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Photography by Cybele Malinowski

Where did your love of blues and jazz come from?

When I was a kid, my dad and brother used to listen to blues a lot. Also, one of my favourite memories from being little is of Sunday evenings with mum and dad playing Billie Holiday while they cooked and cleaned and chatted. I have quite a romanticised view of that. In my memories, the lighting always seems so soft and it smells really yummy and the cicadas are buzzing outside!

When were you first recognised and respected as a musician?
Oh..! Well I guess in the beginning when a few people started to want to work with me in professional agent/managerial roles. Those people really had a lot of faith in me and gave me confidence that I could really give it my all. When Jack White wanted to work with me before I’d even released any music yet, that was pretty special!

How do you approach song writing?

It’s always changing, but I always approach song writing in an open space. Open to hear what needs to come through the heart. That has deepened immensely with my new record Night Shade. To The Horses was not as in-depth or self-reflective. I just wasn’t there yet emotionally/spiritually as I was writing those songs in my early 20’s. It was more about what I saw happening around me rather than inside me. There were a few songs on TTH which were more emotionally driven but overall no. Night Shade also saw me taking longer with songs to make sure they were potent in their message and had a super clear intention with just the right amount of whatever was used ie lyrically/sonically etc.

How did you build your fan base? Through social media? Face to face networking? Playing live?
All of the above! Playing live was a big one for me though.

You wrote your sophomore album Night Shade in the Victorian bush. What was it about this seclusion that inspired you?
Do you recommend that all writers go through a similar process when writing and creating?
I recommend people be in the place/space that reflect most accurately their experience which they want to document. Night Shade was an internal process, a part of nature and a lesson in self love and trust. If someone wanted to write an urban hip hop album with skweee overtones, I’d guess the city might be a rad place to make that kind of record! All is perfect and there is opportunity everywhere.

What is the best advice you can give to independent songwriters?
Stick to your guns and follow your knowing, not the crowd.

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