Where are you currently based?
Currently residing in Melbourne, Australia
How did you first start playing music?
My mum signed me up for piano lessons when I was 8 and I took to it pretty quickly. Throughout school I picked up the violin and saxophone for a bit, but ultimately stuck with the keys. I didn’t start singing until I was about 16, in church.
What’s been happening recently?
I’ve just released the film clip for my first single ‘I Should Know Better’ and planning on the release for my second single. I have a heap of new music ready to go, so I am really excited to share that with the world. I also play keys in a couple of my good pal’s bands (Libby Steele & Big Creature, go check them out!) and studying my Bachelor in Psychological Science, so even though we’re in lockdown at the moment, things are still nice and busy!
Your new single ‘I Should Know Better’ is out, what influenced the sound and songwriting?
I’m a big fan of pop music and rnb, so I guess I wanted to combine the two worlds. I really love the sound that SB90 has (he produces most of my stuff at the moment) and I love working with my cowrite, Evangeline. She writes these amazing melodies that force me way out of my comfort zone (I’m talking range and agility!) I think I’ve really found my voice and my vibe after working with this dream team.
How did you go about writing I Should Know Better?
I met this guy at a birthday party who was a friend of a friend and we were all getting along really well. He was a bit cocky and said some things that were a bit across the line, but I kind of just laughed them off. Further into the night I offered to drop him and a friend off into the city as I was headed home and they took me up on my offer. In the car he made a brag remark about being an A-grade asshole and I, thinking nothing of it, made a witty remark about that being the reason why his ex girlfriend left him. Although I had intended it to be a witty remark (probably a little bit in retaliation to all of the shit he had dealt me throughout the night) he lost his shit and launched a tirade of horrible comments towards me and my “lack of tact”, so I kicked him out of my car. It was that moment I made a conscious decision from now on, assholes won’t ever get the better of me. Hence “I should know better, better than to care”.
Where and when did you record/produce and who with?
I started working with Evangeline and SB90 last April and I Should Know Better was the second song we’ve written. All up I think we’re at about 9 or 10 tunes now. We roll into a session with nothing before hand and kind of just let the creative process flow. Pretty much every session has ended in a fully finished song. It’s such an easy way to work and I find that we get a lot done in a short time.
What did you find most challenging and rewarding throughout the creative process?
I find my own self doubt and insecurities get the better of me quite often during the creative process so it’s really nice to work with people I’m close with and that I trust. The most rewarding thing is getting to sing the song back with just a piano or guitar. The live show (with a full band) is really fun, but if the song stands on its own two feet with just an acoustic accompaniment, I know it’s a winner.
How did the concept for the music video come about?
Gary Robertson is the videographer that I worked with. I’ve known Gary for years and have worked with him on another solo project. He’s so great because he always has a heap of ideas for things to try. Originally, I wanted to put together a video with choreography and dancers, but then decided I wanted to tell the story of the song and Gary suggested we do the one shot take. It was so crazy how easy it all came together on the day. I had a great team – my friend Sara De La Cruz styled the whole thing and my friend Nerida Beardsell did hair and makeup. My long-term pal Zach Bres, a very talented writer, played the bad boy wrapped in denim. I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by amazing talent and wonderful supportive friends!
Where and when did you film and who with?
We filmed at my house earlier this year. The team consisted of Gary Robertson (videographer) Sara De La Cruz (stylist) Nerida Beardsell (hair and makeup) Zach Bres (legend bad boy actor who is actually the nicest and kindest man in the world)
Please tell us about how the music video came together:
I was really fortunate to get to work with the team I did. I’d been wanting to work with Sara for ages but I wanted to wait until I had the opportunity to work on a really cool project. She actually got in before me and reached out via insta and we met like 5 days before we filmed and cha<ed about the vision over an Aperol Spritz and a charcuterie board (she won my heart and I knew we were destined to be friends forever by ordering that for the both of us, ps). Zach and I had been talking about working together for years (he’s a talented writer and rapper) and so he was all about getting involved in this. Nerida was an angel and jumped on board the day of and Gary took care of the filming. These are my go-to people for everything in future and I can’t wait to get started on the next single with them!
You have some new music on the way, what can we expect?
I’m really happy with the new stuff that has come about. There are two new ones that I’m set to release: “All I Ever Wanted” and “Say You’ll Be There”. “All I Ever Wanted” was written about a boy who ended up being nothing like he claimed to be and taught me a thing or two about resilience and self-esteem. I’m really glad that situation happened but it also sucked big time. The timing of finishing this song was reflective of my personal state. I’d been working on it for a little while with the boys from Entente Music (Michael Best and Ezekiel Fenn) and as we’d kind of finished up with it, I realised how much I’d worked through and how at peace I was with everything that had gone down. It taught me that I need to work on not taking things so personally. People do things and say things that are entirely out of your control and most of the time, it is not a reflection on who you are. It’s important to be kind and considerate of other’s feelings but we are the ones that teach other people how we want to be treated. “Say You’ll Be There” is a friendship pop anthem written about a good friend of mine, Sally Van Der Zwart who is an absolute angel and has taught me a lot about myself and sums up every angle of what it means to be a friend. She is an incredible singer, songwriter, keys player who has new music landing very soon and you guys need to check her out.
What do you like to do away from music?
I really enjoy being outdoors in good weather with friends. I used to play a lot of sport and go horse riding, two things that I rarely do now, but I’ve found a place that’s about 40 mins away from my house where I can go riding, so I try and do that as much as I can. I love animals and growing up, horses were my way of connecting with something when life got really hard to navigate. I’ve recently taken up drawing again too. At the beginning of lockdown, I kind of realised I don’t do much that makes me happy apart from music, so I’m trying to make a conscious effort to make time for these things.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
I’ve been listening to a lot of different stuff lately. Straight up, I’m obsessed with pop music. Tove Lo and Halsey are two of my go to’s at the moment. I’ve also been sifting through a heap of early 2000’s RnB. I’m doing my best to learn some old jazz numbers from the likes of Nina Simone and Etta James (on keys and vocally) and I love listening to instrumental classical music when I’m studying. Locally, Melbourne has so much to offer and I’m constantly in awe of the local artists that are writing with other artists and / or putting their own new music out; Jess Fairlie, JANEVA, Blush’ko, Tanya George, Libby Steele, Belove, Stellar Perry, Big Creature…eek, I know I’ve probably forgotten a heap! There is so much hard-working talent around this city and I adore all of it!
What’s planned for the remainder of 2020?
Unfortunately, with the current climate that we are facing with COVID-19, gigs have been cancelled indefinitely in Australia. I was hoping to be out and playing more with the band this year, now that I have a full live set. But I’ll continue to keep writing new tunes and hopefully 2021 will be the year for the live show to hit the stages.
Favourite food and place to hangout?
I don’t really have a favourite food, because the food I enjoy or get a craving for is so dependent on how I’m feeling. If I had to pick one because the survival of the human race depended on it, I would probably say Vietnamese. There’s an amazing place North side not far from where I used to live that I would frequent quite often. As far as hangouts, I don’t mind a bar with a super relaxed vibe for a drink. Otherwise I really enjoy spending time with friends and family for dinners at home.
Triple J Unearthed: https://www.triplejunearthed.com/artist/sully-0