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.

angus angus

Check out more from Angus on:

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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.

Darcy Fox 1

“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.

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Written by Jordyn Hoekstra