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

You can check out more of Tori on
Facebook | Soundcloud | Website

Written by Jordyn Hoekstra 

DARCY FOX

There was never any doubt Darcy Fox was going to become a musician.
Now at 24, she writes, records and plays for a living.

Growing up in a musical family has only aided her on her path, too. Her mother, one of twelve siblings, grew up performing in a family-show band, surrounded by Irish and showband music. Even today, Darcy’s mother is a singing teacher. Naturally, Darcy has always been surrounded by music. It is this life-long love of it that has gotten her to where she is today.

“I’ve always come from a pretty musical family. But then when I was about 15 I was like ‘yes, music is the thing I want to do,” Darcy tells the Real Songwriters of Melbourne.

Despite her talents and obvious passion, it wasn’t easy convincing her Mum, either. With persuasion and an ability to prove that music was all she wanted to do, Darcy eventually managed to get her mum on her side. “Mum was like ‘Don’t do it, you’ll be poor!’ But when she realised how much I wanted to do it, she began to help me out here and there. It sort of grew from there.”

Unsurprisingly from a young age, Darcy began to learn how to play. Even though her mother is a music teacher, Darcy has had no formal training and admits to learning how to play guitar via YouTube videos and other online resources.

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“I started songwriting not long after that, and properly started writing when I was 15. I did write a song when I was 12 though and it was very bad, about bullies and 12-year-old things. I got to record it, never did anything with it, but just to experience that. When I got my guitar, I started writing for real, and wrote so much after that.”

Nowadays, Darcy tends to still write from her own experiences. Saying she writes about incredibly personal things, she believes her best songs are the ones that relate back to something that has directly happened to her. Her own experiences often even dictate how she writes a particular song.

“One of the songs off the Chapter One EP, I wrote whilst I was working as a waitress. I wrote it on the back of a napkin during one of my shifts and afterwards took it home and added a melody to it. Overall though, my writing process changes depending on the song. A lot of the time, I’ll just be playing around with the guitar and different melodies, and then the lyrics will come from that.”

Quickly becoming an established artist, Moe-born and raised Darcy soon realised that she had to branch out of where she called home to live off being a musician. Ending up moving to Melbourne, Darcy says that starting out wasn’t easy, but when she did get a gig booked it was great.

“I’ve always travelled for music, it’s just a part of how the industry works- you have to travel. Moving to Melbourne wasn’t so much as difficult as starting out playing gigs. But it was awesome to have them once you got them. I really like playing at The Workers Club in Fitzroy and the Spotted Mallard is a really cute venue as well.

“When it comes to music these days, you have the ability to do practically everything yourself, which is really cool. I’m currently self-managed, and I feel like you don’t need to be with a label or a manager to put your work on iTunes.”

Despite being back and forth between Moe and Melbourne, currently, Darcy is eager to not forget the opportunities the Gippsland region have given her over the years. She admits that some of the competitions she has won back home have been the highlights of her career.

“They ran a ‘Battle of the Bands’ style competition, and the prize was to open for and then perform with Jimmy Barnes at a particular music festival he was playing that. I won that one, which was amazing. Then there was also the ‘Freeza Push-Start “Battle of the Bands”.’ I won the Gippsland Heat for that and got to go on to perform at the Moomba Festival. That was really cool.”

With eight years of performing around Victoria under her belt, Darcy released her ‘Chapter One’ EP earlier this year. Successfully launching it at The Workers Club, Darcy says that the majority of the EP was a really easy and timely writing and recording experience, having done a lot of it back home in Gippsland.

“I recorded it with this guy named Jack Cookie. He’s a friend of mine, a producer and musician, and he’s from Gippsland as well. I had the songs already written, one of them was an old one- the one from work, and then the others over the last couple of years. When I had the time I’d just go over to his place and we’d spend the day recording it. It was just the two of us who played on it, so it was really laidback and chill. We’d throw some ideas back and forth and play around with different samples and it all just came together really easy.

“Hurricane, the single, actually took me longer to write than the others, however. The chorus came to me really quickly, but it took a couple of months for the verses to be written. On the other hand, the title track, Chapter One, was written in a couple of hours, as was the rest of the EP.”

Not incorporating many people in the recording, Darcy is a keen user of the loop pedal, especially at her live shows. Accordingly, she cites Ed Sheeran as one of her biggest inspirations, having been blown away by his looping abilities at his Festival Hall show in 2013.

“That show was what really pushed me to get good at the loop pedal. I’m also a huge fan of Passenger- his song writing is incredible. I started out as a country artist but have since progressed into the singer-song writer style of music. I definitely think there’s still country influences in my songs, however.”

Darcy is one of the three feature artists performing at The Real Songwriters of Melbourne Live Show #5 on July 22 at Wick Studios. She is looking forward to cross-promoting with the RSOM team and playing an awesome show.

You can view more information about the upcoming Real Songwriters of Melbourne Live Show #5 here.

Follow Darcy on:
Facebook | Instagram | Website

Written by Jordyn Hoekstra

 

Natalie Nish

“I’ve always been a little bit weird, a little bit different. It can really set you apart. It’s so important to embrace being different rather than let it hinder you.”

Growing up in a Christian family and raised on Star Trek with her two brothers, and her two ducks, Natalie Nish comes from a musical family. A singer for a mother, and a local radio presenter for a father, singing, music and performing was always a part of her childhood and has since transcended into her adulthood. And despite looking at the pop genre as one that is heavily influential on her own career, she admits she was sheltered from most pop music as a child. From the likes of the Backstreet Boys, to the Spice Girls, to Stacie Orrico and Ed Sheeran- she appreciates pop’s structured way of writing when it comes to writing her own music.

“I love Ed Sheeran. I love his writing style and how he puts so much into a small amount of space without making it seem rushed. I love Stacie Orrico too, her voice and her style of singing is amazing. Her writing I haven’t looked into too much, but I noticed some of the songs she has recorded, she wrote back when she was 14 or 15.

 “I’ve always been told that it’s really important to describe your music, in case you want to change labels or something. But I’m really not sure- I guess honest and quirky. And probably heavily pop-influenced, especially in structure.”

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Similarly to Stacie, Natalie’s song writing career took off from a young age. From singing in the Church, to writing songs to sing to her younger brother, Natalie’s music and song writing abilities are still evolving, and always growing.

“I shared a room with my little brother as a kid and I remember always singing songs about fairies or something, just to help him sleep. A couple of years ago my dad found a cassette tape of songs I had written and sung when I was about ten. It’s always been there and I’ve always wanted to be a creator. Having a passion for music and wanting to create things kind of just came together into what it is now.

“For a very long time, I really wasn’t great. Even before I started studying it, I’d have ten songs I’d written at a time but I never wanted to show them to anyone, because I didn’t understand that it was okay to have bad songs. I then learnt that the most important thing is to just write, and write, and write. If you have crappy ones that come out, that’s fine- it’s just a part of the learning process and you can drop them. Once I found that mindset, it really opened up a lot more for writing. I’m still getting there though, I still try to challenge myself. I find I don’t write overly complicated chord structures or anything, so I’m trying to branch out more there.”

With years of experience and a progressive attitude, Natalie finds that her writing methods are not always typical. She admits that she won’t write a song until she has all the pieces ready to go, and will put them all together before fixing it up, rather than building up the song bit-by-bit. A lot of her lyrics come to her unexpectedly, or very much in the moment.

“I might be out somewhere and think of a word or lyric and write it down on a notepad, or I’ll be sitting at home and go back to those points later. I try to write things metaphorically a lot because otherwise I feel like I’m not doing justice to what I’m trying to say. Sometimes I’ll have my phone on record and just play around and sing whatever I feel like singing at the time, and then touch base with it later. If there’s anything I liked I’ll do it again, and then it’ll progress from there. It’s always the start of the song that’s the hardest part, afterwards you can just work on tidying everything up and making the structure more suitable. If I decide to write a song, it’s because I’ve already got all the pieces there to put it all together.”

As with her writing process, Natalie’s inspiration often comes in the moment. If she finds a particular event or emotion affecting her, she will write about it. And yet whilst most of her work is about herself and her relationships, she often finds herself wanting to write about the bigger picture- even if it is more of a challenge to do so.

“Every now and then, there’ll be topics or issues that are heavy on my heart and I’ll want to write about them, but sometimes they’ll be such a big deal that I don’t know how to write about them. I tried to write a song about homelessness a little while ago, and I’m currently debating whether or not I revisit it and write it a little bit better. Maybe to get some more knowledge about it before I go back into it.”

An evolving songwriter, Natalie is always looking for new opportunities to progress herself and show the world what she’s made of. Having only ever recorded in Melbourne, she’s been given the opportunity to record her next single in Sydney- which she says has been the highlight of her career so far.

“I contacted this songwriter in Sydney called Jeremy Fowler, whose sound I really liked. His manager said he’d be happy to work with me on my next song, so I’ll get to work with him in Sydney and get the song done. That was really exciting.”

Natalie launched her debut single ‘I’ll Leave You With This’ on June 9th. The single was premiered by The Real Songwriters of Melbourne thanks to The Backline Project. You can check out her live interview here and acoustic live performance.

You can listen to it here.

Check out Natalie Nish on
Facebook | Website | YouTube

Written by Jordyn Hoekstra

A Conversation With Chloe Violette

“This last year has been about celebrating women in the creative arts. Hence the film clip I’ve just released- it was done by an all-female team from the producer to the cinematographer, the camera assistants and the editor. It was a really liberating experience. We’re slowly smashing the patriarchy!”

RSOM recently spoke to the amazing Chloe Violette about her new music video, and her hopes for equality in the music industry.

I’m so amazed that everyone working on the ‘Hurricane’ film clip was female, it’s just so unheard of. How do you feel that completing a project in such a way will assist women in the industry going forward?

“Well it’s still very much a male-dominated industry, and it’s still very much a man’s world. We’re slowly, with the help of social media and other platforms that promote ‘girls to the front’ and everything, getting there. It’s a necessity that we need to have these things and have these conversations, even though it’s a bit unfortunate and honestly a bit sad. I looked over at one point and was like ‘Oh, we’re all chicks!’ which is amazing, but it is about exposing the fact that this isn’t considered normal, when it should be. The equality is still definitely not there. It’s one step at a time, I guess. It’s cool to work with like-minded people and if they happen to identify as female, then that’s really cool.”

Do you think that you’ll use the team that you used for the film clip in the future?

“Oh definitely, 100%. I’ve actually joined the collaborative of the filmmakers involved. I rounded up these girls and this was the first collaboration that they had done. And now they’ve gone on to do other work together. They’re currently doing a film clip for CHMBRS and other female artists in the industry. I feel really privileged to be a part of that connection. I’m working as a production assistant on their next project which is really cool.”

Hurricane Video Clip – an original by Chloe Violette

You talk about how hard it is in the music industry as a female, and it is. However on top of that you’re also in Melbourne, which is one of the most difficult music scenes to break out into in the world. Do you find yourself wanting to empower other women in the industry rather than compete with them?

“It’s such a competitive industry. There’s so many incredible musicians out there and it’s so daunting just to think about how many people are out there that want what you want. So there is that natural tendency to compare yourself to other women and think ‘oh wow they’re doing so much and they’re achieving this or that’ and that can sort of get you down quite a lot. I’ve learnt in the past year or so to just remember why I’m doing and why I’m pursuing music; why I’m playing it and making it. It’s a part of me. If you can join forces with other people just to remember why you’re making the art you’re making, it’s so much more thrilling. Collaborating and sharing that experience is so much more rewarding.”

 And so do you believe social media enhances or hinders this empowerment?

“It’s so easy to get caught up in that superficial love of the ‘double-tap love hearts,’ and the likes and followers, so it’s really easy to compare yourself to others. It’s just the reality of 2017 I guess, when we’re living in the digital world. It’s so important though to just go back to that authenticity and that organic nature of the fact that we’re musicians and we make music because it helps us make sense of the world. I think that’s the important bit- to bring back the perspective every now and again. It’s so easy to get lost in the idea of success on social media, but it goes so far beyond that.”

 Social media can be an entirely tricky thing regardless too!

“Exactly. At the end of the day when you’re promoting your music or art on social media, it’s your own business and your own branding. It can be really difficult to promote yourself, especially when you’re not used to it and have a tendency to have a lot of emotions, as many of us in the creative arts do. I have this saying on my bedroom wall ‘it’s both a blessing and a curse to feel everything so deeply,’ which really resonates with me because when you are an emotional person you can put those thoughts and ideas onto paper or onto canvas, but it also comes with the downfall of experiencing negative emotions and the thoughts that follow. But you do have to have an online business presence because you’re essentially selling yourself and your music.”

Going forward into the future, do you think even more must change for women to further progress in the music industry? What do you think should be done?

“I think it’s a matter of education and it’s a matter of conversation. It’s easy to be ‘pigeonholed’ as a ‘raging feminist.’ But every intelligent person should understand the word ‘equality,’ and therefore needs to be a feminist. There’s still a lot of stigma behind the word ‘feminism’ and for us to move forward and promote that equality, so that in however many years’ time this conversation is no longer necessary. I don’t know how long that’s going to take and I don’t know if it’s going to happen. I do know that for it to happen; however, we need to have conversations and we need to stick together and we need to educate. We’re doing it already though, the way we’re going is the right way and I don’t know how else we’re going to get the word across. But everyone who understand equality needs to understand feminism and promote it.”

 Who are your favourite female musicians in the industry at the moment?

“ I cannot get enough of Julia Jacklin, and I’m also totally blown away by Gretta Ray. She’s so young and her sound and song writing ability is so mind blowing. They’re doing an amazing job at representing women in the Australian music industry and encouraging other female artists to get themselves out there.

 The film clip was launched at the Malthouse Theatre back in May and was a successful night.

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Check out Chloë Violette on:
Website | Facebook | Instagram

Written by Jordyn Hoesktra

 

CELESTE KATE

“I feel like writing is a bit cathartic. I’ll write about it [experiences] because that’s my way to essentially be my own therapist.”  

For some artists, the ability to find their niche happens overnight. This wasn’t the case for Celeste Polson. Not at all. The Ballarat-born singer songwriter, who artists under the stage name ‘Celeste Kate,’ didn’t begin performing her original music until she was in her mid-twenties. This was following the completion of a Diploma of Musical Performance at Gordon TAFE in Geelong, and making the move to Melbourne to give herself the best opportunity possible.

“The Diploma of Music introduced me to Jazz, so when I moved to Melbourne I found myself performing in the jazz scene. In 2015, I was singing in a big-band style ensemble at a jazz club in Richmond, where I shared the lead with male vocalist.”

Celeste also undertook a Diploma of Musical Theatre at the APO of Arts Academy. Whilst her main passion is singing and song writing, she took a year off her original music to focus on completing the degree and becoming an all-rounded performer: “I wanted to incorporate acting and dancing into my singing- I wanted to be a triple threat!”

With jazz and musical theatre under her belt, Celeste’s most in depth experience as a musician comes in her song writing. Having begun writing at the age of 12, after keeping a lyric-filled journal, she began to compose music with these lyrics. She even remembers the first song she ever wrote.

“I do actually [remember it]! I did record it. It was called Nowhere. It was sort of just about feeling like you’re literally getting nowhere in life, like people are trampling on you and you end up feeling like you’re never going to get anywhere.”

Recording these early songs proved beneficial to Celeste, as they equipped her with the experience needed to go on and place highly in several song writing competitions around Melbourne.

“In 2010 I was a semi-finalist in a competition called the Melbourne Fresh Industry Showcase. Then last year I came fourth in a competition called the Emergence Festival.”

Similarly, her last EP I’ve Been Waiting, created a track that came in the top 30 at the finals of the Australian Song Writing Association Competition in 2015. Beating thousands of other songwriters for one of these positions, Celeste described it as the “highlight of my career- it was all very exciting!”

I wasn’t surprised to hear of her success after further discussing her song writing skills with her. I was in awe as she took me through a step-by-step process of a song she wrote, entitled Smile for the Camera and depicted the completely captivating concept she had for a supporting music video.

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“I wanted to write a song about people who appear to be really attractive and look like they’ve got everything together and look like they’re happy, but behind that smile it can be deceiving. It was about the point that you can be attractive and you can look like you’ve got all those things but perhaps behind those eyes there’s someone dealing with something really huge. I had this vision for this film clip that I just don’t have the budget for yet. There’d be these supermodels posing for the camera and looking all glamorous and beautiful; then in another scene they’ll be in the bathroom snorting cocaine with tears running down their face, which shows how they’re really feeling.”

This song; however, was out of the ordinary. Celeste admits she tends to write based on her own personal experiences, starting from the journal she kept as a child. The themes she addresses may not be a direct reflection of her own life, but rather those of her family and friends yet that have touched her in some way. When she does write about herself; however, she confesses to feeling selfish about what she’s producing.

“It’s a bit selfish really, it’s all very internalised. I feel like writing’s a little bit cathartic. If I’m feeling a bit anxious or particularly emotional about something that is affecting me in my life, anything that might be happening, I’ll write about it because that’s my way to essentially be my own therapist.”

Increasing her song writing experience has also meant that her methods and processes have changed over time. In the past, Celeste says she would come up with an entire lyrical structure and then add the chords in whilst at the piano. The lyrics would always be the primary feature, with the melody being added second. Nowadays, her song writing method consists of lyrics and melody after she has created a chord progression on the piano. Even then, no one process is set in stone.

“I wrote a song about a week ago and I sat there and wrote all the lyrics down until I was completely happy with them. It was kind of like this weird poem. Then I tinkered with different melodies, not even at the piano, I just sang them out loud until I was happy roughly with what I was coming up with. It’s kind of considered a really backwards way to do it but it seemed to work for that particular song.”

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If you needed further convincing that Celeste’s song writing is on par with some of Melbourne’s best, you only need to look at her musical influences. The style of music she aims to create and perform can be determined without even asking her. Discussing how she grew up inspired by artists such as Katie Noonan and Sarah McLachlan – and currently greatly idolising Kate Miller-Heidke – Celeste admits that it’s Kate Bush that takes the cake as the most influential artist on her career so far.

 “The way in which she wrote a lot of her songs  was very unusual for that era. A lot of female artists were writing ‘love’ songs, about having their heart broken and everything, but she was writing about lust and desire and all those other parts of being in a relationship that we don’t always hear about in songs. We often hear about the pain and the heartbreak of it, but she was writing about all the good stuff. I just love the way that she writes, as well as the sound of her voice. She’s a fascinating story teller, so I definitely look up to her as well.”

Celeste is launching her next single I’m Not Sorry at the Matthew Flinders Hotel this Friday (May 12). She will also be performing a few new songs that have yet to be recorded but hopes to add to her next EP. As for what to expect on the night: It’s going to be just myself on piano so it’s going to be a very intimate performance.”

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You can purchase tickets to Celeste’s single launch on the night for $12.
For more information go here

You can follow Celeste Kate on
Facebook | YouTube | Soundcloud


Written by Jordyn Hoekstra

The Hunter Express

“It was weird though because people then were calling me The Hunter Express, and I was like ‘no, my name’s Brad.’”

Most of us know that to get anywhere in life, sacrifices need to be made. Not all of us are willing to make those sacrifices. Melbourne musician Brad Ellis is one man who took that risk – a risk that ended up paying off. Leaving his fulltime job to focus on his music career, Brad created The Hunter Express and is in the process of releasing his debut album.

Named after his four-year-old son, Hunter, Brad tells The Real Songwriters of Melbourne how what was to initially become a music label, ended up becoming his own musical project.

“My wife, Kelly, wanted to work full time. So I said I’d stay home and look after Hunter. So then we just started hanging out – originally I had this idea of it being this kind of music label, because I’m really interested in the industry side of music. But then I just started writing songs, and thought The Hunter Express was a better fit than my own name! It was weird though because people then were calling me The Hunter Express, and I was like ‘no, my name’s Brad.’”

Despite The Hunter Express being a recent project, music has always run through Brad’s veins, taking up song writing at a young age. Even though he had particularly alternative methods of writing to begin with, it was the skills formed here that allowed him to want to better himself as a writer.

“I started in high school just putting lyrics over melodies of songs that were already created. I did it with a couple of Powderfinger songs, where I’d just rewrite the lyrics. I’d never perform them like that but I just started writing that. Every now and then I’d write poetry as well. It was probably after I left working that I wanted to get back into my writing and that’s when I started getting back into the whole Hunter Express Project that’s evolved.”

Brad admits he’ll write about anything and everything. With influences ranging from Tom Petty, to The Beach Boys, to Archie Roche and Julia Jackman, this isn’t surprising in the slightest. His debut EP launched in 2016, takes its listeners on a journey through five completely different stories.  Despite this, there are particular themes that are evident on his upcoming album.

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“Bluestone Lane is my journey of finishing up my job and leaving that part of my life and moving on. Never Felt This Way is a story about someone that kind of trapped by the things in their life. They’re just some of the ideas I’ve had.

“Hoping You Don’t Mind came very naturally. I wrote that song in about an hour, which doesn’t usually happen. It kind of wrote itself. It sits around four chords that don’t move around too much. But the process that I go through is, say if I get a little idea- which can happen anywhere- I’ll record it on my phone or if I’m near the studio, in the studio. I’ll sing as much of the song as I possibly can and listen back to it. There’ll be certain elements of the song that I find really interesting, so then I’ll take that and leave the rest and work on that really interesting stuff. And then, from there sometimes the lyrics are there but a lot of the times I’ll get an idea around the melody- especially if I’m not really singing any words and there’s just sound coming out and then that starts to form the idea of the song. I let it go whichever way it needs to go. My writing style has changed a lot now working on this album. With the Bluestone Lane EP and in particularly Hoping You Don’t Mind, there were things in that song that were sticking points for me and like I didn’t want to alter it. Since I’ve been writing more though, I try not to get attached to anything because potentially there might be a better idea that’s just passed the good idea I have at that time.”

There is no doubt that Brad is a talented, driven individual. However, he admits that The Hunter Express is by no means an individual project. Acknowledging the people he has worked with so far, he even believes that meeting people along the way has been the highlight of his career. Bouncing off other people’s ideas, receiving and returning energy and being open to other people’s suggestions have influenced the entire production of the Bluestone Lane EP, as well as his upcoming album.

“I have realised that maybe it’d be better to let that creativity really kind of move around in the studio. So that’s what we did with the album this time. I had lyrics and I had arrangements where I was completely open to it changing and being what it was at that time, depending on how we were all feeling. It’s been really really fun. There was a song that we’ve just recorded and I really like, like it’s my favourite. I literally just had the lyrics and a little bit of a melody and we kind of just created the rest all there at the one time. It was awesome.”

I couldn’t go without asking Brad about his friendship with Scott Candlish, a familiar face with the RSOM. Reflecting on how important networking and maintaining a sense of community in the music industry actually is, Brad admits that having likeminded people supporting him on his journey makes everything easier.

“I want to open that up and I’m keen to collaborate and work with other artists. It’s been really good and through that, Scott’s become a really good friend and just someone you can call if you’ve got ideas or you need someone to fill in gigs.”

Brad is currently in the process of recording his debut EP. Whilst he’d love for it to be released by the end of the year, he says he hasn’t set himself a timeline and has no intention of rushing it.

Brad will be supporting Scott Candlish at The Gasometer Hotel on April 29. He will also be playing his own headline show at The Workers Club on May 10.

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Check out The Hunter Express on
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Written by Jordyn Hoekstra 

LUCCA FRANCO

“Hopefully it’s the kind of show Aretha would’ve put on thirty years ago except in Melbourne, sung by a little Italian-Australian girl.”

You’d be correct in thinking Motown was a thing of the past, right? Wrong. Meet Lucinda, known musically as Lucca Franco. The 24-year-old from Oakleigh has always had a love for Motown and soul, and is now taking her passion and reinventing the sound. And how did it all start? I hear you asking. Well as Lucinda recalls, it all started with one talent show that took place 14 years ago.

“When I was 10 years old I entered a talent competition where I placed and ended up winning. From there I started singing lessons and it wasn’t until I was about 13/14 that I really started taking it seriously. I just fell in love with music and that sound. I found my first Aretha Franklin record at that age, it was kind of like a ‘Best Of’ record, and I just fell madly in love with her sound and that genre of music- the old soul singers, Motown. People like Aretha, Stevie Wonder, Etta James, Michael Jackson and I just started singing all her tunes all the time. I became obsessed with the soul sound.”

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The talent competition wasn’t the only competition Lucinda starred in during her youth, either. The up and coming soul star placed in a song writing competition at the age of 12, adapting her with the skills she ended up using to write her debut album from a young age. The song, There Are Days, was the first song she ever recorded. She also admits that she came across it on one of her old computers the other day and “completely lost it.”

“I was 12 years old and it was the school holidays and my dad had bought me a little keyboard and I worked out all these functions where you could make beats and stuff. At school I was severely bullied, like I didn’t have very many friends when I was younger and it was just this song about having your family and friends support you through any situation.”

So many achievements at such a young age, and Lucinda had realised that music was the path she had to be on. Many artists make sacrifices when they first enter the industry, however Lucinda was beginning before she even finished school. Despite this, she admits that moving to Sandringham College from an all-girls Catholic school for year 11 and 12 was the best decision she ever made.

“Sandringham had amazing music teachers that nurtured my music and my creative side. One of the bands I started in the classroom became the band I ended up playing in right up until recently. We were like a reggae, funk band and worked our butts off and gigged from the age of 16 to about 22. Then Michael, the guitarist went overseas and worked on a cruise ship so whilst we never disbanded, it kind of put a halt to our music which led me to start the Lucca project.

“After that, I was really lost for a couple of years. I knew what I wanted to write but because I wasn’t super confident on guitar or piano, I was just banging out a few simple cords here and there whilst the chords were all in my head. I got myself a vocal loop station so I started writing with that but I was never really doing anything with the songs I wrote, I was just keeping them there.”

Lucinda was fortunate enough to meet her current producer, Lee Bradshaw at an event 18 months ago, where Lucinda worked as a vocal coach. Describing their meeting as a “serendipitous” moment, she says he completely understood the artist she wanted to become. The two went on to work together, with Lucinda going on to record not only a song he wrote, but writing, producing and recording her entire up and coming album with him.

“We wrote a bunch of songs that I’m really happy with that turned into this project. I worked with some incredibly songwriters and had some cool people playing on the recording- we did live recordings of the album. We’d spend 9 hour days in the studio and played these songs and it came out incredible. We’d overdubbed different sections as we couldn’t fit all the musicians in the room at the time. I got other vocalists in as I wanted it to echo the old soul sound and it was just so much fun. It seems like a lifetime ago now even thought it was only 6 months ago but I’m really excited to get it out on stage. It is my proudest achievement.”

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The Lucca Project was written entirely on piano and according to Lucinda each song was recorded with up to eight different musicians. She emphasises the team effort behind the album through the writing, recording and production as inspired by the documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown. About The Funk Brothers, Lucinda describes the collaborative effort that they underwent and how she wanted to replicate that. Despite having been working on her debut single Sinking Feeling for years, she admits the support she had from her team was what solidified it into becoming her entrance into the industry.

“I started writing it ages ago. But I only ever had a chorus for it and it was constantly stuck in my head. I never knew where to go from there- I’m one of those people who has books and books and books filled with unfinished songs. When we started the process of writing Lee was like “Well what have you got? Bring your old stuff in” and he liked it. The way we worked on that song together was like thinking about what was going on and what I was feeling when I wrote it. It’s when you’ve got that ‘sinking feeling’ when you’re starting to date someone new and it’s all going cool and then things just start changing and getting weird really quickly. I write very differently by myself to when I’m co-writing as well but a lot of this album came out with just talking about what I was feeling when I was writing and it brought out all these cool songs.”

And the rest of Lucca’s debut album is set to have the same vibe, according to Lucinda with the ‘break-up’ theme no doubt playing a huge role. Fans are to expect it to be sassy and funky, whilst the sole love song on the able is sultry and sensual- “all of the songs are really different, but the theme of the album is definitely there,” she admits.

Showing just how much Lucinda wants to echo the Motown days, she will be pressing her album onto vinyl for die-hard vinyl fans. She also plans to head over to the United States and go back to where Motown all began, and also where her love for Motown all began.

“I want to bring my myself back to where this style of music was made. And if people like this project enough, then I want to create another one because I’ve already got a million ideas. I want to make Lucca my original – and full time – work. That’d be awesome.”

Lucinda is launching her debut single Sinking Feeling later on Sunday April 23 at The Toff in Town and hopes to replicate her Motown idols.

“Hopefully it’s the kind of show Aretha would’ve put on thirty years ago except in Melbourne, sung by a little Italian-Australian girl alongside some incredible musicians. There’ll be hooks that grab people’s attention and singalong music, especially with Sinking Feeling.”

Check out details for her EP launch on Facebook here

Check out Lucca Franco on
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Written by Jordyn Hoekstra

CHMBRS

“When I wrote Rabbit Hole, it was kind of like a lightbulb moment and I found the exact sounds and tones I was looking for in my own voice.”

That lightbulb moment changed everything, however. It was the moment that a 22-year-old girl from the Mornington Peninsula realised exactly who she wanted to be as an artist.  A girl who once spent hours crying over her piano trying to figure out what she wanted to write now knew what she wanted to write. So she wrote about the experience of finding herself as a writer.

“From that point on it really shaped me and my music and what I wanted my music to do. From deciding what I wear to where I perform. I mean, I didn’t even think lightbulb moments existed til then. It was a surreal moment to watch that idea tick over in my brain.”

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Having never seen a piano until the age of 13, there is no doubt that Aimee’s music career has come a long way. She studied flute through AMEB up until grade seven, and also plays guitar and saxophone. It was singing; however, that really stole her heart.

“Singing was the turning point of where I wanted to go as well and I also started doing high school productions. I did Annie, High School Musical –  I got my first lead role in the Little Shock of Horrors. I touched on lots of different things until I worked out what I wanted to do.”

Aimee – who has adopted the stage name CHMBRS – admits that she spent years trying to replicate other artists’ voices and styles. With influences that range from Foo Fighters to Adele, this was never going to be particularly easy.

“My influences are so random. One of my biggest idols is Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters. I just think he’s a legend. I’m so inspired by his constant perfection and passion. He recorded the entire first Foo Fighters album with the intention of making it perfect. I love his words, the way he writes and his honesty. I love Adele’s feeling and compassion. My favourite artist currently is BANKS and I think she’s just doing something completely unique. I thought Pink was the bee’s knee’s when I was younger. There are so many people that are crazy creative, it’s such a hard thing to pinpoint.”

Even when she began writing her own music at the age of 16, she struggled to find her own grounding and finding what she was truly passionate about.

“I thought it [her first songs] sounded rubbish- not even Disney would take it, it was so sickly sweet. I tried writing for a couple of years but I never felt passionate about anything I wrote. I critiqued it and I was like ‘no that’s not good, it’s not catchy, I don’t want to write about that.’

“In about October or November of 2015 I was having lessons with one of my teachers and he set me goal to starting writing songs. He said ‘you know, you’re at that stage where you need to be writing. You can’t just sing covers anymore.’ He gave me week’s timeframe.”

It was from the creation of Rabbit Hole that her debut EP was born. Unlike the rest of the EP; however, Aimee confesses that it is the one song that has stayed true to its original composition: from the moment it was born to the moment it was produced.

“I struck a chord progression that really resonated with how I was feeling in that moment. Then the melody came through and the words ‘Rabbit Hole’ kept coming through. I kept writing the lyrics line by line and then took that song and performed it at an end-of-year concert. I also took it to, who is now my producer, Josh, but he was my piano teacher at the time. He took it and put a bit of magic into it. Even then though, it was still so close to how it was when I first wrote it.”

With writing being relatively new to her, Aimee admits she doesn’t like to force it. She prefers it comes naturally as she needs to be moved for ideas to come through. Most of the rest of the EP; however, was written across three full days, Aimee and her producer Josh sitting at his grand piano writing away. “We’d often bounce of each other’s ideas,” Aimee confesses.

There is one particular song on the EP that resonates with her more than most. A huge Harry Potter fan, Aimee found herself in the studio the morning of actor Alan Rickman’s death. Paying tribute to the actor, Aimee sat down and wrote everything she felt, creating the most heartfelt, yet only acoustic track on the EP. “I just really couldn’t comprehend it,” Aimee told the Real Songwriters of Melbourne, “It’s a beautiful song. Every song that came out on the EP comes from a strong emotion. I like to think my songs are really emotionally driven where I just want to cut to the chorus describing the feeling in that moment.”

Aimee is now applying the finishing touches to her EP and is working on preparing to market it. She plans to share it at the Real Songwriters of Melbourne Live Show #4, making it the second time she’s ever played it live. As for her hopes for the EP, she wants to help others and she wants others to enjoy it.

“I hope I move someone! It’d be great if someone came back and said to me ‘your music really helped me get through today.’ I’d like to do a nice big EP launch to celebrate it and tour with it. I’d love to travel with it- I’ve got my eyes set on London. But, I suppose chips will fall where they may and things will happen if they’re meant to.”

After finding herself as an artist, adopting a stage name was crucial to Aimee forming her identity. ‘CHMBRS,’ a play on her surname ‘Chambers,’ gave her another edge whilst staying true to herself. “Like this is the performing Aimee, this isn’t the Aimee that sits at home with her dog or boxing or something,” she said.

Aimee is looking forward to the Real Songwriters of Melbourne Live Show #4, where she is hoping to receive constructive feedback on her set and getting to share things she doesn’t always share on stage.

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Written by Jordyn Hoekstra

BENJAMIN TRILLADO

Most artists rave about how all their songs are written from personal experience; how they’ve felt and experience everything in a particular song. This is not the case for Benjamin Trillado. The 19-year-old from Melbourne confesses that he has one specific desire for his song writing: to be able to find a song in anything.

“I like to think I have a great imagination. I’ll be like ‘I wonder what is feels like to experience this.’ I was at a train station once and I was thinking about how sad it would be to have to say goodbye to someone there. So I wrote about that- someone leaving and the sadness of it. Just the other day I saw this guy holding a bouquet of flowers and waiting and I was like ‘oh I wonder what he’s going through in that moment,’ so I wrote that idea down.

“I binge-watch a lot of dramatic television shows; I love dramatic stuff that gets to me and makes me cry. I also tend to story-tell a lot, I like to write in linear form and like the idea of going from the start to the finish of a story in a song.”

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Beginning music at the early age of 10, Benjamin took guitar lessons and the occasional casual singing lesson with his music teacher. He admits that it wasn’t something he necessarily wanted to do. At the start, he didn’t really care. Then after a while, he cared too much that he was reluctant to take it professionally as he didn’t want it to become a chore.

“After a while, I fell in love with it [music]. People then told me I had an alright voice, so I just kept listening to a lot of music. I’d listen to pretty much everything. Then I didn’t want to hate it, so I didn’t take any music electives or anything. Then when I finished high school I realised that I could turn professional, and that I just want to do music for the rest of my life.”

On graduating high school, Benjamin enrolled in a Bachelor of Music Performance at Collarts, where both his impending music career and song writing ability took off.

“When I was 12, I decided to write a song for my primary school graduation. I pretty much wrote this really lame song about graduating. I kind of liked it, it wasn’t bad for a 12-year-old. I really liked writing, but didn’t do it that much until I finished high school. My course has helped me a lot with my song writing. I have periods now where I don’t write at all, but I try to push through those and keep going.”

With nine years of guitar behind him, as well as experience in piano, ukulele and bass –“I’m no expert in them but” – Benjamin has found his songs often begin with the thing that began his love for music- the guitar. He often comes up with a guitar chord and then will fit a lyric over that. He utilises this to create a melody that is followed by the rest of the lyrics.

“Sometimes it’s both [the song writing process]. Sometimes I’ll change the melody to fit with the lyrics if I want certain words to stand out. I’ve only just started writing like this, I’ve been a lot more analytical in structuring the way my songs are formed.”

His progression in song writing has assisted him in becoming more descriptive and poetic with his lyrics. A huge fan of Ed Sheeran, lines such as ‘I could do without a tan on my left hand where my fourth finger meets my knuckle,’ [Wake Me Up, +, 2011] are the kinds of lines he imbues to create. And whilst Ed Sheeran may be a typical choice when it comes to an aspiring singer/songwriter’s influences, not all of them are that way.

“I have this ‘weird Frankenstein’ thing where I put together all these random influences. I’m a huge fan of Janis Ian; Beyoncé as well, Sam Smith and Lianne La Havas.  I think my voice has elements of soul in it because I listen to a lot of soul singers.”

 

Much of his original music, as well as covers he has recorded are available on YouTube and Sound Cloud. Whilst he shares his content via social media, he recognises the importance of keeping yourself down-to-earth and not letting yourself get caught up in the craze that can be brought with social media.

“I don’t think having a huge social media platform is a huge ‘be-all-and-end-all.’ I don’t think ‘oh I have this many likes which means I now get to tour’ or anything like that. If people really care and they really want to listen to my music, they will anyway. Don’t get me wrong, social media is a great way to share your music and connect with fans, but at the end of the day it’s really all about of the music. Some artists get too obsessed with it and lose focus of what music is really about.”

Recently joining forces with the Real Songwriters of Melbourne team, Benjamin will be performing at our upcoming live show. Whilst he is excited for the event, he admits he hasn’t set any high expectations for himself.

“I just hope that people will listen. I love to play and I just want to play for people. I’m not expecting the whole world, but I just want to share my music. My goal is to have my music properly released and produced. I’d love to be touring, even if it’s just around Melbourne and maybe even opening for some of my favourite artists. I feel like this is the starting point for that.”

You can catch Benjamin at the RSOM ‘Real Songwriters Show #4’ on 19 March at The Workers Club. For more information click here.  

You can check out Benjamin at the following:

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Written by Jordyn Hoekstra