Where are you currently based?
I’m currently based on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. I’m in the city a lot too for uni and gigs so it’s a lot of back and forth between where I live and Sydney city.
How did you first start playing music?
I come from a very musical household so music was always around as I was growing up. My Dad is a music teacher and my Mum is a music therapist so it was kind of inevitable that I would end up in music as well! The first instrument I had proper lessons on was the violin. I played violin for about 6 or 7 years and I owe so much of who I am as a musician to those really formative years of playing violin. My teacher taught me how to listen and how to feel music and gave me all the foundations I needed to continue music through songwriting and other instruments. I picked up some other instruments through primary school and highschool like I played the flute for a while and had keyboard and singing lessons. One day I picked up my Dad’s bass guitar and pretty much instantly fell in love with it and have been playing bass ever since. Guitar is probably my main songwriting instrument, I wouldn’t say I’m Jimmi Hendrix or anything but I do have my favourite chord shapes and can hold a rhythm.
What’s been happening recently and how has your Covid experience been?
Recently lifes been pretty hectic with studying and teaching and gigging and writing. I keep pretty busy but I’m really grateful that all the things I’m busy with are things that I enjoy. Covid last year definitely had me in a bit of a musical slump. I was feeling a lot of pressure from social media and other people in the industry to use lockdown and isolation as a time to create and pump out content and I think all of that pressure ultimately turned me away from music for a bit. I also felt like I needed to give myself permission to not have to be productive for once and just get through the lockdowns as best as I could. I feel refreshed and re-inspired this year as things are gradually getting back to normal and I’m excited to keep collaborating, gigging, writing and learning as much as I can about music.
Your new single ‘Good Mood’ is out now, what influenced the sound and songwriting?
For this release I really wanted to share another side of my music with people. My last EP which was recorded in Nashville before Covid was very acoustic, down tempo sort of stuff which is definitely a big part of my songwriting catalogue, but for this track I wanted to share the more funky, upbeat side of myself as an artist. I was influenced by a lot of R&B artists for this track like Erykah Badu, ELIZA, H.E.R, Cleo Sol and Ravyn Lenae. In terms of the songwriting, a big part of writing this track was about letting go of having to have these really profound and metaphorical and I guess complex lyrics and instead just marinating on the simple idea of being in a good mood. At first I wasn’t sure about how repetitive the chorus is as I’ve never written a chorus with so few words before, but I gradually started to appreciate the simplicity of it and how it gave more space for the instrumentation to really drive the vibe of the track.
How did you go about writing Good Mood?
Like almost all of my songs, Good Mood started out with just me and my guitar. The chords were the first thing that I got excited about and then pretty quickly I’d written the chorus and the melody for the verse. I actually didn’t think about the song too seriously or as my next release until I was on a family holiday and was going through all my voice memos and I got really excited when I was listening to Good Mood and pretty much decided then and there that it would be my next single. I wrote the rest of the lyrics for the verse and the bridge as soon as I got home and then I actually stumbled on the key change by accident and decided to stick with it!
What does Good Mood mean to you?
Good Mood is all about celebrating those moments where you forget your troubles, you forget why you were crying in the first place and you actually just enjoy the moment and enjoy your life. It’s definitely not a song to say that you have to be in a good mood all of the time because firstly that’s just not realistic and secondly there isn’t really a good mood without a bad mood. It’s more about embracing the ups and downs and actually treausing those good moods to help you get through the bad ones. The song definitely helps me to remind myself that I do have good days, days so good that I write a song about it! It really helps me to stay optimistic and hopeful that the good days will always be around the corner.
Where and when did you record/produce/master and who with?
The bulk of Good Mood was made in my humble bedroom studio. I also worked with Mel Ertler on keys and Ryan Park on lead guitar at the studios at the Con. We had a couple of sessions where we recorded lots of ideas and collaborated on some different parts to develop the track a bit more. I started recording and producing it around September of last year and wanted to release it in November or December but then life happened and the Northern Beaches went into lockdown and the track lost a lot of momentum. Thankfully my friend Chelsea Warner helped me revive it by producing some drum tracks for it which really brought it to life. She is an absolute legend, I can not recommend her enough for any production needs. My Dad also came into the Con studios one day and was my engineer for recording the lead vocals which was also helpful for reigniting my motivation for releasing the song. My partner Max mixed the track from his home studio. It was so great to work with him because I could be as fussy as I wanted! And he is also very talented at mixing so it was a pleasure. The final step was sending the track off to Studios 301 to be mastered and Harvey O’Sullivan did a really great job of it.
How did you approach the recording process?
The recording process for this track was very different to the recording process of my last EP. Hypothesis for Happiness was all recorded in one day at a studio in Nashville with session musicians. That process was great and such an awesome learning experience but for this release I wanted to try the process of recording and producing over time and in different environments. It was great in terms of having lots of creative space to experiment and listen and re-experiment. It was also great for collaborating with different people in different spaces. I will say though, self producing a project without any concrete deadlines is really hard for keeping up motivation and momentum for the project, but we got there in the end!
What programs/equipment did you use?
Logic Pro X is my musical home. I’ve tried many times swapping over to Ableton or Pro Tools but every time without fail I end up back on Logic! I think because I grew up playing Garage Band on the iPad every day as a kid, Logic feels really familiar and kind of connects me to my own artistic development over the course of my life. I played my Mini Maton and my red Fender Squire guitars on the track as well as my Lakland Skyline bass. Mel and I used Komplete Kontrol sounds by Native Instruments on the midi keys and Ryan used Guitar Rig by Native Instruments for his guitar tracks.
Please tell us about you experience with studying music:
I’m studying Contemporary Music Practice at the Conservatorium of Music in Sydney. There are some huge pros to studying music, meeting like minded people is definitely the main thing that I have enjoyed. Not only do those people become friends but they become collaborators and colleagues. Another pro is having structure and deadlines. I think there’s a lot of music that I’ve made for uni over the past three years that wouldn’t have been made otherwise. The structure and deadlines really help to get songs finished. Studying music isn’t always easy though. Just like with every degree, there are going to be subjects that you just have to get through or subjects that are vastly different from how you expected them to be. Another challenge is the constant question of what does this get me? People always ask me what job will this degree get me and it’s a really difficult one to answer. I guess we all chose to study music because we love it, not because we want a regular, well-paying job. If you want a regular well-paying job, music probably isn’t the most direct path to that. So I guess my answer to that question of what does this get me is hopefully a life full of music and various opportunities opening up, and uni is just a launchpad to get us started.
What new music/projects do you have on the way?
I’m working on a concept EP at the moment. I won’t give away too much but it explores a lot of themes about living with creativity and how to live a satisfied life as a creative person. I’m also starting to recruit some female musicians to form a bit of a girl band to play some of my original music. Gender equality in the music industry is something that I care deeply about and I always want to be a driving positive force for women to have the same opportunities and experiences available to them as our male counterparts.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
I’ve been listening to a fair bit of Jazz lately as I’m taking a Jazz vocal course at uni. Ella Fitzgerald is my absolute favourite Jazz singer, I have a poster of her and Louis Armstrong on my bedroom wall. In terms of other more modern artists, Eryn Allen Kane is an absolute queen. So is Charlotte Day Wilson, she has such a unique, buttery voice. I’m also very hyped for the new Hiatus Kaiyote album to come out. I’ve been a huge fan of theirs for many years and I love the tracks they’ve released already so I’m very excited! On a more mainstream note, I am a little bit obsessed with Silk Sonic (Anderson Paak and Bruno Mars). I just love how they’re bringing motown back into the mainstream and exposing a lot of pop music listeners to a new genre.
What do you like to do away from music?
I love travelling, not that there’s much of that going on at the moment but even just exploring more of the state is something I love to do on uni breaks. I’m really into kickboxing at the moment too. It’s a good outlet for any anger or frustrations I have that I can let out on the punching bag so that I can be a polite and nice person for the rest of the day! I am a little bit of a gamer girl too, I love my nintendo switch and my computer games.
What’s planned for the remainder of 2021?
I’ve learnt over Covid that the near future is so out of my control. These random Covid breakouts and on again – off again lockdowns make it really hard to plan for the rest of the year which has actually been good practice for me to stay in the moment more and accept that I can’t control what the rest of the year looks like. That being said, I would like to release another EP by the end of the year and hopefully develop a new live set up so I can start doing my own original gigs at local venues on the Beaches.
Favourite food and place to hangout?
There’s a place in Redfern near the University of Sydney where me and some friends always go after our Jazz vocal workshops called Terra Cotta Roasters and they have this burger that has all of my favourite foods on it. Haloumi, hash browns, avocado, fried eggs and tomato relish. That with an oat milk latte is pretty much the ultimate dining experience for me. I also have a huge sweet tooth like I could eat sour patch kids every night if that was healthy!
Stream “Good Mood” here: https://linktr.ee/
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