What can you tell our readers about you? How and where did it all begin?
I was a very different child… I was severely introverted and found it very difficult to talk to and connect with people my own age. The things other children found engaging I found dreadfully uninteresting. I was a straight A+ student, and found school very easy and was bored very often. I remember wanting to grow up quickly so I wouldn’t have to wait for something interesting to happen anymore. I used to skip classes and go to the school oval so I could lie on the grass, under the sunshine, find pictures in the clouds and listen to music.
Music is something that has always spoken to me intellectually. When I was younger, I remember wishing I could use music to speak to other people so they would understand me. As I listened to the work of classical composers I felt instantly connected to something, which filled the huge void in my experience growing up. I would say that I became genuinely obsessed with classical music as a child, for that reason.
When I was 4 years old I harassed my mother until she found a violin teacher who would accept me as a student. Violin literally became my entire life. It was the one thing in my life which fascinated me, never bored me, and made me feel like I belonged. The violin became my greatest love. It wasn’t uncommon for me to practice for 6-8 hours every day by choice.
Most people assume I was a singer first, but to me the violin will always be my first instrument.
I have always been able to sing very loudly… from a young age… and have always had a deep, mature voice, which people don’t often expect from me. I began formal opera lessons when I was 7 years old which I thoroughly enjoyed. I guess I enjoyed it so much because each classical technique is so specific in its delivery… and it was difficult to master each technique, and I thrived on being challenged.
When I was 16 I injured my arms from overuse and wasn’t able to play the violin seriously any more. I went to, what felt like, every specialist available, but none were able to treat my arms to the point where I could play classical violin at the level I had become accustomed to. It devastated me, completely. I have never been able to play the same way again.
At that time, I remember feeling like my entire life became had become unaligned and it could never be put back together again. The one thing that gave me the most joy and brought me the most love had been taken away from me. Even thinking about the experience now… hurts me very deeply.
I began writing music at the age of 17 as a response to that sadness.
I bought a keyboard, without knowing how to play it… sat down… and found the pain I felt in the combination of keys I pressed down upon.
What had you first interested in music?
It was the feeling of connecting with something greater… I couldn’t articulate what I felt, but I understood it completely. And it understood me. That’s all I needed to know.
Who motivates or influences your quest to make great music?
Now, it is the incredible people I work with. My band members, my producer, my mentors in the industry… my fans who support me on social media… The other day a fan of mine sent me a picture of a hedgehog on Facebook which had the caption ‘This hedgehog is cheering for you because you can do anything’. On that day I was going through a very stressful time and was feeling very emotional and it actually made me cry. I am so grateful that there are people out there who care enough about what I am doing to take the time out to encourage me. I saved that picture on my phone, and whenever I am having a difficult time I look at it and remember what I am doing matters to people out there somewhere.
At the end of the day though, there isn’t anything else that matters to me quite like music does. And I feel that having the ability to write music of my own is the greatest gift I could have been given in this lifetime.
Do you have any planned tours coming up?
The fact that a remix of my first single ‘Born To Love You” is being used as the theme song to the Playstation game Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee – New n Tasty has certainly opened up a lot of doors very quickly. There are a few things in the works, but nothing confirmed as yet. Everything is sort of happening in a whirlwind… It is difficult to keep up with all the change happening in my life at the moment.
What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish as an artist?
I want my life to be a great adventure full of possibilities I could never dreamed of experiencing. I want life to surprise me through the music I make. I want to go on a journey and not know where I will end up. I suppose, that is because that is how music makes me feel. Ageless. Limitless. Fearless.
A more adult answer would be, I would love to collaborate and learn from the artists I admire… I would love to travel the world doing a festival tour with my band and play in many different cities and many different countries. I want to meet many different fascinating people from all different walks of life and hear their stories.
I want to share my success with the people who have grown with me along my journey. I couldn’t have done what I have this far in my life without the people who have helped and encouraged me to keep making my art. I have always believed in my vision, but it hasn’t been easy to find people who have been able to see it until now.
What can fans expect from you in the coming months?
Continuing to promote my new EP “inSUBORDINATE”. I will work closely alongside my fantastic team to think of innovative ways to communicate the body of work in an interesting and inspiring way.
Success, what is the secret to it and what has been your biggest career highlight so far?
Success? The stereotypical definition of success doesn’t affect me the way people expect it to, or say that it should. I suppose, you can’t really know how you will react until it actually happens.
I think to me, that success is learning through personal achievement. To learn something from an experience and to achieve a personal goal gives me a great deal of satisfaction. During the process of creating this body of work, I realised that I want to become a producer in the future. I co-produced every track on the record and when I listen back to it now, I can hear parts of myself within the music. That is something so surreal, and so wonderful to experience.
I owe a lot of this realisation to working with my producer, Lee Bradshaw of Bradshaw Music Productions. Lee was incredibly patient with me and allowed me to make an incredible amount of mistakes and really learn through trial and error… and I believe the end result has proven to be something so wonderfully unique… due to our atypical production method… we kind of established as we went along.
For that reason, completing this EP is my biggest career highlight so far.
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?
The German violinist David Garrett. I admire the way he fuses classical music with contemporary to appeal to the younger demographic. I am very interested in his cause, given my experience as a child, and hope to express that myself in some way in the future.
From a production perspective I am incredibly inspired by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. As I listen to the music he produces I find myself consumed by the individual sounds he creates. In my opinion, production is a series of choices made by an individual, and I find his choices to be otherworldly and completely in line with my own ears.
How would you best describe you and your music to your fans?
Neo-Romantic Post-Industrial Stalker-Rock
What can you tell us about your latest album?
inSUBORDINATE is about liberation. Not feeling constricted by society’s expectations and by the stereotypes of gender inequality.
I feel very strongly about the power of the female both sexually and intellectually… and I think that comes across very clearly (lyrically) in my work. One thing that frustrates me in modern culture is that women are so often depicted as subordinate to men.
I knew that I wanted the collection of work to embody my belief in female power and strength, but also to capture the beauty of female fragility. I felt that by titling my EP inSUBORDINATE it would make a statement that the female is in complete control of her mind and her body and it is only her decisions that define her.
Are there any new exciting projects in the works?
At the moment I am working with my team to transform the live show… so, taking the aesthetic from the record and transferring it uniquely through the energy and rawness of live performance.
The music industry is huge, where do you see yourself a few years from now?
Hopefully on tour somewhere I don’t expect to be. Still working with wonderful people who inspire me to make great art. I hope that as a person I have evolved from the place I am now to somewhere new and interesting.
Name a few of your favourite Aussie artists.
I love Katie Noonan’s lyrical soprano voice. I recently started to listen to Karnivool, their record Asymmetry is fantastic. The Cat Empire put on a great live show. Amazing energy.
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?
Firstly, I feel very, very passionately that there should be a greater support network for young artists in the music industry. Especially for young females. When I was younger I legitimately believed the business and creative sides of the industry were aligned, which was completely ignorant of me… but as a 17/18 year old you tend to be somewhat naive and believe that all people are genuine until proven otherwise. If I ever become “successful” that is the first thing I will work on developing myself. I really want to help young artists to develop themselves through self discovery and not be swayed by industry people who only see dollar signs and commerciality. Or by ridiculous TV shows who project an unrealistic image of what it means to be an “artist” simply to capture ratings and pollute the minds of the young.
Secondly, I agree that the relevance of the record label has definitely come in to question. People ask if record labels are even necessary due to the success of independent artists marketing via social network/crowdfunding campaigns. I feel, the main challenge of being a young independent artist is finding the capital to get your first release off the ground. Even though in reality there are a lot of options available, it can feel very overwhelming and confusing when you are completely foreign to the entertainment industry. It is difficult to know even where to start.
I must say, as such a(n often aloof) and creatively passionate person, it was very difficult for me to see the relevance of educating myself in the business aspect of the industry. Now that I am older, and have learnt from life experience, I see that it is equally, if not, more important to be educated in how your music is being handled by other people.
Most young people don’t realise… actually being good at making music is only one very small part of succeeding in this game… and the greatest challenge is to find a comfortable middle ground between the creative and business mind. I definitely encourage people to educate themselves as much as possible if they want to seriously chase their dream.
Thank you for the interview! What can you leave fans of theaussieword.com with here today?
“Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic.”
― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
“Even after escaping Iran, two gay men awaiting asylum are unwilling to show their faces on camera in a first-of-its-kind documentary..”
In the first documentary of its kind, director/producer Rick Flynn exposes the struggle of LGBT people from Iran, who are subjected to legal torture, flogging, imprisonment, and even execution as punishment for loving someone of the same gender. Some of these victims manage to escape their homeland, seeking temporary asylum in neighboring, conservative Turkey. There, they reflect on the abuse they endured and hope for the future while waiting in limbo for the United Nations to decide whether or not they will receive permanent resettlement in the west, where they may one day be allowed to love without penalty.