorce, which was broadcast in December 2015.

Miller-Heidke co-wrote the music and lyrics for the musical Muriel's Wedding, which was premiered by the Sydney Theatre Company in November 2017.[38] She and Keir Nuttall wrote the music for the songs in Simon Phillips' 2018 production of Twelfth Night for the Melbourne Theatre Company where they were performed by Colin Hay.[39]

In 2017, Miller-Heidke released a live album called, "Kate Miller-Heidke and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Live At The Sydney Opera House".[40]

2019–present: Eurovision Song Contest and Child in Reverse[edit]

Miller-Heidke during the first semi-final of Eurovision Song Contest 2019

In early 2019, Miller-Heidke was announced as one of the ten candidates to represent Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 with the song "Zero Gravity" at Eurovision – Australia Decides; she won in February 2019 and represented Australia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2019.[3] The singer was joined by Israeli backing singers for her performance at the contest. The song "Zero Gravity" won the first semi-final, before placing ninth in the final with 284 points.[41][42] Miller-Heidke received the Marcel Bezençon award in the Artistic category, given to the best artist as voted on by the commentators of the contest.[43] In August 2020, Miller-Heidke announced the release of her fifth studio album, Child in Reverse, which was released in October 2020. In the same year she participated in The Masked Singer Australia as the "Queen" and was the runner-up on the second season of the show.[44]


On stage and in the studio Miller-Heidke spent the majority of her early years being backed by Brisbane band Transport, consisting of her husband[45] Keir Nuttall (guitar, backing vocals), Scott Saunders (bass) and Steve Pope (drums).

The band included multi-instrumentalist and singer Emma Dean who left the band in 2006 to pursue a solo career. Dean was replaced by Sallie Campbell on keyboard and vocals. Early in 2008, Sallie Campbell left to focus on her own band Speed of Purple, and Nicole Brophy joined on guitar and vocals.

From April to June 2007, with Transport working in the US and UK, Miller-Heidke's touring band was Mark Angel (guitar), Ben McCarthy (bass, backing vocals) and Joachim Alfheim (drums), along with regular vocalist-violinist Sallie Campbell. Both Angel and Alfheim went on to play for Kristy London & The Other Halves. McCarthy stayed on with Miller-Heidke into 2008.

The 2011 line-up was composed of Nuttall, Brophy, Nathan Moore (bass, backing vocals) and Pope. Brophy and Moore both left the band the following year; and were replaced by Madeleine Page and James O'Brien, respectively.

Her 2010 U.S. tour featured only Miller-Heidke and Nuttall.

Her 2012 tour of the United States and Canada for the North American release of her third studio album, Nightflight, included only Dan Parsons and Madeleine Paige. Dates in support of Ben Folds included only Nuttall.

Personal life[edit]

Miller-Heidke is married to Keir Nuttall; in 2016, their first son, Ernie Edward Miller Nuttall, was born.[46]




Year Title Role Notes
2015 The Book of Sand Woman Interactive film
2015 The Divorce Caroline Miniseries
2018 Ladies in Black Nightclub singer (cameo)[48] Feature film
2016–Present Play School (Australian TV series) Guest Presenter TV Series


Year Title Role Notes
2009 Jerry Springer: The Opera Baby Jane Sydney Opera House
2012–14 The Death of Klinghoffer British Dancing Girl English National Opera, Metropolitan Opera
2013 Sunken Garden Amber English National Opera
2015–16 The Rabbits Songbird Helpmann Award for Best New Australian Work (with Lally Katz and Iain Grandage)
Helpmann Award for Best Original Score (with Iain Grandage)

Awards and nominations[edit]

AIR Awards[edit]

The Australian Independent Record Awards (commonly known informally as AIR Awards) is an annual awards night to recognise, promote and celebrate the success of Australia's Independent Music sector.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
AIR Awards of 2018[49][50] Live at the Sydney Opera House Best Independent Classical Album Nominated

APRA Music Awards[edit]

The APRA Awards are held in Australia and New Zealand by the Australasian Performing Right Association to recognise songwriting skills, sales and airplay performance by its members annually.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2009 "Can't Shake It"[51] Song of the Year (with Keir Nuttall) Nominated
2010 "The Last Day on Earth"[52] Song of the Year (with Keir Nuttall) Nominated

ARIA Music Awards[edit]

The ARIA Music Awards is an annual awards ceremony that recognises excellence, innovation, and achievement across all genres of Australian music.[53] Miller-Heidke has been nominated for 13 ARIA awards.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2007 Little Eve ARIA Award for Best Female Artist Nominated
ARIA Award for Best Pop Release Nominated
ARIA Award for Breakthrough Artist – Album Nominated
"Words" ARIA Award for Breakthrough Artist – Single Nominated
2009 "The Last Day on Earth" ARIA Award for Single of the Year Nominated
Curiouser ARIA Award for Best Female Artist Nominated
ARIA Award for Best Pop Release Nominated
2010 "The Last Day on Earth" ARIA Award for Most Popular Australian Single Nominated
2012 Nightflight ARIA Award for Best Australian Live Act Nominated
2014 O Vertigo! ARIA Award for Best Adult Contemporary Album Nominated
2016 The Rabbits ARIA Award for Best Original Soundtrack, Cast or Show Album Nominated
"I'm Growing a Beard Downstairs for Christmas" ARIA Award for Best Comedy Release Nominated
2017 Live at the Sydney Opera House ARIA Award for Best Classical Album Nominated

EG Awards/Music Victoria Awards[edit]

The Music Victoria Awards (previously known as The Age EG Awards and The Age Music Victoria Awards) are an annual awards night celebrating Victorian music.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
EG Awards of 2009 herself Best Female Artist Won

Helpmann Awards[edit]

The Helpmann Awards are accolades for live entertainment and performing arts in Australia, presented by industry group Live Performance Australia. Established in 2001, the annual awards recognise achievements in the disciplines of musical theatre, contemporary music, comedy, opera, classical music, theatre, dance and physical theatre.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2005 Women in Voice 14 Best Performance in an Australian Contemporary Concert[54] Won
2015 The Rabbits[55] Best New Australian Work (with Lally Katz and Iain Grandage) Won
Best Original Score (with Iain Grandage) Won
2016 MOFO 2016 Kate Miller-Heidke and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra with visuals by Amy Gebhardt Best Australian Contemporary Concert Won
2018 Muriel's Wedding Best Original Score (with Keir Nuttall) Won

J Award[edit]

The J Awards are an annual series of Australian music awards that were established by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's youth-focused radio station Triple J. They commenced in 2005.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
J Awards of 2014[56] herself Double J Artist of the Year Nominated

Other awards[edit]

Year Event Award Result
2009 International Songwriting Competition Grand Prize (with Keir Nuttall) ("Caught in the Crowd")[25] Won
2018 Sydney Theatre Awards Best New Australian Work (with Keir Nuttall and PJ Hogan) Nominated
Best Original Score of a Mainstage Production (with Keir Nuttall) Won
2019 Marcel Bezençon Awards Artistic Award[43] Won


  1. ^ "Kate Miller-Heidke introducing Kate Miller-Heidke". ninemsn. 18 June 2007. Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Kate Miller-Heidke introducing crowd funded music project O Vertigo!". PledgeMusic. Archived from the original on 10 February 2019. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  3. ^ a b Kallios, Natarsha; Kwan, Biwa (10 February 2019). "Eurovision 2019: Kate Miller-Heidke 'honoured' to sing for Australia". Special Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  4. ^ "Vale Evan Williams" by Tim Douglas, The Australian, 18 May 2019
  5. ^ "Can Kate bring Eurovision gold glory to Central Queensland?" by Christine KcKee, Sunshine Coast Daily, 15 May 2019 (subscription required)
  6. ^ "Diva Brisvegas Kate Miller-Heidke: from opera to pop and back again" by Candida Baker, news.com.au, 7 March 2014
  7. ^ "Famous Queensland Conservatorium Of Music Alumni". www.ranker.com. 2018. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Kate Miller-Heidke from the album Telegram Archived 14 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine, ABC, OZtrax, 2004
  9. ^ "Artist Biography: Kate Miller-Heidke". Opera Australia. Archived from the original on 22 July 2008. Retrieved 7 January 2009.
  10. ^ Kate Miller-Heidke Band (interview) Archived 4 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine (PBS 106.7FM)
  11. ^ "Helpmann Award Winners for 2005". Helpmann Awards. Archived from the original on 12 June 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  12. ^ "Miller-Heidke dedicates song to Spears", AAP/ninemsn.com (24 August 2007)
  13. ^ Elliott, Tim (19 August 2008). "Lady's Night at the Beckoning Microphone". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 5 June 2011.
  14. ^ "Broad 2006". Broad Festival. Archived from the original on 8 October 2007. Retrieved 5 June 2011.
  15. ^ Blake, Jason (11 November 2005). "Too much too young? You ain't seen nothing yet". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  16. ^ "2008 Albums Accreditations". ARIA. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  17. ^ Interview with Kate Miller-Heidke on YouTube (8:51)
  18. ^ "ARIA chart data for "Can't Shake It" at australian-charts.com". Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  19. ^ "ARIA chart data for Curiouser at australian-charts.com". Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  20. ^ Blake, Elissa (17 April 2009). "Jerry Springer: The Opera". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 April 2009.
  21. ^ Shedden, Iain (14 April 2012). "Kate Miller-Heidke finds a delicate balance between pop, opera and folk". The Australian. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
  22. ^ "Kate Miller-Heidke takes a dizzy twist in a playful direction with new album O Vertigo" by Iain Shedden, The Australian, 10 March 2014
  23. ^ The Death of Klinghoffer, The Metropolitan Opera
  24. ^ Kate Miller-Heidke Archived 21 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine, profile at Metropolitan Opera
  25. ^ a b "ISC: 2008 Grand Prize Winner". International Songwriting Competition. Archived from the original on 16 August 2010. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  26. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2010 Singles". Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  27. ^ ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2012 Singles
  28. ^ ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2009 Albums
  29. ^ "Stacks: Kate Miller-Heidke" by Sasha Frere-Jones, The New Yorker (29 October 2009)
  30. ^ "Announcement of Fatty Gets A Stylist via videoblog at YouTube". Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  31. ^ "Fatty Gets A Stylist at MySpace". Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  32. ^ Elliott, Stuart (9 May 2011). "It Only Takes a Minute, Lottery Ads Declare". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  33. ^ "A Fantastical Tale to Set the Ears and Eyes Popping" by Steve Smith, The New York Times, 16 April 2013
    Video clip of "Slipping out of Mirrors" from Michel van der Aa's opera Sunken Garden
  34. ^ "Miller-Heidke breaks Pledge Music record". Archived from the original on 17 November 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
  35. ^ "Rabbits let loose as Opera Australia's Lyndon Terracini opts for high drama" by Matthew Westwood, The Australian, 12 August 2014
  36. ^ "The Rabbits review – triumphant adaptation of a deeply tragic story" by Van Badham, The Guardian, 17 February 2015
  37. ^ "Review: The Rabbits (Perth Festival)" Archived 25 September 2017 at the Wayback Machine by Clive Paget, Limelight, 14 February 2015
  38. ^ Taylor, Andrew (8 September 2016). "Muriel's Wedding revived as a musical in Sydney Theatre Company's 2017 season". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  39. ^ "Kate Miller-Heidke serves her own 'food of love' for Colin Hay in Twelfth Night" by Sonia Harford, The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 November 2018
  40. ^ "Kate Miller-Heidke & The Sydney Symphony Orchestra – Live at the Sydney Opera House". katemillerheidke.com. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  41. ^ "אוסטרליה: זמרי ליווי ישראליים ילוו את השיר האוסטרלי". EuroMix.
  42. ^ "Grand Final of Tel Aviv 2019". Eurovision Song Contest. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  43. ^ a b "Here are the winners of the 2019 Marcel Bezençon Awards". eurovision.tv. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  44. ^ Whitehead, Mat (14 September 2020). "Bonnie Anderson's Bushranger Wins The Masked Singer Australia 2020". 10 Play. ViacomCBS ANZ. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  45. ^ Mengel, Noel (17 October 2008). "Kate Miller-Heidke finds a songwriter in her heart". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 8 November 2008.
  46. ^ "Kate Miller-Heidke gives birth to baby boy", The Courier-Mail, 7 June 2016
  47. ^ Miller-Heidke, Kate [@kmillerheidke] (6 August 2020). "I'm thrilled to announce that my new album Child in Reverse is out 30 October. You can pre-save or pre-order the album here – including a whole bunch of great merch bundles" (Tweet). Retrieved 6 August 2020 – via Twitter.
  48. ^ "Film Review: Ladies in Black, by Jess Layt, Camden-Narellan Advertiser, 24 September 2018
  49. ^ "2018 AIR Awards Nominees". 17 April 2018. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
  50. ^ "History Wins". Australian Independent Record Labels Association. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  51. ^ "2009 APRA Music Awards: Nominees Announced". APRA-AMCOS. Archived from the original on 31 May 2009. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  52. ^ "Nominations for Song of the Year – 2010". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 27 May 2010.
  53. ^ ARIA Awards: Kate Miller-Heidke Archived 4 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  54. ^ 2005 Helpmann Awards winners list
  55. ^ 2015 Helpmann Awards
  56. ^ "The J Award 2014". Triple J. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2020.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Jessica Mauboy
with "We Got Love"
Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by
with "Don't Break Me"