According to her own mother, Peninsula-based singer-songwriter Sannia, was always destined for life in the music industry. From punching her inside the womb when she didn’t like a song on the radio, to playing the household piano non-stop, to begging her parents to enrol her in music lessons, there was no other option for Sannia, music was what she had to do.
“It drove everyone nuts. I loved school, but I knew it wasn’t what I was meant to be doing. I always knew I was meant to be making music. And I tried everything before getting to the point I’m at now. I started with piano, and that stuck ever since. I also tried really hard at violin, but I was terrible, and did six weeks of clarinet too. It was piano and voice that really stuck with me.”
And unlike many artists who start dabbling in covers whilst learning the ins-and-outs of playing, and then moving over to writing, Sannia recalls writing songs, purely for the challenge of it, as soon as she began taking lessons.
“I wrote my first song when I was about seven. I was really bored in lessons. The teacher would give me Mary Had a Little Lamb and I’d be like ‘okay, this is cool, but what does it mean?’ So I’d make my own things up, taking what they had given me and trying to experiment with that. That was the main driving point for me, everything else came second.”
Considering herself a writer first, and musician second, a lot of her writing comes from within, based off her own life experiences. It’s no surprised that she’s beginning to write for other projects too.
“I’m actually about to go in to do a session (for someone else)! So far, it’s been very much an internal process for me, and an introspective thing where I’ll be writing from my own experiences, or even other people around me without noticing. If I’m stuck on where I’m at in my own life, I’ll look into other people’s stories and how I can communicate that. It’s all about storytelling for me.
“I wish I was one of those people who could write beautiful and complicated lyrics and melodies about politics, or things with those sort of messages, but I tend to write about heartbreak and innate human emotions. I want to extend myself and write about these issues though, because I’m very political. It’s like ‘well, why can’t I connect the dots, and my interests, with my creative side?’ That’s my challenge for the rest of the year.”
Experimenting with and evolving the content of her songwriting may be her next challenge, but Sannia admits that her songwriting process isn’t, as she has no set way of going about things. There is one requirement to her method that she has acquired after all of these years- she’s got to be on the move. Whether it be on a train, a bus or a car, an idea for a song very rarely is ignited when she’s sitting down to write.
“A song will generally out when I’m trying for it not to. But I struggle to sit there and define a method of my songwriting. I’d say that I start with a line, rather than a big idea, whether it be musical or lyrical, and then I expand upon that.”
This seems to be the case with her most recent single ‘Go and Get Over’, which came to her very quickly, whilst driving through Seaford on her way home from a gig. Liking what she was doing, it all came together, admitting she has quite a connection to it as a result. It was also the song she has had the most involvement in, production-wise, so far.
“I ended up getting home and then going and sitting in my garage for about 45 minutes, just voice-memoing as many things as I could come up with. The next morning I recorded a demo and that is pretty much the song you hear now. I put together all the keys tracks together myself and we sampled drum sounds from previous tunes, and then my guitarist came in with some stuff. It was done in a backyard shed in Brunswick, so very Melbourne-based, but I feel majorly connected to it.”
As it came together almost instantly, Sannia also says that she initially struggled to pinpoint the direct meaning and inspiration behind the song. On looking back; however, she now can see how it all came together.
“It’s funny, because you know when people say that they’re fine, and they’re clearly not fine? There’s this one line in there where I’m like ‘I know I’ll be fine’, and that’s what I tend to say when I’m not doing okay. It didn’t even occur to me til later on that I obviously was not doing okay at the time. It was sort of the subconscious stream coming through. I was having a tough time last year, with a lot of things, but I was really stressed about whether I was going to be able to get my music out there, and I also felt really isolated. It was an amalgamation of all these things coming together.
“The chords, even are a combination of things. It sounds like one of Rachmaninoff’s preludes, but then there’s jazz licks in there. It’s an alternative-pop track.”
Written by Jordyn Hoekstra