What’s been happening since we last spoke?
Since my debut single ‘See You Again’, I released my debut EP Time, in 2019, in collaboration with Melbourne producers Jerome Farah (Baker Boy, KIAN) and Aman Bayatly (Adrian Eagle) which received strong reviews, support from triple j unearthed and new audiences, and I was nominated for “Best Regional/Outer Suburban Act” Music Victoria Awards 2019. I continued to build my experience as a performer with regular gigs in Melbourne and regional Victoria, then during 2020 lockdowns I spent a lot of time writing new songs and did live-stream events. This year I’ve been busy in the studio with producer Julian Steel (JAYDEAN, HANNAH) releasing ‘Mind the Gap’ as the first taste of my upcoming second EP.
Your new single ‘Mind Gap’ is out now, how does this track relate to women’s current global movements?
The opening of the song is set with the voices of female protestors chanting “my body, my choice” and I sing about the issue of getting unwanted attention from men, connecting with the ‘Me too’ movement. There is an overrepresentation of men in the music industry which means “He’s making decisions for me; he’s leaving me out”. “He don’t have to dress up before leaving the door” touches on the different expectations put on male and female artists. A man can be on stage in a t-shirt and jeans without judgement. But women in the music industry have been marketed through sexualisation for so long that when an artist doesn’t adhere to this, it’s hard to sell them.
I also address the gender pay-gap in the track “He be out here making more than me; Even though I work just as hard” – statistically women will earn 20% less than her male peers in Australia. At the end of the song, I declare the motto, “Enough is enough”.
Please tell us about this new social/political aspect to your music:
‘I won’t be quiet about it’ and ‘we’re still not equal yet’ focus on female empowerment, females having more of a voice and developing confidence, what has influenced this new direction in your music?
Women in music, the ‘Me Too’ movement, and Brittany Higgens speaking out publicly with the help of more women in the media now, supporting her, influenced me. I really believe that encouraging young girls to have confidence to pursue the path of their choice, and to speak up about injustices, builds resilience and determination. Even when there are knockbacks, if women have the self-belief and strength of character to persevere they will be unstoppable in whatever they choose to do.
What was the process behind developing the production ideas/concepts for ‘Mind the Gap’?
I wrote ‘Mind the Gap’ a couple of years ago and was looking for a female producer to work with on the track but it was hard to find one as male producers outnumber female producers 47 to one. I needed someone who would best suit the style and understand the genre. Earlier this year I began to work with Melbourne producer Julian Steel. We combined my signature 90s R&B inspired tone and Sade influenced pop/jazz: the smooth tones of the saxophone, with Julian’s live instrumentation of laid-back guitar, reggae nuisances in the organs and rhythm, and groovy bass.
You have been writing and recording during lockdown, how did you go about writing the music?
I write all my music from home at my keyboard. The concept behind ‘Mind the Gap’ started by wanting to write about a global social/political topic. I usually write from personal experiences, as a healing process, but I wanted to say something that had a bigger meaning to a bigger audience. The song grew from a place of feeling fed up with how women are treated by some men, but also how the topic relates to me personally. And I think more anthem songs are needed. I was inspired by 60s and 70s revolution songs, about civil rights and women’s liberation. Songs like Helen Reddy’s ‘I am Woman’ and Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect’ were influences for ‘Mind the Gap’.
Where and when did you record/produce/master and who with?
I recorded ‘Mind the Gap’ in Melbourne, in 2021, with producer Julian Steel and Panorama Mixing & Mastering mastered the track.
How did you approach the recording process?
As I’m in regional Victoria, I had to go to Melbourne for four recording sessions with Julian over a six-month period because of lockdowns. Firstly, Julian laid down the live drums, organs, bass and guitar. I came in for two sessions, one for the main vocals and another for the backing vocals. I got Bella Winter to feature on saxophone in a separate recording. We had one last session to add the final touches such as the protestors chanting.
What’s it been like living and being a musician in regional Victoria (Castlemaine) and commuting to Melbourne for recording and performing?
I grew up in Castlemaine, a great arts community, and I love the space and quiet here. However, as a musician, the amount of venues are limited and there are less opportunities to progress my career. I’ve been lucky to not have been in as many lockdowns as Melbourne but it’s hard to build momentum as a performer as most of the gigs and work I need to do as a musician relies on going to Melbourne. It can be tiring going back and forth but I enjoy the scenery on the drive and listening to music in the car. I’m very grateful to have the cultural centre so close to me. It’s very rewarding going to the city to develop my career.
What’s planned for the remainder of 2021 going into 2022?
When things open up and I can get down to Melbourne next I will finish the recording and production of the remaining songs on my upcoming EP. I’ll be releasing another single and the EP hopefully late this year or early 2022. Can’t wait for you to hear it!
How was it recording your second EP of introspective songs written in the 2020 lockdowns?
During 2020 I had to find non-public ways to express myself creatively. There was a lot to process about the pandemic and it was hard not being able to see my partner because of lockdowns, and losing a loved one. I got through this time by putting these stories into songs. I turned my wardrobe into a vocal booth and recorded and self-produced a song about struggling through these unprecedented times. I released ‘Home’ last year and filmed moments spent at home to accompany the song. Recording the other songs I’d written during 2020 with Julian in Melbourne and actually being back in a studio was pretty special.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
I’m listening to Sinead Harnett, Snoh Aalegra, Little Simz and Victoria Monét.
Stream/download ‘Mind the Gap’ here: https://gyro.to/MindtheGap