Promoting the concept that good things can happen in an instant, the New York Lottery's current ad campaign features clips of businessmen driving a golf cart around the office and a bus driver wearing tennis clothes, among other sights. But the most unforgettable element is the commercials' infectious theme song: Kate Miller-Heidke's "Are You Ready?"
Since the campaign's launch in May, "Are You Ready?"-with its quirky keyboards, bright and sugary melody, bouncy vocals and inescapable hook-has helped both the Australian singer/songwriter and the New York Lottery reach a wider audience. Written by Miller-Heidke and husband/guitarist Keir Nuttall, the song's inclusion in the campaign was a surprise.
"We had written the song already," Miller-Heidke recalls, "and by coincidence the lottery was looking for a song that had the words 'you ready' or 'are you ready' in it. It was the right time, right place kind of thing where you just get lucky."
The song also doubles as the lead single from Miller-Heidke's Oct. 11 stateside release, "Liberty Bell," through Sony Australia/RED. Released in Australia in June by Sony Music under the title "Fatty Gets a Stylist"-the name of Miller-Heidke and Nuttall's side project-the album features the singer leaving her comfort zone and exploring new sounds with longtime collaborator Nuttall.
"This album is very different, and I don't expect all my old fans to like it," says the alternative-pop singer, who credits artist Ben Folds' encouragement for her creative courage and decision to release "Liberty Bell" under her own name. "There are also some people that hate my music but really like this album, so I guess it goes both ways. Hopefully people will have a completely fresh palette with no preconceptions, and just take the music at face value."
Still relatively unknown in the United States, Miller-Heidke has scored hits in her native Australia. Her second album, "Curiouser," was her first top 10 set. It featured the single "The Last Day on Earth," which peaked at No. 3 on the Australian Recording Industry Assn. singles chart. Then a live version of another song, "Are You F**king Kidding Me? (Facebook Song)," went viral on YouTube, racking up almost 2 million views. That led to gigs at Coachella and Lilith Fair, two tours with Folds and her own headlining club trek.
The multitasking artist also moonlights as an opera performer, having appeared as Baby Jane in "Jerry Springer: The Opera" at the Sydney Opera House to critical acclaim. She's now preparing for her upcoming role in the English National Opera House production of "The Death of Klinghoffer," due to premiere in early 2012.