GRETTA RAY

“I think part of me always knew that I was going to be a performer – I was lucky enough to begin performing at a very young age, and became addicted to it pretty much instantly!”

At just 19 years of age, Gretta Ray has had a big couple of years. Having been announced 2016’s Triple J Unearthed High winner, Gretta has since gone on to play sets at Falls Festival and Splendour in the Grass. 2017 has seen her return from a stint in the United States.

2016 was also the year Gretta won the Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition, on the day of her Year 12 English exam, no less. It was an accomplishment, she says, she still can’t believe happened.

“It was amazing to be recognised and credited for my songwriting, because it is something that I have been working at for years. At that point in time, Drive was the song that I was most proud of. I am so grateful to have had the support from APRA that I have,” Gretta tells RSOM.

What was an eventful day for Gretta was also a reflection on her ability to balance her studies and her role in the music industry.

“I do recall feeling a sense of pride that I was able to maintain a balance (between school and music). I intended to give both areas of my life the same amount of energy, and that night I felt like that was something that I was achieving.” 

So surely such a stellar start to a career would require a kickstart from an early age? That certainly was the case for Gretta, with many of her family also being musicians. She says music was an underlying theme of her childhood.

“I grew up playing instruments and singing in choirs, as well as going to see a lot of shows with my mum, who made sure I was immersed in music from a young age.”

At the age of seven, songwriting had become a hobby, writing what she could on her keyboard, and she admits it was a hobby she quickly became passionate about.

“I didn’t write another song until about two years later, but from that point forward I really kicked into gear and was writing little ditties whenever I got the chance to.

“I perceived songwriting as a hobby that made me fantasise about being a performer. I think the moment that I knew that I wanted that fantasy to become a reality. I think the moment that I knew that I wanted that fantasy to become a reality was during the process of recording my debut EP ‘Elsewhere’. I was in my element in the space of a studio.”

Along with songwriting, Gretta began performing at a young age and as a result has years of experience performing music in Melbourne. Having performed with groups such as Young Voices of Melbourne and If You See Her, Say Hello, Gretta believes that her experience with these groups, particularly in Melbourne, have shaped her into the artist she is today.


“Within the choirs that I have been a part of in the past, I have learnt much about myself as a musician, and also made some beautiful, talented, life long friends.

The Melbourne music scene is an incredible community, too. I’m very proud to be a part of it.”

Some years later, Gretta is known in the Australian music scene for her perfect rhyming, and use of alliteration, when writing. Despite her love of the English language; however, she admits that she doesn’t have a particular song writing process, and says this is what makes song writing worthwhile.

“A song often starts with a seed of inspiration, a concept, that I have been pondering on for a while. I will accumulate a bunch of ideas in relation to the initial idea, and then set side time to sit down with my work and construct the song.” 

And as for what she finds herself writing about, Gretta is particularly interested writing autobiographically, reflecting, rather than focusing on a narrative.

“I have predominantly written about relationships and the notion of observing the human condition. I want to write about a range of things over the duration of my career. 

[With Drive] I wanted to write a song that explored that concept of the intimate, magical atmosphere that is created in the space of a car when one is driving around with someone they love. In this song, the idea is portrayed as more of a fantasy than a reality.” 

With an abundance of songs up her sleeve, an EP and plenty more music to follow, Gretta is aiming to perfect her new music. Knowing the ins-and-outs of the Melbourne music scene, it will definitely be easier this time around, and slowly becoming a household name, she has plenty advice to pass on to up-and-coming songwriters.

Work really hard, make your own decisions about the direction of your career, seek inspiration, listen to those whom are more experienced in the industry and take their advice on board, continue to grow as a writer and person, challenge yourself but don’t become overly obsessive about your writing. Let your emotions and creativity drive your project.” 

There is no doubt that Gretta has had a massive couple of years, and that 2018 will be even bigger. Having finished off 2017 touring the country with fellow Melburnian Vance Joy, Gretta is back in the studio and is hoping to release more music in the near future.

You can check out Gretta on:

Facebook | Twitter YouTube | Website

Written by Jordyn Hoekstra 

 

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

RSOM at Face The Music Summit Day 1: 23/11/2017

Day one of Face The Music presented eager and aspiring talents in all facets of the music industry to join as a community and to hear from many different representatives in the music scene.

In Face The Music’s TENTH year, the beautiful St Paul’s Cathedral was the hub of the two day conference as well as for Melbourne Music Week.

As a member of the Melbourne music community both as a musician and a female in the music business world, there were three important key themes that stood out throughout the day.

1. USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO YOUR ADVANTAGE – FIND THE BALANCE BETWEEN A SALES POST AND AN ORGANIC POST. This was a major discussion in the first workshop titled “Meet Your Future Boss: Our Picks for Tomorrow’s Fearless Leaders.” Speakers featured Gloria Brancatisano, Music Editor of Beat Magazine, Alex Gleeson, Entertainment Manager of The Gasometer Hotel, Collingwood, Hip/Hop Rap artist, Mallrat, Georgia Cooke, Promotions Lead at Remote Control Records, and Charlotte Ried, Executive Assistant at Michael Parisi Management. “The key is not to always post about stuff that people can do for you,” explained Mallrat as she believes social media should be used to not only promote yourself but to share your personality and to engage in conversation.

One of the biggest mistakes in the music industry is that artists use social media just to advertise where they are playing so that they can get people to come to their shows, but as social media now plays a huge part in our everyday lives, artists should become more honest on socials and show their personality to their fans.

“Putting yourself out there and taking yourself out of your comfort zone is important,” said Alex Gleeson. He explained to the crowd that when applying to play at venues, it is like applying for a job. The applications that stand out are ones who show enthousiasm, initiative and dedication and doesn’t look like a copy and paste job.

The same applies when going for a job or internship. Don’t wait for Facebook to show you a job opening, call or email the company and express your interest as that shows that you are taking initiative for your learning regardless of your experience in the industry. For those who are under 18 and are wanting experience before stepping out into the real world, apply to volunteer at festivals and events so that you can meet people and build relationships from then.

2. USE SOCIAL MEDIA DATA TO HELP IMPROVE YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE Times have changed and social media is no longer something we should fear, but embrace. In the workshop titled, Building Blocks: How to Grow, Understand and Meet the Needs of your Audience, the panel highlighted that Melbourne has a massive audience out there who want to see live music on a regular basis.

The panel consisted of Yvette Myhill, Swan Hill Performing Arts, Harley Evans, Moshtix, Sally MatherCorner Hotel and Stacey Piggott, Secret Service.

Last year, Live Performance Australia survey results showed that 5.6 million people went to see a gig in 2016.

The panel encouraged artists to be proactive when putting on an event such as asking the venues for ticketing data after a show or doing their own publicity if they cannot afford a publicist.

If you know who your audience is, you can target your marketing to that specific group, whether it be female, 18 – 35 from the Northern Suburbs of Melbourne and use Facebook’s advertising functions to help you improve your reach. Or, why not use it for a completely different group to help spread the word and GROW your audience?

There are short tutorials on Facebook that you can watch under Facebook Blueprint that can help you utilise this great social media platform to spread the word as an artist.

3. THERE IS STILL NOT ENOUGH REPRESENTATION IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY OF FEMALES, AGE AND COLOUR.

There are a lot of females who are working in this music industry that are so good at their jobs and don’t get recognised. Georgia Cooke was one who stood out as the 22 year old Promotions Lead at Remote Control Records confesses that she left out her age on her resume as she had a fear that employers would immediately dismiss her application. “Diversity and representation is important,” said Cooke as the panel highlighted that we are still in a highly dominated male industry.

“Being young and a female is an issue that people should realise and push away,” said Mallrat as she discussed the idea of having more female sound engineers in the music industry. “Every female artist always records with a male sound engineer. It would be nice to have somebody that is like you.”

What should be commended is the equality of male and female speakers in each workshop today and how each workshop that I attended commended that. As a female, it is definitely refreshing and comforting hearing from successful females in the industry and gives hope to those who are struggling to find a job.

4. MENTAL HEALTH AND SUPPORT NETWORKS ARE KEY WHEN WORKING IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY. Working in the music industry is not a 9 to 5 job for most people, therefore it is important to take care of your mental health. If you are an artist, you could be on the road with little sleep driving for 2 hours at a time to a gig, or you could be an artist manager checking up on a client on the phone at 3am who is currently overseas on a US tour.

This theme again appeared in another workshop titled, The Manager’s Special with guest speakers Leigh Treweek, Owner of The Music Magazine, Charlotte Abromsfrom Hear Hear Group (Gretta Ray, Haarlo, Angie McMahon), Ellen Kirk from Lookout Kid (Courtney Barnett, Fraser A. Gorman, Jen Cloher) and Jim McKinnon from Team Trick (Dead Letter Circus, Mallrat)

This gave both musicians and music business individuals an insight into the life of these  managers as they work closely with household artists.

A manager is someone who is ultimately responsible for the direction of an artists’ career.  It is very important for an artist to have a relationship with their manager in order for the manager to bring out the best of the artist where possible.

“If you’re not taking care of your artist, then it becomes creatively stifling for them,” said. Charlotte Abroms.

Also, it is important for an artist to not just have a vision musically, but also as a person and know how they want to be represented so that their manager can lead them in the right direction.

All in all, the workshops gave music lovers an insight into the reality of our industry and really honed in a sense of belonging and community. It was a place where musicians could gain more knowledge and learn the necessary skills for them to implement into their career, no matter what side of the music industry they decided to take.

RSOM would like to thank Face The Music for having us this year and we hope to be involved next year!

Stay tuned for our review of Day 2 of Face The Music.

Written by Jena Marino

RECAP: THE 2017 AGE MUSIC VICTORIA AWARDS- 170 Russell, 22/11/17

The night started promptly, with a Welcome to Country. Following this, it was straight into the awards. The 2017 awards were claimed by both new and previous winners. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, The Teskey Brothers, and A.B. Original stole the show, each act winning multiple awards.

With prizes on the night ranging from a $20 000 Moshtix marketing package, to a Bakehouse rehearsal package, to a $2000 Virgin Australia travel voucher, and a $3000 cash prize generously donated by APRA AMCOS, the well deserving winners certainly did not go home empty handed.

The awards were split up into two categories, Genre and Public-Voted. The wider Victorian community were given the opportunity to have their say on their favourite Victorian artists, bands, live acts and venues. The Genre Awards were decided by a specialised panel of selected people from within the industry.

The full list of winners is below:

GENRE AWARDS

BEST BLUES ALBUM

Fiona Boyes: “Professin’ The Blues”

BEST COUNTRY ALBUM

Raised By Eagles: “I Must Be Somewhere”

BEST SOUL, FUNK, RNB, AND GOSPEL ALBUM

The Teskey Brothers: “Half Mile Harvest”

BEST JAZZ ALBUM

Brenton Foster: “The Nature of Light”

BEST HIP HOP ALBUM

A.B. Original: “Reclaim Australia”

BEST ELECTRONIC ACT

Client Liaison

BEST HEAVY ALBUM

Divide and Dissolve: “Basic”

BEST ABORIGINAL ACT

A.B. Original

BEST GLOBAL OR REGGAE ALBUM

Lamine Sonko and the African Intelligence: “Afro Empire”

BEST FOLK OR ROOTS ALBUM

The Mae Trio: “Take Care, Take Cover”

BEST EXPERIMENTAL / AVANT-GARDE ACT

Winter Sound School / Bridget Chappell

PUBLIC-VOTED AWARDS

BEST FESTIVAL

Meredith Music Festival

BEST REGIONAL VENUE (UNDER 50 GIGS PER YEAR)

Theatre Royal, Castlemaine

BEST REGIONAL VENUE (OVER 50 GIGS PER YEAR)

The Workers Club, Geelong

BEST VENUE (UNDER 500 CAPACITY)

The Tote

BEST VENUE (OVER 500 CAPACITY)

The Corner Hotel

BEST REGIONAL ACT

Cosmic Psychos

BEST LIVE BAND

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

BEST EMERGING ACT

The Teskey Brothers

BEST MALE ARTIST

Paul Kelly

BEST FEMALE ARTIST

Jen Cloher

BEST SONG

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: “Rattlesnake”

BEST BAND

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

BEST ALBUM

A.B. Original: “Reclaim Australia”

Concluding the awards ceremony was the induction of the late Tony Cohen into the Music Victoria Hall of Fame. Tony was a music producer and sound engineer, who over the course of his career worked with groups such as The Birthday Party, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. His induction was accompanied with a video, compiled of many people in the industry, including Molly Meldrum.

Emcees Chris Gill and Lyndelle Wilkinson did a wonderful job of keeping the audience engaged, and even accepted awards on a few artist’s behalfs. Wrapping up the ceremony, once again promptly, the Afterparty then kicked off.

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With MzRizk on the decks and performances from Archie Roache, Mojo Juju, Gretta Ray, Josh Teskey and more, and full sets from Cable Ties, Gold Class, and Harvey Sutherland and Bermuda, the crowd were up on their feet and dancing away the night. It was the perfect way to wrap up another year of music in Melbourne, demonstrating just how incredible and diverse the Melbourne Music Scene truly is.

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

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