Q&A with Mojo Juju

RSOM is thrilled to have a chat to one of Melbourne’s hottest names around town – Mojo Juju. Mojo will be one of many acts performing at this year’s The Age Music Victoria Awards After Party this Wednesday 22nd November and we are very privileged to have interviewed her prior to her performance.

J – Are you excited to play at this year’s Age Music Victoria Awards? What should we expect to see on the night?
M – Yeah! I’m super excited. It’s an amazing house band. I’m looking forward to playing latest single with a full band. I haven’t had the chance to do that yet.”

J – Tell us how Mojo Juju started. Where did the inspiration for the name come from?
M – “Well, it’s kind of a chicken or the egg scenario. My full name is Mojo Ruiz de Luzuriaga. Juju or Juje is a nickname I’ve had for a long time, so it kinda made sense.”

J – Have you always been a singer growing up? Who are your major inspirations for songwriting?
M – Yeah. I grew up in a very musical household. My grandparents were musicians and my mum too. Everyone is pretty deeply into music. My brother plays drums with me, as you may know. So yeah it’s been a lifelong thing.”

“My songwriting inspo comes from everywhere.  I’m big into lyrics so I’ve always been a Tom Waits fan. I’m a huge Frank Ocean fan too. But I’m also all about melodies, grooves and hooks so I think Michael Jackson and Bill Withers are big ones in that respect.”

J – How would you describe your sound and the music you create?
M – All OVER THE PLACE! Hahaha. I dunno. I try to avoid describing it cause I feel like that only ever works against me. I hate feeling stuck. I’m not interested in genres, I’m interested in good music. That being said, I definitely lean towards more soulful sounds and music with lots of feel rather than aggressive music, for sure.”

J – How long have you been working in the industry? What are some major lessons that you have learnt along the way?
M – I’ve been around a minute haha. Major lessons I’ve learnt include, head down, work hard and don’t expect shit. Be grateful but know your worth. Don’t worry about what’s on trend, just do what is authentic to you. That’s what people respond to most.”

J – Tell us about your favourite song that you have ever written? What is it about and why is it your favourite?
M – Hahaha. That’s a hard question. They’re like children; you can’t play faves (but you probably do in secret). Ok, at the moment my favourite song is on my upcoming album. It’s called 1000 Years and it’s about my Great Grandfather on my mum’s side, he was a Wiradjuri man… the rest of the story you will have to wait for.”

J – What are you working on at the moment?
M – I just finished recording an album, it should be out early 2018.

But I’m already writing new stuff so… stay tuned!”

RSOM will be live in all the action at this year’s The Age Music Victoria Awards 2017 at 170 Russell. There are tickets still available to the After Party where Mojo Juju will perform alongside Gretta Ray, Archie Roach The Teskey Brothers and more. Tickets are available here.

Written by Jena Marino

Q & A with NORTH EASTON

Stepping away from the Melbourne scene, the Real Songwriters of Melbourne team have been fortunate enough to work with and assist seasoned Canadian singer-songwriter North Easton on his journey into the Australian music scene.

Having played his first ever show in Australia at The Workers’ Club last week, North is our featuring guest at the inaugural RSOM song writers workshop. With years of experience as a song writer, and an impressive list of accomplishments, we have no doubt his expertise and knowledge will enlighten and inspire up-and-coming Melbourne artists.

We managed to catch up with him for a quick chat, to discuss his first impressions of Melbourne, and what it takes to become an established songwriter.

 

J: Hey North, welcome to RSOM! If you don’t mind, I’ll just get you to start the interview off by giving me a bit about your background?
N: “I’m a son of a welder and stay at home mom in a small little town on Vancouver Island in British Columbia Canada. I turned to music as an escape from the mounting challenges in my world. Song writing started immediately, even as young as 6 years old I was making up my own songs. They (the songs) seemed great at the time, but of course looking back, they were pinnacle in the channelling of emotional release through lyric and melody.”

J: How did your music journey begin?
N: “My new music journey, the one that truly started me on the path happened after my son was born. As I had a couple times in my life before, by the time I turned 17, I needed to find a vent for the build up of things in my life that I seemingly could not control. I started taking the guitar much more seriously around 19 and put together my first project, which was called Garrity, when I turned 22. By then I had already written over 100 songs..”

J: Do you have a particular method or process you use when songwriting?
N: “Being a teacher of songwriting as well as a student, I am constantly seeking out different directions to come at the process. Lyrics first, Music first, Melody first, Idea all thought out…I circle around all of these approaches. And then sometimes, like lightning, it just hits and I have to grab my guitar and let out whatever has been cooking in my head and heart that needs a life of its own.”

J: Are there any themes you often find yourself writing about?
N: “Although I believe I tap into many, many themes when I write, it is fair to say that for the most part, my music has an inspirational component. Many of my songs have been written as almost pep talks to myself to take the world on ahead of you. I have literally more than 50 songs about getting back up and fighting through the challenges that lay ahead of me.”

J: Who are the musicians that you look up to?
N: “I can’t say that I have ever been a die-hard fan to any musician or writer; however, I am always pulled into a great song- something that covers the gamut when it comes to emotion. Don McLean is one of my favourite songwriters. Adam Duritz, from the Counting Crows, sings with a passion and a feel that I am drawn to over and over again. The soul of Tracy Chapman, and the honesty she releases in her lyrics is truly inspiring. Dave Matthews and his phrasing, as well as his acoustic chops. But, this is a constant evolution for me as I am now writing for and with many artists for their songs and albums and that puts a whole new spin on what and who I look up to.”

J: What is the Canadian singer-songwriter scene like in comparison to Melbourne? How are you finding Melbourne?
N: “So far, I find that Canada and Australia have a very similar vibe when it comes to the scenes. Songwriters are a breed and we are all over the world. Nashville for example is the largest gathering of songwriters I have ever seen, but they all have the same inner heart and hope that brings them back to the page to turn out a great tune. I love Melbourne. Great energy, good vibes, awesome people. Driving on the other side of the road is always a little bit of mind mess, but other than that, I’m truly digging it.”

 

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J: What drew you to wanting to come to Melbourne?
N: “A friend of mine from Australia, who tours in Canada, told me Australia was the place to be. So when planning this international tour, I reached out and found that there were many people in the area and beyond who wanted to help me put together this tour. That made it much easier. It’s a long way to come for a month, but I’m only a week or so in and have a ton of amazing experiences so far that will no doubt find their way into future songs.”

J: What was the writing and recording process like for your album One of the Lucky Ones?
N: “When I was choosing the songs for One of the Lucky Ones, I started with over 100. I narrowed that down to 60 songs, and then to 40, and then finally to 25. At that point, I reached out to some close friends and trusted mentors in the music industry to get valuable feedback on the 25 and which ones should make the album. Working with my producer, Jay Lefebvre, on the album was an incredible experience. He was easy going, and very talented.”

J: What has been the highlight of your career so far?
N: “I have been fortunate to play on some pretty cool stages with some huge Canadian stars. I have played in front of 30,000 people, and won over $100,000 in competitions. The highlight for me was when I found out that a bunch of camp counsellors who came to my show once, were singing along to one of my tunes- word for word. They told me afterwards that they sing one of my songs at the campfire to all of the summer camp kids every night before heading to bed. There is nothing bigger than knowing people have been impacted by something you have created.”

J: What advice do you have for up and coming singer-songwriters, such as the ones that will be attending the event this coming Thursday?
N: “My advice is quite simple- continually evolve. Human beings have 6 basic needs in life, with the two most important being contribution and growth. Always give back and help others, and strive to continue growing at what you love to do. Find a mentor, someone who has been down the roads you want to travel on. Chase them, and learn from what they have done to get where they are. Oh, and make sure you love it because of your heart, and not some cloudy dream of financial success. The music industry is a difficult beast to navigate, but song writing is the best job on the planet- in this writers opinion.”

 

North will be contributing to The Real Songwriters of Melbourne’s first ever songwriters workshop, held this coming Thursday at Wick Studios. The workshop, which has since sold out, will give budding songwriters the chance to work with a knowledgable, experienced songwriter, such as North. For more information about the event, go here.

Follow North Easton on:
Facebook | YouTube | Website

 

Written by Jordyn Hoekstra

REVIEW: THE HUNTER EXPRESS SINGLES LAUNCH – NEWMARKET STUDIOS, NORTH MELBOURNE (19/10/2017)

Recording studios are actually my favourite place to go to as a musician. I love the smell, I love the slick finesse look of the mastering studio, the desks and if I wasn’t working 5 jobs, I would be a sessions singer, HANDS DOWN.

So, I was very excited when Brad Ellis aka The Hunter Express told me that the venue for his show was at the very place he recorded his album.

I was also so excited to see Lauren O’Meara’s artwork in the vicinity of Newmarket Studios. Upon arrival, a GORGEOUS display of Lauren’s work was on display for all spectators and it created such a nice, homey vibe to the event.

What was so cool about this venue was the setup for the performers and for the audience. It was as if we were watching The Hunter Express record his album right there and then with engineer, Callum Barter in the studio testing all the levels and recording as we go.



Another really cool element was that the audience can watch the show from different rooms of the studio. Punters could grab a beanbag and lie down in the same room as the band with a beer in hand, or sit with Callum in the studio and watch in the eyes of the engineer, or in other parts of the studio. This interactive element was such a cool experience for us!

Jess De Luca was up first with her soothing melodies. Introducing us to some fresh tunes which will appear on her forthcoming EP, to be released soon, a notable track was Lucifer. What I loved about her set was her honesty and vulnerability coming through as her acoustic tunes and vocals were a perfect mix, you don’t need anything more. I am definitely looking forward to seeing her debut EP in fruition.

The man of the hour, The Hunter Express was so excited to jump on stage, you could feel the excitement! Performing with such class, the audience got an exclusive listen to the tracks that will appear on his forthcoming self-titled album, to be released on November 17. Of course, he played new singles, I Really Like Holding Your Hand and Cool and the audience kept smiling and smiling throughout the set.

What I love about The Hunter Express is his ability to tell stories through song as they bring such a personal connection to the audience. For me, the introduction of spoken word really touched me with one song specifically talking about memories of Brad’s father and when he bought his first guitar. The song also spoke about the financial hardships of music but we do it for love and it emphasised the passion and love that we as musicians have for our work.

I am so excited for the world to hear the upcoming debut album and I hope you will be as well. It has been a pleasure working with Brad on this release and I wish him all the best with his upcoming Parlour tour around VIC/NSW and the album release.

Written by Jena Marino

 

Q&A with Tinpan Orange

With over a decade of experience behind their belt, indie-folk band Tinpan Orange is said to be one of Melbourne’s darlings. On the back of a recent German tour, RSOM chat to founding member and front-woman Emily Lubitz about life on the road, the importance of family and a vocal session that went viral. 

J: Just to begin, would you be able to tell RSOM readers a bit about how Tinpan Orange formed as a band?
E: Well, it was over a decade ago. The band is comprised of me, and my older brother Jesse, and we’d been playing together for a long time- since we were teenagers. It was more just like campfire songs and playing with our friends.

We were at the Woodland Folk Festival in Queensland and we met this guy, Alex Burkov, who was playing the violin. It was the middle of the night and there was a whole bunch of us camped together and we hear this violin jamming out at the camp next door to us. It woke us all up and we were like ‘oh man, that’s so annoying!’ because we were about to get woken up by the festival, and there’s those few precious hours where you can actually sleep. It was kind of bittersweet, which was awesome. We ended up meeting him this next day and we’ve been playing together ever since.

We’ve really grown up together in the band, we started out busking a lot, especially during the dry season in Darwin. We were terrible, and everything was terrible! But we had a lot of fun. We definitely cut our teeth, you’ve gotta do the terrible gigs.

J: And so having released your first album the same year you formed, did you commence writing music straight away?
E: There were a lot of songs that I had already written, and songs that I was writing when I was 18 or 19, and we put them down on this home recording. For better or worse! They’ll be around somewhere, but they’re hard to find!

J: Being in a band with two other people, where three of you obviously have different ideas, what is the songwriting process like?
E: It’s been a process for the band, for sure. It used to be myself who did pretty much all of the writing, and then Jesse would write one or two songs here or there. For the last record, we really opened it up. My brother wrote a couple, my husband wrote a couple and we wrote a couple all three of us. I then wrote the rest. I really loved that, not having the emotional burden of every song coming from some part of my psyche. I never realised how much I loved singing other people’s songs, because there’s just not as much as baggage.

J: You’ve released five albums as a band over 12 years so far. How has the writing and recording process changed over these years?
E: I think maybe when I was younger, the songs were more directly autobiographical, and they were about the dramas in my life. Now, I’ve got two kids and I’m married, so whilst there’s definitely drama, it’s not as easy to romanticise. When you’re in your early twenties, you can just get yourself into trouble and it’s silly and it’s fun! It’s all self-important. At the time, I thought they were song worthy.

I feel like my songs now aren’t all about my life. They may be based on someone else’s story, or something I’ve heard or seen, even a movie. I think there’s still an emotional integrity, because I’m drawing on my own emotional reaction to it based on the life I’ve lived. There’s a slight distance between me and my songs, but I think it’s good because honestly, my life isn’t that interesting.

J: What influence now does your family have on your music career?
E: Sometimes they get in the way! But sometimes they motivate me. My husband is incredibly supportive, and he plays in my band sometimes. He’s also helped produce our records. We’ve gone on tour with his band (The Cat Empire), and we’ve spent a lot of our music lives together, which is wonderful. The kids come on the road with us, we haven’t let having kids slow us down, because we can’t I guess. It’s the job we chose- we have to keep going. Being a mum definitely gives me certain insights that I value as an artist.

J: You’ve recently just released your new single, ‘Wanderers’. Are you able to give RSOM an insight into the inspiration behind that?
E: 
My husband and I wrote that together, he actually wrote most of it. We just loved it, so the band took it to the studio and kind of made it ours. It’s based on a lot of things.

We had a miscarriage earlier on this year. As a family, we went to a sad place, and I think the song came out of that. There are definitely lyrics that refer to it.

It was sad for a time, but in the end, it kind of just was what happened. I put it out there into the world, because people are very private about it, but I didn’t really understand why because I think it’s a time where you need support. I wanted to talk about it.


J: You’ve recently come back from a tour leg in Europe. How does playing in Europe compare to playing shows in Australia?
E: It’s different, we’re sort of starting out there. We started out supporting The Cat Empire in October last year, and we were playing to 2000 people every night, so it was massive. We then got a label over there and was able to go on tour, so now we play to 70-100 people. I don’t mind it at all, I love those gigs. We play in these small venues and it’s like a really captive audience.

The German crowd are very attentive and respectful. Even if they’ve never heard of you, and they’re just there at the bar, they’ll give you their full attention which is amazing. We’re sleeping in people’s houses over there, Jesse and I had to share a bed at one point in one of the hotels, so it’s kind of like going back to when we were young. It keeps it fresh.

J: What can fans that are attending your Australian shows expect from them?
E: It’s gonna be great. We have a bunch of new songs that we’ve been playing overseas. We have wonderful support acts, and it’s going to be a bunch of intimate gigs.

J: With the new songs that you’re playing on tour, are you guys in the process of recording another album?
E: Well, we’re not sure. We have a whole bunch of songs that we’ve recorded, and we don’t know what to do with them. We’re definitely going to be releasing singles over time, but we’re not sure what they’re going to accumulate to be. Maybe an album, maybe an EP.  

J: What was it like being a part of the Dumb Ways to Die campaign?
E: It was bizarre! I just sang the vocals, for my friend who wrote it and produced it. He called me and was like “Can you come down and sing on an ad I’m doing tomorrow?” and I was like “OK!” I didn’t think too much of it, I mean I thought it was funny. And then a couple of weeks later he was like “Oh, you remember that session you did for me? Yeah, it’s gone viral.” And I looked at it, it was getting two million views every 12 hours or something. It was good for the band, and my career in a strange way, like we got some publishing opportunities for it. It was definitely a weird experience, but I also definitely don’t take credit for its success!

Tinpan Orange are currently touring Australia, with shows held in Victoria this weekend. You can get tickets to their October 21 show at the Toff in Town here

Follow Tinpan Orange on:

Facebook | Website | Instagram

KAIIT

“Not only was it the first song I’ve ever written and released, it was also very personal to me. I got a bit overwhelmed at some points, but people have been giving me so much love for it, which is awesome.”

For most people, moving back and forth between any two places is a mean feat. For 19-year-old singer-songwriter Kaiit, it was a key part of her childhood. Between Australia and Papua New Guinea up until her late primary school years, Kaiit’s family finally decided to settle in Melbourne. She credits her heritage; however, as a major artistic influence.

“I feel my [Papua New Guinean] heritage has helped me visually, more than musically,” Kaiit tells The Real Songwriters of Melbourne.

“The ability to represent youth and young people like me who aren’t usually on TV or in videos is really important to me.”kaiitphoto.jpg

 

Kaiit believes her parents are also hugely influential in her artistry and creativity, both being artists themselves.

“Whilst [we were] in Papua New Guinea, they were both teaching at a performing arts university, which I thought was pretty cool!” she says.

This may suggest why Kaiit describes herself as primarily artistic also, even more so than musical.

“I never really studied music, apart from as an elective in school. I left high school in year 10 and started going to TAFE, where I was doing beauty, fashion and hairdressing- just trying to find out what I did and didn’t like.”

Kaiit’s cultural background, as well personality, is deeply reflected in her music. Her debut single Natural Woman, is a prime example of this. The music video was released earlier this year, and already has nearly 130 000 views on Facebook.

“The thought of the video being seen by so many people, already, is just unreal. It was really hard at first and I was getting really anxious over it, because not only was it the first song I’ve ever written and released, it was also very personal to me. I got a bit overwhelmed at some points, but people have been giving me so much love for it, which is awesome.”

The creative aspect of the video is also noted, with Kaiit admitting that it was filmed in a particularly freestyle manner.


“It started off with me and the director, Claudia,” Kaiit tells RSOM. “We were going about it by looking at the style of the song and looking at all the lyrics as a whole. We then copped a vibe of the song and what it should represent. We got this fun and feel-good vibe from it, so it was all very freestyle- especially within the actual filming. We had ideas about how we wanted the shots to look set out, but everything was created as it came.”

Despite only recently releasing her first single, Kaiit has been writing songs for as long as she can remember. She confesses; however, that up until now she never really viewed it as ‘song writing,’ as opposed to a diary-style form.

“I was always doing random songs in primary school and high school. I had this little girl group in primary school, called Princess Unicorn, and we wrote things together. We’d write about things that happened or we were going through. It often rhymed. It was how we expressed ourselves.”

Kaiit has come a long way since her Princess Unicorn days, however.

“I used to rearrange beats and write songs off of that. It can be tricky when you haven’t even listened to a beat yet. I might make a melody in my head and roll with that otherwise. I usually get inspired by the wording of things. Even just when listening to a beat, I’ll write something down straight away.”

To continue honing in her song writing skills and developing herself as an artist, Kaiit was involved in the ‘Dig Deep’ hip-hop mentoring program at the Arts Centre in Melbourne. Successfully helping her to find her feet, the program means a lot to Kaiit, who now helps run it.

“It gave me a new finding for music,” Kaiit explains. “They gave me so much support through opportunities to record my music and perform at so many different things. I took it all in my stride and now I’m able to continue to do what I love.”

With the recent music video, an upcoming single and an upcoming show, Kaiit is definitely one to watch.

“I just finished recording and mixing the next single. And we filmed the music video for that last week. That’s going to be a huge deal too.”

 

Kaiit will be launching her single Natural Woman at the Gasometer Hotel on Friday August 11. You can find more information here.

Follow Kaiit on:
Facebook | YouTube

Written by Jordyn Hoekstra 

ANGUS LEGG

Something of a late bloomer, Angus Legg hadn’t made the decision to become a professional musician until November of last year. A trip to Europe, a lot of expenditures and a worldly insight was what he needed to come to this decision.

“Then [in Europe] I realised that there wasn’t much else I wanted to do but music. I can’t see myself ever giving up music. I’m giving it a whirl, working on my EP, and just having a great time,” Angus tells The Real Songwriters of Melbourne.

No stranger to music nor Europe, Angus was born and raised in England to musician parents, and only moved to Australia at the age of eight. Despite being surrounded by music from birth, it wasn’t until his arrival in Australia that he began playing an instrument, falling in love with the drums.

“My parents travelled around Europe a lot and I always went with them. I took up drums once I got to Australia and played in different bands for a while. Eventually I picked up the guitar- which was inevitable because both of my parents played it. I then started singing, but it took me so long to sing in front of other people. Nowadays, it’s almost where I feel most comfortable.”

Angus Legg 2

Even with years of playing and performing under his belt, Angus didn’t begin to drabble in song writing until a couple of years ago. “I’d write things but I guess song writing was something that never really crossed my mind as something I was going to do. I used to just play covers,” Angus admits. Recently building on his abilities; however, Angus is in the process of recording his debut EP- consisting entirely of original tracks.

“Five originals on the EP, and it’s been a totally new experience from me. We’re still only halfway through recording, but I’ve learnt more in the last three to four weeks doing this about the industry and the way things work than I have the entire time I’ve been doing music.

Keen to release the EP, Angus says the process of it has been one of the biggest highlights of his career so far, and has plans to celebrate its release in style.

“Doing the EP has been an absolute highlight. I used to have no confidence with what I was doing when it came to music, I just did it to earn a little bit of extra money. As you grow as an artist, your confidence grows. There’ll be a single launch to begin with and a big campaign, loads of plans in mind. I’m going to put my heart and soul into it so I hope it goes really well.”

Whether it’s a result of his recent acquisition of song writing skills, or simply the musician he is, Angus admits that the songs he writes are ones he can always relate back to himself (“I can’t write about just anything, but I feel like they’re things a lot of other people can relate to as well”), and that he always starts his song writing process with the melody.

“I always start with melody first. I work out what I want to write about, create a melody to fit that, and then let the words come. There’s a method to the madness, I couldn’t tell you why, but it’s just how my brain works. I think every musician can agree that everyone has a certain way they write a song. Unfortunately, melodies can always start off so similar, but then you find variations. The more you do it, the better you get at it and the more creative you can get. It’s all about being creative.”

He may be particular about how he writes his songs, and what he writes about, but Angus admits he’s had great difficulty in determining just what genre his music fits into. With influences such as Ed Sheeran, John Mayer and Jason Mraz, there is a singer-song writer element.

“It has some folky elements, and some synthetic pop undertones also. As for Ed Sheeran, I can play pretty much his entire discography- but it’s not much help at your own gigs.”

 And as for his number one goal in the music industry… “I just want to be able to support myself with my music, and continue to travel.”

 Angus is one of the featuring artists at The Real Songwriters of Melbourne Live Show #5 on July 22 at Wick Studios. You can find more information about the show here.

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Check out more from Angus on:

Facebook | YouTube

Written by Jordyn Hoekstra

TORI DUNBAR

Melbourne born-and-raised musician Tori Dunbar has always had a love for singing and songwriting. It is her love for audio production; however, that sets her apart from the rest. After studying audio production at Collarts, Tori went on to record, produce and mix the majority of the songs she has recorded for her solo project so far.

“I didn’t expect to like it http://production as much as I do. In saying that, my first official debut single ‘My Head’ wasn’t done by me at all. That one was much more experimental than anything. I’m not more excited about this one than the other songs or anything, but it was interesting to do. It was a total journey for me, having Anna Laverty produce it, just because it was something I’ve never done before.”

Despite experiencing a new way of producing music, creating music itself is definitely not something new to Tori. Hailing from the Eastern Suburbs, Tori began music at the ripe age of six and has stuck to her guns ever since.  Once she finished high school, she decided she wanted to turn professional as it was something she always wanted to do. So she started studying a Certificate IV in Music Performance at Box Hill.

“I played keyboard and guitar through primary school and high school. It’s pretty funny actually. My dad always played guitar too and when I was younger my brother and I shared a guitar. So dad used to set a timer and make up practice every night for half an hour. I always used to do the full half-hour, but my brother admitted to me not all that long ago that he used to cheat and skip some of the practice time!”

Tori also began song writing at a young age. From the age of 14 she first began to learn how to play the songs she knew from the radio. She then understood the idea of being able to sing and play at the same time, and then create her own chords, melody and eventually lyrics.

“[Song writing] came from a ‘I want to try that’ part of me. Once I learnt that I could do it, I wanted to do it. Nowadays, I will definitely start with chords or a rhythm- it’s got to have a colour to it. The lyrics I’ll write as I progress with the chords. With ‘My Head’, I wrote the first verse, then the rest of the song just predicted itself into the next section. My songs are often written together. It’s rate that I’ll write just the lyrics, or just the music, by themselves. That’s why I have so many unfinished songs because I get to a point where I feel that I can’t continue with them.”

And unlike many other artists, she finds herself writing songs for others rather than herself. Once again, ‘My Head’ happens to be the exception.

“I come from a place of unintentionally comforting others. It’s about me reflecting back to others about how they should feel about or sense themselves and trying to help them; give them hope. I try to write from a hopeful perspective rather than a dark place because I don’t like to send my audience there, not do I want to sit their either. The inspiration for ‘My Head,’ came to me after disagreement I had with somebody. You know when you’re in the heat of the moment having a big argument with somebody and they tell you that you’re making up things? It’s called ‘gas lighting,’ and it makes you question your own sanity. I’d never written anything with this sort of sound or feel before, but I enjoyed the percussiveness of the vocal and writing it in that way.”

With such an intense passion for the words she writes, and also how she conveys them, there is no surprise that Tori’s biggest musical inspirations range from Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, to John Mayer and Jason Mraz.

“My music is very rhythmically and lyrically driven. To put it into a specific genre is hard- maybe it’d be singer-songwriter? But some of my songs borderline onto folk and some have a soul vibe to them. I really like it that way though.”

Tori’s debut single ‘My Head,’ was released on July 7. Despite it being the first single she’s released, she doesn’t expect herself to dwell on it before she brings out more music. The Real Songwriters Live #5, an event she’s very much looking forward to, will act as a ‘semi-launch’ of sorts for it.

“I released the video for it last Friday, but I’m looking at getting another single out in a couple of months. I want to push out back to back singles until the end of the year and then release my debut EP early next year. I want to get as much of my music out there as soon as I can. I’m really excited to perform it at The Real Songwriters Live Show #5 too. Working with Jena has been amazing, and everything she’s done has been so crazy helpful. My brain can’t imagine what Wick Studios is going to look like on the night because I’ve only been there before for rehearsals, but I’m guessing it’s going to be awesome. It feels almost inclusive to be working with the RSOM team!”

Tori is one of the featuring artists at The Real Songwriters of Melbourne Live Show #5 on July 22nd at Wick Studios. Tickets are $15 at the door. You can view more information about the event here.

Tori Dunbar

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Written by Jordyn Hoekstra