PHOTO CREDIT: Tanya Voltchanskaya
I have been talking with Bri Clark…
IMAGE/PHOTO CREDIT: Tanya Voltchanskaya
about her current single, Giving Up, and what the story behind it is. The Australian artist discusses her musical tastes and reveals what it was like working alongside producer Jono Steer on her new track; whether there is more material coming and which approaching artists we need to spend some time with.
I ask Clark if there are any live dates booked in and how she unwinds away from music; if there is a special memory that sticks in her mind; a few albums that have impacted her hard – she ends the interview by selecting a rather good song.
Hi, Bri. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey - I am good! My week has been really great, thank you!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I am a singer/songwriter currently based in Perth, Australia. The music I’m releasing at the moment is cinematic Alt-Pop.
Giving Up is your new single. Can you talk about the story and how it came together?
Giving Up is a song that took a little while to write...
I was witnessing a relationship break down between two people very close to me and I had to deal with what I was feeling as well as trying to be there for them; so the song took on a life of its own. It ended up being a story of the struggle to leave or to stay.
I had the chorus line - “Stop me from giving up on my love” - in another song I had written, but I felt like it deserved to be more than just a verse throwaway. So ,then, I was jamming it with my besties and I came up with a whole song melody based on the line as the chorus!
I took that to Jono Steer and we produced it into what it is now.
How important was it working alongside producer Jono Steer?
Jono is just an incredible producer, engineer and human. It was extra-special because my E.P. was the first project he’d worked on since moving to Castlemaine - a town in rural Victoria - so it was all new spaces and we were getting to know it together, the different cafes and walking spots. He helped transform my songs into beautiful pieces of art. I learnt so much from him and I’m now getting into production because he was so easy to learn from and very knowledgeable. Also; I’d like to live in Castlemaine now.
PHOTO CREDIT: Trevor Gerard
Do you think there will be more material coming along?
Yes! We have a five-track E.P. ready to go - and Giving Up was the first single from it! There’ll be another single release early in the New Year probably and then the E.P. and THEN the next thing. I’ve been doing a lot of co-writes recently and have probably written some of the best songs in those sessions, so I am very excited to get into the studio and record them, but also keep writing.
Were you raised around a lot of great sounds? What sort of music were you raised on?
My mum had the Tina Arena In Deep deluxe album and I listened to that on-repeat and tried to emulate everything thing she did with her voice and that’s how I taught myself to sing. But, there was lots of music in the house growing up: The Carpenters, Fleetwood Mac; Bryan Adams, Shania Twain; Michael Jackson, Queen. Then, when I was old enough to choose my own music, it was Britney Spears, Norah Jones; Christina Aguilera, JoJo; Taylor Swift, Adele; Sia, Bat for Lashes; City & Colour, Damien Rice; Butterfly Boucher, Bertie Blackman; William Fitzsimmons, Gotye…I cut my teeth on Pop and Alternative music and it was great.
PHOTO CREDIT: Hannah Lawrance
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
I hope to play some bigger support shows and write with more artists and writers I admire.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
I have a couple from this year actually…
I got to spend a couple of days writing with Aussie songwriter and all around legend, Mark Lizotte (Diesel) - one of the most generous people I’ve ever met. Also; when Giving Up was shortlisted for the 2018 Vanda and Young Songwriting Competition alongside Amy Shark and Gang of Youths, that was pretty special - and, just jumping into songwriting sessions with people I haven’t met before and being able to connect over something and create.
Also; BIGSOUND this year was a big highlight for me; I got to meet many wonderful people and form some great relationships. And, probably, number-one making the E.P. with Jono, Lawrence and Leigh. After a few days in pre-production with Jono, I went back to the cottage I was staying in and I had a listen to the songs and just cried so much because I was so happy. I called my mum and she was very confused for the first minute of the conversation! I am very lucky.
PHOTO CREDIT: Tanya Voltchanskaya
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
It’s very hard to choose only three.
The Blessed Unrest by Sara Bareilles
I say this but I really mean Sara Bareilles’ entire discography, including her incredible covers, and her Waitress musical. She always has at least one gut-wrenching song in every album: Manhattan, Between the Lines; Gravity, Bluebird; Bright Lights and Cityscapes, Breathe Again and 1000 Times. She is one of the great songwriters, in my opinion. A true craftswoman. Listening to Sara has pushed me to never settle when I write; always search for the right word, the right phrase and the right melody. I’ve also really enjoyed her artist development, moving from minimal production when she first started to more eclectic, experimental Pop. What a woman!
Eclipse by Imogen Heap
Incredible songwriting and production. Listening to Imogen Heap gave me a license to be really experimental with my lyrics. I love Imogen Heap in all her forms, especially as part of Frou Frou. She changed the game for me with her vocal arrangement and production. I really love her Sparks album as well which was a bit more challenging to listen to. She gave me a love for the unusual and unexpected in music.
Grace by Jeff Buckley
This was an out-of-body, surreal experience. I came to this album quite late - I think I was twenty-two - when I heard it and I was driving around the North Island of N.Z. with a really great friend of mine and I was going through some heartache and life uncertainty. I feel like music comes to you when you need it - and I needed this album when I heard it. I hope that my music can have as profound an effect as what Jeff Buckley had on me.
If I were allowed to give three more albums that I love and had a huge impact on me:
Ben Abraham - Sirens
Jónsi - Go Do
Adele - 21
PHOTO CREDIT: Tanya Voltchanskaya
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Sara Bareilles. Oh. I would just like limitless peppermint tea and some fresh fruit.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Make music that makes you happy first and foremost - and always go for a grant where possible to save your cash. Go to lots of gigs and talk to artists that you admire. Do the self-management thing, if you have the time, so you can really know what skills you need your manager to have when you take one on. Play lots of gigs but, if you don’t like playing gigs, don’t. Just do whatever makes you happy and try not to put too much pressure on yourself.
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
I have a few dates coming up:
Fri, October 12th - SOFAR Sounds Perth
Sat, October 13th - RTRFM Spring Music Festival at The Aardvark
Sat, 3rd November (3.20 P.M.) - WAMFest Showcase at the PICA Amphitheatre
Got a couple of shows on the horizon in Melbourne and Sydney as well, but nothing international yet.
How important is it being on stage and performing? Do you love playing your music to the crowds?
I think it’s important to play live if you want to create a really strong connection with your fans. I love playing to crowds who listen intently. There’s nothing more difficult than a crowd who is only there for their friends/family and aren’t really into music so don’t care to listen to other artists. But, also, in saying that; I know some really successful musicians who choose not to play and that’s totally fine too. There’s no ‘one way’ to do it in this industry.
IN THIS PHOTO: Ariela Jacobs/PHOTO CREDIT: Liam Mcguire
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I love long walks around the river where I live. I work at an office part-time and that helps me to unwind because I’m doing repetitive tasks that I can do without thinking; it also helps when I’m stuck on a lyric because I can be doing something monotonous and then my brain will just pull it out of thin air. I love movies, good food and cooking when I can be bothered. It’s really hard to switch that side of me off, though: I’m always thinking about it.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Let’s stick with the Sara Bareilles theme: Manhattan, please
Follow Bri Clark