MADDIE LUCY

“I got into music at a really young age, like I started taking professional lessons from the age of about eight. It’s been ingrained in me for a really long time I guess.”

With an extensive background in musical theatre and performance, a career in the music industry was always going to be the pathway for Melburnian up-and-comer Maddie Lucy.

The RSOM team were fortunate enough to chat to Maddie about growing up on the Mornington Peninsula, springboard diving and the release of her new single Letting Me Go. 

J: Hey Maddie, welcome to RSOM.
Would you be able to start by telling us a bit about your background?

M: “I grew up on the Mornington Peninsula, in Mt Eliza. When I was really young, I was involved in a lot of different things, not just music. My sister and I did springboard diving for a while, to the point where we thought that was going to be a serious path we were going to take. I guess you could probably say I never looked at taking the most conventional path no matter what. I got into music at a really young age, like I started taking professional lessons from the age of about eight. It’s been ingrained in me for a really long time I guess. I have an older sister and a younger brother, and we’re all very musical and entertainment-based. My dad also sings and my mum sung when she was younger as well. We’ve all tried our hand at it, and we all kind of started out doing music theatre first. My sister and I did that for a really long time, we really loved it. My brother tried it and was like ‘yeah no way’.”

 

J: Do you think your musical theatre background has helped shape elements of your artistry?

M: “Definitely. I’ve been performing since I was eight, so now performing in front of live audiences isn’t really something that scares me at all. It’s more just coming into a completely different side of the music industry which is the most daunting thing for me, because believe it or not, even though they’re both music, they’re totally different worlds. It’s been a massive learning curve for me, I’ve had to be really proactive in my research and finding out how everything works. Because I’ve always had the passion for writing my own songs, and I’ve always loved folk music, but it’s always been something I had done hidden away in my bedroom, just writing my own stuff. I decided to do something with it about a year or two ago, so it’s still new to me, but coming from the music theatre side has contributed to the style I do, it’s folk/singer-songwriter, sure, but sometimes it’s a little bit quirky and I like having those really pretty sounds sometimes, or big dramatic sounds sometimes. It’s something I’ve had to try and work on too as well. In music theatre, it’s so important to speak clearly and make sure everyone understands what you’re singing, and then in folk music, it’s almost a no-no to pronounce your words right, people don’t want to hear every single little detail of your voice. Sometimes it’s nice to have that raw, untrained sound in your voice, so I’ve had to tap back into that sound I had all those years ago.”

J: Was there ever a particular moment where you realised you wanted to pursue music professionally?

M: “I think I’ve always known in the back of my head that I’ll probably never be anything else but a musician or at least in the industry. I’ve tried other things- I studied media at RMIT straight out of school. I loved it and I’ve been able to use those skills, but the office 9-5 thing wasn’t for me. I’m a very creative person and I don’t want to be locked in an office staring at a computer screen. I’ve tried lots of other things, I did consider doing a law degree for a while, but I always just came back to wanting to do music.

J: When did you begin writing your own music?

 M: “I began writing music at about the age of 15. Back then I was just dabbling in it and kind of kept it hidden from everyone. It wasn’t until the end of 2015 and the very start of 2016 when I delved right into songwriting, and really give it a good go, so almost two years ago.”

 

 

J: Do you remember the first song you ever wrote?

 M: “Yeah I do! I can still play it, and I still think it’s one of the better ones. I don’t know what that says about me! It definitely needs work, but I think it has legs to become something. Maybe.”

J: Do you have a particular songwriting process?

 M: “It’s probably different with every song. Sometimes, I have lyrics I might’ve just written but most of the time it comes from me playing the guitar or piano and mucking around with melodies or tunes that sound pretty and force myself to sing along with them. Then I’ll work out if it’s not going to work, or if it’s a cool concept that I’ll start to explore.”

J: Was the process the same when you wrote Letting Me Go?

 M: “Letting Me Go was interesting. I had some lyrics for it, about three years before I actually wrote it- just some lyrics that I’d put down in the notes on my phone that I thought might be cool. Then I didn’t look at it for a really long time. I came back to it when my brother got a ukulele. I’d never really played one before, so I picked it up and started mucking around with it- it’s easy to do that. I started playing around with some chords and they sounded cool together, and something came out which was similar to what I had written down. I then realised that it could all work quite well together. It ended up being an easy one to write once I’d broken the back of it. It sort of came out after a while.”

J: What’s Maddie Lucy’s plan for 2018?  

M: “I’ve actually recorded a whole EP, just released the first single at the moment and hope to do a single launch. From there I’ll probably release another single, and then the EP. Hopefully in the meantime, people here it, and they like it.”

You can check out Maddie Lucy on:

Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Soundcloud 

Written by Jordyn Hoekstra

Q & A with NORTH EASTON

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

Follow North Easton on:
Facebook | YouTube | Website

 

Written by Jordyn Hoekstra

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

Q&A WITH PATRICK WILSON

Up-and-coming country artist Patrick Wilson chats to RSOM about moving to Melbourne, performing at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, and the launch of his new single Nobody.

J: Hey Patrick, welcome to RSOM! If you don’t mind, I’ll just get you to start the interview off by giving me a bit about your background?
P: “I am 24 years old, and originally from the Victorian town of Geelong. I’m an alt-country, singer-songwriter, and I am now based in Melbourne. Prior to pursuing music, I was working as a butcher, and I absolutely hated it. Now I’m playing music, and I love it. I teach music at a few primary schools in Melbourne, and it’s a real honour getting to impart some of my knowledge. I know I still look up to music teachers/mentors that I’ve had in the past.”

J: You’ve been playing music around the Geelong and Melbourne regions for quite some time now. How did your journey as a musician begin?
P: “When I was about 12, I saw my cousin playing drums in a band and I knew I wanted to do that. As reluctant as my parents were, they bought me a drum kit and my love for music grew from there. I left high school to study a diploma of music, and by that stage I had picked up the guitar and had started writing my own songs. I started playing around Geelong and was trying to juggle working and performing, until I decided to seriously pursue it. I quit my job and moved to Melbourne, and I haven’t looked back.”

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J: What drew you to the country music scene?
P: “I really loved singing and playing country songs. It was great when I first started learning the guitar, because all I needed to learn was 3 chords and then could sing most Johnny Cash songs. I attended the Tamworth Country Music Festival in 201,3 and that cemented my passion for country music. I have really loved being apart of the country music scene in Melbourne.”

J: Where in your music career did you begin to write your own music?
P: “I started writing songs about a year after I picked up the guitar, most of them were very simple 3 chord songs but I got a lot of my lyrical content from friends and family and I found it was a great outlet. It was a different creative expression to drums, I felt like I connected with people more and I wanted to keep improving. I built on my skills and repertoire through getting out there, playing open mic nights and networking with other musicians was great for gaining more confidence and knowledge to help improve.”

J: Do you have a particular method or process you use when songwriting?
P: “I don’t have one method that I always use, it changes depending how I’m feeling really but I like to start with either a melody or a particular mood I want to capture with the music first and then put words to it. Other days I may be feeling particularly passionate about a subject and will scribble something down but the music or melody never comes. I have a few note books of lyrics that I haven’t put any music to but I do pick little parts or rhymes occasionally that I like and use them so it’s good to always have that when I hit a block I can’t get past. “

J: Are there any themes you tend to find yourself writing about often?
P: “I often write about heartbreak or love, because it’s something all people can connect with on some level. You also you can’t have a country song without heartbreak.”

J: Looking at your new single, Nobody, what was the writing and recording process for this?
P: “At the time I was listening to a lot of Van Morrison and Roy Orbison, so they really influenced the sound I was wanting to go for. It was great arranging the tracks and writing the horn parts to really try and capture that 70s sound. It was a task I set myself- to see whether I could write and record something that had that sound that I was absolutely mad for. I feel like I achieved that.”   


J: Who are the musicians that you look up to and take inspiration from?
P: “There are so many, and I find news artist who I look up to every day. One artist who has always been an influence to me would be Paul Kelly. His lyrics are so personal. He can make you laugh, cry and give you cooking tips. He is constantly working with new musicians, which I think is what keeps his sound so fresh, but at the same time It’s timeless.”

J: How does your mindset as an artist change when creating music as a solo artist, in comparison to when you’re with your band?
P: “Well all the songs I write, I write them on guitar or piano. I then think that if they can stand on their own with just me, then adding a band should be easy. When the band has their input it’s great, because you get to bounce ideas off other people, and work out ways to enhance the song and fill in gaps.”

J: What was it like performing at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, considering Tamworth is the home of country music in Australia?
P: “The playing side was great fun, the people up there just love country music and are so supportive of the musicians there. But, having to battle unbearable heat during the day and fix up our campsite after it blew away at night proved to be very challenging for the two weeks we were there. I suppose that’s character building.”

J: Your upcoming EP is entitled Anywhere with a Rooftop, are you able to give RSOM an insight into the concept behind the EP?
P: “There isn’t really concept behind the EP. It’s a collection of songs I’ve written over the past two to three years. That’s why there is a broad range of genres on the record, each song comes from a different point in my life. It’s nice to get them out there finally to show the world.”

J: Aside from the single launch, what are your hopes with the release of the EP?
P: “Next year I’m planning to pack up everything, live out of a van and travel around Australia playing shows. I’m glad I’ve got this EP to take with me everywhere, and I’m excited to see where my travels take me and what adventures will come my way.”

 

Follow Patrick on:
Facebook | Website

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

 

Q&A WITH MAYA

Up and coming RnB soul star MAYA (22) chats to Jordyn about performing with her musician dad, life on the road and the release of her debut EP.

J: I’ve read you’re a third-generation musician, suggesting that music has always been a big part of your life. What was it like growing up in a musical household?
M: “My dad’s a musician so it was great. I’ve always loved it, I’ve always had it playing. He’s really supportive of my career so it’s a definite benefit.”

J: Apart from being surrounded by it in your childhood, how did your journey as a musician begin?
M: “It just begun by playing when I was little. I’d get up in bars and perform with my dad and then I started handing out resumes to all these venues asking them to put me on. I’d play karaoke tracks because that’s what I thought it meant to be a musician. It’s now evolved into this, though. I just kept pushing and kept working- I made my own singles and forced my family to buy them.”

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J: So you’d record your music onto actual CDs?
M: “Yeah! It’s hilarious. It was my own stuff, not covers.”

J: How old were you when you began song writing, then?
M: “I was really young. One of the songs on the EP I actually first wrote when I was around five years old or something like that. I just recorded it to a tape that my dad saved and had kept it ever since. I’ve always been making music. I started lessons really early as well and I ended up going to a whole bunch of different schools because I wanted to try all their music programs and work with all their teachers. I didn’t go to uni after school though which most people do. I just felt like I was better off doing it my own way.”

J: Was that song the first song you ever wrote?
M: “Definitely one of them! There was another one, I think it was called Cry For You. I didn’t even have a boyfriend at the time or anything, so it must’ve been a hypothetical love. Or maybe it was about my family. It was pretty cheesy.”

J: Do you play instruments as well as being a singer songwriter?
M: “I can play a bit of piano. I used to play cello. I was really bad though! I used to sit next to the really good musicians and try and play what they were playing but they were just so good so I was like ‘well I’m not even going to try!'”

Who are the musicians that you look up to and take inspiration from?
M: “People like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Peggy Lee, Ricki Lee Jones. I grew up listening to a lot of older music but now I’m moving towards some new people, so there’s a little bit of everything. I never had just one main artist, so it’s really tricky to pick people out. I’ve always loved girls like Lauryn Hill. I get inspired by so many different realms of music. I love listening to all different types of music.”

J: Your biography states that you have Australian, African American and Hungarian roots. How influential is culture in the production of your music?
M: “It’s not entirely based on culture. But we’ve come to a really beautiful time in the world where culture is such a highlight. It’s really only the last like five years or so that I’ve really come to embrace that. So I think now later in life it’s more inspirational towards my music but up until now it’s really taken me a while to appreciate my roots.”

J: What’s your overall, general song writing process? Or does it change from song to song?
M: “It kind of changes all the time. Sometimes I’ll write really good lyrics over someone else’s music and then make the music after. But then sometimes these sounds just come to my head and I work with that. It’s different every time. With What After Now, I just loved the statement “what after now” and wanted to write a fun song with that. I heard the beats first, it was just a continuous noise we were making in the studio that developed into the song.”

J: What was the inspiration behind What After Now?
M: It’s just about living in the moment. My dad used to say to my sisters and I like ‘What after now girls? Why are you trying to chase the future when you can live in the now and be here with who you’re with?’ So yeah, he’s probably was the main inspiration with it. I mean he’s a huge influence musically and he’s very supportive. He feeds us a lot of wisdom I guess.

 J: Are you planning to collaborate with your dad anytime soon?
M: “Absolutely. He really helped me with the EP, he’s played on all of them and did all of the guitar in What After Now. There’s a lot to come out, so I’m really looking forward to it. We do a lot of shows together as well.”

J: How’s the process for the EP going?
M: “It’s really good, I’m just mixing the tracks and putting the finishing touches on. It should be ready for release half way through this year. Yeah, I’m really looking forward to it but I’m not rushing because I think it’s something really special so I don’t want to rush it just for the hell of getting it released. It’s going to be nice for everyone to hear though, I’ve been working on it for a long time.”

J: What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
M: “There’s been a lot. I went to New York last year for two months and played with this amazing blues band. I don’t know what it was but the energy of that for some reason was just my favourite thing. I’m one of those people that’s just like ‘let me sing with you!’ so I just sung with so many people. That was definitely the highlight of last year, trekking around Europe and America just singing with a whole bunch of different people and learning that you can just be a singer without being famous is probably the highlight.”

J: There would’ve been lots of interesting people that you met along the way, yeah?
M: “There were a lot. I met this lady who went by the name MAMA, she was crazy but great. There hasn’t been anyone who is the main influence yet, they’re all in my dreams.”

J: You’ve got a few shows coming up around Melbourne next month, including The Toff in Town April 25. What can fans expect from these shows?
M: “We’re going to have a big dance party! I’ve played there as a support, but this will be my first headlining show there. I’m always down for a jam, which is why it’s on a Tuesday. There’s going to art, dances, slideshows and just me being reckless. I always get super deep at my shows, so I never really know what’s going to happen.”

J: And just one final question question! After you release your EP, what’s next for MAYA?
M: “I’m going back to America, but I really want to focus on gaining a fan-base in Australia as well. It’s really hard for soul singers here, it’s easier to just go over to America. But I love Melbourne so much, so I’m just going to try and work it and get out there. I want to collaborate with more artists and do more performances and just have fun with it.”

You can check out MAYA at The Toff in Town on April 25. To purchase tickets go here.

FOLLOW MAYA ON
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Written by Jordyn Hoekstra

AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ABBEY STONE

The last time we spoke with Abbey Stone, she was just about to leave the country for the States.

Now five months later, she is back down under with her latest hit, Brave Heart and with a major announcement to be released exclusively via RSOM.
So Jena could not WAIT to catch up with her!

In June, Stone returned back to the States.

J: Tell us about your time in the States this year. What did you get up to?
A: This year was about playing a lot more shows and recording a number of songs in Nashville with producer Mark Moffat. Last year was more about discovering myself a bit more as a writer, which I feel like I did. So this time around, I was recording the songs I wrote last year. It was really cool.

J: Did you record or perform anywhere iconic once again in the States?
A: I got to play at The Bluebird in Nashville again – twice! I cut three songs on Music Row as well, right near RCA Studio B, which was crazy incredible. I played some really insane underground shows in New York where the crowds were those crazy, creative and wholeheartedly passionate people. I learned a lot about myself as an artist playing those shows – for example, if you’ve got something to say, there will always be someone who has said, or wanted to say, the same thing… felt the same way. It’s uplifting.

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On the 14th September, her latest single, Brave Heart was released.

J: Your latest single, Brave Heart is very different to your other tracks in regards to the style of your music. Is this the new Abbey Stone?
A: Brave Heart was a song I wrote a while ago and it kind of just sat there amongst other songs I overlooked. I’m really fortunate to know some incredibly talented people and one of those people is my mate Lucian (aka LUCIANBLOMKAMP). I’ve told him this multiple times, but I think he is a musical genius. So I asked him if he would consider producing the song and giving it a bit of life. This dude is ridiculous. I sent him a really rough version of the song and he sent me this bassy, ambient sick tune.

I decided to release Brave Heart for free because it is a lot shorter than the rest of my music AND because it is so different. I’m always listening to a lot of different music, there’s a lot of music I listen to that no one would expect, and because of that, I like to experiment with different sounds. I wouldn’t say there is a ‘new’ Abbey Stone because I’m still messing around with different melodies and finding what I like best, but it’s definitely a sound that I enjoy listening to and making, so I guess we will see!


Brave Heart Official Video Clip – Abbey Stone


J: So, what is Brave Heart about?
A: I was 17 when I wrote the song and I had a fake I.D. I went out to clubs a lot and I used to think I was really cool and invincible. So Brave Heart is about being 17, thinking you can do anything and going into every situation fearlessly. The song says, “tomorrow is distant, the future’s a given, and we’re not afraid.” So whatever we do tonight doesn’t matter because tomorrow is a definite certainty that is so far away, we can chill. It’s about being teenagers really.

J: Tell us all about the video and the filming. What was the best part of it all?
A: The video was shot over two different Saturdays. Firstly we shot the ‘morning after the party’ scenes, which involved being on set by 5:30am, hair, makeup and outfit ready. It sounds like I had it bad but the crew were there the night before setting everything up and being amazing. We worked until about 9:00 that night and then returned the week after to shoot the ‘party’ scenes.

The best part of it all was working with a lot of people! Being a solo artist, I don’t really get the chance to work with a big group like that, so having many people around to have a laugh and be creative with was something I can’t wait to do again.

 

And now, a massive exclusive to RSOM!
Abbey Stone will be releasing her very first EP!

 

J: RSOM is honoured to announce the release of your EP! When will it be released?
A: November 5th! It’s a bit of a tradition we have running. Every year on my birthday, we release something and this year, it’s finally an EP. It’s something we have been working on for a while, and are still working on. It’s also something I’m really proud of.

J: What is your EP called? Are there any major themes or messages within the EP?
A: The EP is called Doorways. When I play live, I play a set within a set. There are three songs that I play in chronological order of events that occurred throughout the year I wrote them in. I refer to this set/these songs as the ‘trilogy’. They are the first three songs on the record and start with a song called Doorways. I feel like this is really fitting because it’s about the beginning of something and the opening of the first ‘doorway’.

J: Are you doing any live performances soon? If so, when and where?
A: I’m performing at Les Twentyman’s 20th Man Fund Annual Gala on October 24th and I’m playing at the Bikes 4 Life’s ‘Live at the Trak’ event on the 8th November.

We once again thank Abbey for featuring on the blog and wish her every success for the forthcoming release of her EP, Doorways.

You can check her out here:10387337_773438076009765_5917027656515125453_n

Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Triple J UnEarthed | iTunes 

Check out the last post of Abbey Stone who was our very first guest on RSOM.