A Conversation With LACUNA

Tamara Violet Partridge may only be 22 years of age, but she’s already making her stance in Melbourne’s electronic music scene. Apart from working on her debut album, she’s currently focusing on her headlining show ‘Ladies to the Front,’ a showcase of women in electronic music. RSOM sat down and spoke to Tamara about all things feminism and all things music. 

Welcome back to RSOM, do you just want to start by giving us a rundown of what you’ve been up to since we spoke to you last October?

“I’ve been teaching for the last year or so, and I’ve helped written the curriculum for the course I teach. Other than that, I’ve been working on the album which is set to release later this year or early next year. I’ve got a single with my first professional music video accompanying it in the next few months as well coming out, which has been fun to make and collaborate with people on. I’ve basically just been writing a heap of songs and working out which ones to pick and choose from, because I’d rather write 20 tracks and pick the 10 best ones, the great ones. Just a lot of writing at this stage is where I’m at.”

You’ve got an amazing project coming up called ‘Ladies to the Front,’ where you’re headlining. Are you able to tell us what that’s about?

“The whole process of it really was that I wanted to put on a show that showcased women in the electronic music scene in Melbourne, because there are a lot of really prevalent artists that just aren’t making it to radio play or are getting the recognition they deserve when they get to that touring or even international level that male artists are getting. I just think to myself ‘well why is that?’. It’s not in a negative way or to put down any male artists at all, we’re just trying to create equality in a safe space for female artists because it can be very confronting. Especially in electronic music where there’s still that association with technology being a ‘masculine’ thing. It’s a very boys club kind of thing, which is totally fine, but it’s making sure that everyone feels equal regardless of what industry they’re in. It’s the same thing with DJ’ing, it’s not something that should be surprising or more engaging, I want you to come see me because I’m a good DJ, not because I’m a woman. The more shows we put on with women involved, where women are in the front, the better. It’s just one evening where we’re saying, ‘these chicks have worked really hard, let’s celebrate that.’

What are you looking forward to most about it?

“People have said that it’s becoming a theme in society, which is actually kind of offensive in its own right. I feel like it’s been a major theme in society since the suffragettes, but now we have the technology, the statistics and the power to talk about it. It’s like when people say, ‘feminism doesn’t have a place in modern society’ and I’m like ‘well let me tell you why it does and I know you’re allowed to have your opinion but here’s why your opinion is wrong’- statistically speaking. It’s just about that education, because sometimes people just don’t know and that’s fine too. But you need to be open minded and be willing to learn new things that you didn’t learn whilst growing up. I’m looking forward to people seeing a great show and not single out the fact that it is women performing.”

It seems like a lot of female electronic artists adopt these badass stage names. Do you feel as if ‘Lacuna’ gives you a sense of identity and confidence when out in the industry?

“It does, because I feel like as a composer when I perform it’s a totally different approach to music and a totally different industry. Being able to put a ‘Lacuna’ hat on, I talk about feminine power and feminine sexuality and mental health and sexual harassment. These are all themes throughout my album and themes throughout my music, because I like to sing about taboos. So that they’re not taboos anymore and people don’t feel isolated in these situations. I don’t get the chance to do that in composition because I’m working with someone else’s story and I’ve worked so hard to control my attitude, like I never can really express how I feel. When I’m singing; however, I can just belt out or even scream how I feel and I can swear and it’s not to my name, it’s to the name of something inside of me. I feel like Lacuna is the part of me that just wants to aggressively yell about it.”

You’re obviously a deep songwriter, but you play electronic music. Do you find it difficult to reflect the lyrics you’ve written into the electronic sounds and songs you create?

“See, that’s the easy part, which is actually really weird. I find that the hardest part is finding the flow of the story, and bringing it back into a mainstream, popular approach. It comes down to personality which is the beautiful thing about music- every artist will have a different challenge. The lyrics have always been the easy part for me and it’s something that in the Lacuna project I start with and make the beat around it. The darker or the more societally unacceptable a topic is, the more upbeat and happier key I’ll put it in to mask that. So, when people listen to it, they’re like ‘oh it’s a really good song,’ but then they find out what it’s really about and they’re shocked but realise that the song actually has a really great message.”

What’s the electronic scene like in Melbourne and do you feel like you’re empowered by the other women around you?

“Yes! And that’s exactly why I’m doing this gig. There are so many people that were on the list that couldn’t make it for various reasons and it’s like ‘why aren’t as famous as Banks’ or even male artists, it’s just like why not!? I think there’s still that unconscious bias, even though it’s getting better. You look at some of the artists and you’re like ‘you have everything perfected and there’s nothing else you need to do with your music so why is it different?’ Even the bands we play with are amazing and have done heaps of things already but people are still unaware of who they are. There are so many B-grade male DJs that people know about, yet the A-grade female DJs are almost unheard of. I don’t understand why it’s still like ‘oh so you’re a female DJ.’ Like no, I’m just a DJ, I wouldn’t call you a “male DJ.” There are so many female electronic artists and mixed bands that have trouble over male acts. There’s a big support system though. I’d love to turn it into an ongoing series too, and I might not even need to play at the next one because there’s so many female electronic artists out there. Electronic music is popping up everywhere, especially female musicians and it’s just great.”

Who are your favourite women in music and in electronic music currently?

“I think the biggest person is Bjork, like from when I was a kid. There are a lot of European artists, as well as Banks, FKA Twigs. I also love the RnB side, the girls I grew up with like TLC, Destiny’s Child, Missy Elliot, those who are big in the electronic/RnB scene. They changed the world. It’s really great when artists are the turning point for you, like FKA Twigs inspired me to want to perform again because what she’s doing is so amazing.”

Check out LACUNA on:

Facebook | InstagramSpotify

 

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Written by Jordyn Hoekstra
Photos courtesy of Vinyl Planet 
Productions live at Ladies To The Front at
Gasometer Hotel, Collingwood June 1 2017

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 

 

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

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 

Natalie Nish

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can listen to it here.

Check out Natalie Nish on
Facebook | Website | YouTube

Written by Jordyn Hoekstra